Artificial Intelligence as an artistic Instrument - Where Art meets Science (?)

Thursday 27 October // 13:30 // Auditorium

Even though the increasing availability of artificial intelligence systems (Ais) and their use in the development of new artworks may give the impression that AI is a new artistic tool, the use of artificial intelligence systems in art is not a novelty and already went hand in hand with the development of earlier AI systems. Computer-generated artworks, AI art, GAN artworks have long since ceased to be new terms in media art, yet the increasing availability of Strong AIs is reflected in an increasing number of AI-based artworks. In particular, the AI midjourney, which translates text-based information into illustrated images, has given rise to a new form of digital painting, the products of which are spreading at breakneck speed, especially via social networks.With few technical means, artists and creative professionals are able to produce complex, but above all visually powerful artworks and installations. But also on museum and institutional stages, the popularity of AI-based artworks is increasing. Exemplary for the contemporary art scene is the well-known artist Refik Anadol. He uses AI to generate space-consuming digital murals, creating imposing works of art that blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture, video art and virtual reality. From existing image data, Anadols AI creates visual interpretations in real time, for example of landscapes or coral reefs. As technically complex as the works may be, the result is above all a visual firework for the viewer’s eye and an “instagrammable” spectacle. The serious questions that can be asked on the basis of these digital spectacles unfortunately often fall by the wayside amidst the enthusiasm triggered by the colorful glowing pixels. Yet Anadol’s works have the potential to address central questions of our century: How do we think about landscape, nature, and the environment in light of a future shaped by digitization, virtuality, and technology? Can AI-based and mostly digitally visualized art sharpen our senses for our natural environment?

Based on these questions, I would like to devote my talk to the potential of AI as an artistic tool at the intersection of art and science. In addition to the impressive and “instagrammable” art spectacles, works of art have recently been created that address issues of the global environmental crisis with the help of AI systems. A wide variety of image and measurement data are being used by artists with the help of AI to create artworks that on the one hand have the potential to visualize and aestheticize complex scientific information and research and thus have an educational and sensitizing effect concerning aspects of sustainability, and on the other hand demonstrate innovative methods of using artificial intelligence in the future for an improved handling of the natural environment. In my lecture, I would like to present individual artistic positions of this kind and examine the extent to which the use of AI opens up a new interface between art and (natural) science.