Creative AI meetup #16: The Art of DeepDream and GANs

February’s talk looked at DeepDream as a window on aesthetic experience (Owain Evans, University of Oxford) and GANs in an art context (Anna Ridler, Artist).

Owain Evans, Postdoc, University of Oxford

“Deep Dream as a Window on Aesthetic Experience”

Deep Dream produces intriguing, dog-filled images. This talk is not about these images but about process that generates them. I’ll explain the process and consider how it sheds light on human aesthetic experience. Deep Dream works because the neural network automatically computes “resemblances” between disparate objects: e.g. between a meatball and a dog, or a cat’s ear and a beak. Our own ability to see these resemblances is crucial to our experiencing art.

Owain Evans is a postdoc at the University of Oxford, working in Machine Learning with a focus on AI Safety. He also leads a collaboration on “Inferring Human Preferences” with Stanford University and His PhD is from MIT, where he worked on cognitive science, probabilistic programming, and philosophy of science.

Anna Ridler, Artist,

“Misremembering and mistranslating: using GANs in an art context”

Research has looked at whether artificial intelligence, and more particularly machine learning, can create art. Producing an image using a GAN versus any other way gives the viewer a different experience, expectation, history, traces and contexts to consider. What are these associations and how might they be used in a piece of work? I look at how I have used this associations in my own work and projects, particularly focusing on training sets and GAN generated imagery.

Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher whose practice brings together technology, literature and drawing. She is interested in working with abstract collections of information or data, particularly self-generated data sets, to create new and unusual narratives in a variety of mediums, and how new technologies, such as machine learning, can be used to translate them clearly to an audience. She works heavily with technology at both the front and back end of projects (what is exhibited as well as the research that goes into the piece). Her intention is to make work that is not about technology for its own sake, but rather uses these technologies as a tool to talk about other things – memory, love, decay – or to augment or change the story in a way in that otherwise would not happen.

Particularly interested by Pix2Pix and plan to dabble with that over the next few weeks.