Painting Music by AI

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Painting Music is a live stage performance using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create music from live painted drawings shown as part of Aberdeen University May Festival 2019.

Painting Music has now also been transformed into a 15-minute film, see highlights of film here!

Many artists have explored multi-sensory ways of perceiving and to a certain extent have examined the analogy of mark-making to sound. Painting Music, however, uses cutting-edge AI techniques to examine the correlation and harmonious balance between drawing and music. The AI software developed by Meng. Student Jack Caven and AI specialist Dr. Starkey translates tangible painted marks into audible sounds, in real time and unique for each performance.

Most AI techniques are relatively ‘run-of-the-mill’ methods that use statistical approaches and ‘machine learning’ algorithms. Painting Music however uses algorithms that are based on the type of learning used by the human brain.

Dr. Starkey’s research is focused on bridging the gap between humans and computers, and ensuring that the AI is fully explainable to the end user – this production is a perfect example, which requires the AI to be transparent in how it understands a piece of painted art and then converts this into a musical motif.

The live stage performance where the AI created music from live drawing unfolding on a screen through a projector was shown as part of Aberdeen University May Festival 2019 and funded by Creative Scotland. Intrigue was created hooking the viewer around our own questions centred around the narrative Is AI good or bad?. 13-year old Labrador Paddy starred in the performance representing the animal kingdom alongside humanity and Artificial Intelligence. See live stage photos on our blog!

Painting Music has been transformed into a 15-minute film produced by Glasgow filmmakers Kim Beveridge and Albert Lucas funded by Aberdeen City Council. Japanese ink drawing as well as AI visual and aural outputs evolve onto a screen. The film premiere was at Haddo House Art Festival as part of the exhibition Experimental Use of Space 2019. See highlights of film here.

Painting Music offers a unique experience and taps into current demands of interactive and evolving ‘stories’, holding elements of risk and revealing behind-the-scene-glimpses with at the core high quality fine art in a distinctive style. The production process brings attention to the art of live drawing and highlights drawing’s dynamic capacity with other artforms.

See more on our blog!