Bot Bop | Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica

To gain more insights about AI in combination with music I’ve chosen the act of Bozar which was marked at the Ars Electronica festival program with a star. „Live coding expert and drummer Dago Sondervan and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Claes team up for an experimental exploration of artificial intelligence in music performance. Armed with an arsenal of specifically developed tools and applications, the duo will train a virtual agent towards musical autonomy and realtime interaction, becoming a trio along the way“ (Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI, 2020)”.

The mixture of human act and AI agents was very interesting to me, because I’ve never seen a performance like that. Starting with the concert, the music sounded very abstract and technical to me, which made it very futuristic. After that the Dago Sondermann, Andrew Claes and Dr. Frederik de Bläser gave an interview about their performance. To create the sounds the artists use a patching software where they record them and programs them within shifts of random notes – that’s the moment where AI comes to play. It gets input with images, shifting notes and messages, which triggers the AI to give outputs. So this is called a combination of generative and adaptive systems and AI. At this point Dr. Frederik de Bläser explains that AI is assisting them and learning from them as a creative partner. The role of the actor is to playing a piece of music and then the intelligent assistant adds its input which creates a feedback loop and kind of a dialog between the artist and the AI. It’s very special kind of music, which cannot be defined as melodically in my opinion because it has many layers of sound and it’s very textured, but the aim of the artists is also to make the music sound like machines. Also the more complex the AI becomes the less it is to control. At this point the whole thing becomes very discussable wether there’s a limit for AI or not. There was also a little discussion with the interviewer and the artists about this, which I found interesting because I’ve never thought about the role of AI in the music sector. But it could be a black box: surprising but also uncontrollable, because due to Bazar it’s sometimes completely wrong what AI understands. It has to have more and more information, but hard to train. You can give it more context but that makes it more difficult to handle. 

In conclusion I can say that AI works good for live performances to show the functionality of it, even with the music sounds not melodic to me. I can imagine it to use it more commercial to make it more accessible to everyone, to create custom-made music and have a individual music experience like already mentioned in the interview. Although it can get hard to handle or expensive at the moment. But maybe this will change due to interests of some companies in the future, because AI is still associated as a scary and unfamiliar tool.

Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI. (2020, 13.September). Bot Bop: Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica [Video]. YouTube.

Design Discourse Summary

In this post I want to summarize all international design lectures. It was quite interesting and also so various to get insights from experts in different kind of design fields.

01 Andrey Sudarikov
Andrey Sudarikov is a Russian designer. In his lecture he talks about projects he realized with his studio. They are mainly in the field of AR, interaction design and mixed media installations.

02 Saskia Schmidt
Saskia Schmidt talks in her lecture about her career and her way to the her independence. She points out how important it is to build a network.

03 Astrid Kury
Astrid Kury is director of the academy Graz. In her lecture she reports about the importance of collaboration in our society especially when working in an interdisciplinary team for different projects.

04 Florian Doppel-Prix
Florian Doppel-Prix gives in his lecture “Is it art or can we toss it” insights into his world of exhibition design. The projects are very varied and interesting at the same time. But unfortunately you can sometimes not understand him well because of the surroundings.

05 Burcin Cem Arabacioglu
Burcin Cem Arabacioglu is a professor from Istanbul. In his lecture “Sustainability from interior design perspective” he talks about the rapidly growing population and the ecological consequences. To be honest I had a rather hard time to follow the lecture.

06 Sylwia Ulicka
Sylwia Ulicka is a researcher and professor from Puebla, Mexico. In her lecture she talks about the importance of sustainability and criticizes the consumption of the society. In her opinion, designers can make a great contribution to an ecological future. I find the perspective very interesting because we are quite familiar with the topic of sustainability right now after this semester.

07 Ursula Tischner
Ursula Tischner also reports in her lecture about nowadays consumer behaviour and the waste of ressources. The role of a designer is very important because we have a big influence on the society to make other people aware of this topic and also engage them to make a positive contribution to the planet.

08 INNOCAD and 13&9
Anastasia and Martin Lesjak present their architectural office INNOCAD and product design office 13&9. The project of the Solar Innovation Center was very interesting because they play with light and color and even implement sounds.

