curate an art exhibition using artificial intelligence
July 1, 2021
The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art (mowna) is currently in the research stage of an AI curator for their final show of the year "This Show is Curated by a Machine 🤖" which directly answers the Whitney Museum of American Art's curatorial question, "The Next Biennial Should Be Curated by a Machine."
Goals for the project:
The following are some quotes related to some artificial intelligence projects happening in and around the space of art curation.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, rather some interesting things to think about for anyone interested in this work.
If something sounds interesting you can click the quote to open the source.
"The names and dates of works and their makers; curatorial descriptions and histories of exhibitions; colors and dimensions; images of objects themselves—encountering such data as these, algorithms chart invisible relations, forge new connections, and breed monsters."
"It seems, therefore, that what was once the job of curators could be automated. Certainly, this would look more likely if automatically curated galleries started to perform better than other institutions in terms of visitor numbers."
"Some artists have already said that they don't approve of the approach now being experimented with. AI used in this way will become a race for more, not better, interactions, thereby devaluing art and museum exhibitions to the level of social media."
"As machines get smarter, more complex, and able to operate autonomously in the world, we'll need to program them with certain 'values.' Yet we do not agree on what we value: across cultures, across individuals, even within ourselves. We often do not act in accordance with what we say we value, so should these systems learn from what we say or what we do? What are the implications of how our current belief systems manifest in the swiftly approaching technological future?"
"Minimizing the quantity and type of data that can be used in AI systems may seem wise in an era when companies and countries are vacuuming up all the personal data they can and paying little attention to the risks of misuse. But if regulations winnowed the amount of data that was processed, leading to less accurate performance for products such as medical diagnostics, society might want to reconsider the tradeoff."
"Consider a hypothetical AI system that improves the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a fatal medical condition by one percent. Without the technology, there is a 90 percent chance of making an accurate diagnosis; with it, there is a 91 percent chance. Are we really willing to condemn one out of 100 people to death just because, although we might have saved him or her, we wouldn't have been able to explain exactly how we did?"
"We must acknowledge that creative bots are already creating paintings, writing screenplays, and composing music. In the future, will AI write object labels, script audio guides, and assist with interpretation? Should we allow machines to do this?"
"The role of the curator has shifted from a governing position that presides over taste and ideas to one that lies amongst art (or object), space, and audience. The motivation is closer to the experimentation and inquiry of artists."
"Even the most sophisticated AI, at least as of this writing, cannot be said to possess anything that a human would describe as agency. It may master the game of Go or convincingly pass a conversational Turing test, but it never does so spontaneously, out of its own desire. Might an AI even have desire? (Or for that matter, do humans, really?)"