Introduction

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator and moderator: Zane Cerpina

Tickets: 100/50 each day. Tickets available here: Day 1 / Day 2

Introduction

Digital Wild Conference bends and twists our ideas and illusions about the digital. What happens outside of the ordinary, problem-oriented scheme of thinking? Where do things get wild, untamed and kinky? How to twist the purposes of technologies? Or better; get rid of the obvious and question the rational?

Digital Wild wanders into the digital wilderness, with the safety lock off, out-of-control and freely roaming about in -or even out of- the technosphere. We need to look into the dark corners where our digital tools have found their own agendas and purposes. We explore the surprising and unforeseen uses of our digital creations.

Digital Wild speakers investigate the wild from several perspectives and a wide range of creative disciplines. In a world gone totally wired, we must push the reflections and critical discussions about our relationship to the digital. Digital Wild conference does so by debating the digital technology in a playful manner, pushing us to unsee and unlearn our ordinary perceptions of the digital.

What does it mean to be Digitally Wild? What about these examples: What if your parrot falls in love with the virtual voice assistant Alexa? Has technology then gone wrong? Or found its real purpose?

Are you scared of Artificial Intelligence stealing your job in the future? What about AI becoming the artist itself? Or perhaps your partner in the ultimate art-crime that you have been looking for?

Why do all smartphones look the same? They did not always. The sleek, uniform looks of today’s technologies are the result of innumerous, wildly looking iterations. What about rewilding them again?

Is the future fashion DNA? Emerging techniques are about to let us genetically modify and design babies. How will emerging anti-aesthetics give your future kid a rather unexpected look?

And what if the next cryptocurrency came fully analogous and even knitted? How to turn the unreal into real coinage, disrupting the complex concepts of technological black boxes, letting users pocket actual authority over the digital?

Digital Wild Conference gathers a wide selection of experts to take us on a tour between our wildest digital dreams and darkest technological nightmares.

–  Zane Cerpina

Bruce Sterling

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Bruce Sterling [us]
The Art in Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial Intelligence” is not one grand thing, it is a grab-bag of many different technologies.  Some of them are ready for use in the artist atelier, while others are close.

But which ones can work, and why, and what artistic purpose might they serve?  In this presentation, Bruce Sterling runs through four different futurist scenarios for possible artistic applications of deep learning, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, neural nets, and even some good old-fashioned, rules-based, antiquated Artificial Intelligence.

Bruce Sterling
Bruce Sterling, author, journalist, editor, and critic, was born in 1954.  Best known for his ten science fiction novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism,  opinion columns, and introductions for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne. 

His nonfiction works include The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning The Next Fifty Years (2003), Shaping Things (2005), And The Epic Struggle of the Internet Of Things (2014). 

In 2015 he was the Curator of the “Casa Jasmina” project at the Torino Fab Lab.  In 2016 he was Visionary in Residence at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. In 2018 he was Visionary in Residence at the Vineyard of the Royal Madame in Torino. He unites his time among the cities of Austin, Belgrade and Turin. 

Jurij V. Krpan

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Jurij V. Krpan [si]
Thinking with My Disembodied Brain

The digital environment gets severely difficult to survive since the incredibly powerful algorithms are taking over. Our databodies that are formed of millions of bits are more and more endangered since our care for them isn’t part of our culture yet. The pandemonic AI delirium where everything in our connected life is going to be processed, is offering an odd picture of the world where nobody and nothing will be excluded. But do we want to live in a world where binary digital realm connected with ubiquitous sensors will shape our physical world so profoundly and so predictable? Can we think instead about our digital self emancipated from machines and embody biocomputability of non-human living systems?

