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A world first performance presented as part of Art AI Festival


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Throughout the summer, Leicester has come alive with a series of live installations by the Art AI Festival including innovative online works for a wider audience.

Most recently, Professor Craig Vear showcased a world first of a fully autonomous jazz robot, called EMR (pronounced Emma), which performed as part of his online streamed session for the Festival.

The live-streamed session also included Ben Bogart’s work at the festival which comprises AI re-imagined versions of two classic films, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Taking a closer look at how AI works in filmmaking and the differences between human perception and machines, Ben’s work shows the films from the perspective of the AI, creating a dream-like quality to the retelling of these cult sci-fi stories.


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The machine learning and computer vision algorithms Ben has used, breaks the films apart and then reconstructs them. Eventually, the machine recognizes and then predicts the structure of the films it watches.

This fascinating body of work resulted in an online session with both Ben Bogart and Craig Vear. As part of the event, Craig, who is Professor of Digital Performance (Music) at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, led a robot orchestral performance, completing a world first as part of the streamed session.

Demonstrating some of the new technologies and approaches to creative robotics that are helping musicians become more creative, the session explored a range of approaches from simple mechanical systems, to random-bot percussionists, to autonomous duets. Then finally to the big challenge; that of having creative AI robots join musicians in the flow of music-making.  

Demonstrating these various robots through a ground breaking live musical performance was an exciting addition to this year’s Art AI Festival, which has already engaged so many people across Leicester and the wider online community.

This event looks set to be a catalyst for further work development as Craig has recently been awarded a €2Million European Research Council Consolidator Grant to continue his investigation into the transformation of the music score through computational systems.

Art AI Festival Director, Tracy Harwood, commented, “Ben’s work in filmmaking and AI is fascinating and we’re delighted to showcase the work at the festival. Being able to bring Ben and Craig together for an online session provided us with a unique opportunity to present something brand new. Presenting a world first – a fully autonomous jazz musicking robot – as part of our programming is incredibly exciting!”


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You can watch the online session back via YouTube. Visitors in Leicester can also see Ben Bogart’s reimagined Bladerunner at Phoenix until 18 October.

Art AI Festival continues to run across Leicester including with an online programme can be found at www.art-ai-io.

Art AI Festival is a partnership between the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University, Phoenix, Leicester City Council, Highcross and independent creative AI curator Luba Elliott with additional support from Arts Council England, and this year runs over an extended period from May to March 2022.






Posted on Friday 24th September 2021

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