All posts by Alan Zucconi

🥇 Lumen Prize

The Lumen Prize celebrates the very best art created with technology through a global competition. We are delighted to announce that two Goldsmiths MA Computational Arts students have been awarded prizes this year.

Eddie Wong won the Lumen Moving Image Award for his work entitled Portrait of the Jungle People. The music for this piece was also created by a Goldsmiths MA Computational Arts alumnus Chris Speed

Portrait of the Jungle People explores both the artist’s family history and the family ‘rhizome’ to honour the offshoots who can neither be traced nor mapped through a series of fragmented narratives and post-memories. The art combines neural networks with language processing models to generate images from text. By combining the predictions of the two models, the artists can use common phrases (prompts) to paint pictures of its underlying concepts, walking through the latent space formed by the training archives’ speculative, fabricated visions.

“Portrait of the Jungle People” by Eddie Wong

The work is about how humans and machines make sense of each other, and how this process transitions between co-construction of indigeneity, identity and myth. It emerges from a conflation of machine learning algorithms and postcolonial discourse, presenting the Malaysian-Chinese narrative as fluid and hallucinatory.

Jesse Wolpert speaking at the Lumen Prize

«I am delighted to see two of our Goldsmiths MA/MFA Computational Arts students winning the Lumen Prize awards.

The Lumen Prize reflects the best work in Art and Technology today and it is wonderful to see our students recognised for the amazing works they have created»

Jesse Wolpert, MA/MFA Computational Arts Programme Lead.

Arjan Emmanuel Sanchez Guerrero won the Lumen Global Majority award for his work entitled Amaroid.

Amaroid inverts the traditional logic of the diorama and that of augmentation. In this project, a virtual-native object gets augmented within and beyond the screen, as an image that travels and transforms across time but also across different materialities, from diegetic reality to non-diegetic reality: an augmented virtuality.

“Amaroid” by Arjan Emmanuel Sanchez Guerrero

This project is not a paleontology (the study of ancient beings), but a sort of “neontology” (a study of beings to come) of the Latent Space –i.e. the space of lower dimensional representation of what an Artificial Neural Network has learned. It digs into the mechanics of the Latent Space, finding a fossil from a latent world and augmenting its nature. Originally generated by the BigGAN –an AI trained on the contemporary visual world– such fossilization shows a synthetic nature that grows from the remains of an organic one.

Every image generated by the BigGAN is the relief of a mathematical flatness. This project explores and entangles the techniques and the aesthetics of such a process.

If you are interested in studying Computational Arts, check the MA/MFA Computational Arts programmes lead by Jesse Wolpert.

  • You can follow Eddie Wong on Instagram.
  • You can follow Arjan Emmanuel Sanchez Guerrero on Instagram.
  • You can follow updates for the Lumen Prize on Instagram.
  • You can follow updates from the MA/MFA Computational Arts programme on Instagram.

🎓 Head of Computing: Jennifer George

Dr Jennifer George has been re-appointed as Head of Computing for three more years. Jennifer took over from Professor Robert Zimmer back in 2019, and has guided the Department through the pandemic, making it more inclusive for staff and students.

Dr Jennifer George

With over twenty years of teaching experience, Jennifer has worked in several institutions across private, Russell Group and Post 1992 HEI sectors before landing a Lecturer position at Goldsmiths in 2007. Jennifer remained at Goldsmiths until 2014, to re-joined the Department in 2019.

«Jennifer took over the role of Head of Computing at a time of great change for Goldsmiths. Her strong and supportive attitude was exactly the kind of leadership the Department needed.»

— Alan Zucconi, Director of Postgraduate Studies

Her research focuses on the field of Human-Computer Interaction, with a strong attention to how technology can help people living disabilities. One of her latest papers focused on Supporting Dyslexia in the Programming Classroom.

«Jennifer is an extremely thoughtful and supportive leader. Of the many things she has done for our department I’d particularly like to mention her dedication to making the subject of computing more inclusive. In subject that is often seen as very exclusive she has challenged all us staff to really work to do all we can to support women, students from diverse cultural backgrounds and particularly students with disabilities. This work is making the department of computing a much more welcoming space and a better learning environment for everyone.»

— Prof Marco Gillies, Head of TaLIC (former Depty Head of Computing)

You can find Dr Jennifer George on Twitter and LinkedIn.

🦋 Creative Machine AI, VR and Robotics in the Arts Symposium and Exhibition

The Creative Machine AI, VR and Robotics in the Arts Symposium, hosted by the Department of Computing and supported by The Alan Turing Institute, was a one-day event that brought together leading figures from the Computing and Arts communities to contend with questions relating to machine creativity in the wake of new developments in artificial intelligence and art.

This event comprised an academic symposium, consisting of both panels and talks from expert speakers, and an exhibition, which included work from cutting edge AI artists. The event was sold out and extremely well receive.

The event was run and organised by a delegation of creative researchers from the Department of Computing: Prof Larisa Soldatova, Prof William Latham, Prof Frederic Fol Laymarie, Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan, Prof Marco Gillies, Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Rachel Falconer, Nicky Donald and Conference Organiser Pauline Nottingham.

The first Creative Machine Exhibition (Curated by Professors William Latham, Frederic Fol Leymarie and Atau Tanaka) was launched in October 2014 in the Hatcham Gallery, with the aim of hosting a major exhibition exploring the twilight world between human and machine creativity. The core underlying idea was could a machine replace the human artist? And if not could the machine be an effective creative partner to the artist?

Symposium

The symposium included several panels and sessions, each one focusing on a different aspect of creativity and artificial intelligence.

