Recipients announced for Google’s Focused Research Awards

by Kenric McDowell and Eva Kozanecka, Program Leads, Artists + Machine Intelligence

As part of Google’s ongoing commitment to support ambitious research in computer science and engineering, we support a small number of projects through our Focused Research Awards program. Grants up to 20,000 USD are available to faculty at nonprofit universities for research and/or tool-making to support creative endeavors with machine intelligence.

We are happy to announce recipients for Focused Research Awards 2019.

This year, proposals extend creative machine learning techniques to the fields of architecture and urbanism, smart home design and critical performance, game development and community engagement, and generative experimental film.


Benjamin H. Bratton and Casey Rehm (SCI-Arc) will use generative machine learning algorithms to study an urban site in Los Angeles and explore how design elements in existing and emerging urban infrastructure (e.g. building facade treatments, street furniture, paving patterns, automated systems) may be augmented and/or transformed by embedded machine sensing and artificial intelligence.

Rebecca Fiebrink and Phoenix Perry (Goldsmiths, University of London) will build interactive machine learning tools for game developers that provide supervised learning algorithms useful for working with sensor data. The tools will enable developers (including machine learning novices!) to easily create and refine bespoke models from new examples, and allow for easy sharing of trained models across the developer community.

Lauren McCarthy (University of California, Los Angeles) will study the affects and processes of the smart home in a new installation. SOMEONE imagines a human version of Amazon Alexa, in which individual homes are watched over and remotely controlled through a custom system of cameras, switches, lights, and appliances. The human smart homes will be monitored and run via a command center installed in 205 Hudson Gallery as part of REFRESH: Refiguring the Future. Gallery visitors will be invited to assist in the home observation and control, stepping in as the human intelligence driving the smart homes. The work is scheduled to open in early February 2019.

Casey REAS (University of California, Los Angeles) continues to investigate applications of machine intelligence within the realms of photography. His project, Expanded Cinema, proposes to use machine intelligence to produce an ambitious, experimental film that is continuous and non-linear. The film will explore the subjects of quantum mechanics and consciousness through the lens of science history and philosophy.

Sample images generated from a DCGAN model trained on a black and white film. © Casey REAS

Upon completion of the grant, all recipients will share results publicly in some format: as part of an exhibition, open source code, or online publication.

We look forward to sharing updates and forthcoming exhibition dates with you in the weeks ahead!


Artists + Machine Intelligence (AMI) is a program at Google Arts & Culture that invites artists to work with engineers and researchers together in the design of intelligent systems.

Learn more about Google’s programs and outreach efforts, or follow us on Medium for updates.

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Artists + Machine Intelligence

This publication showcases collaborations with artists, engineers and researchers as part of Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence program.

Artists + Machine Intelligence

Written by

We bring artists and engineers together to realize projects with machine intelligence at Google.

Artists + Machine Intelligence

This publication showcases collaborations with artists, engineers and researchers as part of Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence program.

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