While in Brisbane Australia, we visited several museums.
Queensland Art Gallery
The Queensland Art Gallery is a striking contemporary architectural statement for the display of contemporary versions of traditional Australian Art. The current display is divided into three primary exhibitions: an overview of works from its permanent collection; one of masterpieces that reconceptualize the traditions of Aboriginal art and culture; and a third of which we had the greatest appreciation. This exhibition, named “Travelers” provides a multi-generational multi-cultural view of many types of voluntary and involuntary travel (tourists, drifters, refugees, aliens) that ranges from Japanese woodblock prints through video interviews.
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art also provides multiple exhibitions including one that represents contemporary art from Queensland’s Torres Strait Islands and one on Limitless Horizons that provides different representations of distance, especially in the era of aerial and satellite mapping and space travel, One of the most interesting, from my perspective is a video that demonstrates the scale of the earth, our solar system and the Milky Way within the context of the universe, It does this through a narrated visual that begins with a view of terra firma from one meter through a series of images that progressively increase the distance of the image by factors of ten, up to 10 to the 24th, which equates to a distance of 100 million light-years! The other major exhibit provides an overview of the gallery’s own collection of contemporary regional art. Among the more interesting series are the Digital Marae Series (a contemporary perspective of the artist’s Maori ancestors) and one on the Art of War, which looks at different artists perceptions of the horrors of different wars. There is a separate gallery dedicated to a single, untitled red and black enamel work by British visual conceptual artists Anish Kapoor. Unfortunately, we were a few weeks early for a major retrospective of the art of Gerhard Richter.
Brisbane’s Old Government House
Old Government House, an 1862 building which is open to the public for viewing, for receptions and to house the work of Australian artist William Robinson. It provides orientation by way of a short video explaining the state’s and the house’s histories and provides a self-guided tour through each room. The upstairs rooms provides the history, examines the techniques and process and displays about 60 paintings of Robinson’s landscapes, still-lifes and interior spaces.
QUT (Queensland University of Technology) Art Gallery
QUT displays art that relates to the University’s focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). It currently has two exhibitions. The first, titled “Machination” provides a number of entertaining mechanical and/or video-based pieces created by Cake Industries. The primary exhibition, and the one that drew us to the museum is titled “Why the Future Still Needs Us”. It examines the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence and the ways it is being used in all types of art ranging from creating pictures, composing music, writing novels and even producing movies. It asks and answers the questions of whether and the type of roles humans will play in the creation of art as computers become more and more intelligence. (The answer is as both creators and collaborators by asking important questions and contributing human creativity. It provides about a dozen generally interactive displays of the current state-of-the-art of AI art. Among the most interesting are:
- Cubist Mirror/Kandinsky Mirror is a program that synthesized the stylistic elements of both styles and applies them to scanned images, in this case, people or objects that are in front of its camera. The results are fascinating;
- Robo-Panda uses IBM Watson APIs to recognize spoken words and help people learn English through conversation;
- Terrapatern uses deep learning to identify and track recurring patterns from geospatial satellite image databases;
- Tandem scans human-drawn images and uses AI algorithms to enhance the pattern in abstract or figurative forms, as chosen by the user.
- Doodle Tunes scans hand-drawn or photographic images of musical instruments and composes musical scores that integrate them;
- Animal Classifier uses a neural network to identify and classify images all types of animals into different categories chosen by the user;
- Brain Factory scans brainwaves to translate human emotions into visual forms that are then produced by 3D printers.
A fascinating set of displays that provide an introduction to the roles AI plays in art today, how it is likely to develop in n the future and the challenges and opportunities it will create for all types of artists in the future.
QUT Cube is not a museum, but an interactive learning and display space located in one of the University’s common areas. It has 48 touchscreens that students can use to explore and test ideas and create their own applications
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