Stepping out of the incubator

My public creative life began with a heavy focus on music and performance. I’m a chronic experimenter who thinks in cycles and systems and finds little satisfaction in finished objects. So, I’m not always comfortable calling myself an artist. My artworks are transient, and my preference is to share work outside of the traditional gallery experience. 

However, I’m inclined to think like an artist and get into the heads of other artists. Particular visual art movements and theories deeply inspire me; I can see a synergy between these movements and current scientific explorations.

I was thinking about today’s algorithms, Yoko Ono’s poems and happenings, John Cage’s Chance Operations, and Kandinsky’s Point, Line, and Plane when founding the UVM Art + Artificial Research Group in the early months of 2020. 

Unhindered by the pandemic, our research on UVM’s supercomputers went uninterrupted. If anything, the pandemic served as an incubator; our artistic inquiries in the high-performance computing space, while grounded in art history, remained boundless. We explored two kinds of Machine Learning during this time – Genetic Algorithms and Generative Adversarial Networks. Funding from UVM’s Computer Science CatCoders program and the Lattie Coor Collaborative Fellowship supported this work. 

At times, this research journey felt like flying. But now it is time for homecoming, to swap stories with other researchers on our campus, find some common interests, and use language that allows us to share what we’ve learned with friends, families, artists, and art historians. Today, I see the value in behaving and engaging with the world as an artist traditionally would: exhibiting artwork in a gallery and creating opportunities to engage with the public.  

Yet, I find it challenging to share our discoveries (which trend discursive) within the language of Euclidean space and free our work from the dense thicket of Machine Learning jargon.

And so, thank you so very much to the Vermont Advanced Computing Core (VACC) for providing the resources to bring in two curators to assist with our first gallery show of work. Curators Alice Boone and Chris Thompson are vital members of our team as we step out of the incubator and into our first exhibition planned for mid-March in UVM’s Colburn Gallery!

Woot woot! 

Okay, I need to sign off now to untangle these late-night and early-morning thoughts on a potential Art + AI /digital fabrication outreach program…

late-night and early-morning notes 12-11-21 – 12-12-21. First Quarter Moon.