Theory: Art & AI. How machines think (and see) II (gLV) 

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Nummer und TypBFA-BFA-Th.20F.014 / Moduldurchführung
VeranstalterDepartement Fine Arts
LeitungFelix Stalder
Anzahl Teilnehmendemaximal 17
ECTS3 Credits
VoraussetzungenCourse language: English
ZielgruppenOpen for exchange students

Interested students of other study programmes can contact and will be informed at the end of calendar week 06 about possible participation.
Lernziele / KompetenzenThe ability to critically engage with the topic of artificial intelligence from a theoretical perspective and knowledge of contemporary artistic approaches to AI, particularly image recognition.
InhalteArtificial intelligence (AI) is all around us, transforming the way we see the world and the world sees us. Sometimes, we barely notice, sometimes, the results of AI can be very impressive, though sometimes so impressively bad that Hito Steyerl and others started to talk about “Artificial Stupidity”. But almost always, the actual procedures of AI remain mysterious, locked away in a black box.

In this module, we will look at a recent wave of artistic and theoretical work that tries to open this black box, creating a language and esthetics for critical engagement. In particular, we will look at image recognition AI which the artist Trevor Paglen calls “predatory vision” and the data scientist Joy Buolamwini calls the “coded gaze”, referring to gender and racial biases in these systems.

We will also use some web-based image recognition services to get a first-hand impression of the capacities of these technologies as tools for artistic investigation.

Felix Stalder is a professor for Digital Culture in the BA Fine Arts. His work focuses on the intersections of cultural, political and technological dynamics, in particular on new modes of common-based production, control society, copyright and transformation of subjectivity. He not only works as an academic, but also as a cultural producer, being a moderator of the mailing list <nettime> and a member of the World Information Institute as well as the Technopolitics Working Group (both in Vienna). Among his recent publications are “Digital Solidarity” (PML & Mute 2014) and “The Digital Condition” (Polity Press, 2018). →
Bibliographie / LiteraturAn extensive bibliography and list of works will be provided at the beginning of the course. To get a deeper sense of the focus of the module, please check these two references beforehand.

Stalder, F. (2019). The Deepest of Black. AI as Social Power. In S. Himmelsbach & B. Magrini (Eds.), Entangled Realities Living with Artificial Intelligence/ Leben mit künstlicher Intelligenz (pp. 125–147). Christoph Merian Verlag. Available online:

Joy Buolamwini, AI, Ain't I A Woman?, Spoken Word Piece, 3:32, 2018
Leistungsnachweis / TestatanforderungMandatory attendance (minimum 80%); active participation, short essay.
TermineTime: 09:15 - 17:00 o'clock

CW 17: 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 April
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