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Wed, 01 May

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Online Workshop

AI - A synthetic collaborator, the end of art, or merely another (very clever) pencil?

By the end of this workshop, students will be able to describe the basic concepts of machine creativity and AI art, identify ethical considerations, and think about the different ways in which AI tools are being used by artists.

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AI - A synthetic collaborator, the end of art, or merely another (very clever) pencil?
AI - A synthetic collaborator, the end of art, or merely another (very clever) pencil?

Time & Location

01 May 2024, 18:00 – 20:00

Online Workshop

Guests

About the Event

We're delighted to offer this workshop facilitated by OCA Alumna and Artist Photographer Sarah-Jane Field.

A synthetic collaborator, the end of art, or merely another (very clever) pencil?

Learning Objective:

By the end of this workshop, students will be able to describe the basic concepts of machine creativity and AI art, identify ethical considerations, and think about the different ways in which AI tools are being used by artists. Students will then have a deeper understanding of how they might (or might not) make use of AI technology.

  • A brief history of machine creativity
  • Description of Sarah-Jane’s practice and how she incorporates AI
  • Explore how other artists are implementing AI
  • Questions around AI ethics and the position of AI aesthetics within visual culture
  • Participate in practical assignments and share feedback

The workshop will be split into two sections:

Section One

A brief introduction to machine technology in art, from the Dadaist John Heartfield’s proclamation that “Art is dead, long live the new machine art” in the 1920s, to ‘reading machines’ in the 30s and ‘bit international’ in the 60s, before finally arriving at machine learning processes of the 21st century.

Sarah-Jane will share three projects in which she has used synthetic technologies, or AI – as more commonly referred to – and describe why.

This will be followed by a discussion about other artists using machine-learning technology and the different ways they are doing this. Artists such as Chris Le Messurier, Ossa Grosse, Eryk Salvaggio and Malgorzata Starzynska will be discussed. (There may be others, but this selection provides a broad range of approaches from being critical of the technology within its use, to using it as a tool.)

Sarah-Jane will also explore some of the ethical questions and implications as well as touch on how the work fits within an overall analysis of visual culture.   

Break 

Section Two

In the second half of the workshop, attendees will work together to create a mini-project using some of the strategies Sarah-Jane has explored. There will be an opportunity to critically examine the group’s generations, and think about how attendees can take the work forward or incorporate it into their projects, make suggestions, and share experiences and knowledge.

While it will be useful to have access to some form of AI generator for the second half of the workshop, it is not necessary as Sarah-Jane will share her screen. 

However, attendees can use AI platforms without subscribing which they may also wish to explore beforehand if they haven’t done so already. ChatGPT 3.5 – text only; ChatGPT 4 and DALL·E can both be used without subscription via Microsoft’s Edge; other apps that draw on some of the main providers are called Craiyon, Night Café, lensgo, playground, Stable Cascade and Chat Designer, or Exactly Ai. These offer a limited number of free generations. You can access Stable Diffusion for free via Hugging Face but will need an account. Google’s Gemini (text only) is currently offering a two-month subscription for free. Photoshop Beta (if you have an Adobe subscription) can be used. Claude is text only. Canva is a design tool which also allows you to generate for free. RunwayML has an extensive free level.

Attendees may wish to watch the following beforehand, but it is not necessary:

Royal Institution – What is generative AI and how does it work? – The Turing Lectures with Mirella Lapata https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6R7Ym6Vy_I&t=1108s

AI Art: On Human and Machine Creativity | The King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence https://youtu.be/jgujtdci_ik?si=LxyYS7UtwWi7Rzhi

Everyone is Welcome!

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