Mojca Založnik, Gregor Krpič
Liminal indeterminancy
Galerija Kapelica

Jurij V. Krpan
At the initiative of the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana, he conceived the Kapelica Gallery – Gallery for Contemporary Investigative Arts, which he has been running since. As a senior curator and selector, he has contributed to domestic and international festivals, the biggest international productions to date being the organization and artistic management of the Slovenian pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and the conceptual gallery Cosinus BRX at the European Commission building in Brussels and the 5.th triennial of Contemporary Investigative Arts 2006 at Museum of Modern Art – Ljubljana. In September 2008 he curated the presentation of the Gallery Kapelica in the Featured Art Scene section of Ars Electronica in Linz, and in 2009 the survey of 80 years of avantgarde art in Slovenia. In 2014 he co-curate the Designing Life section for Biennial of product design in Ljubljana and co-curate the Slovenian pavilion at Venice biennial for architecture. He was a juror at Prix Ars Electronica for the Hybrid Arts category in the year 2010, ’13, ’15, ‘16 and 2017. Jurij Krpan lectures about the artistic profile of the Kapelica Gallery in Slovenia as well as abroad.

Photo: Mojca Založnik & Gregor Krpič: Liminal indeterminancy.
A mobile lab for indirect observation of submolecular activity of cancer cell.

Jasmina Tesanovic

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Jasmina Tesanovic [us/rs]
Glamorous Failures and Smart Failings

It was my idea to have an open-source connected home of the future. My scheme was accepted by brave new geeks, brilliant people, but mostly male. They gave the house, “Casa Jasmina,” my name: I am grateful for that, but the house was not altogether comfortable. My idea for Casa Jasmina was to escape the mainstream, to shine some limelight on the unexpected, and to pay attention to the second prizes instead of the killer apps. Imaginary projects, one-off inventions, provocative design fictions: the kitten in the ditch, the Cinderella story in reverse. I have always loved technology, but I never adored or worshipped it, and have always been aware of endless abuse potentials. Since a house needs walls, an internet house needs firewalls. 

This is why, as I explored a kind of third road between feminism and design, an “Internet of Women Things” occurred to me. Could this “IoWT” become a generous place for conceptual projects, ideas and advice, for a sense of emotional beauty and purposeful living? Concepts like these are not often the first impulses for a technology project, but they generally last the longest.

Eventually, we hit the wall. We promised we would engage with Casa Jasmina for two years, and enjoyed it, but after five years, we had new personal priorities and the technical landscape had shifted. We were volunteers in a utopian experiment, but we weren’t landlords or real-estate developers. We had surfed to some rather undeserved fame and glory, in press events, conferences, classroom lectures… even design prizes. Not too bad for people who had deliberately avoided any business model at all. So it lasted longer than a conceptual sit-in in bed, but no one to date has ever built another Casa Jasmina.  

I learned a craft from glamorous failures and smart failings about the free and empty space that still exists in the internet wilderness.

Jasmina Tesanovic
Jasmina Tesanovic is a Feminist and political activist (Women in Black; CodePink) and a writer (15 books), journalist, musician, translator and film director. In 1978 she promoted the first feminist conference in Eastern Europe, “Drug-ca Zena” (Belgrade). With Slavica Stojanovic she designs and creates the first feminist publishing house in the Balkans, “Feminist 94”. She is the author of “Diary of a Political Idiot”, translated in 12 languages: a real time war diary written during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo. Since then she has been publishing her works on blogs and other media, always connected to the Internet.

One of the founders of Casa Jasmina, smart home of the future, in Turin, author of the manifesto and movement Internet of Women Things. She writes in three languages and lives between Turin, Belgrade, Austin and Ibiza.

Adam Zaretsky

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Adam Zaretsky [us]
Red in Bluetooth and Claw: Bions vrs. Bytes

Can the relations between Bions and Bytes have lasting power, seductive mutualisms, relational integrity even without dignity? Is it data down to the bodily form, the growth of axes, the specialization of the orifices, the orificial economy, the complexity of metabolic syndromes? Is it possible that data is more poetic and less rational, more infectious in a wet charismatic cultishness than dry, cyborgian reductionism of our wilding natures?

Data is encroaching on the flesh, rendering your body and mind into wetware. Is the augmented user experience becoming digital or is the world of data just an extension of smegma and worldly wet mucosal membranes? Is the process of algorithmic colonization a path towards enhancing human utility? Or is this a case of automatic poetry as infectious behavioral and metabolic remodeling? From the big data of Google and Facebook to the big Data of 23 and Me and other bioinformatics searchable databases, Programmers are programming your lifeworld to keep you staid and regime friendly. 

