Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Art? TU Braunschweig: Conference on Human-Machine Interaction and Creative Practice
Algorithmic data processing not only increasingly permeates everyday life, but also has an influence on art, literature and music. The interdisciplinary research project “From Avant-Garde to Algorithm: Automated Creativity in Music and Literature” at Technische Universität Braunschweig has been investigating the social, cultural and aesthetic changes brought about by the use of algorithms and deep-learning applications in cultural production. From 7 to 9 October, the final conference “Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Art? Human-Machine Interaction and Creative Practice” will take place.
The event, held in German and English, brings together researchers from the fields of literature, cultural studies, media studies and computer science. The topics include artificial intelligence as a creative tool for transmedia storytelling, automated creativity in contemporary experimental film, poetry with computers and for computers, and the relationship between humans, machines and monotony.
From language to image
While the research project funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture was in progress, a new dynamic developed in the entire field of automated creativity. “Especially in translation or journalism, AI language applications have gained momentum,” reports Professor Eckart Voigts from the Institute of English and American Studies at TU Braunschweig. “There are now diverse Big Data AI applications in the fields of art and culture – such as AI music generators like AIVA, composition tools like amper, APIs like CrAIyon, which are used quite naturally and at a low threshold.” CrAIyon, for example, transforms natural language into images. According to Professor Voigts, such transformation processes of sign systems are currently one of the greatest promises of AI. The fascination of AI also continues in the cultural imagination. As examples, the scientist cites the novel “Klara and the Sun” by Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro and the film “Ich bin dein Mensch” by Maria Schrader.
How art, music and literature deal with AI tools is illustrated, for example, in “Halbzeug” (2018) by Hannes Bajohr, who will give a keynote at the conference. Here, the author uses machine-evaluated language as an unfinished product. “These sometimes very clever rearrangements of texts can be enlightening and sometimes funny when he applies them to the Grimm’s Household Tales or self-help guide blah blah,” says Professor Voigts.
Can AI create a “third art”?
Even beyond the perspective of artists, AI intervenes in many ways in the production, but also the distribution and reception of art and beyond that in all kinds of cultural fields: “It transforms the world of work, especially in traditional creative fields, be it language and music production or imaging processes – not to mention the central role of the interplay of big data and algorithms for knowledge production as a whole.” During the conference, Professor Jens Schröter from the University of Bonn, for example, will speak about this from the perspective of media theory and media economics, while Varvara Guljajeva from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology will examine “Artist Guided Neural Networks” from the perspective of AI art practice.
But despite the new AI tools and the hype around OpenAI: two questions in particular are crucial, which the conference participants are also dealing with: “Can AI help us to create a kind of ‘third art’ that is not oriented towards human norms of creativity or machine performance; and can we detach ourselves from the question of how creative AI itself can be and instead focus on the issue of what it can do in the various art fields?” This is the argument, for example, of media theorist, critic and artist Lev Manovich of the City University of New York, who is also a keynote speaker at the conference.
And even if it is “automated creativity”, it is always embedded in an environment of cultural attributions, emphasises Professor Voigts: “Creativity, and of course machine creativity, is not just there, it is something we construct anew every day – socially and culturally.”
Conference “Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Art?”
Friday, 7 October to Sunday, 9 October 2022
TU Braunschweig, Historic Main Building, Neuer Senatssaal, Pockelsstraße 4, 38106 Braunschweig.
The conference is bilingual (German and English). All keynotes will be in English. Participation is free of charge. Online registration is required for both face-to-face and online participation: https://www.tu-braunschweig.de/en/anglistik/seminar/liku/forschung/von-der-avantgarde-zum-algorithmus/tagung-2022/translate-to-english-anmeldung
Interview with Professor Eckart Voigts and Robin Auer on the launch of the project “From Avant-garde to Algorithm: Automated Creativity in Music and Literature”: