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09/06/2019

Focus on Re:Humanism: Antonio Creo

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What was your approach to the theme of the competition?

My approach to the theme of the competition started from my need to combine my art practice with my scientific research, in other words, understanding how to use the data gathered during my scientific studies and using it as art material.
My creative process is usually very generative, that means, I start from an intuition and I follow that lead until I find coherence, equilibrium and/or a meaning. It is a sort of puzzle solving or a game. I usually know when a work is done, by making it.
In this case, the material I had was a large number of drawings which represent the very core of my artistic research. In fact, automatism and in particular automatic drawings are the foundation of me as an artist as well as the conceptual space of my scientific research. The name “Let it brain” is indeed the name I gave to this automatic technique when I was in my 20’s. This was certainly a great place to start from, a sort of comfort zone.
On the other hand, during the past year, I also produced a more computational study using the same drawings, applying for the first time AI (SketchRNN) and machine learning tools. This was for me a very unexplored territory and the challenge was to mix these two domains, in some way very far from each other.
As an artist working with technology, one of my concerns is the relation between human and artificial as well as understanding how this relates to our larger society. One of the main questions emerged during my studies, so far, is whether human and computational creativity are really different. In other words, does human creativity have something special or is it just a form of computation? As an artist, my intuitive answer would be in favour of the human one, however, as a scientist, I can’t avoid trying to disproof this belief.
In a society where technology is omnipresent in our everyday lives, it becomes crucial to question what is human and what is artificial on a deeper level. In this sense, the piece “Grammar#1” is the first step in exploring the grey area between human and artificial expressivity, which I consider a form of creativity. In this work, I start from the very primordial expressive sign, the signifier that happens before the signified. In this investigation I decided to use AI as a technical tool to generate new signs and interrogate the audience on the question I proposed above: can we recognise what is human and what is artificial?

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Antonio “Creo” Daniele, Grammar #1, 2019, Albumarte, Roma. Photo Credits: Giorgio Benni, courtesy Alan Advantage