09 Wolfgang Schlag
In his lecture Wolfgang Schlag gives an overview of the history of radio and the importance of this medium. In his opinion, the radio will survive despite the Internet and other new media.

Lecture #3 – Astrid Kury: Why collaborate?

Astrid Kur, director of Akademie Graz, talks in this lecture about how important collaborations can be, or why we should work more together as designers, artists and cultural institutions.

„In what world we want to life in. In a rather competitive, isolated, egoistic one, or in one where we share our ideas and aim for the best outcome together?“

Thats actually a quite interesting question at the beginning from her and it raises some thoughts. For Astrid Kury collaboration has many benefits:

  • It benefits from sharing ideas and knowledge
  • it increases social relevance and a social impact
  • It creates coherence in complexity
  • you can create unique solutions with different expertises

It’s very difficult today to handle a project alone, we need to work with other people in every region. Also she mentioned interdisciplinary. I think we always need experts in every kind of field to work together in order to realize cool project. Thats crucial for finding new ideas and solutions.

In the project „Linguistic Landscape Graz“ she mentions how important it is, to integrate the audience as well during the process. The learning outcome was much bigger by learning with and through the audience.

Participation is also very important. Engaging the audience is the key for a successful project/exhibition. Participation creates a genuine outcome and play an active role in the project.

To sum it up, the importance of collaboration should be really considered and not underestimated as a designer. The project she showed us wouldn’t be realized by only one person. There is a big team behind every project therefore collaboration with different experts are essential. So I totally agree with her in the benefits of collaboration. I really liked her clear structured presentation too and that we could easily followed her seeing the information when she talks about it.

Lecture #2 – Saskia Schmidt: Work Work Balance

In her lecture “Work Work Balance”, Saskia Schmidt talks about her personal path to independence and also her ups and downs during her design career.

Everything started with a design education in her hometown. She decided to learn more about design and started her Information Design study in Graz. Philipp Kanape course also leaded her to specialize in Branding.

Due to a lack of enthusiasm for programming, she had time for an internship, which she could do at EnGarde. She describes this time as one of her best experiences where she learned essential thinks to start a project.

“Ein guter Gestalter kennt die Regeln und setzt sie außer Kraft.”

This means that only when you know all the rules you can consciously integrate or break them in the design to create something extraordinary.

After her time at EnGarde, the next internship was just around the corner: Studio Grau and Wednesday Paper Works in Berlin. She talks about her learning outcomes and the advantages of smaller studios. Also by showing some cool project, her bachelor thesis was also included which she wrote at Studio Grau. After graduating she found her first job where she was not quite satisfied. Therefore she decided to work at Von K Design at the same time.

„Du kannst nicht auf alles scheißen & dich dann wundern wenn’s stinkt“

Actually she wanted to work independently, which is why she quit her two jobs. It doesn’t worked out fully so she cooperated with EnGarde again for a short time project. After that, she really wanted to work exclusively on her own – but it didn’t work out again. Unexpectedly a call came from Studio Grau in Berlin. She again held back her independence to take the opportunity to represent the managing director because she got pregnant. She was not only working as a designer anymore, but also had to deal with management tasks. The projects which were created at that time were really impressive for me.

Her network, which she had already built up during her time in Graz, was her foundation for her career. Today, she works with a broad network of agencies, many of which originated during her internship and they became really good friends to her.

I really liked this lecture because I could comprehend so many situations. What I also find interesting is that she also describes the importance of not only working for big prestigious design agencies, but also of looking more closely at which company is most appealing to you. I will definitely keep that in mind.

Lecture #1 – Andrey Sudarikov: Playdisplay

I really liked the Sudarikov lecture so I decided to write more about it. He presents three projects in total and I think it was cool to vote for it beforehand. Shortly about the person: Andrey Sudarikov is a designer from Russia and founder of „Playdsiplay“. It’s a studio from Moscow which focuses on interactive installations and mixed-media-installationen. They also build large exhibition for bigger companies in the asian market.

