An A-Z of automated art

A is for Algorithm

An algorithm is a step-by-step list of instructions that need to be followed to solve a problem. Systems music and algorithmic composition use such sets of instructions to make music with minimal human intervention.

A is also for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

The AAAI is a nonprofit scientific society that promotes research in, and responsible use of, artificial intelligence. Their website contains lots of resources including on using Artificial Intelligence in creative works of art.

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Learning Through Art

Anna Pearce blogs for Cloud Dance Festival and in her latest post she discusses how art can make learning easier. We were really flattered to find out that she used Meeting Place as one of her examples (alongside DV8′s Can We Talk About this? and War Horse). Thanks Anna!

Another subject I was never particularly enthralled with in my younger years was Maths. I can’t say that much has changed since then, although watching Hamish McPherson and Martine Painter’s ‘Meeting Place’ at Resolution! 2012 encouraged me to take a tentative step towards finding an interest in numbers and scientific patterns. Hamish and Martine play with visually unfolding an algorithmic formula: a series of instructions, a mathematical way of describing a sequence, used in computing, the stock market and other such seemingly alien contexts. However, seeing these things embodied on a stage made me interested, and encouraged me to think on something I’d never have considered relevant to my life. And of course it is: this laptop is using algorithms as I type, and yours as you read.

 

The post touches on an interesting issues and would be well worth a read even if we weren’t mentioned!

New Scientist coverage

Meeting Place was covered by Culture Lab, the section of New Scientist where ‘books, art and science collide’.

“(…) As the duo danced, they gradually deviated from the formula, letting the algorithm descend into chaos before building it back up again. Surprisingly, the dance looked unrehearsed and nearly improvised, as if it evolved naturally on stage. Even though their movements were largely predetermined and their faces carefully kept blank, the dancers often looked like they were responding to each other and having a conversation. The audience was left with a sense that, no matter how automated, dance is still a human endeavour.”

Lisa Grossman (New Scientist)

Unfolding an algorithmic formula

Meeting Place is a duet which plays with visually unfolding an algorithmic formula.

An algorithm is a step-by-step list of instructions that need to be followed to solve a problem. Algorithms are heard about in the context of computers, for example Google uses an algorithm to turn our search terms into a list of relevant links, and there was a lot of attention in 2011 on how algorithms are infiltrating more of our lives for example in the stock market. But there are much simpler algorithms that we use regularly, such as recipes which tell what ingredients are needed to make a dish and what steps to follow.

Systems music and algorithmic composition use such sets of instructions to make music with minimal human intervention and Meeting Place began by applying this approach to movement; with a simple algorithm that builds up a number of simple steps.

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