Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Guest Post: Anna Dumitriu, Co-chair TCAC Arts & Culture Committee

Using “Intuition and Ingenuity” – The Turing Centenary and the Arts

By Anna Dumitriu
Director The Institute of Unnecessary Research 

On 23rd June, members of the Turing Centenary Arts and Culture Subcommittee alongside around 100 other lucky people, celebrated the Turing Centenary Day by cruising up the Thames in the 'Dorkboat' in Turing themed fancy dress, with talks by ‘people doing strange things with electricity’ and by myself Anna Dumitriu (Turing Centenary Arts and Culture Subcommittee co-chair) to Watermans Gallery near Kew, where there were more performances, culminating in a 10 minute performance in our specially commissioned Sound Portrait of Alan Turing by Martin A Smith accompanied by a VJ performance by Alex May, as well as the cutting and eating of the a wonderful Turing Centenary celebration cake.

The Sound Portrait used music, found sounds and sound collage. It also featured contributions from Professor Kevin Warwick, Professor Ernest Edmonds, quotations from Alan Turing and poetry from Hallie, aged fifteen from Manchester. The soundscape was generated from Turing Patterns using image to sound software and incorporates recordings of the Bombe, the Second World War and elements from Snow White, a story that meant so much to Alan Turing. The artist’s intent, as in a conventional painted portrait or photograph, was to represent aspects Turing’s character, life and work but in this case by using the medium of sound.

Artist and VJ Alex May created a beautiful, poignent live, improvised video mix to visually interpret Martin’s sound portrait using his own custom software called PatchBox.

Picture courtesy of Normal Flora from flickr

And then we consumed that cake, probably the best cake you will ever see (Turing themed of course), created by Pink Rose Cakes in Brighton. It comprised of a perfectly detailed Enigma Machine, with a little Alan Turing and a tiny apple. Pictures of the cake have been going viral on the web ever since!

But of course this is just a tiny part of the Arts and Culture Subcommittee’s activities for the Centenary. Myself, Nick Lambert (my co-chair) and Sue Gollifer have put together a touring art exhibition entitled “Intuition and Ingenuity” which features work by artists who are strongly inspired by Turing’s life and ideas. It features several new commissions and includes work by Roman Verostko, boredomresearch, Patrick Tresset, Paul Brown, Ernest Edmonds, Gordana Novakovic, William Latham, Greg Garvey, Trope Troupe, Martin A Smith, Sue Gollifer, Anna Dumitriu and Alex May. It’s already been exhibited at Kinetica Art Fair in London, Lighthouse Gallery in Brighton (as part of Brighton Science Festival) and Lovebytes Digital Art Festival in Sheffield, and now it’s continuing to tour for the rest of the year. It’s supported by The Arts Council England, The University of Hertfordshire and The Computer Arts Society. You can find out more about the exhibition and forthcoming venues as well as order the exhibition catalogue via our website.

The next outing will be 2nd -6th July at the:

The AISB/IACAP World Congress in Birmingham (exhibition open to the public).

Monday 2nd July 2012 5pm - 9pm (drinks reception 7-9pm all welcome)

Open daily Tuesday 3rd - Friday 6th July 2012  12-5:30pm (guided tours available on request at the exhibition)

The West Wing Meeting Room
Centre for Professional Development
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Artists Talks Event:  Tuesday 3rd July 10:30am - with Anna Dumitriu and Alex May “Intuition and Ingenuity: Artistic Responses to Turing” as part of the AISB Conference, see conference schedule for location (for conference delegates only).
Ernest Edmonds will also be speaking on Friday 6th July as part of the Turing Arts Symposium (for conference delegates only).

This event is supported by an AISB as a Public Understanding of Artificial Intelligence activity.

© Anna Dumitriu, June 2012


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