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Artist working with computation as a medium, exploring collisions between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. Doing PhD at Goldsmiths UoL in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, exploring collaborative co-creativity between humans and machines for artistic expression.

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Long Bio

Memo Akten is an artist from Istanbul, based in London, UK. His work explores the collisions between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. Combining critical and conceptual approaches with investigations into form, movement and sound he creates data dramatizations of natural and anthropogenic processes. He studies and works with complex systems, behaviour, algorithms and software; and collaborates across many disciplines spanning video, sound, light, dance, software, online works, installations and performances. Alongside his practice, he is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, exploring collaborative co-creativity between humans and machines for artistic expression. Fascinated by trying to understand the world and human nature, he draws inspiration from fields such as quantum mechanics, astrophysics, molecular & evolutionary biology, ecology, abiogenesis, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology and philosophy.

Akten received the Prix Ars Electronic Golden Nica in 2013 for his collaboration with Quayola, ‘Forms’. Since 2009 his works ‘Body Paint’ and ‘Gold’ have toured with the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Decode’ exhibition. In 2014 his work as Marshmallow Laser Feast ‘Laser Forest’ was part of the Barbican’s ‘Digital Revolutions’ exhibition. Other exhibitions and performances include Royal Opera House (London UK), Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow RU), La Gaîté lyrique (Paris FR), Holon Museum (Tel Aviv IL), EYE Film Institute (Amsterdam NL), STRP Biennial (Eindhoven NL), FILE Festival (Sao Paolo, Rio, BR) and Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon PT). His work has also been featured in books, academic papers, magazines and websites such as Wallpaper*, Dazed, Eye magazine, Guardian, BBC, Financial Times, Wired and Dezeen.

Akten is a strong supporter of open-source software and many of his open-source tools and libraries are used globally. He is one of the core contributors to the openFrameworks project, and he gives lectures and workshops around the world. In 2007 he founded The Mega Super Awesome Visuals Company (MSA Visuals), a creative studio spanning art and technology. In 2011, with two new partners this evolved into Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). In 2014, after a string of hugely successful, influential and large scale projects, Memo left MLF to focus on personal work, collaborations and research.

 

 

Short Bio

Memo Akten is an artist from Istanbul, based in London, UK. His work explores the collisions between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. Combining critical and conceptual approaches with investigations into form, movement and sound he creates data dramatizations of natural and anthropogenic processes. He studies and works with complex systems, behaviour, algorithms and software; and collaborates across many disciplines spanning video, sound, light, dance, software, online works, installations and performances. Alongside his practice, he is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, exploring collaborative co-creativity between humans and machines for artistic expression.

Akten received the Prix Ars Electronic Golden Nica in 2013 for his collaboration with Quayola, ‘Forms’. Past exhibitions and performances include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Royal Opera House, London; Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; La Gaîté lyrique, Paris; Holon Design Museum, Israel and the EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam. His work has also been featured in books, academic papers, magazines and websites such as Wallpaper*, Dazed, Eye magazine, Guardian, BBC, Financial Times, Wired and Dezeen.

 

PhD Research Summary

My research is in artistic applications and explorations of machine learning, with an emphasis on deep learning and agent based AI (such as Reinforcement Learning, Monte Carlo Tree Search etc). I’m also very interested in artificial intelligence / machine learning as a subject matter, ranging from exploring theoretical computational models of perception and cognition, to short-term and long-term cultural impact of AI/ML.

Realtime image and sound synthesis and expressive manipulation using deep learning & reinforcement learning in responsive environments.
My research investigates how the latest developments in Machine Learning (ML) – with emphasis on Deep Learning (DL) and agent-based AI such as Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) and Reinforcement Learning (RL) – can be used to generate expressive, artistic, visual and sonic outputs in realtime and interactively. Applications of the research are demonstrated in multi-modal, virtual, augmented, mixed-reality responsive environments.
The ultimate goal of my research is to create ‘intelligent’, ‘creative’ systems that enhance artistic expression. These are systems that people interact with and gesturally conduct to expressively produce and manipulate images and sounds – in effect, collaborating with a creative agent. These systems learn – both offline and online – and have a level of autonomy that could be perceived as ‘creative’ behaviour. The experiences generated by and through these systems are designed to operate within next-generation multi-modal virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments