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This event showcases two short films that explore AI, looking at how its machinic logic and technological creativity transform the creation of meaning. Heidi Stokes’ film ‘unhIndered AI’ dives into the mechanisms of AI systems to show their peculiarities and mannerisms. The film is a collaboration with Mercedes Bunz. Joanna Zylinska’s film is an experiment that mobilises a variety of generative AI models to test the boundaries of human and machine creativity. Taking Chris Marker’s famous apocalyptic photofilm, La Jetée, as a point of departure, it explores alternative counter-apocalyptic scenarios with a gender twist.


unhIndered AI - Heidi Stokes in collaboration with Mercedes Bunz
Unhindered AI explores how AI systems process images and how the technology of ‘machine learning’ is enabling computers to understand and generate human language. It explores how the systems generate meaning with a curiosity for machinic difference: AI systems do not create images or language the same way humans do. Instead, what it does is more akin to data visualisation. Unlike humans who get inspiration from reality, AI models derive what they make only from what they've been trained on. They don't really ‘know’ anything; the best they can do is spot and reproduce trends from data. This film explores the machinic side in a playful and haptic manner including the hallucinations, mistakes, and biases AI systems have become known for.

AI APOCALYPSE NOW! - Joanna Zylinska
Is AI a threat to human lives – or can it help us envisage a better future? Joanna Zylinska’s short experimental film, A Gift of the World (Oedipus on the Jetty), offers a posthumanist take on the apocalyptic themes of the present moment. Telling a gender fluid narrative of survival as dreamed up by the film’s director in co-creation with AI algorithms, it dismantles the myth of the male saviour in European history and the traditional family structure that props it. A Gift of the World (Oedipus on the Jetty) remediates Chris Marker’s famous apocalyptic photofilm, La Jetée, by training a StyleGAN2 model on stills extracted from Marker’s original while having a script written with the assistance of an AI language model. In this way, the film enacts an opening within our dominant stories of social, political and environmental malaise, while showing us that machines can dream in unexpected ways. As part of the screening, Zylinska will introduce her film while offering some wider reflections on its socio-political and technical aspects.

Hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities:

Mercedes Bunz is Professor of Digital Cultures, King's College London. Heidi Stokes is an artist and filmmaker. Joanna Zylinska is and artist, writer and curator, and Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London.

The event concludes with a human-only reception. Humans need to register to attend.

At this event

Mercedes Bunz

Professor of Digital Culture and Society

Joanna Zylinska

Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice

Event details

Level 6, Anatomy Lecture Theatre K6.29
Strand Campus
Strand, London, WC2R 2LS