AI Chanting excerpts released

Posted on: February 25th, 2021 by libby


Listen here: https://radarlboro.bandcamp.com/album/the-whole-earth-chanting

Nabihah Iqbal and I have released excerpts of our AI chanting project The Whole Earth Chanting with Radar, Loughborough Universities contemporary art programme.

The work which will receive its full, live premiere later in 2021 at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough.

Commissioned by Radar as part of its Risk Related programme, The Whole Earth Chanting pushes against the widespread use of artificial intelligence to manage (supposed) risks in the service of the status quo.

The artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney recorded various human and non-human 'chants', and then trained an AI programme to produce its own chants. Recordings of the original and AI-generated chants were then passed to her collaborator, fellow Somerset House resident and musician, Nabihah Iqbal, who has woven them into a 45 minute work for live performance through a soundsystem.

In the work, Heaney and Iqbal *take a risk* with AI by opening it up to the unknown so as to be open to new modes of experience and relation through the power of voice, sound and music. When performed live, it will generate forms of belonging and collective identity between humans and non-humans physically and sonically present in the space: a post-human spiritualism in which human perception is entangled with the material world. 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.

For more information, see radar.lboro.ac.uk/artists/libby-heaney/

Quantum Zeitgeist Interview

Posted on: October 27th, 2020 by libby



Libby was interviewed about her hybrid quantum and art practice by the online magazine Quantum Zeitgeist. You can read the interview here.

Quantum Zeitgeist aims to bring together different segments of the Quantum sector. The growing field of Quantum Computing has a range of skill-sets from Academic research to Applications. Quantum Zeitgeist brings all of these areas together, where readers can explore the latest Quantum technological developments all the way to the latest news from start-ups and market insights and trends.


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.

Noisy Chatterbots article for the V&A

Posted on: November 7th, 2018 by libby


Libby Heaney contributed an article Noisy Chatterbots to the V&A publication for the Digital Design Weekend 2018.

She discussed the potentials for generating new expressions of meaning and identity through the noise in machine learning systems. She spoke about her Sky Arts Art 50 commission Britbot.org in relation to this and drew on theory from Karen Barad, Hito Steyerl and Benjamin Bratton.

‘Quantum Weaving’ on Soho Radio

Posted on: September 15th, 2018 by libby


Artist Byzantia Harlow and Libby Heaney speak Quantum Weaving on this month's Monthly Howl guest slot on the Free Seed cultural show on Soho Radio.

Weaving together fragments of art, science, technology, sound and image, the artists discuss mutual interests centred around their individual practices.

To catch the show, listen here from 27min40.

Soho Radio is an independent online radio station based in Soho, London. It was created in 2014 by Adrian Meehan, a musician and studio owner, to showcase Soho's vibrant and diverse culture.

'The Monthly Howl' is a new monthly art segment on Free Seed on Soho Radio. Each month an idea is explored in conversation with guest collaborators.

‘The Weaver was utterly alien. Like a tarantula, the Weaver picked one leg up at a time, lifting it very high and placing it down with the delicacy of a surgeon or an artist. A slow, sinister and inhuman movement.’

‘The Weavers evolved from virtually mindless predators into aestheticians of astonishing intellectual and materio-thaumaturgic power, super intelligent alien minds who no longer used their webs to catch prey, but were attuned to them as objects of beauty disentangling from the fabric of reality itself. Their spinnerets had become specialized extradimensional glands that Wove patterns in with the world. The world which was, for them, a web.’

‘To act - to Weave - was to bring about more pleasing patterns. They did not eat physical food: they seemed to subsist on the appreciation of beauty. A beauty unrecognized by humans.’

‘The Weaver stepped sideways and was gone. It had peeled away from the physical space. It was running acrobatically along the space of the worldweb.’

- - China Meiville, ‘Perdido Street Station’.


Britbot at Edinburgh TV Festival

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by libby


Sky Arts Art 50 commission, Britbot is a netbased chatbot exploring British identity. It speaks to people about 'Britishness' and learns from what they say.

Britbot was exhibited at Edinburgh TV Festival this August.

"The Edinburgh TV Festival is the biggest and most prestigious media event in the UK. We bring together all parts of the television and digital world to celebrate creativity, diversity and inspirational talent in our field, and to debate the major issues facing us as an industry."

2016 LIFEBOAT residency

Posted on: March 31st, 2016 by libby


A Riddle Whose Theme is Time - left - los-res

Run in partnership with ACAVA,LIFEBOAT 2016 is a residency and career support award for MA Postgraduates from University of the Arts London (Graduating in 2015) with an interdisciplinary fine art approach to their practice. From next week, Libby will taking up residency in an ACAVA studio in Limehouse alongside Rosemary Cronin, Verity Slade and Roshana Rubin-Mayhew.  During the residency she will be developing further installation pieces inspired by science, technology and the underlying nature of reality.  Further details about the residency programme can be found here.



I am very happy to announce the presentation of a new installation at the Courtyard Arts 'Art and Science' show in March.  Overridingly inspired by the notion of a quantum superposition - the fact that a microscopic physical system (such as an atom) can exist simultaneously in all it's physical states - my piece 'Elements of Reality' will explore ideas of emergence & decay, microscopic vs macroscopic and order out of chaos, creating both a harmonious and dissonant environment for the viewer.  More details below!

poster for Art and Science

First impressions from the Frieze art fair

Posted on: October 20th, 2013 by libby


This year a number of 2D abstract works caught my eye. They all share a a certain digital aesthetic. They are noisy alluding to the information overload that has become part of our everyday lives and play on fragmentation and dematerialisation.



Garth Weiser x2
Gillora and Calzadilla
Antonis Donel
Kon Trobkovich
Shirazeh Houshiary
Sterling Ruby