Join us for a live (online) discussion with the artists and curator of the Edinburgh Futures Institute’s and The Edinburgh International Festival’s co-presentation – The New Real.
The New Real is a digital art exhibition that aims to build awareness and understanding of the ways data systems and artificial intelligence reflect and shape our social reality.
Mechanized Cacophonies by Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders is an online sound work inspired by the artists’ experiences of lockdown,that explores how our contact with nature is mediated by technology. The Zizi Show is an artwork by Jake Elwes. Made in collaboration with a community of drag artists, it constructs and deconstructs a ‘deepfake’ performer. Alongside the artworks, we present a series of reflections on the dilemmas and tensions in the ‘new real’.
The New Real artworks were developed with EFI. Creating a deeply valued, rich and multidimensional relationship between artists and researchers they are part of a wider programme of projects being developed by EFI.
Both artworks were created by artists working with machine-learning data and algorithms as material. Ridler and Sinders share an interest in making machine-learning datasets as a part of an artistic practice. In their wider collaboration, they want their artistic work to make explicit and tangible the hidden human labour and environmental cost in AI.
The Zizi Show is a joyful cabaret that dissects one of the dominant myths about AI, the notion that ‘an AI’ is a thing we might mistake for a person. The ‘AI drag artist’ Zizi – the doppelganger of the human cabaret performers – is a conceit.
Curated by Drew Hemment, Chancellor’s Fellow and Reader for the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Edinburgh College of Art, The New Real will be available online at newreal.cc from 3 March and is supported by the University of Edinburgh, Ars Electronica, Creative Scotland, Creative Informatics, and the Data-Driven Innovation programme of the South East Scotland City and Region Deal.
Our mission with The New Real is to build awareness and understanding of the ways data systems and AI reflect and shape our social reality. This project presents two interactive artworks that each explore the boundary between the physical and digital.
Two online events with three of the world’s leading AI artists, a first chance to hear from the creators of the artworks in The New Real, as well as the curator of this ground-breaking digital show.
Thursday 11 March: ‘AI and art, the future is now’
Why are artists working with AI? And how? An insight into the work of artists Caroline Sinders and Anna Ridler exploring how experiences of nature have been mediated by technology during lockdown, as a result of the the loss of freedom to gather and travel. In conversation with Roy Luxford, Edinburgh International Festival and Drew Hemment, Curator, Edinburgh Futures Institute.
Chaired by Briana Pegado, FRSA, Creative Director of Fringe of Colour Films
Anna Ridler, Artist
Caroline Sinders, Artist
Roy Luxford, Programme Director, Edinburgh International Festival
Dr Drew Hemment, Curator, Edinburgh Futures Institute
Thursday 18 March: ‘Is representation a good thing?’
Artist Jake Elwes is on a mission to challenge discrimination and champion queer and drag artists in The Zizi Show. Through drag performance, this artwork aims to use cabaret and musical theatre to challenge narratives surrounding A.I. and society. Is representation always a good thing? Do you want to be represented in the dataset? Join us to explore the politics of AI and drag.
Chaired by Briana Pegado FRSA, Creative Director of Fringe of Colour Films
Jake Elwes, Artist
Me, Drag Artist
Morgan Currie, Lecturer in Data and Society, University of Edinburgh
Dr Drew Hemment, Curator, Edinburgh Futures Institute
About Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Festival is the world’s leading performing arts festival, featuring the finest performers from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre. Created in 1947 to celebrate the human spirit, the International Festival normally serves as an annual cultural exchange, every August, for an international audience exceeding 400,000 per year.
The 2020 Edinburgh International Festival was cancelled for the first time in its history due to concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic but remains actively engaged in Edinburgh’s community and in creating cultural content for both Scotland’s capital city and the world.
About Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI)
The purpose of the University of Edinburgh’s Futures Institute is to pursue knowledge and understanding that will help us to navigate our complex futures.
EFI’s approach to research, education and engagement combines multi-disciplinarity with co-production. Working with industry, government and local and global communities EFI is committed to building a challenge-led and data-rich portfolio of activity with demonstrable ethical, social, cultural, economic and environmental impact.
About Experiential AI is a research group at Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Edinburgh College of Art. We aim to support the creation of artistic works using machine learning algorithms and robotics, and to inspire new concepts and paradigms on ethical and responsible AI. Experiential AI develops research on AI futures, science, art and ethics through collaborations with artists, festivals and the AI community.