This Exhibition in Paris Was Curated by a Computer

This Exhibition in Paris Was Curated by a Computer

Words Tori West

Can artificial intelligence have taste and understand quality?

Different forms of artificial intelligence are always developing and taking over new areas of our lives. Earlier this week, the technology made headlines in the UK as Parliment asked experts to weigh up the effects of AI’s impact on the public. As the technology is so new, we still don’t know the full impact AI has on society. Could it replace our human traits entirely?

Exploring this theory, Automated Curation is the latest exhibition at The Community, a multidisciplinary gallery space in Paris exploring the dialogue between art, fashion, publishing, design and culture. Machines do have the ability to learn the formal qualities of art if you program it to do so.  It can understand line and composition, however, is the capacity to judge a piece of artwork’s quality solely limited to humans? What if artificial intelligence could have the same fundamental qualities us humans have, or in this case, have an opinion to become an art critic?

“Is the capacity to judge a piece of artwork’s quality solely limited to humans?”

After an open call for submissions, the exhibition received 165 artworks from 30 countries. The computer was programmed to the taste of its creators and from the members of The Community collective, the machine selected three works for the exhibition. The closest matches were the works of Lisandro Milocco, Hertta Kiiski and Tomas Rowell. Other artists featured include Mia Skalskis who contributed AI never blinks, a video created using more than half a million images. Core.pan is an artist duo using augmented materiality and film as a way to approach the relationships between metaphysical cosmology, high-end technology and biomimetic evolutionary process.

Image of Lena Söderberg used in many image processing experiments.

To accompany the exhibition, artist Simone Niquille designed a special edition of hoodie and T-shirt in honour of the 512px by 512px image of Playmate Lenna Söderberg. The photo of Lenna has been used as a test image for image compression and computer vision algorithms since it was first scanned from a Playboy centrefold in 1973 by researchers at MIT. “Their research subsequently set the standard for today’s JPEG image compression format. The tribute shirt will be a call to lay the image to rest (Lenna: 1973 – 2017) and diversify test databases and the tech community while demystifying ’seeing machines’ and displaying the source of their knowledge” said the gallery.

Automated Curation is open until 31st July at The Community, 65 rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris, garments are available to purchase at the exhibit. 

Further Reading: What Impact Does Artifical Intelligence Have on The Fashion Industry