Latest News

The Whole Earth Chanting with RADAR and Nabihah Iqbal

Posted on: March 10th, 2020 by libby

 

Libby will present a new collaborative work The Whole Earth Chanting with musician Nabihah Iqbal (Ninja Tune) on 28th April in Emmanuel Church in Loughborough. The piece was commissioned by Loughborough University's contemporary art programme Radar and part funded by Arts Council England.

‘The Whole Earth Chanting’ uses the power of voice, sound and music and the intimacy of performance to explore new expressions of belonging and collective identity between humans and non-humans - a post-human spiritualism, entangling human perception with the material world. During the performance, musician Iqbal will respond to chants generated by artificial intelligence, which was trained on data ranging from Gregorian Chanting to the humming of equipment in the quantum physics lab. As religious chants blur with football fans’ singing, birds and Iqbal's voice, the boundaries of categories through which we usually understand the world are dissolved, creating a transcendental journey enabling the ‘other’ to enter and transform.

Artificial intelligence is typically used by big technology companies and governments to categorize and label, in order to sell us things and to control us.  This inevitably embeds societal biases and unequal power structures within the code, putting certain groups at risk of prejudice and people and nature at risk of (even greater) exploitation. The Whole Earth Chanting subverts this use of machine learning.  Rather than separating and dividing, the algorithm creates its own hybrid sounds by weaving together seemingly disparate categories. 

The non-human ‘chants’ in the work were decided upon by finding matches between their spectrogram and a visually similar one for human chanting. The repetition of chanting, mirrors the act of creating a data set for AI - around 2000 copies of an individual chant are needed in order for the machine to learn that sound. 

The artificial intelligence algorithm and Iqbal's voice and instruments, (re)arranges, (dis)orders, (re)combes the material utterances of the human and non-human worlds, such that elements composing and informing what we know and who we are, the script to which the self is subjected, can be broken. 

Chanting moves us outside or beneath the culturally known and activates possibilities of discovering a self that is constituted by a plurality of human and non-human relationships. The reordering and blurring of reality by the artificial intelligence algorithm and Iqbal highlights how boundaries between things are temporary and their differences emerge only through relations.

Theologist Rudolph Otto stated that the breach of ordinary perception occurs through encounters with the numen praesens, the “wholly other” - an object whose nature, transcends the known, breaks the boundaries of the conceivable and provokes in individual or collective encountering it, unique types of emotions. The release of emotion through the repetition of chanting therefore gradually disentangles the audience from the cultural scripts they usually perform.

Through emotion and identification with both human and non-human voices through the ritual of chanting, engagements and actions to embrace the “wholly other” are made.

Shifting Screens symposium Arnolfini, Bristol

Posted on: February 15th, 2020 by libby

 

Libby gave a talk about her artistic research with machine learning and moving image at the Arnolfini on Tuesday 11th Feb.

The symposium was organised by the University of West England's School of Art and Design, where Libby also ran a deepfake workshop earlier in the day.

Space Art + Tech Residency

Posted on: January 15th, 2020 by libby

 

Libby started the Space Studios Deep Play Art + Tech residency this week. She will be working in Ilford at the new Space Studio Space and the residency culminates with a group exhibition with the other residents in September.

Libby will be considering how the body has been represented in art; how historical forms of bodily beauty and acceptability are now being translated into code and how these biases in machine learning datasets can be dismantled through play.

Libby will be running a new performative workshop on 4th March at Space in Ilford.

SPACE Art + Technology provides a test ground and critical exchange platform for artists and thinkers whose work engages with technology. We do this by offering artists residencies as well as regular events and workshops, enabling the public to gain a deeper insight into the challenges and opportunities that technology presents us with today. Recent alumni include: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Jesse Darling, Jon Rafman, Hannah Black, Erica Scourti, Jenna Sutela and Ilona Sagar. 

Next generation story-telling: AI and language

Posted on: November 24th, 2019 by libby

 

On Tuesday, Libby will join Luba Elliott, Ross Godwin and Pietro Gagliano to explore new forms of story-telling utilizing machine learning and other artificial intelligence systems. The workshop, held in Manchester's People's History Museum, is hosted by The Space.org and asks the question: How can AI and machine learning be harnessed as creative tools to help artists, writers, poets, film and theatre makers create compelling narratives and experiences for the audiences of the future?

The Space helps artists and organisations make great art and reach new audiences digitally. Theycommission projects, develop skills and find audiences.

"AI and machine learning are no longer futuristic technologies but are being increasingly integrated into our everyday lives; used to help us access creative content, from image and video content, to music, radio and podcasts. Artists, writers and organisations are already exploring whether AI can help them develop new creative worlds for people to discover but as a cultural sector there is nothing like the widespread interest and uptake there is in immersive technologies. The Space is interested in exploring what some of the potential barriers to adoption are and how we might facilitate creative access to these powerful new technologies."

