Tate Exchange is to host a collaborative four-day workshop with two artists, one human, one humanoid, aiming to explore our relationship with technology, art, race and identity. Robot artist Ai-Da is the invention of gallery director Aidan Meller and the first humanoid robot artist capable of drawing still life from sight, creating drawings, paintings and sculpture using her mechanical arms. She will interact and collaborate with artist and fashion designer Sadie Clayton, known for her copper work and her part in the Nick Waplington / Alexander McQueen: Working Process show at Tate Britain. The two artists will make new works addressing the themes of the event, titled Black Creativity & Technology.
Clayton also brings her unusual experience with another humanoid machine, having previously worked with Sophia the robot, designing copper arm cuffs and sculptural garments for her to wear to an event during Shanghai Fashion Weekend.
The workshop is produced with A Vibe Called Tech, a platform that aims to encourage academic, cultural and technological discourse with black communities. Following Ai-Da’s solo exhibition at Oxford University in June, Clayton invited the robot to co-host the workshop to engage the public in the event’s topics and explore how AI and new technologies “can be simultaneously a progressive and disruptive force within our society," says Tate in a statement.
Ai-Da was launched earlier this year, named after Ada Lovelace, the first female computer programmer. She was designed and built by robotics company Engineered Arts, with her mechanical arm created by students at the University of Leeds, and algorithms developed by scientists at Oxford University. An in-built camera allows her to draw from life, with visual information fed to the robotic arm to realise in artistic form.
Produced in collaboration with an innovative new platform A Vibe Called Tech which actively seeks to encourage academic, cultural and technological discourses within black communities, Clayton has invited Ai-Da to produce a collaborative workshop that will engage the public to question our relationship with technology, art, race and identity.
Black Creativity & Technology will take place at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London, from 24–27 October 2019.