The story of AI will not be fully explored without the inclusion of art, believes doctoral student Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka, who wants to collide art and technology – while exploiting the tensions that exist between them. Text: Marjukka Puolakka Photo: Veera Konsti A GROUP OF FRIENDS had maintained
close contact, shared ideas and played role-playing video games in their parents basements since primary school. Their meetings became more infrequent once one of them began, after attending the Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts, to study at the University of Art and Design Helsinki while the others chose paths leading to cognitive science and electrical engineering. “When we’d meet, an argument would always arise on the differences between science and art. Should we search for objective truths or subjective experiences? We could never reach a consensus, so, one evening, I came up with the idea of us creating art together,” says artist, visual arts educator and doctoral student Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka.
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And thus the Brains on Art art collective was born. They decided to see where they’d arrive at by replacing dead-end arguments with the making of art using the skills and means available to students of art, cognitive science and computer science. Their first exhibition piece was completed in 2013. At the same time, Mäki-Reinikka’s master’s thesis sketched out the negotiative and contrast-seeking method of working created in the collective. Studies in the Art and Technology minor programme in the newly-founded Aalto University only spurred him on. “Our artistic activities are entirely based on the friction between different fields. In spite of the tension, or perhaps thanks to it, we create works that are both artistically interesting as well
as scientifically and technologically challenging.” Brains on Art has created poems based on recordings of the electroencephalographic patterns of viewers as well as a performance art piece where a performer sways from side to side in tune with the fluctuations of the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Reaching across fields
Mäki-Reinikka is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Art. His research explores fresh working practices that connect art and science. “Putting it bluntly, I’m studying how tech students and art students put in the same room can succeed in creating art together. I’m examining what they should know about each other’s fields
This issue is about artificial intelligence.