The Crocker Art Museum is currently hosting “AI Am I? Artificial Intelligence as Generated by Alexander Reben,” a new exhibition that explores the intersection of artificial intelligence and art. Alexander Reben, an MIT-trained roboticist and artist, utilizes his expertise in robotics and mathematics to delve into the human essence of the artificial. His retrospective is a testament to the profound impact of technology on art and human expression.
Reben’s work is an embodiment of “art as experiment,” a concept that uses artificial philosophy, synthetic psychology, perceptual manipulation, and avant-garde technology to reflect on our intertwined evolution with invention. His pieces offer a window into our identity and prompt contemplation on our future alongside our artificial counterparts.
A centerpiece of the exhibition, “The Sentinel of Memory in the Valley of Vulnerability,” is a bronze sculpture that began as an AI-generated idea, visualized through the AI image generator DALL-E, and realized in bronze. This piece exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between artist and machine.
The interactive installation “Speak Art Into Life” further blurs the lines between creator and creation. Visitors speak into a microphone, and their words are instantaneously converted into visual art by AI, underscoring the collective aspect of creativity in the digital era.
Reben’s pioneering work in AI oil paintings and his contributions to the field have been recognized and showcased internationally, including at prestigious venues like the Vitra Design Museum, MAK Museum Vienna, and the Vienna Biennale. His research and art have been featured in prominent publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and WIRED, where he is a 2016-2017 innovation fellow. He has also shared his insights on stages like TED and SXSW, and in academic settings including UC Berkeley and MIT.
Running through April 28, 2024, the exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum not only highlights Reben’s innovative approach to art-making but also invites the audience to engage with the profound questions about the role of AI in our lives and its potential to redefine creativity. It’s a pivotal moment that captures the dynamic narrative of technology’s place in the evolution of art.