Datacosm // 2019 - Collusion

Datacosm // 2019

A film driven by live music and artificial intelligence

The sequence of a large-scale animated film, Datacosm, created by filmmaker Jo Lawrence was driven by artificial intelligence and music.

DATACOSM by Jo Lawrence // Collusion 2019

Whilst 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 and selects 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.

Further Resources

See resources available for AI in our Padlet, with definitions, examples and types of software to use. Also check out our Padlet on DATA: where to start.


Jo Lawrence

Jo Lawrence is an artist and animator. She mixes physical puppetry and digital animation processes, creating layered and often humorous works.


  • Cambridge Consultants AI team

  • Anglia Ruskin University


  • Arts Council England
  • Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Cambridge Consultants
  • Arm
  • Anglia Ruskin University