But what if we are not all cloistered into Gaussian distributed hyperMicro ‘individuated’ target groups with Click Bait sexual partnerz, Click Bait Politicz and Click Bait Cradle to Grave Economies? What if the cistopia, dystopia of systopia already came with the brains and sinews of poetic misinterpretation? Then the libidinal economy of complete, Non-anonymous, privacy-less Kafkaesque pornography as the spread eagle interface of big data, is not eclipsing free will through Cancel Culture and platform-government-corporate surveillance. No, it is the return of the repressed software engineer’s psyches that has colluded around the dank memic fire of privatization. 

In order to reflect on biopolitical flesh resistance, beyond luddute reaction formation, we will look at: 
1. Willhelm Reich’s experiments in measuring antifa Bions in Oslo, with the use of tickling and wet towel slapping as orgonomic data points
2. Bioart group Popu Popu collective’s research on Sámi techno-identity in an age of  widely available genetic ancestry testing
3. VASTAL (Vivoart School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.) expose on Literary Bioinformatics Studies
4. Lulu and Nana, Genetically Modified Children and the future of choice constructs for anti-aesthetics in designer baby genetic modification.

Is the gory body pod so seeping and untamed? What is this wild flesh that is so in need of data encroachment? And is this data any less wet than the bodies held pronate and irrigated into their genomes as well as into their voice? Isn’t the industrial persuasion engine run by flesh desire and flesh inventions? 

Becoming Wild can mean:
1. Becoming Inebriated, Coming on to Drugs.
2. Becoming Feral, raised by non-humans
3. Becoming Guiltless, amoral
4. Becoming Guiltless, immoral
5. Becoming Killer to Survive or for Sport
6. Becoming Sexual, Becoming Swollen
7. Becoming Violent, Rape and Murder
8. Becoming Out of Control, uncontrollable, untamed, untrained
9. Becoming Free
10. Becoming Insane
11. Becoming Non-verbal
12. Becoming Unclean
13. Becoming Honest

Is the body as code a rote programed life cycling for/next loop? The proposition is that life itself as carnage is also wild, irrational and untamable literary splay. Aren’t the data, the subroutines, the software and the platform UX all also already poetry; wet cognitive nuances disguised as lines of code but filthy with baggage, sloughed skin and detritus?

Adam Zaretsky
Adam Zaretsky is a Wet-Lab Art Practitioner mixing Ecology, Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Body Performance and Gastronomy. Zaretsky stages lively, hands-on bioart production labs based on topics such as: foreign species invasion (pure/impure), radical food science (edible/inedible), jazz bioinformatics (code/flesh), tissue culture (undead/semi-alive), transgenic design issues (traits/desires), interactive ethology (person/machine/non-human) and physiology (performance/stress). A former researcher at the MIT department of biology, for the past decade Zaretsky has been teaching an experimental bioart class called VivoArts at: San Francisco State University (SFSU), SymbioticA (UWA), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), University of Leiden’s The Arts and Genomic Centre (TAGC) and with the Waag Society. Adam has also taught DIY-IGM (Do-It-Yourself Inherited Genetic Modification of the Human Genome) at New York University (NYU) and Carnegie Melon University (CMU). He currently runs a public life arts school: VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.) His art practice focuses on an array of legal, ethical, social and libidinal implications of biotechnological materials and methods with a focus on transgenic humans.

Tonje Hessen Schei

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina
Collaboration with Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival 

Tonje Hessen Schei [no]
Our New World Order – How AI is Changing Everything

A new world order has emerged and continues to evolve at incredible speed. Many view AI as one of the, if not the most, disruptive and far-reaching technology in the history of mankind.

The ‘age’ of artificial intelligence (AI) is an era defined by a technological revolution that infiltrates every walk of life; information control, governance, surveillance, privacy, society and what it fundamentally means to be human. Without regulation, legislation and frameworks for governance based on crucial ethical standards, we run the risk of losing our grip on this fast-evolving technology, our democracy and lives.

iHuman is a political thriller about artificial intelligence, power and social control. With unique deep access to the inside of the booming AI industry, this film shows how the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time is changing our lives, our society and our future.

iHuman follows pioneers at the frontline of the invisible AI revolution to see how this technology is developed and implemented. Through some of the brightest minds in the AI industry iHuman draws the roadmap to where we are going. Who punches in the codes for our future? How does AI impact who we are?

