Jenn Karson is a multidisciplinary machine artist, producer, curator, and educator.
Karson’s work uses scientific processes and technologies as creative catalysts. Karson explodes architectural elements into a vocabulary of fundamental graphic forms, and employs both a tactile art practice and generative computer algorithms to create a continuously evolving body of visual compositions. In collaboration with researchers of the Art + Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Group at UVM, which she founded in 2020, Karson expands her compositions with emerging technologies including machine learning (neural networks and genetic algorithms), latent space visualizations, and digital fabrication. The resulting body of work—encompassing mapping, animation, programming, plotting, printmaking, sculpture, and soundscape— challenge traditional concepts of artistic authorship and human-machine collaboration. These are artifacts of porous boundaries between human and machine, real and fake, original and copy, analog and digital; breaking down these binaries is always iterative and generative of new possibilities. Notes Karson: “I’m much more interested in doing experiments than pursuing a masterpiece.”
Karson’s original datasets are at the core of these experiments.
Karson received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in Design + Technology and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont(UVM) where she is currently a full time member of the School of the Arts faculty.
Since her 2020 founding of the Art + AI Research Group at UVM, she has supervised over 20 participating UVM undergraduate and graduate students and alums. Supported by National Science Foundation grants, the Vermont Advanced Computing Center, and UVM grants, the group works with Machine Learning models, including GANs and Genetic Algorithms. Committed to developing rigorous original datasets, the group manages multiple datasets. At the same time, it also creates art installations and outreach programs. Dedicated to bringing the voices of artists and art historians into the dialog about the future of artificial intelligence and image-making, Jenn collaborates with data ethicists on written research and was the Co-Organizer of the 2023 Vermont Creative AI.: A Symposium on Art and Artificial Intelligence.
Jenn is the director and an enthusiastic advocate for the interdisciplinary potential of the UVM FabLab. This teaching lab serves the University of Vermont community, research, and courses. The lab provides tools for innovation and prototyping, including 3D printing, 3D scanning, 3D modeling, laser cutting, and laser engraving.