Our conversation (Ursula Damm and me, moderated by Luz Mar González-Arias) was linked to the artificial intelligence work Membrane, made by Ursula Damm and currently exhibited at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creaciòn Industrial. We were asked to discuss the challenges of art and science collaboration.
What can science contribute to art and what does art contribute to science? How can they collaborate, when their working languages, methods and objectives often correspond to different criteria? What are the challenges and difficulties of this collaboration? How does work in one area affect work in the other? What is the benefit of these collaborations? And what is the future of these kinds of transversal connections for art, culture, and the university? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this day of dialogues entitled LABoral Art Science Talks, based on the study of specific cases related to the exhibition of art, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, When the butterflies of the soul flutter their wings. This is an international exhibition of projects featuring biological and artificial neural networks, organized by LABoral Centro de Arte in close collaboration with the Institute of Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence Center of the University of Oviedo.
What we can learn from unanswered letters to extraterrestrials
Georg Trogemann May 2020, Barcelona
The aesthetics of cognition and communication deals with the general principles of cognitive entities, be they organisms or machines. The goal is to experimentally explore the basic ingredients of cognition and communication and to open them to speculation and unrealized possibilities of cognitive systems. Using experiments and new forms of representation, symbolic media, AI programming, mathematics, and natural languages can be explored as extensions of the mind.
The article by Dieter Mersch criticizes recent art projects that are produced by AI algorithms, i.e. that use ‚deep learning‘ and generative processes. In his opinion, these artificial artifacts are based on a naive concept of art as well as on a reduced understanding of human and machine creativity. One can certainly agree with Dieter Mersch’s analysis on many points. Some of the things he criticizes have also been controversially discussed within AI or art for a long time, and not only since ‚deep learning‘ and ‚Big Data‘ reached the mass media. The essay provoked a comment from us, because here a too narrow understanding of algorithms and art comes to bear, which in the end throws out the baby with the bathwater. (german text)
Reenactments in Kunst, Gestaltung, Wissenschaft und Technologie Reenactments in Art, Design, Science and Technology Salon Digital Band / Vol. 1. Edited by: Ralf Baecker, Dennis Paul, Andrea Sick (Hochschule für Künste Bremen)
The thoughts presented here start from Gregory Bateson’s logical categories of learning, in order to be able to better classify machine learning on the one hand, and on the other hand to ask which conditions a more general concept of learning should satisfy, which, for example, also includes the learning of slime moulds.
The panel “We are not alone!” took take place on the opening day of the Ars Electronica Festival, Thursday, September 5, 2019. The panel designed by Prof. Ursula Damm discussed current teaching methods against the background of the Bauhaus tradition as well as the influence of technological progress and the resulting social implications. Participants are Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt, Prof. Dr. Lasse Scherffig, Jun. Prof. Alexandra Toland, Dr. Yvonne Volkart and myself.
Organizer: 2580 Association, Dana Diminescu, Tincuta Heinzel
24 – 29 of June 2019
As part of the research and exhibition project Utopian Cities, Programmed Societies, a group of doctoral candidates from the KHM participated in a summer camp in the city of Victoria, Brașov in Romania. The whole conference and stay was very well conducted and organized by Dana Diminescu and Tincuta Heinzel. It was a great experience for all of us! Some of us from the KHM Cologne gave a talk during the week. For the subjects see below:
GEORG TROGEMANN (KHM, Cologne) – Cybernetics and fiction
There is not one coherent theory of cybernetics but at least three different threads that focus on different concepts. First-order cybernetics, which is the theory of systems that are observed from the outside, is concerned with circular causal processes, e.g., control, negative feedback, information, adaptation, black boxes. Second-order cybernetics involves the observer as a constitutive part of a circular organization and is concerned with terms like self-organization, self-reference, epistemology, autonomy and autopoiesis. There third line of cybernetics is the British way of utopian-explanatory tinkering. The lecture will shed some light on the question which fictions are active within the different concepts of cybernetics.
KARIN LINGNAU (KHM, Cologne) – Architectural and social utopias in film and games
Nowadays Science Fiction in film and games functions foremost as a tool to visualize and build utopian ideas, making them palpable and approachable. But can the genre still uphold the complexity inherent in utopian concepts? Current technologies enable the creation of architectural and social utopian imagery in a wide range of media. The visualization of these concepts often seems to be more important than the actual critique and questioning of societal contemporary concepts through imagery. Can visualization transform utopian thinking to a valid reflection or is it rather a recurrence of surfaces and superficiality? By looking at examples in film and games of the Science Fiction genre, architectural and social settings are questioned for their validity in visualizing utopian ideas.
