Online Conference

Automation and Creativity: Practice, Aesthetics and Reception of the Digital in Music and Literature

October 7-10th, 2020

Automated aesthetic practices are in the process of generating new manifestations of artistic and political everyday actions in a society saturated by media. The research project "From Avant-garde to Algorithm: Automated Creativity in Literature and Music" (Institute of English and American Studies, Institute of German Studies, Institute for Music and its Mediation, TU Braunschweig) critically accompanies these developments and brings together researchers from the fields of literature, cultural studies, media studies, cognitive and computer science in the context of this online conference held in German and English.

In accordance with the interdisciplinary orientation of the project, the conference will bring together contributions that deal with the general change in dispositifs of creativity in the context of digitalisation and machine learning as well as the specific historical, aesthetic and socio-technical characteristics of the various fields of artistic and cultural production.

The topic area Music combines various perspectives of cultural and sociological studies on contemporary musical practices. Drawing on the critical discourses of Disability, Gender and Postcolonial Studies, the contributions deal with the impact of social and cultural power structures on musical contexts. Particular attention is paid to the complex relationship between musical practice and the technocultural conditions of comprehensive digitalization. Sensitive to the idiosyncrasies of digital music and sound technologies, the program addresses the issue of what it means to make music in conjunction with globally marketed things that are highly complex, performative, knowing, networked and culturally charged.

The topic area English Studies addresses with the automation of linguistic processes of creation and reception, drawing on contributions from the Humanities, Computer Science and Cognitive Science. These are placed in the context of the tension between human and 'artificial' creativity, and between the linguistic and market value of language in the digital age. It will address questions such as: Can automation currently or in the future be implemented within creative processes? Do they similarly transform and superimpose upon forms of reception, both in an academic context, as well as within wider society? What influence do these changes exert on the medium of language and its distribution and dissemination?

The topic area German Studies is concerned firstly with the concept of creativity in computer-generated texts. The aim is to derive the artistic criteria for describing these texts from the structure of the technology used, instead of just comparing them to 'human' works. Secondly, the specifics of reading and writing non-linear interactive texts will be examined. In these, the text represents an explorable world and reading and reception mean play and action. Thirdly, we take an in-depth look at the automation of literature against the backdrop of its historical development and question the general understanding of digitality and creativity.