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YML Teams Up With Damjanski to Build First of Its Kind, MoMA-inspired AI

Listening the dialogue between Stephen Clements, YML’s CCO and Damjanski is like overhearing two mischievous kids hatching their next scheme. It’s whimsical, suspenseful, and kind of terrifying.

The project investigates ideas of collaboration with an AI and its integration into the artist’s practice. Exploring the subject of thinking processes, Damjanski created together with his longtime collaborator, Vasco, an AI based on all the archived exhibition statements of the MoMA, in New York.

The exhibition comprises a headset where people can interact with the AI to create a new exhibition statement that was delivered by a printer. Each statement is a new source of information that inform the artist’s thinking process. Damjanski compares this process to the biological evolution of genes which is driven by reproduction and survival in order to procreate or grow.

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The two have a storied past of creative endeavors and recently found their way back together about one year ago around an unexpected project. Damjanski had become fascinated with AI, to the point that he’d began considering if there was a way to actually collaborate with a program.

Damjanski commented about his original idea,

Was there a way to integrate it into my thinking process? Could I create original work that demonstrated this concept, was ultimately the idea.

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Stephen Clements saw Damjanski’s vision, and knew just the team to bring it to fruition — YML’s Innovation Lab, the team of six based in YML’s Bangalore office. What ensued was a plethora of emails, Zoom calls, sketches, math equations and countless cups of coffee over more than six months. Led by Innovation Labs Director Darshan Sonde and Kinar Ravishankar, YML helped not just conceptualize, but ultimately build the AI for Damjanski’s project.

The final work would come to life as “Damjanski: Natural Selection,” a collaboration between Damjanski, his longtime collaborator, Vasco, and YML that debuted May 1st at ONCANAL in New York City.

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As the exhibition website reads, Natural Selection “investigates ideas of collaboration with an AI and its integration into the artist’s practice.” Damjanski specifically wanted the AI to build around all the archived exhibition statements of the MoMA, in New York.

Darshan Sonde also commented,

The challenge was to create more lifelike speech for AI. We had created lots of models, but in the end the model released by OpenAI worked the best. This wasn’t the work we were used to doing, and it was especially different because this is for an art show, but that also gave us more liberty in what the text could generate. The unique challenge was training the AI on data. Data has to be large, so we had to write custom scripts to scrape the data from the MoMA website and cleanup and tweak it to generate good results.

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The exhibition comprises a headset where people can interact with the AI to create new exhibition statements that will be delivered by a printer. Each statement is a new source of information that will inform the artist’s thinking process. Damjanski compares this process to the biological evolution of genes, which is driven by reproduction and survival in order to procreate or grow.

Proud of collaborating with our member agency, Damjanski also said,

The YML team was an outstanding partner and I’m proud of the work.

Each statement is a new source of information that will inform the artist’s thinking process. Damjanski compares this process to the biological evolution of genes, which is driven by reproduction and survival in order to procreate or grow.

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