SOMAYYEH SHAHHOSEYNI (KHM, Cologne) – From other places to utopian cities
According to Michel Foucault, the era we live today is the era of space, of emplacement, and of localization. But in today binary-like urban planning, the interconnection of individual places to each other is neglected that causes the places in the same neighborhood become ‘other places’. To design utopian cities, one must address the locality and neighborhood as the core spaces of social interactions, which lead the growth of the cities in actual compatibility with human nature.
What are the narrative possibilities of virtual and augmented spaces? What are the relations between processes of disembodiment and the construction of subjective realities? How can the brain distinguish between an artificial picture of reality and the reception of the body sensual stimuli? With the 360°- and VR-Glasses the Pictures have lost their frame and this is the moment that they are no more isolated from the reality. Stories in Moving-Art-Medias are no more reachable only with a view, they have a place, a position, and a location. There is a topology of fiction in our mind. How can we use it for other ways of storytelling, for the presentation and new feelings of receptions? With the new Kinect, Laserscan or Photogrammetry Technics, the artist can copy the reality into a 3D working-space and generate a second VR-World in a simulated pre- or post-real space. The video game Industry has found an early way to use this technique for interactive games and narrations, but the theater directors and the story tellers can use this technique to tell stories in a new way, too.
Georg Trogemann Fachseminar and workshop in Ramberg, Pfalz Summer semester 2019 Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Filzengraben 8-10, Experimental Informatics
This seminar is especially intended for students who have attended the WS course „Einführung in die Programming Künstlicher Intelligenzen“ and have thus already acquired basic knowledge with Deep Learning methods. In the summer term we will build on this by offering a one-week programming workshop on the topic of AI together with the Bauhaus University Weimar (Prof. Ursula Damm) and the KISD Cologne (Prof. Lasse Scherffig). The Thursday appointments in the run-up to the workshop serve the content-related preparation. The workshop will take place from June 10 – 17, 2019, in the village of brush makers Ramberg(Bürstenbinderdorf Ramberg) in the Palatinate.
Fuller considers the self-referentiality of mathematics as a means of understanding ecologies. The main argument of the text is that it is the special properties of mathematics as a medium of thought and knowledge itself that, generalized into computational systems, provide the structures for understanding our experimental embeddedness in ecological contexts.
Who calculates faster? Algorithms and their social monitoring.
The 6th Digital Salon took place at Witten/Herdecke University on November 28, 2018.
Possibility Spaces – Möglichkeitsräume
Announcement by Witten/Herdecke University: It is impossible to imagine our everyday life without algorithms. They calculate the shortest route in navigation devices, defeat us in computer games, correct our spelling in writing programs and find the right partner in online dating. Their application is particularly sensitive when it comes to Big Data, in which very large volumes of data are evaluated and processed with the help of algorithms. What algorithms are, how they work, what should be taken into account and what – also ethical – problems this can lead to will be the topic of the 6th Digital Salon, which will take place on November 28, 2018 (6 to 8 p.m., Audimax) at Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H).
Prof. Georg Trogemann, Professor of Experimental Computer Science at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, who will give a talk on the topic of „Possibility Spaces,“ explains, „The transfer of human actions and thought processes to machines succeeds when action and thought are transformed by abstraction into a sequence of elementary and sub-activities and the context can be restricted in such a way that all decision alternatives, which can occur in the action or thinking process, can be fully determined in advance.“ „The more intelligent machines become, the clearer it becomes that their intelligence cannot be compared to that of humans“ says Prof. Dr. Dirk Baecker, dean of the Faculty of Cultural Reflection. „Machines ‚tick‘ differently; so how can we succeed in monitoring their operations?“ The topic will be examined from a variety of perspectives.
Lectures: Prof. Dr. Georg Trogemann, KHM Academy of Media Arts Cologne: Possibility Spaces, Artistic intervention: Ursula Damm, ursuladamm.de: algorithms of the city, Prof. Dr. Elena Esposito, Universitá di Modena/ University of Bielefeld: algorithmic prediction. The event is organized by Prof. Dr. Dirk Baecker, Dr. Jonathan Harth and Maximilian Locher, UW/H Vice President Prof. Dr. Jan Ehlers will moderate the evening.
Introduction to artificial intelligence programming
Georg Trogemann, Christian Heck. Basic seminar Category Material | Sculpture | Code. Winter semester 2018/19, Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Filzengraben 8-10, Experimental Computer Science.
Google’s Deep Dream algorithm, the Cambridge Analytica case, the fatal UBER accident of a self-driving car. These are just three examples of artificial intelligence that have been widely reported in the press. Discussions on AI are associated with terms such as deep learning, neural networks or technological singularity. Can one understand the core of the underlying processes without prior knowledge within one semester? Yes, one can! The seminar will give a very elementary introduction to the subsymbolic AI of the neural networks and their programming. We do not assume any mathematical knowledge or programming experience. The goal is that at the end student has created a program that generates images according to the principle of the Deep Dream algorithm. Above all, the aim is to develop critical faculties and to understand the possibilities, limits and dangers of this technology.
