The Tate Britain’s Latest Exhibit Is Curated by an Algorithm

Courtesy The Tate
Courtesy The Tate / Courtesy The Tate

Add another job to the list of careers that are going to be taken over by robots. Museum curators, too, should get ready to be obsolete like the rest of us. The Tate Britain’s latest exhibit, Recognition, is algorithmically curated, as Co.Design reports.

Recognition was the 2016 winner of the Tate’s IK Prize, a digital creativity award sponsored by Microsoft that focuses on innovative ways to explore the Tate’s collection of British art. The artificial intelligence program connects the collection to current photojournalism from Reuters, updated minute-by-minute. It was created by Fabrica, an Italian communication research firm, and the French artificial intelligence company JoliBrain.

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The exhibition, which will run until November 27, will be ever-changing as new images come in and are paired with art from the collection. The algorithm matches images based on object recognition; the gender, age, and emotions of the people pictured; the image’s composition; and the title, date, and other descriptors of the image.

Online, users can explore ongoing matches and see what similarities the algorithm found between the two images, whether accurate or not. A comparison of Hillary Clinton and Portrait of an Unknown Lady, by Cornelius Johnson, for instance, mislabels several things, including identifying the woman in the painting as a man and the background of both portraits as a blue sky. The responses people have to the matches will be posted on the exhibition’s virtual gallery at the end of the project.

[h/t Co.Design]

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