MAXmachina is an incubator for new work that exists at the intersection of socially engaged thought and scientific innovation. MAXmachina provides artists with active production support, scientific collaborators and technology advisors, and adequate funding to sustain a collaborative team. MAXmachina projects are chosen for their artistic potential, ability to instill wonder, qualities of aural and visual fascination, diversity of perspective, and emotion and philosophic potency.
The Wandering Mind
By Gershon Dublon & Xin Liu (slow immediate)
The Wandering Mind is a planetary-scale peripheral nervous system for dream states. Does the Earth dream? Can our dreams mesh? In the Wandering Mind, our planet meets us in our sleep, filtered through global networks of sound chopped into pieces and embedded in the latent space of a representation learning AI. The project draws source material from tens of thousands of online field recordings, assembling them into one continuous guided dream journey collaboratively composed by a human performer, an AI system, and a sleeping audience.
Image by Yliess Hati (DVIC), Xin Liu
By Annie Lewandowski & Kyle McDonald
Composer and performer Annie Lewandowski and artist and coder Kyle McDonald explore humpback whale song in a true meeting of intelligences – humpback whale, human, and artificial. Their visually and sonically immersive piece reveals the wounded flourishing of the humpback whale, a species who continues to sing even as the menace of entanglement threatens its very existence. Siren celebrates the beauty and conservation legacy of the multi-platinum record Songs of the Humpback Whale on its 50th anniversary, while providing a window into the creative minds of our ancient mammalian relative in a contemporary experience of its ever-evolving song. Developed with the support of Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.
Thanks to the Hawaii Marine Mammal Consortium for field support and invaluable conversation.
Photo by Keri Wilk
Doppelgänger is a duet for a solo performer and a live stream of that same performer. This creates a live dialogue between the self and the self “just a few moments ago,”. If life is a conversation between one’s current, past, and future self, what happens when you collapse that linear conversation (monologue) and experience it in parallel (dialogue)? Does it become more or less comprehensible? Does such an exchange constitute a true conversation or merely one that is believably true?
The 2021 Cohort
Gershon Dublon & Xin Liu (slow immediate) | The Wandering Mind
slow immediate is the creative studio of Gershon Dublon and Xin Liu. To them, immediacy to the self and to environment is pivotal to being human on our shared planet. As artists and electrical/mechanical engineers, their practices range from performances, sculptures, and films to technological systems and academic papers. slow immediate is a member of the New Museum’s ONX Studio, and were the inaugural winners of the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab residency initiated by Ars Electronica. Their VR film, Living Distance, explores an individual’s place in the cosmos, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2020). Gershon and Xin are currently visiting research scientists at De Vinci Innovation Center in Paris, developing AI methods and systems for their project, the Wandering Mind.
Annie Lewandowski | SIREN
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,” fur 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 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 ten recordings with her band Powerdove, and has presented her work at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), and REDCAT (Los Angeles). She is a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow.
Kyle McDonald | SIREN
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.
NUUM | Doppelgänger
NUUM is a collective of multidisciplinary artists committed to bringing multiple forms together into a total work of art. They work across a broad range of forms including movement, sound, text, visual art and codified rules of interaction.
They examine each form through the lens of an adjacent one by asking some basic questions about sensing and cognition. “What do we (not) see? What’s real? What’s manufactured? What is merely after-taste? How does movement define space? How does stillness define movement? How does language subvert our senses? And how do participation and choice craft a narrative that holds the audience in a tighter embrace?”
NUUM Collective is NiNi Dongnier, Tiriree Kananuruk, Nuntinee Tansrisakul, Mimi Yin and Yuguang Zhang. Their work has been supported by Culture Hub, The Movement Lab at Barnard College, MANA Contemporary, The Center for Ballet and The Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts among others.
These projects are developed with the advisement of the following scientists and institutions DaVinci Innovation Center, ITP/IMA of NYU, Center for Coastal Studies, Gabriel Gaster, and Katy Payne.
These multidisciplinary projects will investigate how neuroscience deepens our understanding of human experiences, how AI harvests our impulses, and how both redefine what it means to be alive.