Project 1: Let your colors take flight

The first project was about an augmented reality installation for the Changi airport. One camera was placed on the right and one on the left of a video screen. One camera was placed above the screen, which filmed a drawing surface that was placed in front of the screen. The idea of this project was that you could paint airplanes on a sheet of paper and transfer these paintings to a 3D model. The team used already existing materials like models of airplanes from computer games and screenshots from Google Earth. I really liked it because everyone gets the possibility to design something with simple things like a pencil and a sheet of paper.
Sudarikov also mentioned that the project would probably look different if his team were doing it today and that he actually got all his jobs from acquaintances and that shows how important networking is.

Project 2: Interactive Trampoline

The second project is an interactive trampoline combined with a big screen which was placed at an airport and also later in shopping malls. The faster and higher you jumped, the faster you became on the screen and you also could collect extra points. So how does it work? There is a HTC belt which tracks the movement and position and sent the data via Bluetooth to the game. Sudarikov also talks about problems during the presentation. The project will be developed further because of its success. I like also the mix of analogue and digital environment combined with gamification.

Project 3: Stalingrad Exhibition

The third project was created for a museum. A panoramic video was projected in a circular room. The consequences of the Second World War were shown in an immersive experience. He also mentioned that they had some issues with communicating with the client and ask for permission. I saw some similar exhibition in Berlin about the history of the city and I really like these immersive videos.

All in all Sudarikov is a really entertaining guy and talks about insights of the design process and also that problems often could occur. His approach to design was very interesting and the way he interacts with the team and clients.

04 – Florian Doppel-Prix

„Is it art or can we toss it?“ Is probably one of the most funny quote in Design, I enjoyed to see how Florian-Doppel-Prix starts his presentation with it. He shows some experimental exhibitions and art installations including himself as a sound engineer. There were also nice examples of galleries specialized on sound arts. This makes me curious to visit once a auditive installation, because usually people just think of visual impressions when visiting a museum or exhibition, so you experience it another way and focus mainly on your hearing senses.

06 – Sylwia Ulicka

Sylwia Witzke is a designer, researcher and professor from Mexiko who is presenting in her talk the idea of design and sustainability by giving some examples of interesting projects. Sustainability is defined by the triangle model of sustainable development which is baed on the three columns society, ecology and economy. This reminds me on the talk I heard before of Prof. Dr. Burcin Cem Arabicioglu where he also mentioned such a kind of model in terms of sustainability. Witzkes aim is to bring more sustainable ways of living closer by defining sustainable development, but she talks also about the challenges to achieving the goals as designer.

01 – Andrey Sudarikov

With Andrey Sudarikov we had already our lecture because of our Moscow excursion, which was very interesting to see. He is one of the most known designer from Russia focusing on interactive installations in public spaces like museums, airports and exhibitions. In his lecture he shows some examples which we students were asked to vote the favorite ones. One of my favorite project was the interactive trampoline, where people can fill their waiting time at an airport and playing a digital game by jumping on the trampolines. It was very fun to see how people from all ages tried it, but also getting to know the process behind the whole project from the idea to the realization and the problems including.

05 – Burcin Cem Arabacioglu

Istanbul has always been a favorite city of mine, I love traveling there because there is always something to discover, especially in terms of design. The talk of Prof. Dr. Burcin Cem Arabicioglu is focusing of achieving a sustainable lifestyle to have a positive impact on the environment. Arabacioglu brings the dangers of our lifestyle towards environmental damaging, which I personally know most of them. But the interesting points of his speech is how he shows the different areas of society and how to implement sustainable projects to counteracting environmental pollution like economics, ecology, culture and politics. Regarding to design he mentioned also interior architecture, which was especially interesting to me because I have my background in this are. I also very liked the the quotes he brings, which underlines the topic and makes people think. Examples: „The whole world will be intelligent, educated, and co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards the subjugation of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall re-adjust the balance of animal and vegetable meet to suit our human needs“ – Herbert George Wells. and also this was inspiring to me: „We’re at war with nature. If we win, we’re lost.” – Hubert Reeves.