Author Archive

Arts Council Emergency Response Fund Recipient

Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by libby


Libby was a recipient of the Arts Council England Emergency Response Grant. This is intended to provide financial support for artists, creative and freelancers during the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

For the grant,  Libby will continue researching the creative potential of quantum computers (IBM) to explore important questions around human identity and surveillance capitalism. This will extend her work with AI to a new domain and the outcomes will be presented in a number of exhibitions next year.

Arts Council England are the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 they want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences.


Fleabag and Lady Chatterley’s Tinderbot by The Lowry

Posted on: May 14th, 2020 by libby


Libby's artwork, Lady Chatterley's Tinderbot, is an example of how modern dating can become entangled with old institutions, blogs The Lowry.

Lady Chatterley's Tinderbot explores love in a post-digital age by bringing together humans and non-humans and pre- and post-digital love machines, namely the literary novel and Tinder.

The installation features around 800 anonymized Tinder conversations of both men and women, where, "your personal matchmaker A.I. who understands your "type", and finds them on your favorite dating networks" has conversed with members of the public using dialogue from Lady Chatterley's Lover following its own sentiment analysis and facial recognition algorithms. The conversations probe how human relationships are mediated through digital technologies.

In a series of posts that explore art and ideas around the theme of the famous TV and theatre show Fleabag, the team at The Lowry draw on Lady Chatterley's Tinderbot as a parallel way of questioning modern single life and dating (in Fleabag Waller-Bridge collides with the church).

The full article is available here.

The Lowry is commited visual and performing arts to enrich people’s lives. They present audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike.


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 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.