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🥇 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.

🦋 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.

PHD STUDENT HAS PAPER ACCEPTED IN CHI CONFERENCE

The Goldsmiths computing department has recently received wonderful news that PhD student Timea Farakas had her paper submitted and accepted in the CHI Conference.

Pronounced ‘kai’, the CHI conference is a place where researchers and practitioners gather from across the world to discuss the latest in interactive technology and is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human-computer interaction.

You can watch the full interview where Timea discusses her research below.

Timea is in her fourth year of her PhD programme and is enrolled on the IGI Programme Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) where students from partnering universities can study, learn and interact with each other.

Timea’s research focusses on player experience and how board game players interact with technologies implemented on these board games. Examples of these type of board games are the ones on apps. Timea’s accepted paper tries to understand players to create more interactive design forms. The paper is titled

“The Effects of a Soundtrack on Board Game Player Experience”.

In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22), April 29- May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA”

Timea’s unique study also includes research conducted during lockdown which yielded unique results. The university is incredibly proud of the achievements of Timea and would like to say a big congratulations to her!

Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Experiences of Unwanted Interaction on Online Dating Services

Are you a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman (or non-binary person with similar experiences)? Have you used an online dating service? If so, tell @khniehaus about it by taking her research survey!

Online dating can be a fraught experience for many people, and women in particular have been shown to experience gendered harassment, generally, online, and in dating-specific contexts. While there is a relatively small amount of data and academic research about heterosexual women’s experiences with online dating, there is even less data and scholarly research documenting the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women with online dating. Anecdotally, many lesbian, bisexual and queer women describe experiencing high rates of targeted harassment while engaging in online dating activities. Based on these accounts, Goldsmiths Computing PhD researcher Kiona Niehaus is interested in whether these negative experiences, while they reflect broader social attitudes and trends, may also be the result of user interface and interaction design decisions that shape users’ interactions with various online dating services.

The results of this survey will be used to shape forthcoming academic work about the affordances of various online dating platforms, how those affordances may influence negative user experience for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women using these services, and to suggest potential design solutions toward making online dating services less fraught for these users in particular. If you are a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman (or a non-binary person with similar experiences) who has used online dating, you can take the survey here: https://lambda.doc.gold.ac.uk/index.php/264413

Goldsmiths Computing at the semi-finals of Mayor’s Entrepreneur 2019

Grzegorz Rybak, Goldsmiths BSc Computer Science student and Web developer, writes about his experience at the semi-finals of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur  2019

On Friday 15th March I had the honour of participating in the semi-finals of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur 2019 with our Undergraduate final-year project (ULA: Ultimate Listening Assistant)!

Being in the top-30 tech projects chosen to progress to the semi-finals out of 625 applications from all London’s Universities (and even start-ups), the stakes (and the stress!) were enormous but it shows how exciting the project we’re doing is – not only to us, but evidently to others as well!

I’m happy to tell you I delivered – I strongly believe – the best pitch I ever performed! I pitched about the idea of text transcription and summarization along the normal recording that ULA does and a potential content-sharing platform that could be a business around it (as this is a very entrepreneurial competition).

Finally, I must also say I was happy to discover I was one of the youngest among the contestants and the only undergraduate I’m aware of – most of the participates were Postgraduate or PhD students.

As you can gather from the above, the competition level was extremely high (I’ve never heard so many amazing tech-product ideas in such a short time!) therefore I won’t be surprised if ULA doesn’t make it to the finals, but nevertheless, I greatly appreciate the distinction of being selected to such an exclusive company with an undergraduate project.

Photo credit: Marcello Pelucchi
Grzegorz “ULA: Ultimate Listening Assistant” in front of the expert-judges in the “The Chamber”, the city hall’s grand auditorium (this is the place where they also shoot the finals for the “Apprentice”)

Also at the semi-finals was Goldsmiths Computing PhD student Hadeel Ayoub pitching the BrightSign glove – I really hope she reaches the finals because her pitch was seriously amazing!

Is Virtual Reality the future of education?

Dr Marco Gillies, Reader in Computing at Goldsmiths, gave a talk at the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference, that explained how virtual reality, and particularly interactive virtual characters, could enable us to learn the kinds of social skills that we need for work. These are the kinds of skills that are so hard to learn in a traditional way, anything from a doctor breaking bad news to a patient to a police officer interviewing a suspect. Professional social skills of this type are very different from our ordinary social lives, and handling them well can only be learned through experience.

Together with Dr Sylvia Pan, Lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths, Marco has over 20 years experience of developing animated interactive characters that have realistic body language. Encountering a life-sized virtual human in immersive VR is a really powerful experience because body language cues like eye contact or personal space feel very realistic in VR. Making eye contact on a traditional computer just means looking out of the screen, but in VR it feels like eye contact in real life. That means that a VR conversation feels real. We can use this type of realistic social interaction to help train people to be better at their professional social skills.

The conference as a whole included many examples of how VR could be used to teach skills that you can only learn by experience. VR is much cheaper and safer than doing things for real, but much closer to real life than a book or video. In the next few years we will probably see a revolution in immersive media for education, and no where is this going to be more beneficial than in one of the most important skills we need in life: how to interact with other people.

You can see Marco’s write up of the talk here:
Purposeful Practice for learning social skills in VR

And this is a write up of the whole conference:
Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education Conference

If you are interested in Virtual Reality you might be interested in our new Masters in Virtual and Augmented Realityor our MOOC on Virtual Reality