Artificial intelligence and machine learning are both a challenge and a chance for today’s museums and their growing digital collections. „Dust and Data – The Art of Curating in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” (DAD) as a 2-years artistic research project strives to explore the curatorial potential of artificial intelligence within a set of co-operations with several museum institutions. DAD is located at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and the Institute of Computational Perception, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz. During the first nine month, DAD was also located at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI).
DUST AND DATA explores the changing role of curators in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), an age where computers and machines set out to grasp the meaning of works of art and computational creativity is materializing. Whereas the availability of digital versions of every piece of art is already taken for granted, the ability of computers to comprehend, analyse, catalog and arrange thousands of them in mere seconds, is just now starting to be understood. At the same time moral and ethic issues concerning the use of AI are surfacing and need to be considered.
DUST AND DATA asks the question, how Artificial Intelligence can aid curating in the digitally pervasive 21st century. Curating now includes digital aspects on multiple levels: the curatorial subject matter itself became partly digital, changing curatorial work into a more digital endeavor; museum collections are now more accessible and at the same time contentually boundless due to unlimited digital references to data outside the confines of the respective collection; the means of communication with the always-online audiences is becoming more and more digital too.
DUST AND DATA will set out to test a set of entirely new means for curating in the age of Artificial Intelligence. These new means will be developed in an interdisciplinary endeavor uniting curators (Niko Wahl, Alexander Martos), AI experts (Arthur Flexer) and exhibition designers (Irina Koerdt and Sanja Utech), as well as a set of international experts, all jointly bringing this collection of plaster casts to a future where sculptures morph into code and code into works of art.
DUST AND DATA will explore curatorial and architectural paths towards the holdings of museum collections turning the often digital findings into physical and functioning shapes. We will use a format in between a hands-on workshop situation and a forum for academic and artistic discourse for an ongoing process of developing and assembling the resulting blueprints for specific curatorial and architectural approaches.
The ever growing amount of digital content waiting to be curated, plus latest AI progress in computational creativity have the potential to change the art of curating as a whole. AI could bring about a set of tools enabling versatile handling of large amounts of digital content in yet unprecedented ways. Genuinely new curatorial questions and approaches can be developed and tested within this setting. The task of translating the digital findings back to the physical realm will increase the importance of exhibition design in the curatorial process.
Within DAD we work on different case studies in parallel ranging from early concepts to prototypes and exhibitions.
In a series of workshops with different stakeholders and audiences we discuss approaches, test concepts and reflect on results, methods and impacts.
The artistic research is conducted by an interdisciplinary team of curators, AI-experts and architects.