ARTECH: The Beauty of Human and Non-Human Creativity

Sougwen Chung – sourced from aiartists.com

Human-Machine collaborations for new artistic expressions

Can Computers be creative? Can Artificial Intelligence make Art? A lot has been told about the impact of tech in the finance, medicine and agricultural (FinTech, MedTech, AgroTech) but what about ArtTech? Emerging technologies are also impacting the worlds of arts and culture. Especially Artificial Intelligence (A.I) that is pushing the boundaries of intelligent systems into creative applications. We can now find A.I composed music, artworks and fashion designs through: ever evolving music, portraits in real time and infinite design patterns. What promises, potentials and paranoias is A.I bringing to artists? 

I/O PAINTBRUSH FROM MIT MEDIA LAB.

I/O Brush – sourced from MIT MEDIA LAB

Almost a decade ago I/O paintbrush was developed in Boston. It is a drawing tool to explore colors, textures, and movements found in everyday materials by “picking up” and drawing with them. I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface. ‘Paint brush’ redefines how artists and tech interact.  It brings new ways to mix old elements with new technology. This creation triggered many conversations about expanding our creativity for the arts through technologies. 

HUMAN MACHNE COLLABORATION IN THE ARTS 

Sougwen Chung Robotic Arm – sourced from sougwen.com

Humans have used tools to extend our capabilities since the stone age. But in recent years, emerging technologies have transformed our ability to create more than any time in history. Today, we are seeing a more interesting way of interaction through Human-machine collaboration. What is Human Machine Collaboration? It is a way of seeing technology not as a simple tool but as a collaborator. It is about re-thinking our relationship with tools and how it changed with the digital transformation that enables us to have an editable updated companion, not a static mere tool like a hammer would be, but a fluid team-member for projects. In a world where “Data is the new oil”, what about using data for art works?  

AIArtists.org is an organization that showcases pioneering artists who are using Artificial Intelligence to push the boundaries of creativity. Also, they offer section so that you can explore creative tools resources to generate A.I art yourself. The page shows the most talented artists melding art with machine learning that are disrupting the status quo of the traditional art world, and exploring our complicated relationship with machines. (We are featuring some of them below on this article).

SOUGWEN CHUNG -> ARTIST AND ROBOTICS EXPERT 

Sougwen Chung Robotic Arm – sourced from sougwen.com

Sougwen Chung is Chinese-born, Canadian-raised artist and researcher living in New York. She uses hand-drawn and computer-generated marks to address the closeness between person-to-person and person-to-machine communication. In 2019, she was selected as the Woman of the Year in Monaco for achievement in the Arts & Sciences. 

She works alongside machines data and emerging technologies. She designed a robotic arm and inputed it with data from her analogic drawings. The machine learned about her style and repeated patterns from her life accumulated work and then they sketched together. Showing tech not as an omnipotent A.I. but a collaborator for new artistic expressions. 

RE-IMAGENING ART LANDSCAPE

Sougwen Chung NYC Landscape – sourced from sougwen.com

Her latest development re-signifying the landscape art of the future. She made an art piece of New York City landscapes together with 20 robots and great amount of data from the city´s urban cameras. Peoples’ movement along the streets became paths for her robotic units to draw.  Then, they worked together as a collective team making an art piece of New York City landscape with what is perhaps its most notorious and spicy ingredient, its lively and vibrant urban movement. Installing a new way of thinking about landscapes, not by portraying how it looks but how it moves. 

REFIK ANADOL – DATA SCULPTURES AND LIVE MEDIA ARTS

Refik Anadol Walt Disney Concert Hall Projection – sourced from dezeen.com

Refik Anadol, a Turkish artist that lives in L.A is media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence. He is known for transforming architectural spaces and façades into giant canvases for live media arts. He creates site-specific public art and data sculptures, often paired with live audio/visual performances and immersive installations. 

His award winning projects also explore how the perception and experience of time and space are radically changing. What if we could use computers to draw upon the rich history of human experience, preserving and presenting our collective memories in powerful new ways? Anadol explored in WDCH, which mapped the entire history of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s archives onto the surface of its exterior. 

He uses architecture as a canvas, and data as painting input. This massive machine learning and projection mapping project brought to light years of video footage from one of the greatest musical institutions in the world, and transformed it into a dynamic and evolving canvas sharing these rich memories to the public.  

CLIMATE CHANGE-THEMED ART

Refik Anadol Bosphorous – sourced from aiartists.com

California will soon launch the largest climate change themed art permanent installation. Their clean air agency chose 4 artists from 600 applicants to make this awakening display. With Computerized data about air quality and pollution Refik will display huge architectural scale arts to enhance climate awareness through data in action through arts. 

HOW DOES TECH IMPACT THE PERCEPTION AND ROLE OF ARTS AND CULTURE?

Refik Anadol Melting Memories – sourced from aiartists.com

Culture and Arts have always been a mirror of society. How will this be re-signified as AI intelligence starts blending with human creativity? How does this change our perception of human uniqueness/genius? How does this complicate authorship? What part of the art is human-made and which one is machine-made? This are some of the questions that arise with new forms of expressions of human-machine collaboration. Depending on the perspective, this could either be exciting or uncomfortable. Still, we could see a new sense of collective authorship shared by the artist, the data set, and the machine. 

The interesting approach of the artists explored in this article show technology not as a replacement nor tool for human creativity but as a collaborator. If we teach machines to do our work, it allows us to explore new paths and worlds on creativity. Not suppressing human agency but enhancing it. Leveraging on data, A.I and robotics to develop new processes for human creativity. As Sougwen Chung said: “Maybe future of human creativity is not what it makes but exploring new ways of makings.”

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