Podcast Episode 2

Will Artificial Intelligence become the new artist? Egor Kraft / Lev Manovich

· 34:34

Artificial Intelligence has become a part of our lives–as personal assistants, as recommendation algorithms, or selecting the content we see on our Facebook or Twitter feed. We asked the artist Egor Kraft about the relevance of this technology in his work, and about the frame of his speculative research. In the second part of this episode we linked it to a review of the essay AI Aesthetic by Lev Manovich. Artificial Intelligence takes part in the selection of images, for instance through the automatic analysis of pictures. But it is also able to create. Recently, AI generated content has found its way into mainstream productions. Take the series "Game of Thrones"–an algorithm suggested plot ideas, which then have been confirmed or dismissed by the writers of the show. Does that mean that computers learn to be creative? Is there such a thing as an AI aesthetics? Either way, it is only natural that artists take an interest in the possibilities of machines that learn, select, and create.

Several contemporary artists are developing projects linked with AI: Trevor Paglen uses facial recognition software that resembles the one used by companies such as Facebook. Hito Steyerl has made a film called The Language of Broken Glass that shows how a security company creates the data set for a system that detects the sound of shattering windows. Egor Kraft has chosen the field of archeology which is not yet in the focus of machine learning. But on an artistic and social perspective it builds a intriguing bridge between temporalities and techniques.

We recently visited Egor’s show at the gallery Alexander Levy in Berlin. The exhibition was called “Content Aware Studies,” which is also the title of a corpus of work he executed in 2018. It features sculptures that unite two different times–classical antiquity and the latest technology of our days. He used artificial intelligence and 3D printing to restore fragments of sculptures.

Egor Kraft lives between Moscow, Berlin, and Vienna. He is an artist, who has a keen interest in media, tech, and film. A prominent example of his work is the piece “The New Color,” which was presented at the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. For this work he created the website of a fictional company on which he announced the discovery of a new color. It prompted private individuals and companies to get in touch with him as they wanted to see and buy his product. Egor hacks design and technology, and his work gives a glimpse at how false information comes into being–what we would now refer to as alternative facts.

Egor Kraft, Content Aware Studies, 2019, installation view, gallery Alexander Levy
Egor Kraft, Content Aware Studies, 2019, installation view, gallery Alexander Levy