Commissioned for Collusion 2019
Artificial intelligence and music drive Jo Lawrence’s large-scale animated film installation Datacosm. As a live pianist plays the piano in front of a movie screen, an AI program called The Aficionado identifies the genre of each piece – baroque, classical, ragtime, or jazz – selecting corresponding film footage from a pool of animated sequences to be played in layered composites.
The process produces unique visual microworlds – and four potential endings. In the metaphorical world of the Datacosm, data engineers appear as puppeteers who control events in digital space from beneath the stage of a puppet theatre.
Collusion supported Lawrence through a 12-month programme of research and development to realise the work, connecting her with key partners. Lawrence filmed Datacosm as part of a two-week residency at Anglia Ruskin University. The piece was also created in collaboration with Cambridge Consultants’s artificial intelligence research team, who developed The Aficionado as a demonstration of potential applications for artificial intelligence – and who also appear in the film as the data puppeteers.
Jo Lawrence is an artist and animator. She mixes physical puppetry and digital animation processes, creating layered and often humorous works.