Fieldwork: artist encounters

fieldwork flyer

Curated by Gary Warner, this exhibition featured Colourfield and a quivering marginalia (with Gary Warner).

SCA Galleries
Building 29, Sydney College of the Arts
University of Sydney

7-30 July 2016

The project features works in diverse mediums derived from encounters by the artists in Russia, China, Indonesia, Japan, far north Queensland, southern Tasmania, Western Australian desert country, Origma Bird Sanctuary, the frontline of protest action against fossil fuel depradation in New South Wales, metaphysical inner space and the placeless space of immaterial code…

A limited edition catalogue accompanies the exhibition and will be available for purchase on the night.

More details at the exhibition website.

Fifty Sisters – digital exhibition

Fifty Sisters - Hargrave-Andrew Library

A software-based version of Fifty Sisters is now showing at the Hargrave-Andrew Library, Monash University, Clayton (map). In this version of the work, the computer acts as editor, selecting and framing several closeup shots of each sister, before finally displaying the full image. A new image is presented every 20 minutes or so.

The exhibition runs from 2 July 2015 until the end of September. More information on the library web site. Here’s an article in the Monash news.


IJCAI 2015

IJCAI-15It is a great honour to be an invited speaker at this year’s IJCAI (24th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence) in the AI & The Arts track. This year the conference is located at Buenos Aires, Argentina – the first time in South America.

The title of my keynote talk will be “Art is a System”, which will look at specific approaches for AI research in the arts in order to better understand human creative processes and practice.


Most approaches to AI and the Arts are conceptualised as problems involving the production or classification of produced artefacts. This is unsurprising as we naturally think of human artists creating artefacts as the main activity that exemplifies this societal role. One implicit assumption of this conceptualisation is that art making is simply a problem of production, i.e. it is fixated on the problem of generating appropriate output.

In this talk I will offer a different view of Art and AI. Rather than focusing on the production of objects, we consider art as a system of exchanges, relationships and interactions and investigate what this means for AI approaches; past, present and future. A systems view enables us to reimagine the role of AI in artistic practice, and more broadly in non-anthropocentric creativity. Current approaches focus on the automation of human creativity, which I would argue is both a technical and ethical cul-de-sac. A systems view – which can incorporate machines as artists, critics, provocateurs, assistants or catalysts in an artistic ecosystem – allows us to imagine new roles for AI and the Arts and new kinds of art.

In addition, I’ll also be presenting a new paper (co-authored with Mark d’Inverno):
Heroic vs Collaborative AI for the Arts [pdf version of the paper]


This paper considers the kinds of AI systems we want involved in art and art practice. We explore this relationship from three perspectives: as artists interested in expanding and developing our own creative practice; as AI researchers interested in building new AI systems that contribute to the understanding and development of art and art practice; and as audience members interested in experiencing art. We examine the nature of both art practice and experiencing art to ask how AI can contribute. To do so, we review the history of work in intelligent agents which broadly speaking sits in two camps: autonomous agents (systems that can exhibit intelligent behaviour independently) in one, and multi-agent systems (systems which interact with other systems in communities of agents) in the other.

In this context we consider the nature of the relationship between AI and Art and introduce two opposing concepts: that of “Heroic AI”, to describe the situation where the software takes on the role of the lone creative hero and “Collaborative AI” where the system supports, challenges and provokes the creative activity of humans. We then set out what we believe are the main challenges for AI research in understanding its potential relationship to art and art practice.

The conference also included an AI art exhibition, ARTE@IJCAI at the Centre Cultural Borges, which included a new version of Niche Constructions, implemented with robotic drawing machines.

Niche Constructing Robot

Rob|Arch 2016

Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art & Design.

Rob|Arch 2016 will take place shortly before Easter 2016 in Sydney Australia, with Dagmar Reinhardt and Rob Saunders of the University of Sydney as conference chairs.
They are joined by Marjo Niemelä (University of Sydney), Mari Velonaki and Hank Haeusler (UNSW), Chris Knapp and Jonathan Nelson (Abedian School of Architecture, Bond University), Jane Burry, Roland Snooks, and Nicholas Williams (RMIT), Dave Pigram (UTS), and Tim Schork and Jon McCormack (Monash University) as co-chairs.
Rob|Arch 2016
WORKSHOPS: MARCH 15–17, 2016

Here is the RobArch2016_Call for Papers_Workshops.

For more information see the conference website.

Post-Anthropcentric Creativity

Special issue of Digital Creativity, 27:1, January 2016

the flesh that covers me is the flesh that covers the sun (Dylan Thomas)

Guest editors: Stanislav Roudavski and Jon McCormack

This special issue aims to audit existing conceptions of creativity in the light of non-anthropocentric interpretations of agency, autonomy, subjectivity, social practices and technologies. Specifically, it seeks to explore how 1) the agents, recipients and processes of creativity and 2) the purpose, value, ethics and politics of creativity relate to phenomena of computation. The editors encourage innovative narrative or visual strategies that can express relevant scenarios better that more typical forms of academic writing. Dialogues, conversations, plays, scripts, instruction sets, games or visual essays (for example) might be suitable alongside logical arguments or formulae. Initial proposals should be submitted as abstracts of 800–1200 words, exclusive of references and biographies.

Abstracts were due: May 15, 2015, final Journal special issue published January, 2016.

The Full Call for Submissions is available as a pdf.

The special issue was published in Digital Creativity, Vol. 27, No. 1

See our editor’s introduction for more information and our thinking behind the special issue.