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Albert Barque-Duran painting on a tiny board
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My artificial muse

City researcher and artist to paint innovative AI-designed mural at Barcelona festival

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

A researcher from City, University of London is using an Artificial Intelligence ‘Muse’ to create the first mural/Fresco designed entirely by a computer at the Sónar+D Festival in Barcelona.

Taking place between the 14 and 16 June, Dr Albert Barque-Duran from the Department of Psychology at City will use a Neural Network designed by Mario Klingemann to paint a huge mural/Fresco based on the design shaped by the machine.

Using what is known as a ‘pose-to-image approach’, the Neural Network is fed with a stickman figure, which is the most simplified and abstract version of a Muse, based on classic paintings. From this simple figure, the machine is then able to create a painting from the input. At the same time, the installation will perform a projection on how the neural network by Mario Klingemann generates new paintings with the aim to give a glimpse into the process behind it.

The collaborators hope that the piece will help people to discuss how to integrate Artificial Intelligence as a creative collaborator in artistic processes, and the project also hopes to explore whether a computer-generated muse be as inspirational as a human-like one. The project is sponsored by “laCaixa” Banking Foundation.

Speaking about the project, Albert said:

“My Artificial Muse aims to be a disruptive project by using Artificial Intelligence as a creative collaborator in artistic processes. We believe that combining classical techniques such as mural/Fresco Paintings to reflect about contemporary and futuristic topics is really powerful, and in the course of doing so, it helps the public better understand a technology that will increasingly be a part of their lives, used to make decisions about them and the world around them.”

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.