OIST Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Exhibition
Can sense of beauty be cultivated in AI? Can AI autonomously create art works? At Onna Village in Okinawa, OIST Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Exhibition is currently being held, exploring potentials of AI and intelligence of human beings. I visited the OIST’s futuristic buildings surrounded by forests to see the exhibition.
There are 45 entries of artists including collaboration of people and AI, such as automatic creation software, in addition to pure human artists. There are mainly four categories in the exhibition with human and machine creators, in various forms such as visual images, 2D and 3D art works, art work installation, etc.
When I went into the first building, I was first welcomed by a computer artwork which was automatically creating massive volume of graphic works, reflecting the images of those selected through preferences of viewers’ taste. According to Dr. Tatsuo Unemi, the artist of this work and the head of Science and Technology Department at Soka University, his artwork already left Dr. Unemi’s hands, and it automatically continues to be renewed every morning.
When we went through the Tunnel Gallery that looked like an entrance of an underground city, there was a video performance with a person who acted totally like an android. There is also a display of a novel written by a computer which calls itself as, “No. 1 AI in Japan.” Furthermore, there is a film work with slime fungi cultivated on top of a tablet terminal that plays a motion picture. The film’s light signals change the movement of slime fungi reacting to the film, and then the fungi’s movement changes the images of the motion picture in a reciprocal way.
Are these artworks created by human beings or by machines? Are these artworks or some kinds of research? Various thoughts on the concepts of this exhibition shake up our minds.
While I was visiting the sites, a series of paintings with soft strokes in vivid colors caught my eyes. To my surprise, the six artists of the paintings turned out to be one bonobo and five chimpanzees. The atmosphere of the artwork was quite similar to a painting by a human being, displayed across the hallway. This left me a sense of mixed feelings.
The person who painted the art is Professor Minoru Tsukada, a visiting professor at Tamagawa University Brain Science Institute. Professor Tsukada made a lecture at the first symposium out of six symposia in Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Exhibition.
According to Professor Tsukada, people feel beauty using frontal cortex, and when people are looking at portraits or facial expressions, inferotemporal cortex and amygdala are activated in coordinated manner. When we see a landscape painting, gyrus parahippocampalis, surrounding hippocampus gets activated to think about how the space could be. When appreciating a still life painting, our temporal lobes and visual cortex are activated simultaneously. “There is a long way to go for AI to utilize such dynamics of a human brain,” Professor Tsukada explains.
The exhibition is organized by Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Research Group (AIAARG). Hideki Nakazawa, the representative of AIAARG and an artist, proudly presents the ongoing exhibition as follows.
“We have been hoping to observe the overlapped portions of aesthetics, art, and areas as such, which had been viewed as the world solely owned by human beings. Here, we can comprehensively examine art, literature, music, and research, and so on, and I believe our exhibition is the first of its kind ever held in the world.”
Nakazawa himself displays his own artworks including series of Go Stone Arrangement Paintings. “The world of Go is composed of black and white, most simplified format in a way, and at the same time, it can be called as one of the theories which compose our own Universe.” Nakazawa emphasized the reason why he decided to establish AIAARG. He was shocked by the news of the world top class Go player defeated by an AI software, “Alpha Go.” “(Professional Go player) Lee Sedol had previously stated, “I am a human being and I believe Go is a form of art. Machine cannot beat an art created by a human-being.” In spite of this Lee’s statement, he was completely defeated in a consecutive manner by an AI software. I said to myself in my mind, “Human art cannot just sit around and do nothing.””
The exhibition was realized when Professor Kenji Doya, from Neural Computation Unit, who has been engaged in his preparatory research activities at OIST since 2004, met Mr. Nakazawa at a meeting in Tokyo, where they hit it off each other, and then their project came into being right away.
Professor Doya himself leads a research team developing robots using smart phones, trying to find out whether it is possible for robots to find targets by themselves. “I came to see some similarities among research on robots, brain learning mechanism, and efforts made by artists seeking what is beauty,” Professor Doya commented archly.
The exhibition (http://groups.oist.jp/ja/aiaae) will be held until January 8, 2018.