UmArts is leading research in Art, Architecture, Design and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Umeå University in partnership with the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program – Humanities and Society (WASP-HS) and Umeå University’s Centre for Transdisciplinary AI (TAIGA). In 2023, curator Sarah Cook joined UmArts as the WASP-HS Guest Professor in Art and AI in partnership with Bildmuseet, Umeå School of Architecture (UMA), and Umeå Institute of Design (UID).

The Art and AI working group brings together artists, designers and architects working with AI to share their research and develop new collaborative projects. The group considers how arts research can contribute to the social and ethical discourses of AI and machine learning, working in partnership with museums and galleries, artists and curators. The programme will critically interrogate the aesthetics and politics of AI, collaborating with, and challenging the algorithmic logic underpinning hardware and software development. We are interested in how creative encounters can allow publics to experience and engage with the ethical considerations and societal shifts that widespread use of AI will bring and feeding that back into AI development.

The Octopus Club

Eledone cirrhosa, 1839. Mémoire sur deux nouvelles espèces de Céphalopodes trouvées dans l’océan

The first Art and AI meeting took place in the UmArts Research Studio on Friday 1 September where the group decided to form The Octopus Club – a book club to close-read texts, artworks and films which investigate distributed intelligence and networked knowledge. Sarah Cook nominated the first book – The Mountain in the Sea, by Ray Nayler. Please order your own copy to join the group again in November 2023. Details to follow.

The Curatorial Reading Group will start in 2024 to discuss curating contemporary art as research process and as a form of knowledge production. The group includes curators and curatorial researchers, and focuses on developing critical frameworks for curatorial practice, new curatorial methodologies, and situating curatorial knowledge in the international field.

If you would like to propose a text or a reading method please contact Ele Carpenter.