Joanna Zylinska

Joanna Zylinska, stills from A Gift of the World (Oedipus on the Jetty), 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.


Nonhuman creativity

Joanna Zylinska (King’s College London)


2022 NECS Online Lecture (3/5)

March 22, 2022


Is AI creative? And are we? My talk will start from an account of creativity proposed by evolutionary psychology, where the emergence of art is seen as continuous with the creative processes of other animals. In this framework, creativity is explained as a behaviour that offers a species-level advantage. I will confront this account with the position outlined by computer scientist Margaret Boden, for whom creativity refers to those rare moments that become complete game changers, and that involve stepping outside the system, be it technological or cultural. The philosophical premise of my argument will be that human creativity has always been partly nonhuman, i.e., that it has entailed an other-than-human element. At the same time, I will argue that we need a recognition of this creative activity as art by human valorisation – as well as human institutions and practices. My talk will draw on selected works of AI-based art that engage – implicitly or explicitly – with this proposition about art’s inherent nonhumanity by bringing it to light through embracing human-nonhuman coexistence or co-creation. It will also include a discussion of a recent film of mine, produced in collaboration with various AI engines and models, under the umbrella of AUTO-FOTO-KINO.


Joanna Zylinska is an artist, writer, curator, and Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice at King’s College London. She is an author of a number of books, including AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams (Open Humanities Press, 2020) and Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017). An advocate of “radical open-access,” she is an editor of the MEDIA : ART : WRITE : NOW book series for Open Humanities Press. Her art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of image-based media. In 2013 she was Artistic Director of Transitio_MX05 Biomediations, the biggest Latin American new media festival, which took place in Mexico City. She is currently researching perception and cognition as boundary zones between human and machine intelligence, while trying to answer the question: ‘Does photography have a future?’.


The Lecture will take place on Zoom, on March 22, 2022, at 18:00 CET (


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