Can a computer have intelligence? Can a computer have personality? Exhibit a sense of personal identity? Think artistically and creatively? These abilities are considered some of the most vital and unique traits of humanity. Yet, if a computer can display these traits--or deceive us into believing that it possesses them--does that depreciate the value we place upon the traits, or could it elevate the value we ascribe to computers? To the extent that a computer succeeds at making art, is it an intelligent creative being, or just a lowly impostor mimicking human behavior?
These questions of creativity, expression, and identity intrigue artists, philosophers, and cognitive scientists because of their philosophical implications. At the same time, the pursuit of answers to these questions, via experimentation in computer generation and mediation of artistic expression, results in fascinating new works of art regardless of whether their origin is ultimately considered human or mechanical.
UC faculty artists David Cope, Harold Cohen, George Lewis, and Christopher Dobrian are compelling thinkers and practitioners in the field of computer creativity. David Cope has developed computer software that imitates the distinctive style of human composers, producing new works that are astonishing in their similarity to those of the composers being imitated. George Lewis has designed a computer program that improvises with live performers, "listening" to what they play and responding with appropriate musical ideas, or even generating its own new thoughts. Christopher Dobrian has written another type of music-composing computer programs, ones which employ ideas unlike any human musician, yet which are clearly developed from established musical criteria. Visual artist Harold Cohen has developed a computer-controlled robot that draws and paints original figurative works of striking emotional impact entirely on its own.
The work of these artists advances research in the experimental and creative use of computers in the arts, produces innovative and distinctive pieces of music and art, and sheds revealing light on the aspects of creativity, artistic statement, and personal expression that we presume characterize our identity as humans.
This event is funded by the University of California Inter-Campus Arts fund, the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio, and the UCI Music Department. The Yamaha Disklavier computer-controlled piano is generously provided by the Yamaha Corporation of America and Field's Organ & Piano Center of Santa Ana. Technical video assistance is provided courtesy of the UCI Studio Art Department.
The UCI Concert Hall is wheelchair accessible. For more information, phone (714) 824-7288.
This page was last modified on March 30, 1998.