Image Prof. Matthias Karch, Fritz Lang METROPOLIS_Model
Lecture at Technical University Braunschweig, Institute of Media and Design
November 15, 2018
How does the material interact with the symbolic? In the course of digitalization, all manufacturing processes are subjected to symbolic modeling and algorithmic control. At the same time, new materials are increasingly self-active and able to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Code as material process and material processes as code – this inverse relationship is at the center of the new fusion of the digital with the analog. The lecture thematizes the manifold between semiotic description and material activity. On the basis of simple examples, different interconnections between thinking, computation and material are shown.
Bauhaus University Weimar. Faculty of Art and Design
June 14, 2018
Material is the stuff of which the things that surround us are made. What could be more tangible, more real, than material? Fiction, on the other hand, stands for the imagined, the unreal and insubstantial, which exists only in our imagination. The lecture presents exemplary strategies of how we tie material and imagination together in science and everyday culture. It will be shown that fictions are extremely useful precisely when we want to act purposefully. Fictions are to be understood as tools that make purposeful thinking possible in the first place.
participants: Morehshin Allahyari, Honey Biba Beckerlee, Hans-Christian Dany, Paul DeMarinis, Constant Dullaart, Mark Fridvalszki, Francis Hunger, Ryan S Jeffery, Elli Kuruş, Marie-Eve Levasseur, Olia Lialina, Geert Lovink, Lisa Parks, Fabian Reimann, Georg Trogemann, Tris Vonna-Michell
curators: Lena Brüggemann, Francis Hunger, Fabian Reimann
The exhibition Rosebuds – Hidden Stories of Things presents personal objects belonging to international artists and thinkers. Whether sim-card, selfie-stick, high school yearbook, flight jacket, or block-chain wedding cake: The collection narrates media history in the form of an archive of norms, uses, faded dreams, as well as irreversible transformations of humans and technologies. The leading question is how our technosphere – conceptualised as an ever progressing intertwinement of human culture, ecological environment, and global technology – can be explained in its contemporary form. The exhibition is closely linked to a symposium, which discusses artistic practices of media archeology.
Talk in the context of the seminar “Introduction to Digital Media” held by Peter von Maydell, Frieder Nake in the Winter Term 2017/18 at the University of the Arts Bremen.
The Bremen international Masters program of study is offered jointly by the University of Bremen and the University of the Arts, Bremen. They grant the degrees of a Master of Science (M.Sc.) and a Master of Art (M.A.), resp.
Goals are: Students gain a good understanding of Digital Media – conceptually, historically, technically, aesthetically, in theory and practice. When their friends ask them, what it is that they are doing, they should be able to explain in simple and clear terms. The seminar gains to establish the foundation for this.
Lecture description We can understand programming codes as disembodied chains of actions, which have to be imprinted into a material via the intermediate stage of the sign system, in order to unfold their effect. In the course of programming, a translation process takes place, thought processes are transferred into machine action processes. Thereby formalization, i.e. applicability independent of concrete insight, plays an important role. Formal methodology wants to create unreflected repeatability, a foundation of presuppositions that is always in play but does not always need to be updated. Codes describe objectified knowledge, which becomes operative through the execution of individual instructions. Programs are a form of action theory, which Holling and Kempin call implemented theory. An implementation is the conversion of a formal procedure – an algorithm – into a machine. There, the process can run completely detached from the programmer. In this picture, codes are the hinge that connects human thought with machine action.
Karin Lingnau, Georg Trogemann, Basic seminar material/sculpture/code basic studies Wednesday weekly 11:00-13:00; first date 18.10.2017. Filzengraben 8-10, 0.2 Experimental Computer Science
„A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.“ Donna Haraway, A Manifesto for Cyborgs.
We will explore different objects, simple materials and processes, and build our own small cyborgs or become cyborgs ourselves over the course of the winter semester. The goal of the basic seminar is to explore materials and material processes that interact with algorithms. The basis of every artistic work is material, whether structural and immaterial as coding or/and haptic and physical as material, carrier and medium. The consideration and processing of the interdependencies of material and schematic, code-controlled sequences (algorithms) and material processes takes place in the seminar through own experiments and material studies and includes practical exercises and theoretical introductions. The teaching of basic craft skills using the available equipment and techniques should enable the development of small setups and first own works. In this context, there is also an introduction to the use of laboratory machines. Participation in the basic seminar Material/Sculpture/Code is a prerequisite for independent work in the Laboratory for Experimental Computer Science (Filzengraben 8-10, room 0.2) as of WS 2017/2018.