In this talk director Tonje Hessen Schei shares from her journey on the inside of the AI industry.

Tonje Hessen Schei
Tonje is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has worked with independent documentary production since 1996. Her films mainly focus on human rights, the environment and the changing relationship between man and machine.

Tonje is the director of DRONE, a documentary on the secret CIA drone warfare. Since it’s release in 2014 DRONE has won Best Norwegian Documentary and Checkpoints, the human rights award, at Bergen International Film Festival and the Film Peace Prize at Tromsø International Film Festival. The film received the award as The Most Valuable Documentary of the Year at Cinema for Peace in Berlin. DRONE won the Amanda award, The Norwegian Oscar equivalent, and Gullruten, the Norwegian Emmy, for Best Documentary 2015.

Tonje has been featured in national and international media. Including national television broadcast with NRK, TV2, as well as national newspapers Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet. Internationally media includes BBC, CNN, The Guardian, the Monocle, Vice, Wired Mag, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, Democracy Now! and many more.

Tonje directed and produced PLAY AGAIN and INDEPENDENT INTERVENTION, which have won several international awards. The films have been screened on all continents in over 100 countries, and are used by schools and universities globally.

In the U.S., Tonje worked for ENG (Electronic New Group, LA) and she was co-distributor and the researcher for All Power to the People! (1997) and Downwinders (2000). In Norway, she worked for NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (2005-2006).

Tonje was the Festival Director of Human Rights Human Wrongs (2011), Scandinavia’s sole documentary film festival that focuses only on human rights. Tonje started Ground Productions in 2005, an international documentary production company based in Portland, OR, USA and Oslo, Norway. Tonje is the Co-Founder and Director at UpNorth Film in Oslo, Norway.

Tonje is now about to release iHuman, a political thriller from the inside of the AI revolution, premiering at IDFA 2019.

www.upnorthfilm.no

Screening at Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival
iHuman 99 min
Director: Tonje Hessen Schei
Country/Year: Norway – 2019
Cast:Michal Kosinski, Hao Li, Jurgen Schmidhuber, Ilya Sutskever, Kara Swisher
Language: engelsk, kinesisk
Subtitles:english

Screening dates & times
04 March, 18:00, Prinsen 6
05 March, 17:45, Prinsen 5
07 March, 10:30, Prinsen 3

The documentary thriller iHuman takes us on a journey into the «the invisible revolution», where artificial intelligence changes us as humans, society and the future.  We’re obsessed with, addicted to and controlled by technology. However, who’s really in charge? Through meetings with some of the greatest pioneers of our time, iHuman sheds light on the accelerating industry’s political and social consequences and provides arguments representing both technology optimism and scepticism.  Director Tonje Hessen Schei has earlier made the documentaries Drone, Play Again and Independent Intervention, all of them portraying the relationship between humans and technology.

iHuman has already received a lot of attention at some of the biggest film festivals in Europe. Before the premiere, Schei participated in panel talks about artificial intelligence at the film festivals in Berlin and Cannes. When the film premiered at the world’s largest documentary film festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Edward Snowden participated via video link.

Daniel Rourke

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Daniel Rourke [uk]
Twas Brillig, and the Skeuomorphs, Did Gyre and Gimble in the Wilds

Skeuomorphs are elements of an interface or object which mimic the features of something else. Usually, they work by smoothing over the transition from the old to the new; a common principle in design practice, which can help us feel our way across the bumpy surface of so-called ‘cutting-edge’ technologies. Skeuomorphs also illustrate how we become subject to our technologies; how our cultural desires, needs and frustrations often disguise biases and assumptions woven into our machines by the compulsions of ‘progress’. In this talk, Daniel will use the concept of the skeuomorph to explore the digital outer limits, where strange human/machine hybrid monsters toil and mutate in their desire to be recognised. What can domesticated parrots teach us about our relationship with AI voice assistants? What do tumbleweeds, bumbling across the dust bowl, have in common with the geo-engineers who consider the Planet Earth a design object? And why are 3D printers the definitive figures of post-human dread in an increasingly plasticised environment?

