Provocative live conversations between scientists, artists and you.


MAXforum presents lively conversations among artists, artist-engineers, scientists, and technological innovators. It aims to serve as a space to collide different perspectives and allow you to engage with new, intersectional fields of thought to forge a better future.
This winter, MAXforum will engage with artists and scientists in order to better understand the future of human, non-human, artificial intelligence. Explore creative advances to be made at the intersection of diverse intelligences
Join us for 3 live conversations discovering how intelligence flourishes in systems, animals, and humans. This winter’s line-up will feature McArthur Grant-winning artist, a world-renowned curator, and some of the most brilliant minds in the tech and science world.

February 14, 3PM

MAXforum: It’s the Limitation That Sets Us Free

Limits of our brains…limits of our algorithms…quirks of our code…..what happens when artists and scientists test the limits and hunt down the mysteries? Do they find a new frontier or the next dark age? Join the conversation with artists Annie Dorsen and Grayson Earle and Dr. TomGriffiths, head of Princeton’s Cognitive Science Institute.

McArthur Fellow Annie Dorsen uses natural language processing to complete ancient unfinished Aeschylus play; hacker-artist Grayson Earle breaks into the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V to reveal biases in our social system in Absurd Intellgence; and Tom Griffiths explores parallels between human minds and computer systems.


March 14, 3PM

MAXforum: The Interspecies Quest

With the advancements in acoustic science and artificial intelligence, we gain understanding of animal communication and intelligence. Can we learn from the creative intelligence of another species?  What are the possibilities when artists creatively approach this vast new understanding? 

Annie Lewandowski, composer and performer, and code artist, Kyle Mcdonald, apply their imagination and their tech to create a concert of whale songs.  Explore with them how Humpback Whales think, communicate, and exhibit creativity in their songs and engage with ecological curator at The Serpentine Galleries, Lucia Pietroiusti, on what artists bring to the table of the interspecies quest.


April 18, 3PM

MAXforum: The Imagination & the Scientist

Artificial intelligence expands human cognitive power and is even expected to surpass human intelligence. However, AI is also invented by the same human mind that it is expected to surpass. How are engineers mapping something they can’t conjure given that the thousands of dimensions of AI are beyond the limits of our imagination?  Who is making the AI and how are they imagining it?

Join MAXforum as we investigate how AI systems are being built by humans, us. 



Annie Dorsen is a theater director working at the intersection of algorithmic art and live performance. Her most recent project, Infinite Sun, is an algorithmic sound installation commissioned by the Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019). Previous performance projects include The Great Outdoors (2017), Yesterday Tomorrow (2015), A Piece of Work (2013), Spokaoke (2012), and Hello Hi There (2010). These pieces have been presented at numerous theatres and festivals world-wide, including at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), the steirischer herbst festival (Graz), the Holland Festival (Amsterdam), and the Festival d’Automne (Paris).

Tom Griffiths is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Information Technology, Consciousness and Culture in the Departments of Psychology and Computer Science at Princeton University. His research explores connections between human and machine learning, using ideas from statistics and artificial intelligence to understand how people solve the challenging computational problems they encounter in everyday life. He has received awards for his research from organizations ranging from the American Psychological Association to the National Academy of Sciences, and is a co-author of the book Algorithms To Live By, introducing ideas from computer science and cognitive science to a general audience.

Grayson Earle is a new media artist and educator. He has worked as a Visiting Professor at Oberlin College and the New York City College of Technology. He is the creator of Bail Bloc and a member of The Illuminator art collective. Recent displays of his work include Kate Vass Galerie (Switzerland) and the Brooklyn Museum (USA). He has presented his work and research at The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, Radical Networks, the Magnum Foundation, and Open Engagement. He is currently based in Brooklyn, NY

Ashley Jane Lewis is a 29 year old Interactive Artist, Maker and Youth Tech Educator. In the summer of 2016 she was listed in the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada. In her undergrad (New Media, BFA at Ryerson University, 2008 – 2012), Ashley designed The Obama Board, a keyboard that swaps the sound of the note with a word from Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. After showcasing the project at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire she was invited to demo the installation at the Detroit Maker Faire for 20,000 people where she won Make Magazine Editor’s Choice and was highlighted on Barack Obama’s website.

Annie Lewandowski is a composer, performer, and senior lecturer in the Department of Music at Cornell University. In 2017, she began studying humpback whale song with pioneering bioacoustician, Katy Payne. Lewandowski’s 2018 composition, “Cetus: Life After Life,” for humpback whale song and chimes, explores the evolution of Hawaiian humpback song from 1977-1981. She has been awarded grants from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainability for her research exploring the creative minds of humpback whales, and collaborated with Google Creative Lab to create the broadly adopted public web tool Pattern Radio: Whale Song for teaching AI to recognize patterns in humpback whale song. She has released nine recordings with her band Powerdove, and has presented her work at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Música (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), and REDCAT (Los Angeles). She is a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow.

Kyle McDonald is an artist working with code. He crafts interactive installations, sneaky interventions, playful websites, workshops, and toolkits for other artists working with code. Exploring possibilities of new technologies: to understand how they affect society, to misuse them, and build alternative futures; aiming to share a laugh, spark curiosity, create confusion, and share spaces with magical vibes. Working with machine learning, computer vision, social and surveillance tech spanning commercial and arts spaces. Previously adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP, member of F.A.T. Lab, community manager for open Frameworks, and artist in residence at STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at CMU, and YCAM in Japan. Work commissioned and shown around the world, including: the V&A, NTT ICC, Ars Electronica, Sonar, Today’s Art, and Eyebeam.

Lucia Pietroiusti works at the intersection of art, ecology and systems, usually outside of the gallery format. She is the curator of Sun & Sea (Marina) – the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019 (and its 2020-2022 international tour) as well as Curator of General Ecology at Serpentine Galleries. Pietroiusti is a co-founder, and occasional co-presenter, of the Serpentine Podcast. Together with writer Filipa Ramos, she initiated and currently curates The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, a festival series, research and publication project on more-than-human consciousness. Pietroiusti is the co-editor (with Andrés Jaque and Marina Otero Verzier) of the publication, More-than-Human (2020). Forthcoming projects include Shanghai Biennale 2021 (co-curator) and POWER NIGHT, E-Werk Luckenwalde (curator), both in Spring 2021.

Philipp Schmitt is an artist, designer, and researcher based in Brooklyn, NY. His practice engages with the philosophical, poetic, and political dimensions of computation. His current work addresses opacity and imagination in artificial intelligence research. Philipp’s work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the MoMA Library; and has been exhibited in the US, Europe, and Asia.