Emanuele Arielli

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Palladium print (1918)


Artificial Aesthetics

Emanuele Arielli (IUAV University in Venice)



2022 NECS Online Lecture (1/5)

February 8, 2022


Since the beginning of the 21st century, data analysis, machine learning, neural networks, and so-called artificial intelligence (AI) have all gradually entered the aesthetic realm from multiple sides. Firstly, a consistent part of our everyday interaction with art and aesthetic artefacts occurs through digital media, our preferences and choices are systematically tracked and predicted by algorithms that feed us back tailored recommendations and content. In addition to that, computational approaches make it increasingly possible to analyze huge amounts of data and extract patterns from cultural archives, allowing us to see features or connections in texts, images and artifacts that were previously undetected, sometimes bringing a previously hidden “data unconscious” into light. Furthermore, AI is now widely used to generate new synthetic artifacts, including artworks, music, designs, and texts. On this issue, views differ between those who see the machine as a potential opponent competing with human capabilities, and those who interpret this technological evolution as integration and extension of human potentialities. In this latter sense, AI and machine learning could be seen as the manifestation of an extended aesthetic mind. This gives rise to questions about traditional concepts like creativity, authorship, artworks, but also about our understanding of human agency, the role of machines in the shaping of our perception and sensitivity, and their role as projection surface of human anxieties and desires.


Emanuele Arielli is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the IUAV University in Venice. His research interests include the connection between aesthetics, communication theory, cognition, and the philosophy of mind. He was a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and member of Innovationszentrum Wissensforschung at the Technical University Berlin. Previously, he taught at IULM University, Milan, at the University of Chieti, Italy, and at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany.

He has published works in aesthetics, semiotics, and art theory, cognitive science. Among his latest books, The Aesthetics and Multimodality of Style (with M. Siefkes, 2018), Idee Virali (with P. Bottazzini,2018). With Lev Manovich, he is publishing the open source book Artificial Aesthetics (http://manovich.net/index.php/projects/artificial-aesthetics). For a list of his publications, see https://iuav.academia.edu/EmanueleArielli


The Lecture will take place on Zoom, on February 8, 2022, at 18:00 CET (www.thetimezoneconverter.com).

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