CURATING ONLINE: Cultural Heritage, Creativity and the Summer of Artificial Intelligence

Online stream on the Vasulka Kitchen Brno Facebook page.

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021 - 14:00 to 18:00

A one-day international symposium and subsequent debate of experts, academics, curators, artists who are exploring the potential of using artificial intelligence (deep learning of artificial neural networks) for processing and sharing of the content of art collections; for mapping of the digital culture; and for testing of an artificial intelligence as a medium of creative practice (AI art).

The symposium aims to inquire into the current trends in the field of archives processing ("live archive"), new forms of the concept of "artificial art" (Abraham Moles) and manifestations of an aesthetics of remix (Eduardo Navas) or "crowdsourced beauty" (Joanna Zylinska) in the context of the current "summer of Artificial Intelligence".

The conference is organized on the occasion of the completion of the Media Art Live Archive project. 

The symposium will take place in the studio of the Brno House of Arts: Due to the worsening situation of Covid-19 and the declaration of a state of emergency, it will only be available online for visitors and viewers. We are going to broadcast the entire programme on the Facebook page of Vasulka Kitchen Brno, and other channels. Information will be specified on social media and the website 


14:00 - 14:15
Introduction by Jana Horáková 

First section
Chair: Jana Horáková

14:15 - 14:55
Andreas Sudmann (University of Regensburg, Germany)
On computer creativity 

Can computers be creative? This question has accompanied the historical development of AI from the very beginning. Since 2016 at the latest, however, the potential and broad implementation of machine learning algorithms (especially artificial neural networks) have led to a remarkable renaissance of interest in computational creativity and AI art. But to what extent do current art projects that make practical use of learning algorithms and reflect on them through aesthetic means open up decidedly new possibilities for thinking about the connection between computers and creativity? My lecture will be concerned with addressing the conditions of possibility of this very perspective.

15:00 - 15:40
Emily L. Spratt (Ph.D - Arts and Technology Academic and Strategic Advisor, New York, NY)
Approaches to The Curation of Machine-Learned Images in Art and Film

While digital images of art and culture are proliferating exponentially, so too has the need for their online curation. Constrained by the sheer scale of this visual information, curators are increasingly employing machine learning-enabled tools to automatically analyze and organize digital content, thus extending the curatorial reach of their art and also provoking significant philosophical questions on the nature of curatorship today. In this presentation, current approaches to the uses of artificial intelligence to curate digital images of art and film will be discussed, lending to the claim that the definition of curatorship is quickly changing on account of emerging technologies. The examples considered include the Gastronomic Algorithms, an artistic project on the visual use of Alain Passard’s Michelin plates with generative AI, and Fellini Forward, an AI-inspired film based on the corpus of Federico Fellini’s films, among other state-of-the-art machine learning projects reliant on the enormity of their art- and film-based datasets. Given the current approaches to machine learning-assisted curation and art production, an assessment of its future development will be offered, centered on the concept of convergence in technology and art.

15:45 - 16:20
Eduardo Navas (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
AI Creativity after Remix in Art and Media: Metacreativity

This presentation brings together principles of digital postproduction (the ability to capture, edit, and share digital material in real-time across networks), remix aesthetics, and artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, in relation to art, media, culture. It will focus on the emergence of metacreativity: the process of delegating parts of the creative process to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). A critical reflection on artificial intelligence, creativity, and cultural production beyond human capacities is necessary, because once we enter an advanced stage in which parts of the creative process are automated ,questions on our current understanding of authorship as solely a human endeavor emerge which open the possibility to redefine creativity, authorship and collaboration.


Second session
Chair: Monika Szűcsová

16:30 - 17:00
Barbora Trnková (Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology)
AI: All Idiots 

The contribution will present the ongoing collective exhibition project AI: All Idiots, created for the series Other Knowledge at the MeetFactory Gallery in Prague, which aims to bring issues related to artificial intelligence in relation to art to a diverse audience. To this end, instead of showing a curated selection of artworks created by artists working with artificial intelligence, we decided to start from scratch and collect our own data set of images from Czech artists' websites, train our own AI and place several artists into production roles (otherwise machine domain). The presentation of the relationship between artificial and artistic intelligence prepared in this way on a sample of representatives of the Czech art scene raises a number of questions. Are artists, curators and the entire artistic community again just speakers of stereotypes that are to be statistically confirmed and constantly repeated?

17:05 - 17:35
Tin Lai Man (Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University / Hong Kong)
The Allegory of the Machine 

Artificial intelligence creates a new potential for artists to create artwork in which the artists are freed from the conventional forms of creation and creativity. My work and research are situated on the borderline between the human and machine, digitalized replication, their expanded forms and aesthetics. To understand and make sense of new kind of machine-made art, there is a necessity to review the existing theories to examine the fundamental concept of art and AI, and construct a new or hybrid aesthetic framework to further response and cope with the future development. The talk aims to share the perspectives pertinent to data manipulation and visual art development through machine learning, and the issues related to the art and technology, machine and aesthetics.

17:40 - 18:10
Daniel Kvak (Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University)
Music as a Formal Language. Comparative analysis of audio content recording techniques using symbolic and subsymbolic representation for processing by machine learning methods.

Machine learning finds its use in solving tasks where there is no domain-specific knowledge. Systems that can extract essential features from the training data set can be found in the field of unsupervised learning. These algorithms can be useful tools for analyzing and modeling musical styles from corpora where we do not have sufficient knowledge to create an independent domain. The generation of terminal elements of syntactic structure is essential for corpus analysis and the subsequent generation of new musical material. In the case of musical composition, terminals may take the form of chords, harmonic changes, melodic fragments, rhythmic figures or even playing techniques of specific instruments. Although this approach evokes a cliché, music and language have more in common than it may seem at first sight; at least in terms of computing technology.

End of the symposium

We ask visitors to observe all current safety precautions: 

a) In the Brno House of Arts and the Vasulka Kitchen Brno it is only possible to move around with covered mouth and nose with a respirator of at least class FF2 and keep a distance of 1.5 meters between each other. 
b) Entry to the events is subject to proof of infection-free status.
Visitors must comply with one of the following three conditions:
- at least 14 days have elapsed since the 2nd dose of vaccination
-having contracted COVID-19 disease (immunity is valid for 180 days).
The test is still open to people under 18 years of age, people who have not completed their vaccinations, or those who, according to a doctor's note, cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. 
An exception in proving applies to children under 12 years of age. If the number of participants (including organizers) exceeds twenty people, children must also prove themselves by an infection-free test.

Thank you for your understanding. 

The organizers are TIM FF MU, TIC Galerry Brno, Vasulka Kitchen Brno, and Brno House of Arts. 

The symposium takes place within the project Media Art Live Archive: Intelligent interface for interactive cultural heritage mediation (MediaArtLiveArchive, TL02000270) co-financed with the state support of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic within the ÉTA program.

The programme can be realized with the financial help of the Statutory of City of Brno and the Ministery of Culture Czech Republic.

Documents to download