Ai-Da is an artist from London, who recently created an abstract portrait of Queen Elizabeth for the Platinum Jubilee. She’s also had a solo exhibition titled ‘Unsecured Futures’ for the University of Oxford and has lectured on a TEDx Talks.
She is articulate and creative with her black bob hairstyle and painter’s overalls; she fits every bit the artist persona. She’s also a robot.
Created by Aidan Meller and Cornwall’s Engineered Arts, Ai-Da is a hyper realistic humanoid, who represents the convergence of art and technology. She serves to prove that creating art is not just a human experience.
By using lens in her eyes and computer memory, Ai-Da creates an image and transfers it onto canvas with her robotic arm. There is AI programming in her system that allows her to ‘think’ and speak. She hopes to bring awareness to people of how art can be viewed under a different set of eyes, or in this case lens.
Combining art and technology is something that started back in 1967 when Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman formed the group EAT (Experiments with Art and Technology). It gave us the beginnings of Digital Arts. It has evolved from box TVs to augmented reality and now a humanoid.
Artists and viewers see and understand art differently. Even artists and viewers will see one piece of art differently. Yet, what’s the same is the feeling you get when you create it or see it. Can a humanoid, like Ai-Da, ‘feel’ that sense of wonder or energy?
Perhaps it’s a one-sided affair where the humans get to enjoy the art and robots just make it. But how do viewers get that sense of connection with the artist? Maybe in the distant future there will be humanoids that can feel. Will we still be able to connect?