Re-Imagining AI: Scholars, Artists and Designers in Dialogue

In cooperation with HeK, the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures of the FHNW Academy of Art and Design will host a conference where scholars, artists and designers will present their projects and research results in the fiel of artificial intelligence (AI).


20.06.2019, 10:00-20:00

lieu: HGK FHNW, auditorium in the main building

Entrée: 23 CHF, free for students


The symposium aims at discussing existing works and identifying novel fields of artistic and designerly engagement with a domain of computing that increasingly changes our understandings of human intelligence, transforms our habitats and suggests new ways of living. So far, aesthetic works on AI typically concentrate on revealing, amplifying and playing with machine vision, pattern detection, deep learning, automated sense-making and advanced techniques of image manipulation in a way that complements, enriches and disturbs scholarly thinking about the transformations these technologies entail. Utopias and dystopias of artificial intelligences, smart environments and computationally optimised lives as observed, reflected, interpreted, augmented and worked through by artists and designers multiply our often too limited, too situated and ultimately deadlocked ideas of what artificial intelligence could come to involve.

At the same time, artistic and designerly ways of approaching developments in computing and artificial intelligence tend to privilege certain issues and specific aesthetics at the expense of others. They are often constrained by traditional artistic formats, forms of exhibition and market dynamics on one hand and by the epistemologies of design research, the practices of Gestaltung and the economy of project-based design on the other. It is our goal, therefore, to not only discuss artistic and designerly approaches to the domain of artificial intelligence, but to analyse shortcomings, identify blind-spots and create new openings for aesthetic and practice-based critiques of contemporary computational reason and the cultural, political, social and geological transformations they entail.

In pursuit of this goal, the symposium assembles distinguished scholars (media and culture studies, art history, sociology, (feminist) science and technology studies) working theoretically on aspects of artificial intelligence and its artistic or designerly representations alongside designers, artists’ and artistic researchers’ practice-based explorations of utopian, dystopian and mundane scenarios that AI and its implementation in various domains of daily life provoke. While we are well aware that it is difficult to cover the whole spectrum of what contemporary AI invokes for the near future, we intend to define, through an exchange between scholars and practitioners, the fields and domains where artistic and designerly perspectives and practices are able to significantly contribute to stimulating discussions about the integration of lifeworlds and automation, planetary-scale computation and emergent social injustices, or the re-imagination of the human within the boundaries of computational reason.

The symposium is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and curated by Johannes Bruder, Sabine Himmelsbach, Boris Magrini, Claudia Mareis and Shintaro Miyazaki. It has been conceived to create a dialogue between scholars, designers and artists that are part of the exhibition Entangled Realities – Living with Artificial Intelligence at HeK.


Thursday, 20.06.2019

  • 2pm Official welcome (Claudia Mareis, Sabine Himmelsbach)
  • 2.15pm-2.30pm Introduction to the conference topic (Shintaro Miyazaki)
  • 2.30pm-3.15pm Anna Ridler
  • 3.15pm-4pm Antonia Majaca
  • 4pm-4.30pm Coffee Break
  • 4.30pm-5.15pm Christine Meinders
  • 5.20pm-6.30pm Matteo Pasquinelli (Keynote)
  • 6.30pm-8pm Opportunity to visit the exhibition Entangled Realities – Living with Artificial Intelligence


Friday, 21.06.2019

  • 10am Coffee
  • 10.15am-11am Ramon Amaro
  • 11am-11.45am Christina Cochior
  • 11.45am-1.30pm Lunch break
  • 1.30pm-2.15pm Ursula Damm
  • 2.15pm-3pm Johannes Bruder and Maya Indira Ganesh
  • 3pm-3.30pm Coffee break
  • 4pm-5pm Georgina Voss (closing lecture)
  • 5pm End of symposium

Extra evening programme

  • 6.30pm-8pm Future Sense Lecture, Eyal Weizman (Forensic Architecture)

Re-Imagining AI: Scholars, Artists and Designers in Dialogue


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