Art + Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Group at the University of Vermont

Protecting human beings from the domination of machines and technocrats is a laudable enterprise, but if the machines are full of human beings who find their salvation there, such a protection is merely absurd (Ellul, 1967)

Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern

The UVM Art + Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Group is engaged in an ethnographic study of artificial intelligence; we interrogate its tools. We consider machine learning a domain of artistic and artificial production and our studio work occupies its social and computational space.

Concerned with the histories and futures of human-machine relationships, our research seeks to unearth aesthetic, social, material, ethical and cultural constitutions deep within machine learning’s black box. Tracing crescents that flow from creation to collapse and rooted in evolutions of rational and irrational computations, the artworks we produce are corporeal artifacts extracted from a dense lattice of super-computer flesh.

Artifact: liquid architecture

Interested in learning more about our early research?

Our current project Emergence works with the Tower dataset.

In this artist talk and interactive presentation with the Vermont Studio Center we share the prototype for our
interactive educational program.

How did we get started? Helen Hill reporting for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center tells our story.

In 2018 Karson found herself creating a series of collages exploring ideas of visual hierarchy. Originally inspired by the architecture of the Old Mill tower on the UVM campus – the octagon forming its base and the eight triangles forming the facets of its roof – Karson began to realize the images she was creating, and the decisions that led to them, felt a lot like some kind of algorithm at work… Building on this idea, Karson began musing on what machine learning might bring to her process and so her UVM Art and AI Initiative was born.

Helen Hill, Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC)
Full article

Research Group


Jenn Karson, Art + AI Research Group Director; Faculty, Department of Art and Art History


Alice Boone, Curator of Education, Fleming Museum of Art

Lapo Frati, PhD Student in Complex Systems and Data Science

Chris Thompson, Independent Curator

Kerime Toksu, Research Computing Engineer, Vermont Advanced Computing Core (VACC)

Students and Alumnx

Ethan Davis, M.S. Data Science ‘21

Cameron Bremner, B.S. Math and Computer Science ’21

Syd Culbert, B.S. Computer Science and Studio Art ’23

Oliver Hamburger, B.S. Computer Science ’22

Emma Garvey, B.S. Mechanical Engineering ’19

Veronika Potter, B.S. Mathematics, B.A. Computer Science ’21

Yifeng Wei, B.A. Studio Art ’19,  M.F.A Parsons School of Design ’21

Research Group Emeritus

Anna Hulse, B.S. Natural Resources, Political Science ’21

Sarah Pell, M.S. Computer Science ‘20

Fred Sanford, B.S. Mechanical Engineering ‘20

Chauzhen Wu, Studio Art and Business ’21

Clem Fisher, B.A. Sustainable Design ’23

Halina Vercessi-Clarke, Computer Science and Mathematics, Russian ’22

Funding and Support

Department of Art and Art History, UVM

Vermont Advanced Computing Core (VACC), UVM

Coor Collaborative Fellowship, Humanities Center, UVM

CatCoders funding from Department of Computer Science, UVM Spring 2020 and Fall 2021

Northeast Cyberteam/NSF funding, Summer 2020 and 2021

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award No. OAC-1659377.
Computations were performed on the Vermont Advanced Computing Core supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) award No. OAC-1827314.