Computational Media and Arts Thrust Seminar | Artificial Life, AI, Art and Altered Nature - Artists Make Choice

4:00pm - 6:30pm
Online Zoom Meeting (To register: please scan the QR code at the bottom)

Artists need to make choices through the generative artwork process. For example, how to target the simulated nature, choose a suitable dataset, and evaluate the results of the generation.

What is the preference of different artists? What are the factors that influence the choices? What are the criteria of beauty? With these questions in mind, this symposium, entitled “Artists Make Choice”, explores the thinking and challenges involved in creating aesthetic artworks and new life.

Three keynote speakers will share their thoughts on the artistic creation of artificial life in the field of computation and software. The speakers will demonstrate and explore how artist may generate artworks and create beautiful artificial lives using the cutting-edge technology.


Speaker: William Latham

Speech Title: The Evolution of Mutator: 1987 – 2022

Abstract: William Latham will initially talk about the development of his pioneering Mutator Sofware at The IBM UK Scientific Centre working with mathematician Stephen Todd in the late 80s and 90s. Mutator was designed to mutate and generate artistic variants of 3D sculptural forms which can be bred and cross bred with multiple parents. He will talk about the concept of using a custom-made evolutionary system as a “creative partner” to mutate and shape unexpected organic art forms using a process of “evolution of by aesthetics” driven by the artist. He will then cover the design of the Mutator user interface and the use of parametric and structural constraints to allow an artistic navigation of a multidimensional space of possible art forms. He wll then talk about how Mutator was translated into the VR space through his research work at Goldsmiths (University of London) since 2015. Following this he will cover the introduction of force fields and dynamics in the Mutator VR experience in preparation for showing at The Pompidou Centre in Paris in early 2020 on HTC Vive VR.

He will talk briefly about his scientific projects across the domains of protein docking, virus visualisation and protein folding with leading Scientific Experts and how insights from this science work informs the art. Finally, he will talk about his “Fantasy Virus Mutator” series created during lockdown which was directly influenced by research into the structural biology of viruses.

The work is led by artist William Latham working with Programmers and mathematicians Stephen Todd, Lance Putnam and Peter Todd.


Speaker: Entangled Others Studio

Speech Title: Expressing Entanglement: Art and the More-Than-Human World

Abstract: Entangled Others (Sofia Crespo & Feileacan McCormick) share about their studio practice and its ongoing attempts at creating art about the more-than-human through generative art, and how it can help augment our imagination, practice, and interactions with the natural world.


Speaker: Kang Zhang

Speech Title: Computational Aesthetics

Abstract: Interdisciplinary research topics of computational aesthetics and aesthetic computing, and their differences and relationships. We then focus on computational aesthetics, in particular, on the aesthetic measurement of paintings and applications.


Event Format
Speakers / Performers:
William Latham
Computing Department, Goldsmiths, University of London.

A designer of computer games, a computer artist and entrepreneur. Expertise in evolutionary art, graphics, generative art, genetics, and the entertainment and video games industries. William Latham obtained his BA in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University in 1982. The same year, he became a Henry Moore Scholar and studied Fine Art at the Royal College of Art until 1985. By then he had developed his Form Synth process, a rule based evolutionary drawing process in the form of a flow diagram, that prefigured his move to programming. In 1986, he presented an original paper on FormSynth at the BCS Computer Graphics and Displays Group and the following year started working at The IBM UK Scientific Centre in Winchester as a Research Fellow. He is also a co-Director of London Geometry Ltd which has developed serious games for mobile with UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and the NHS for stroke patients. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience UCL.

Speakers / Performers:
Entangled Others Studio

Entangled Others is the shared studio practice of artists Feileacan McCormick and Sofia Crespo. Their work focuses upon ecology, nature, and generative arts, with an emphasis on giving the more-than-human new forms a presence and life in digital space. This involves exploring questions of relationship, biodiversity, and awareness through biology-inspired technologies. In turn, they highlight how through conscious efforts, new technology can be used to bring attention and awareness to the unseen that we are tightly interwoven with.

Speakers / Performers:
Kang Zhang
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou)

Kang Zhang is Professor of Computational Media and Arts, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou), and Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He was a Fulbright Distinguished Chair and ACM Distinguished Speaker, and held academic positions in USA, Czech Republic, Australia, and UK. Dr. Zhang has published 8 books, over 100 journal papers, and delivered keynotes in computer science, architecture, art, design, and psychology areas, and won numerous art and design awards.

Recommended For
Faculty and staff
General public
PG students
UG students
More Information

Theme: Artificial Life, AI, Art and Altered Nature - Artists Make Choice

Organizers: Aiiiii Art Center, Computational Media and Arts, HKUST(GZ), Chronus Art Center

Date: 16:00-18:30(GMT+8), August 7th, 2022

Academic Host: Prof. Kang Zhang

Curators: Ziwei Wu, Xi Li, Xin Bi, Jiamin Cao

Speakers: Entangled Others Studio, William Latham, Kang Zhang 

Information Hub, HKUST(GZ)
Aiiiii Art Center
Computational Media and Arts, HKUST(GZ)
Chronus Art Center

The conference will be held on Zoom. Please scan the QR code to register.

Attendance is free. Registration is compulsory. Zoom links will be provided before the start of the conference.



Post an event
Campus organizations are invited to add their events to the calendar.