Talk: History of AI in the Arts, Stephen Bell, Paul Brown, Ernest Edmonds, and Catherine Mason (TBC), Zoom & Computer Arts Society YouTube page [29 March 2023, 19:00 – 20:30 BST]
This talk will be streamed on Zoom and YouTube. The limited Zoom places will be available on the night on a first-come-first-served basis. You will be able to view the event on the Computer Arts Society YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/@ComputerArtsSociety
We celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Computer Arts Society’s Event One (29-30 March 1969) with a panel:
History of AI in the Arts
The UK in the 1970s: The Slade School & Leicester Polytechnic
Speakers: Stephen Bell, Paul Brown, Ernest Edmonds, and Catherine Mason (TBC)
When Leicester Polytechnic was formed in 1969, lecturers Ernest Edmonds and Stroud Cornock were building a computer-based interactive art system. Stephen Scrivener graduated in Fine Art and the first Invention of Problems event followed in 1970. In 1974 the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London acquired a dedicated Data General Nova 2 Minicomputer for the postgraduate EXPerimental and Computing Dept. EXP attracted many visitors and some were regular contributors to the programme. They included Harold Cohen who was developing his top-down expert system – AARON – and Edward Ihnatowicz whose robotic sculptures are now recognised for his pioneering contribution to bottom-up AI, Artificial Life and Cognitive Interactionism. Another regular visitor was Ernest Edmonds and several Slade postgraduates went on to work in his Human Computer Interface Research Unit (HCIRU) at Leicester Polytechnic where they were among the first artists to be awarded doctorates for their practice-based research.
Moderator: the arts historian Catherine Mason has researched this period and met many of the pioneers. She will introduce the session and discuss her work contextualising its contribution and the work of participants like the electrical engineer turned artist Julian Sullivan.
Ernest Edmonds will describe his pioneering work with Stroud Cornock at Leicester Polytechnic, the Invention of Problems events in 1970-71, his friendship with Ed Ihnatowicz, the relationship with the Slade and the formation of HCIRU.
Stephen Bell was one of the Slade students who continued his research with Ernest and he will also talk about Dominic Boreham another student who went on to the HCIRU.
Paul Brown was another student in EXP and later a Research Fellow there. He will talk about his friendship with Harold Cohen and Chris Briscoe who ran the computing unit at EXP and discuss his own work with AI and A-life.
Pictured: Aaron drawing by Harold Cohen (1990)