Daniel Rourke
Dr. Daniel Rourke is an artist/writer, currently lecturing and researching Digital Media at Goldsmiths University, London. In his practice, Daniel creates collaborative frameworks and theoretical toolsets for exploring the intersections of digital materiality, the arts, and (critical) post-humanism. These frameworks often hinge on speculative elements taken from fiction and pop culture; figures and fabulations that might offer a glimpse of a radical ‘outside’ to the human(ities). His writing, lecturing, and artistic profile includes work with Arebyte Gallery London, PICNIC Brasil, Photographer’s Gallery London, Walk&Talk Azores, AND Festival, The V&A, FACT Liverpool, Centre Pompidou Paris, Transmediale Berlin, Tate Modern, Sonic Acts Amsterdam, Carnegie Mellon’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry Pittsburgh, DarAlHokoomeh Project Iran and many others.

www.machinemachine.net
www.twiitter.com/therourke

Alexandra Murray-Leslie

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Alexandra Murray-Leslie [au/no]
Digitally Enhanced Foot-orthotics to Revolutionise Artistic Swimming

Feet adorned or costumed as the object of visual and performance art have the power to explore and express socio-political and feminist concepts. Alex’s ongoing artistic research into the liberation of the feet in theatrical contexts using computational footwear takes on a new dimension with her explorations into kelp based bioplastics for addictive manufacturing processes to produce underwater computational foot-orthotics. Her objective is to transform synchronised swimming into something messy, provocative, non-binary and pop, through the affordances of digitally enhanced foot-appendages on artistic swimmers.

Alexandra Murray-Leslie
Dr. Alexandra Murray-Leslie is an academic pop-artist and co-founder of the art band Chicks on Speed. She is currently teaching at the faculty of Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts and is a member of ARTEC, Art and Technology Task Force, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Her current artistic research focuses on transit design of algae-based bioplastics for the development of computer-enhanced foot devices for artistic swimming.

Alex has worked in the worlds of on-body technology, computer aided design and manufacturing, sports, art, fashion, and entertainment. She was recently artist-researcher in residence at Autodesk, Pier 9 Technology Centre, San Francisco and held the positions; Artistic Director of Youth Mobile, Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2017 and Director of Entertainment at America’s Cup world series 2013/14 in Plymouth, San Diego, and San Francisco, where she worked closely on the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project outreach and education programs.  

Photo: Alex Murray-Leslie performing in Chicks on Speed, “Noise Bodies”, (with high heeled shoe guitar and EMG BioMuse 4 ), exhibition vernissage “Up to and Including Limits, After Carolee-Schneemann” curated by Sabine Breitwieser, Museum Susch, 28.12.2019. Photo: Silke Briel.

www.chicksonspeed.com

DISNOVATION.ORG

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

DISNOVATION.ORG [fr/pl]
SHANZHAI ARCHEOLOGY – Rewilding Technological Imaginaries

Shanzhai (山寨) is a derogatory term used in China to qualify objects that are cheaply made, poorly counterfeit or just plain crappy. In a way, “shanzhai” evokes to a Chinese person a similar concept as “Made in China” would for a Western one. Originally referring to a “mountainous village”, its association with Shenzhen — the name of the city where the whole Made in China industrial relocation began — has certainly helped spread the word. Formerly known for its loose tax regulations and copyright enforcement, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was — and somehow still is — China’s original sweatshop. The mountains located on the outskirts of the SEZ have over the years sheltered an incredible amount of small plants specialising primarily in making and assembling toys, clothes and electronics. Over time, they learned to disassemble, recreate and sell these products and devices — often adding some personal touches to branding and design in the process. From this adaptive process hatched a large number of manufacturers specialising in very cheap and inadequate products, that became known across China as the shanzhai factories.

Since 2010, the city of Shenzhen has been raising its international profile, propelling its gigantic IT industry to the forefront of the global stage with the presence of industry leaders like Huawei, Tencent or DJI. The shanzhai story started to gain momentum in design and academic circles outside China, turning the factories into glorious renegades, precursors of iterative product design and manufacturing. For the city of Shenzhen, stories of the shanzhai factories are kept alive as part of a foundational mythology, even though most plants were kicked out many years ago by rising land costs or reform campaigns. Many of the original factories were undeclared or just plain illegal. Most factory owners were migrants from other parts of China who relied extensively on informal networks from their villages of origin. As of today, very few original accounts of life in these factories exist. Despite the fashionable tone now represented by the term shanzhai, working conditions in these plants were harsh, often making a job at Foxconn a desirable achievement.

