It’s always a good sign if an exhibition manages to surprise you. ARTISTES ET ROBOTS at the Grand Palais in Paris did just that. I wonder if it’s due to the combination of being intelligently curated while still being really entertaining that most visitors had a much slower pace then usually seen in art museums.
ARTISTES ET ROBOTS is the first group exhibition to fully focus on artificial imagination and it features robotic, generative and algorithmic art by some forty artists that work in the most modern technical environments. The relationship and meeting point of human creativity and artificial intelligence is something that has interested me for a while now. How much control over the finished product does an artist need? Are Michael Hansmeyer’s ASTANA COLUMNS less beautiful because they are a result of computational architecture and digital fabrication? What defines creativity and what turns it into art?
In any case, the curators decided to send us into (or out of) this exhibition with a warning: While artificial intelligence can definitely help us, it might also threaten to make itself our master by reducing humans to simple slaves to performance. Ever more sophisticated software has enabled increasingly autonomous works, an ability to generate infinite forms, and interactivity with audiences who permanently modify this game.