The role of AI in live music has become increasingly prominent in recent years, both in the creation of the work and in more functional aspects related to production and staging.
With this in mind the AI and Music S+T+ARTS festival presents 12 shows and DJ sets where the creative interplay between artists and algorithms is brought to the fore with thrilling results.
Co-Creations between artists and the UPC
With the intention of creating spaces for exchange between musicians and experts in artificial Intelligence, Sónar and the UPC have assembled 3 co-creation groups, resulting in three innovative and spectacular live shows, premiered for the first time at the festival:
Taking place at Barcelona’s L’Auditori on 27th October, forward- thinking jazz pianist Marco Mezquida in collaboration with Ivan Paz and Phillippe Salembier presents ‘Piano + AI’, an improvised ‘dialogue’ between the musician and an algorithm trained to recognize and respond to the varying timbres of the instrument.
The following day at CCCB, trailblazing visual design studio Hamill Industries present a brand new collaboration with award-winning choreographer Kiani del Valle. Designed in collaboration with Javier Ruiz, Stefano Rosso and Marti de Castro, ‘Engendered Otherness, a symbiotic dance ensemble’ employs computer vision and motion capture to transform a choreography performed in real time into images interpreted and modified by the AI.
The final working group project to be presented at the Festival, ‘AI b2b DJ’ brings machine learning into the world of djing, with a strong component of audience participation. The performance, by DJ Awwz and experts Marta Ruiz, Casimiro Pio, Iannis Tsiamas and Mireia de Gracia, invites the audience to collaborate directly with an AI trained on musical databases by sending emoji or text based ‘mood signifiers’, corresponding to what they want to listen to next. These requests will in turn be translated by the AI into suggestions of tracks, to be chosen by the DJ in a collaborative process.
AI and Live shows
The festival will also present a number of live shows from international artists working at the forefront of creation with AI and machine learning.
Mouse on Mars, the pioneering German duo, who will present their new album "AAI-Anarchic Artificial Intelligence", developed together with 'AI architects' Birds on Mars and writer Louis Chude-Sokei.
Continuing her exploration of AI as an open tool for music creation, and from the prism of the human voice, American artist Holly Herndon, debuts a special presentation at the AI and Music S+T+ARTS Festival. Following an artistic residency with local vocal talent Maria Arnal and Tarta Relena, the artist will present an AI augmented live show in collaboration with Mat Dryhurst at the event. ‘Holly+’ sees the celebrated musician and researcher collaborate with Maria Arnal, Tarta Relena and Mat Dryhurst in an AI augmented live show.
Also breaking new ground is the collaboration between the musician, host and ethnomusicologist Nabihah Iqbal and quantum computing expert and visual artist Libby Heaney using AI to place decisions about musical provenance and validity in new perspective.
The generative power of AI also gives rise to improvisation, as will be seen in the shows of Bot Bop, a multidisciplinary trio that embraces live-coding and instrumentation and whose show is a co-production between Sónar and Bozar, the Brussels Fine Arts Center; and electronic artist Rob Clouth - a mainstay of Max Cooper's label, Mesh- who will present an electronic show where generative sounds take center stage.
The AI and Music Festival will also present two shows happening at the absolute forefront of technology and research: "Interpreting Quantum Randomnes ", a concept by researchers Reiko Yamada and Maciej Lewenstein -presented in collaboration with the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)-, which explores the nature of random sounds, and "Latentscape", an audiovisual show by Italian digital artist and musician Franz Rosati built from geospatial data of border areas.
Research-Demos: Cutting edge developments in AI and Music
Three projects will also be presented in a demo format, showcasing projects that build bridges between artificial intelligence and different aspects of music, from cultural to technical and artistic ones.
Polifonia A project created to recreate the connections between music, people, places and events from the sixteenth century to the modern day. Using Novel Data Science methods to extract information on music patterns, the project aims to enhance our understanding of European musical heritage. Polifonia is a project selected and funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme.
Jazz as Social Machine - This project takes jazz improvisation as a (thorny) example of a problem that haunts AI-generated music: what happens to the human? The answers to this question will be in the form of scholarly and creative reflection involving academic partners from arts and computer science institutions. Presented in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute.
With one more Research Demo still to be announced
Selected following an Open Call to the AI creative community, the Chinese New Media artist Hongshuo Fan will present ‘Metamorphosis’, an interactive real-time audiovisual performance designed for one human, and two AI performers.
Remote video performances from around the world
Crossing borders, as well as expanding creative possibilities, the festival presents a number of specially commissioned performances in the form of video capsules, available to view exclusively through the digital program.
From the US, innovative synth-pop duo YACHT present a new work inspired by their collaborative AI project Chain Tripping.
Contemporary- classical pianists LP Duo contribute ‘Beyond Quantum Music’ a piece uniting the distant worlds of music and quantum physics, in collaboration with Quantum Music.
From Barcelona, in collaboration with Barcelona Supercomputing Center, award winning composer Ferran Cruixent presents Human Brother, an ode to humanism and a reflection on human nature in an age of AI.
Berlin based multidisciplinary artist Hexorcismos presents a techno-shamanic ritual, filmed in the Factory Berlin XR room, using the custom built Djembe AI to explore the non-human sonic qualities of digital devices.
ARTIFICIA present ‘Chameleon’s Blendings’, a 15 minute performance by Barcelona’s OBC quartet and pianist Fani Karagianni, interpreting harmonies created by the Chameleon AI from Thessaloniki University.
Filmed at ℅ Pop festival in Cologne, DIANA AI Song Contest is a documentary following the results of the second annual AI songwriting camp, whose mission is to actively promote the creative dialogue between musicians and AI software.
The full program will be available to watch online here.