From Avant-garde to Algorithm: Automated Creativity in Music and Literature

Interdisciplinary research project of the Institute of English and American Studies (Eckart Voigts), Institute of German Studies (Jan Röhnert), Institute for Music and its Mediation (Dietmar Elflein).

Automated aesthetic practices are generating new manifestations of artistic and political everyday actions in a society saturated by media. In recent years, projects of machine-learning creativity have increasingly appeared in various social and cultural contexts, including literature (TalkToTransformer, Botnik, The Truelist, Code Poetry), film (Sunspring, Lexalytics) and music (Arca/Bronze AI, Holly Herndon's "Proto", Actress/Young Paint, Google Magenta, Sony Flow Machines, Amper Music). The interdisciplinary research project "From Avant-Garde to Algorithm: Automated Creativity in Literature and Music" deals with forms and effects of automated creativity that complement, superimpose and transform established practices, ethics and concepts. We ask what social, cultural and aesthetic changes the use of digital technology, algorithms and deep learning applications in music and literature bring about.

The project is located in the tradition of a theory of media progression, which sees the change in the cultural treasure trove of forms, perception and transmission as being directly correlated with the technical recording and reproduction media of word, image and knowledge. We bundle and discuss existing approaches to capture a changing machine aesthetic and trace historical and contemporary developments of "dispositifs of creativity" (Reckwitz). In the course of the project, literary and musical phenomena will be recorded and analysed and placed in their environments of genesis and reception (network, scene). We adopt a cultural-anthropological and discourse-analytical focus in relation to authorship as a product, but also to paratextual and praxeological situatedness. We work with actor and network concepts in order to bring together the technical as well as aesthetic and social questions of such human-machine art action.

Transdisciplinary Conference 2022

Between 7th–9th October 2022, we are hosting our transdisciplinary conference "Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Art? Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Art? Human-Machine Interaction and Creative Practice". Find out more here...

Künstliche Intelligenz – Intelligente Kunst? Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion und kreative Praxis

Project News

  • Auf Einladung hat Eckart Voigts am 17.08.2022 die HeiCAD Lecture „Robot Literature – Concepts and Processes in Creating AI Content” am Heine Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (HeiCAD) is a central scientific institution of the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) gehalten.
  • Robin Auer und Eckart Voigts haben an der Konferenz „AI and the Humanities. Emergent fields, critical perspectives, ethical implications” an der Universität Aarhus, Dänemark, teilgenommen (6./7.9.2022) und folgende Vorträge gehalten:

    Robin Auer: “Common Sense Knowledge and Communities of Senses”
    Eckart Voigts: “Verfahren – Juxtaposing the Current Aesthetic Practice of Robot Literature with the Cultural Imaginary”
  • Am 30.5.2021 hat Eckart Voigts einen eingeladenen Online-Vortrag an der School of Social Sciences and Languages, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Chennai, Indien, gehalten. Titel: “Posthuman Adaptation”.
  • Sebastian Kunas hat beim Digital Dienstag im Haus der Wissenschaft Braunschweig am Dienstag, 16. März 2021 ein Impulsreferat zum Thema Musikpraxis & KI gehalten und eine Session geleitet.
  • Eckart Voigts ist von Wolfgang Krischke für seinen Beitrag „Poesie unter Starkstrom“ interviewt worden (FAZ 23.12.2020 N4).
  • Am 9.12.2020 hat Eckart Voigts ein eingeladenes Online-Research Seminar an der De Montfort University, Leicester (Prof. Gabriel Egan), Vereinigtes Königreich gestaltet. Titel: „GIGO: Algorithms and Emulations“.
  • Eckart Voigts hat mit Lukas Dörfler für seinen Beitrag in der Braunschweiger Zeitung (26.11.2020) gesprochen:
  • Bianca Loschinsky hat Robin Auer und Eckart Voigts zu KI und Kreativität interviewt: “Bot or not? - Die Auswirkungen von Automation auf Literatur und Musik“ (06.10.2020)
  • Am 25.05.2020 hat Dr. Louise LePage (York University) ein Webinar zum Thema “Robot Theatre” gehalten.

Online Conference

From October 7–10th 2020, the project group hosted the "Automation and Creativity: The Practice, Aesthetics and Reception of the Digital in Music and Literature" online conference. Click here to access the conference page.