While all this history is gradually being replaced by the official story of Shenzhen’s global technological hub, the Shanzhai Archeology project aims to collect and archive the disappearing artefacts produced by these shanzhai factories. It is an effort of conservation of outstanding specimens, together with their uses, functions, stories, and areas of circulation, as a way to narrate a larger geo-political and historical transformation concerning the global lives of manufactured technologies over the past 40 years. Investigating these unconventional technological artefacts outside China can help us challenge the dominant, one-sided stories about innovation and eventually help us reconsider the normative, western imaginaries of technology.

— Excerpt from “Realtime: Making Digital China”, An Archeology of Shanzhai Phones (Clément Renaud & disnovation.org). Published by PPUR, 2020

DISNOVATION.ORG
DISNOVATION.ORG is a working group based in Paris, initiated by Nicolas Maigret (FR) and Maria Roszkowska (PL/FR). At the intersection of contemporary art, research and hacking, the collective develops situations of disruption, speculation, and debate, in order to question dominant techno-positivist ideologies, and to stimulate post-growth narratives. They edited The Pirate Book, an anthology on media piracy. Their research includes artworks, curation and publications. In 2018, they received a Design Trust Grant (Hong Kong) for a research about China’s Shanzhai culture. They are currently visiting researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

Their work has been presented at numerous art centers and festivals internationally such as Centre Pompidou (Paris), Transmediale (Berlin), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), FILE (Sao Paulo), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Strelka Institute (Moscow), ISEA (Hong Kong), Elektra (Montréal), China Museum of Digital Arts (Beijing), and the Chaos Computer Congress (Hamburg)… Their work has been featured in Forbes, Vice, Wired, Motherboard, Libération, Die Zeit, Arte TV, Next Nature, Hyperallergic, Le Temps, Neural.it, Digicult, Gizmodo, Seattle Weekly, torrentfreak.com, and Filmmaker Magazine among others.

www.disnovation.org

Øyvind Brandtsegg and Axel Tidemann

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild / Dokkhuset, March 6 – 7, 2020 / Curator: Zane Cerpina

Øyvind Brandtsegg and Axel Tidemann [no]
Shape: an adaptive musical instrument using feature extraction and machine learning to map gestural qualities to sonic transformations 

We present the prototype of a new musical instrument, where the instrument learns to know the performer rather than the other way around. The method is interface-agnostic and can be adapted to various input devices (camera, sensors, keyboards, etc.). Performative gestures are automatically mapped to sonic output retaining some of the gestural qualities of the input. This is done via a process based on feature extraction from the gestural data and from the synthesized sound. A machine learning mapping process is used to make a mapping from gestural data to synthesis parameters. The goal of the artificial intelligence (AI) is to optimize the correlation between gestural and sonic qualities. Quality deviations of known gestures result in modulations of the sonic output. Significant deviation from known gestures establish new gestural repertoire, allowing the instrument to develop according to the performative traits of the player. Such new gestures are automatically trained to yield gesturally equivalent sonic outputs. 

The work is based on previous productions exploring AI, e.g. the robotic entity [self.] (2014) https://youtu.be/HErOfnqREBQ, where the entity started with a blank memory, learning everything from interaction with a gallery audience. The current production attempts to explore a more nuanced and intimate interaction with the intentional expressive gestures of a performer. The presentation will include a working prototype as well as reflections and questions on how this mode of adaptive automation can be used as extensions to AI within other domains of application. 

Øyvind Brandtsegg
Øyvind Brandtsegg is a composer and performer working in the fields of algorithmic improvisation and sound installations. He is also a professor of music technology at the NTNU. 

 

 

 

 

Axel Tidemann
Axel Tidemann is a drummer, and a senior research scientist at Telenor Research, with an interest in using artificial intelligence to model human cognition and find structure in complex data.