‘Create a carrot that evokes larger social issues’: Artist makes whatever her algorithm demands – Home | As It Happens

Wednesday March 29, 2017

Some artists draw inspiration from nature and self-discovery. But Nicole He is ruling out the creative process completely.

She has developed an algorithm that tells her what art to make, at any given moment. And so far, that algorithm’s suggestions have been significantly weirder than, say, “Paint a landscape”.

Nicole He is an artist and programmer, and a graduate student at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

She spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off to explain how the algorithm-directed project The Best Art works and share some of the unusual pieces she has created.

Carol Off: Nicole, how do you go about calculating the art of the day?

Nicole He: I have a computer program and what it does is that it generates what we call an art index from a number of factors in the universe — including the weather, how many times Trump has tweeted today and the computer’s own horoscope. Then it generates a lot of different art project ideas and it rates them. But then it picks the one that matches the art index the most closely and that’s how we know it’s the best art project for that specific moment in time.

“I hope the absurdity of The Best Art’s algorithm will make people reconsider the objectivity of other algorithms that they might encounter — and I also hope that it will make them laugh.”
– Nicole He

CO: Alright, you’ve mentioned three things that are all extremely variable and ever changing. How often are these things shifting?

NH: I think they change pretty quickly, especially the weather and Trump tweets a lot so that can change…

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