Explore our complex relationship with technology


11-04-2019

Cambridge Consultants partners with Collusion 2019, a public art exhibition which opens tomorrow (Friday April 12th 2019). The exhibition invites visitors to explore society’s relationship with emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), data culture, and augmented reality, in a series of six interactive artworks.

The initiative is an opportunity to create art from the technologies that promise to change our world, unlocking new artistic possibilities and touching on issues of privacy, control and themes raised by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The exhibition celebrates the intersection of technology and art, in a rare and thought-provoking manner.

Cambridge Consultants has worked closely with Collusion along the year-long research and development phase of all the commissioned artworks, providing technical leadership and content to the programme. This has involved working alongside Arm, the programme's other technology and innovation partner.

Collusion 2019 takes place at Cambridge Leisure, outside Cambridge Junction in Cambridge, UK. from April 12th to April 22nd. The show is open daily from 11am to 7pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 5pm. The perception-shifting experiences are housed in specially designed pavilions, including a party set in a 2030 home hosted by a virtual assistant, a multi-narrative animated film driven by music and AI, an AI-assisted virtual avatar generator, a memorial to the 21st century that broadcasts hidden messages excavated from the blockchain, and more.

Cambridge is a global centre for academic life, and a place where technologies that the whole world uses are conceived. This dynamism is normally expressed in commercial and academic breakthroughs, but also in art, and Cambridge Consultants is proud to engage in initiatives that connect technology innovators with the vibrant art scene. Diverse teams from across Cambridge Consultants have engaged with Collusion 2019 over more than twelve months, collaborating with artists, sharing technical possibilities, helping explore the issues at hand and informing the creative process.

The Cambridge Consultants ‘Digital Greenhouse’ team, which explores the art of the possible in AI and machine learning, worked with stop-motion film producer Jo Lawrence to create an animated film, named Datacosm. The film tells the story of the movement of data from A to B, revealing the process of performing and making. Across the screen we see a ticker-tape of blocks of code, showing that this work is in fact the product of real-time AI. As a live pianist plays the piano in front of a movie screen, an AI system based on Cambridge Consultants’ The Aficionado identifies the genre of each piece as it’s played – baroque, classical, ragtime, or jazz – selecting corresponding film footage from a pool of animated sequences to be played in layered composites. In this world, data engineers are shown as puppeteers, controlling the digital space from beneath the stage.

Separately, a team drawn from Cambridge Consultants’ user experience group worked with actors from theatre company Crowded Room on their project 2030. The team augmented the project’s own research by running a user experience workshop to explore the role of technology in the home in the year 2030. The resulting work locates visitors in the near future, imagining that AI systems are fully integrated into the everyday to the point of being trivial. Two actors invite the audience, who are the guests at a party, to nominate one of them to play the AI, and the other, the party’s host. While the audience is entertained, it must confront the potential of the host’s mother being looked after by a virtual assistant, along with some awkward moments as the host tries to impress.

“Over recent years we’ve seen the emergence of highly sophisticated ‘deep’ technologies that hold world-changing potential and significant social impact,” says Richard Traherne, project sponsor and Cambridge Consultants’ Chief Commercial Officer. “We’ve provided technology experts and passionate minds, drawn from across our business, to collaborate with Collusion to help explore these implications and prompt artistic reflection and debate. We’ve found the project fascinating: an unusual combination of technical and artistic perspectives examining the potential of technology, resulting in thought-provoking art that’s accessible to a broad audience.”

The Collusion 2019 showcase is funded by Arts Council EnglandCambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined AuthorityCambridge ConsultantsArm, and Anglia Ruskin University with support from venue partners Cambridge Leisure and Cambridge Junction.

To learn more about Collusion 2019, visit: http://www.collusion.org.uk

 

For over 50 years, Cambridge Consultants has led the way in innovative product development. We are the development partner of choice to many of the world’s leading blue chips, as well as the virtual development team for ambitious start-up companies.

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