The Challenge of Deepfakes on BBC World Service

Posted on: October 28th, 2019 by libby

 

Libby spoke to BBC World Service correspondent Joshua Thorpe about her artistic practice involving deep fakes. You can listen to this episode of World Business Report here.

The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, which broadcasts radio news, speech and discussions in more than 40 languages to many parts of the world on analogue and digital shortwave platforms, internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, DAB, FM and MW relays.

 

This project extends Libby's recent artistic research into machine learning and identity into the realm of non-humans. It brings together elements examined in Top of the Bots & Britbot, including cross-class contact, expressions of solidarity, notions of identity and the power of collective singing. Libby will be working with academics at Loughborough University as part of the Radar Residency to come up with an expanded definition of chanting based on energy and  information exchange across ecosystems (without anthropomorphising). Using various mics and online databases, she will record/create a dataset of human and nonhuman chanting and will then train an AI on the dataset. Exploring the act of chanting across the biosphere, Libby will look at what it means to include nonhumans in the hope that alternative expressions of human Libby non-human collective identity will emerge.

The funding will enable collaboration with curator Laura Purseglove and sound artist Matt Lewis and also with musician Nabihah Iqbal who will perform in call & response event with the AI trained on 'chanting' in churches in Loughborough and London.

Quantum Computing and Art at Sonar – Video of Talk

Posted on: October 9th, 2019 by libby

 

In this talk, which was held at Sonar+D 2019 and moderated by Wired's Victoria Turk, three quantum scientists -Holly Cummings, Artur Garcia Saez and artist Libby Heaney - explain the processes behind the quantum computing revolution and explore what the leap in computing power will mean for creativity in the not so distant future.

You can watch the talk on YouTube here.

Radar Residency at Loughborough University

Posted on: October 9th, 2019 by libby

 

Libby has started a research residency as part of Loughborough University's contemporary art programme Radar.

Inspired by the theme of 'Risk', Libby will work with researchers from social sciences and computer science to explore risk in creating a new performance with machine learning, while also thinking about mitigating risk by encountering 'the other' in human and non-human systems. The performance will explore notions of chanting, through it's material properties, across the biosphere and will place singer Nabihah Iqbal (Ninja Tunes) into dialogue with an AI bot.

Radar is LU Arts’ commissioning and research programme. They invite artists to produce new work in response to and as part of research undertaken across Loughborough University’s two campuses, and programme events bringing together artistic and academic work. The work they commission is process-led, frequently participatory, and takes place both in the public realm and across our campuses.

 

 

Top of the Bots: Resurrection is a new version of the on-going Top of the Bots series of performance/AI based artworks, the first of which was exhibited at Art Night London early this year. Top of the Bots is funded by Art Council England and considers the aesthetics and functioning of artificial intelligent algorithms to create live experiences that question our consumption of celebrities and our relations to each other.

The power of group singing in karaoke, imperfections in voice and individual vulnerability are used to explore alternative expressions of collective identity. Top of the Bots: Resurrection asks what it means to resurrect icons of western music while questioning notions of truth and labour.

Top of the Bots: Resurrection will be presented at September 27th's Tate Late in the Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern.

The Tate Exchange is place for all to play, create, reflect and question what art can mean to our everyday.

Hyphen-Labs is an international collective working at the intersection of technology, art, science, and the future. Through their global vision and multi-disciplinary backgrounds they are driven to create engaging ways to explore planetary-centered design. In the process they challenge conventions and stimulate conversations, placing collective needs and experiences at the center of evolving narratives.

Machine Learning Matters talk at Somerset House

Posted on: June 30th, 2019 by libby

 

James Nissen with a 40 x 80 cm ion-beam etched multilayer dielectric grating 1780 lines/mm

Artist Libby Heaney spoke about her recent artistic practice exploring the intersections of machine learning, pop culture and identity at Somerset House's (Inter-) event. Using the concept of diffraction as a pivot to explore her artworks Britbot, Euro(re)vision, Oh Brian and Top of the Bots, Heaney drew on feminist theories and quantum science to unpick identities and deconstruct limiting categories usually enforced by machine learning algorithms.

(Inter-) is a 2-day programme of installations, presentations, panel discussions and live performances exploring image, sound and digital art. Saturday’s programme opens with discussion and presentations exploring the politics of virtual and physical architectures and the new ways of queering digital.

Somerset House Studios is an experimental workspace in the centre of London connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. Located inside the repurposed former Inland Revenue building, the Studios offer space and support to artists pushing bold ideas, engaging with urgent issues and pioneering new technologies.