AI and the Artistic Imaginary

Creative-AI Technology in Sustainable, Ethical, and Legitimate Practice

Artificial intelligence will extend the current possibilities for digital art industries beyond reproduction and distribution: AI facilitates a global automated creation of art that aims at imitating, combining, and extending existing artistic styles (creative-AI). This has major implications for artistic practice and society in general, and is studied in this Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation-funded WASP-HS project (duration 2021–2026).

Central questions investigated are:

  • How is creative-AI currently used by artist communities and which future applications do artists imagine?
  • What can guide the ethical use of data for creating AI in the context of the arts?
  • When AI is applied to creating art, how will it impact economy, environment, fairness, and diversity in different cultural contexts?
  • How does AI-generated imagery, for instance, change our contemporary visual culture, assumptions of seeing and knowing, and the humanistic politics of visual representation in an age of mass-generated imagery and deep-fakes?

Changes of cultural practice and technology are often analyzed in retrospect, accompanied by praises of new artistic expression, or lamentations of lost purity and diversity. This project will survey the shape of creative-AI technology and its many consequences on artistic practice and experience. It will involve stakeholders from diverse artistic contexts in interactions with creative-AI prototypes, and will forecast how interacting with creative-AI can be experienced by creators and audiences, and how creative-AI will be conceived of by developers of technology. These analyses will then motivate the development of alternative directions for environmentally and culturally sustainable creative-AI, of ethical guidelines for creative-AI developers and users, and alternative directions for intellectual property rights focused on the specificities of creative-AI.

The methods used in the project combine ethnography, digital methods, feminist visual cultures of technoscience, sustainability assessment, and recent human-computer interaction approaches with a critical method. The project team consists of experts in science and technology studies, ethnomusicology, sustainability research, music informatics and computer science.

Project homepage

Team Members

Andre Holzapfel (Principal Investigator, KTH)

Cecilia Åsberg (co-PI, LiU)

Bob Sturm (co-PI, KTH)

Daniel Pargman (co-supervisor, KTH)

Petra Jääskeläinen (PhD Candidate, KTH)

Anna-Kaisa Kaila (PhD Candidate, KTH)

A More-than-Human Humanities Research Group