Digital Prometheus: Artist Refik Anadol imbues artificial intelligence with creativity

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Alumnus of UCLA’s design media arts program shares the inspiration behind some of his awe-inspiring projects.

Since graduating in 2014 with a master of fine arts from UCLA’s design media arts program, artist Refik Anadol has become a worldwide sensation known for exhibitions that harness state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to create mind-blowing multisensory experiences.

His body of work though, is much more than simply mesmerizing feasts for the eyes and ears; it addresses the challenges and possibilities that our ubiquitous computing has imposed on humanity.

On April 19, Anadol’s latest piece, “Moment of Reflection” will debut on campus, where he also serves as a lecturer in the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts. It was in that department, he learned from innovative professors like Christian Moeller, Casey Reas, Jennifer Steinkamp and Victoria Vesna, all of whom use digital technology to help reshape conceptions of art.

“Using data is a scientific approach to something very soulful and spiritual,” Anadol said. “I think it’s very important for artists and creators to find that ‘human’ in the non-human.”

In the lead-up to “Moment of Reflection,” Anadol shares stories of inspiration and challenges about four of his pieces.