by Eva Kozanecka and Kenric McDowell, Program Leads, Artists + Machine Intelligence
As part of Google’s ongoing commitment to support ambitious research in computer science and engineering, Artists + Machine Intelligence supports a small number of multi-year projects through Google’s research grants 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 the recipients for this year’s 2019–2020 funding cycle. Recipients include: Rebecca Allen, Ciira Maina, Tivon Rice, and Joshua Trees.
This year’s selected proposals explore typeface design, environmental literacy, virtual reality in relation to neuroscience, and ecosystem health through listening.
Rebecca Allen (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
Rebecca Allen is a Los Angeles-based artist inspired by the study of motion, perception, and behavior. She is a professor and Founding Chair of the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts. Her most recent interest in virtual reality and neuroscience involves collaborations with neuroscience research labs at University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Her latest work, Re-emergence, explores emergent behaviors of living systems in artificial environments. A VR experience powered by open-source Unity ML-agents and Python Tensorflow ML will aim“to create a connection with the state of our natural ‘real’ ecology, and provoke philosophical questions about behavior, humanity, and the nature of life,” explains Rebecca.
Ciira Maina (Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya) in collaboration with Dr. Peter Njoroge (National Museum, Kenya)
Ciira Maina is an electrical engineer and researcher based in Nyeri, Kenya. Ciira’s research covers multiple disciplines including bioacoustics, internet of things (IoT), machine learning, and data science. In collaboration with Dr. Peter Njoroge, Ciira will develop and deploy an acoustic monitoring system that uses specific bird vocalisations to infer an ecosystem’s health. The project will use hardware capable of performing machine learning inference at the edge, such as Coral and Raspberry Pi. Ciira is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri, Kenya, and earned his Ph.D. at Drexel University.
Tivon Rice (University of Washington, USA)
Tivon Rice is an artistic researcher, exploring representation and communication in the context of digital culture. His project explores how humans learn about the natural environment, and asks the same of intelligent systems. Tivon writes: “How (and why) are machines made to control natural environments? To what degree can a machine perceive a landscape, drawing upon data rather than lived experiences? Can our observation of this machine perception help us reflect upon human nature, our individual understanding of the environment, and other non-anthropocentric ecological perspectives?” Tivon holds a Ph.D. in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington. He is a former Fulbright scholar (Korea, 2012), and presently an Affiliate Artist at DXARTS, University of Washington.
Joshua Trees (Royal College of Art, U.K.) in collaboration with Yvan Martinez and Krister Olsson
Joshua Trees, a Tutor in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, proposes to build an online type foundry, powered by the public, that uses machine learning to inspire a new generation of open source fonts representing diverse cultures, geographies and histories. The project aims to serve as an experimental resource for collecting, archiving and constructing letterforms, and reviving and reinventing typographies to perform alternative pasts and speculative futures. Public Foundry is a collaboration between Krister Olsson, a sculptor and media artist based in LA, and Yvan Martinez, an editor and educator based in London. Together, the group are co-founders of Books From The Future, a London-based imprint/school that conducts experiments in learning, reading and publishing in collaboration with leading artists, designers and educators.