  • Session 1: AI & Creativity
  • Panel 1: Curating AI & VR ARt
  • Session 2: Visual Computing
  • Session 3: Affective Computing
  • Session 4: Robotics, Avatars and AI
  • Panel 2: Creative or Not?

Exhibition

The event featured a number of artworks and installations from artists working with creative technologies.

  • Alexander Reben
  • Han Yajuan
  • Andy Lomas
  • Entangled Others
Entangled Others, Sediment Nodes, 2022
  • Flo Yuting Zhu
  • Daniel Berio
  • Lance Putnam & William Latham (Harmonic Infinity)
  • Ao Lei
  • Jake Elwes
  • Libby Heaney
  • Max Jala
  • Memo Akten
Artwork by Memo Atken, 2022
  • Nye Thompson & UBERMORGEN
  • Terence Broad
  • Wiliam Latham, Stephen & Peter Todd (Mutator)
William Latham, Stephen & Peter Todd, Mutator VR / Physics Mutations, 2022
  • Bobby Zhaocheng Xiong
  • Pierre-Francois Gerard

🎨 Tropical Lab 16 @ LASALLE College of Art 2022

Tropical Lab is an annual international art camp organised by LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore, for masters degree and PhD candidates. Over two weeks artists from international art schools and institutions undertake workshops and seminars in Singapore exploring various aspects of history, geography, culture and aesthetics.

Earlier this summer, Goldsmiths was pleased to send two students from the Masters in Computational Arts: Katie Tindle and Yasmin Jones.

«I would like to thank Goldsmiths for allowing us to take this transformative trip, and for LASALLE for being such consummate hosts. The experience was rigorous, challenging and incredibly fruitful.»

— Katie Tindle

If you are interested in the intersection between Art and Technology, check out the MA/MFA Computational Arts programme. The recent degree show, themed (Sub) Systems, took place on the 1st of September.

🗣️ “The Psychology of the Metaverse” @ Royal Institution

Last month Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan—Associate Professor and Programme Leader for the MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality—gave an inspiring talk to a group of young kids, ranging from 12 to 15. The event was organised by The Royal Institution, with a focus on outreach and science communication.

Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan giving a talk at the Ri Institution

Sylvia talked focused on the “The Psychology of the Metaverse”, exploring how we can us VR and AR technology to understand how people think. This is a topic Sylvia herself explored deeply in both her research and practice at Goldsmiths.

One still from Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan presentation, showing her avatar on a variety of different VR platforms

«I loved the metauniverse talk I think it was really interesting to listen to someone who doesn’t just do maths, it was more of a wider range of topics.»

Feedback from one of the young kids attending

In case you missed it, the entire event was also recorded. “The Psychology of the Metaverse” starts at 14:46.

If this is a topic that fascinates you, and you would like to steer your career towards practical applications for VR & AR technology, you should consider applying to the MA/MSc Virtual & Augmented Reality here at Goldsmiths.

  • You can follow Prof Sylvia Xueni Pan on Twitter.

🧠 ESCAN 2022

From the 19th to 22nd July, a delegation from Goldsmiths Computing and Psychology attended The European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in Vienna, Austria.

Dr Jamie A Ward—Lecturer and Researcher in wearable computing, activity recognition & social neuroscience—gave a talk on his Royal Society-sponsored work studying cognition and social behaviour using wearables and theatre at a symposium on the opportunities and challenges of real-world data collection.

Dr Jamie A Ward presenting his work (photo taken by Dr Laura Rai)

Dr Laura Rai—PostDoc and Researcher from the Department of Psychology—presented the first results from the ERC-funded Neurolive project at a symposium on the neuro-aesthetics of dance.

The event was also attended by PhD Candidate in Psychology Merritt Millman, who presented a poster on her work on bodily awareness in depersonalization-derealization disorder.

From left to right, Dr Jamie A Ward, Dr Laura Rai and Merritt Millman at the opening social event at the Vienna Town Hall

«It was such a joy to present at an in-person conference again for the first time in over two years. So much of my work with theatre—and in particular the work we do on the Neurolive project—is about liveness and what makes the live experience special.

A huge part of that is the social experience, which participating at a conference like this, with the double bonus of being surrounded by loads of smart and interesting people, really brought home to me.»

— Dr Jamie A Ward
  • You can find Dr Jamie A Ward on Twitter
  • You can find Dr Laura Rai on Twitter
  • You can find Merritt Millman on Twitter

🃏 “Cartomancy Anthology” launch

Fede Fasce, programme lead for the MA in Independent Games and for the BSc in Games Programming, has been part of the release of “Cartomancy Anthology”, a game anthology available from today on Steam and itch.io.

Cartomancy Anthology is a collection of games inspired by the tarot major arcana. Fede (who is also passionate about tarot) has worked together with 3 of Cups Games to create a game about The Star, the team’s favourite tarot card. In The Star you take the role of someone shattered in two halves by trauma, in a journey to reconnect it and to find new hope. Fede has worked mostly as a game designer and developer in the game.

«Working on the Star with a team of extremely talented people has been an incredible experience. I really hope you’ll enjoy the game!»

Fede Fasce, Ma Independent Games programme leader

“Cartomancy Anthology” is the typical example of how a storytelling tool—as ancient and powerful as tarots cards are—can drive entire stories. And if further evidence that the games-related programmes at Goldsmiths are taught not just by academics, but by actual game developers with decades of industry experience.

  • You can find Fede Fasce on Twitter
  • You can find 3 of Cups Games on Twitter