Golan Levin is an artist developing artifacts and experiences which explore the expressive use of computation.
Levin’s work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into the formal language of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. Through performances, digital artifacts, and virtual environments, often created with a variety of collaborators, Levin applies creative twists to digital technologies that highlight our relationship with machines, make visible our ways of interacting with each other, and explore the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity. Levin has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Asia.
Selected AI Artworks:
Terrapattern is an open-source software project created by a collaborative team of artists, creative technologists, and students. It is an experimental research provocation, developed in a university setting, with the aim of presenting a new way of exploring, understanding, and visually organizing the world.
The images produced by Self-Adherence are developed from a feedback process in which thousands of small elements are mutually attracted to their nearest neighbors
Augmented Hand Series
The "Augmented Hand Series" is a real-time interactive software system that presents playful, dreamlike, and uncanny transformations of its visitors hands made by Golan Levin, Chris Sugrue and Kyle McDonald.
Levin on using Artificial Intelligence:
How as AI impacted your creative practice as an artist?
“I regard AI techniques as helpful tools for approaching my other interests in interactivity and generative form. AI is not the subject of my work, but rather a set of tools that have made some things easier. Sometimes it's the case with new technologies that they make "two steps forward, one step back". For example, ten years ago, we needed to use a Kinect device in order to capture a user's 'skeleton'; now we are able to use the PoseNet library to do this with just a modest webcam... but the quality is not as good. Of course, other things become possible, like extracting body poses from archival photos, that weren't possible before at all.”
What excites or worries your most about AI?
“As an artist, I'm concerned about GAN-based art being judged as a fad that looks dated quickly, especially since it has such considerable potential. As a human being, I'm concerned about the implications of deep fakes (for things like elections and harassment), and about fascist tendencies in the use of AI for surveillance. I recommend reading "Towards an Anti-Fascist AI" by Dan McQuillan, and "Against Black Inclusion in Facial Recognition", by Nabil Hassein, for some critical perspectives on those issues.”
What specific AI / machine learning technologies do you use?
“AI can have different definitions, as machine intelligence is a moving target. For some people AI specifically means techniques using deep convolutional neural networks. For others it means any technique, whether heuristic or learned, that allows machines to make intelligent-seeming assertions about the world. I am a generalist and use a wide range of techniques, ranging from older image processing algorithms to neural nets, depending on what's required. Like many new media artists I've also used consumer technologies like the Kinect and Leap Sensor that use machine learning internally. In my teaching practice, I introduce students to RunwayML, Google's Teachable Machine, and Rebecca Fiebrink's Wekinator, among other tools.”
Golan Levin’s Background:
Levin's work combines equal measures of the whimsical, the provocative, and the sublime in a wide variety of online, installation and performance media. He is known for the conception and creation of Dialtones: A Telesymphony , a concert whose sounds are wholly performed through the carefully choreographed dialing and ringing of the audience's own mobile phones, and for interactive information visualizations like The Secret Lives of Numbers  and The Dumpster , which offer novel perspectives onto millions of online communications.
Previously, Levin was granted an Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica for his Audiovisual Environment Suite  interactive software and its accompanying audiovisual performance, Scribble. Other projects from recent years include Re:MARK , Messa di Voce , and The Manual Input Sessions , developed in collaboration with Zachary Lieberman, and Scrapple  and Ursonography ; these performance and installation works use augmented-reality technologies to create multi-person, real-time visualizations of their participants speech and gestures. Levin's current projects, such as Opto-Isolator and Double-Taker (Snout) , employ interactive robotics and machine vision to explore the theme of gaze as a primary new mode for human-machine communication.
Levin's work has been presented in the Whitney Biennial, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kitchen, and the Neuberger Museum, all in New York; the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan; the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, Japan; and the Zentrum fr Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, among other venues. His funding credits include grants from Creative Capital, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, The Greenwall Foundation, the Langlois Foundation, and the Arts Council of England.
Levin received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the MIT Media Laboratory, where he studied in the Aesthetics and Computation Group. Between degrees, he worked for four years as an interaction designer and research scientist at Interval Research Corporation, Palo Alto. Presently Levin is Director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Professor of Electronic Time-Based Art at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also holds Courtesy Appointments in the School of Computer Science and the School of Design.
Levin’s Selected Awards:
Prix Ars Electronica, Honorable Mention, Computer Animation Category. 2015.
Core77 Design Awards: Winner, DIY Category, 2014.
Design of the Year (Digital Category), Design Museum London, 2013.
32 Favorite Products from 2012, Fast Company Design, 2012.
#1 of 10 Most Memorable Projects of 2012, CreativeApplications.net, 2012.
50 Designers Shaping the Future, Fast Company Magazine, 2012.
World Technology Awards, Elected as Fellow, 2012.
Prix Ars Electronica, Award of Distinction [2nd prize], Hybrid Art Category. 2012.
Prix Ars Electronica, Honorable Mention, Interactive Art, 2009.
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) 2008 Fellowship, New Technologies / Other Genres, 2008.
Webby Award, NetArt Category, 2007 Webby Awards. 5/2007.
Berkman Faculty Development Grant, Carnegie Mellon University, 2006.
Creative Capital Foundation, Artist's Grant, Emerging Fields Category. 2006.
ID Magazine Interaction Design Awards, Bronze Medal, 2002.
Levin’s Selected Exhibitions:
Robotronica Festival. QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia. 2017.
Day for Night Festival. Houston, TX. 2016.
Why Future Still Needs Us: AI and Humanity. Art Center NABI, Seoul, South Korea. 2016.
Alt-AI Exhibition. School for Poetic Computation, NYC. 2016.
Meta.Morf 2016: Nice to Be in Orbit! Trondheim Biennale for Art and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. 2016.
This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good. Mus. of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC. 2015.
Golan Levin. Aksioma Project Space, Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2014.
Designs of the Year. London Design Museum, London. 2013.
Prix Ars Electronica Exhibition. Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria. 2012.
The Gesture in Paint and Software: Helen Levin and Golan Levin. Staten Island Museum, 2012.
Golan Levin. Beall Center for Art and Technology, Irvine, CA. October 2011.
Golan Levin. Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. February 2011.
Levin’s Selected Invited Lectures:
Google PAIR Symposium. Boston. 2017.
Google SPAN Design Conference. Pittsburgh. 2017.
Artist's Talk. INST-INT Festival, New Orleans. 2017.
Machine Learning and Visual Culture, Art Center NABI, Seoul, Korea. 2016.
Machine Learning: New Implications for the Arts. Next Content Conference 2016, Seoul, Korea. 2016.
Terrapattern: Machine Learning, Visual Culture and Geospatial Imaging. Alt-AI Conference, NYC. 2016.
Artist's Talk, ACT Festival, Gwangju, Korea. 2015.
Artist's Talk, Kikk Festival, Namur, Belgium. 2015.
University Arts Research. Navigating Digital Futures Summit, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. 2015
Artist's Talk, HfK Bremen, Bremen, Germany. 2015.
Levin’s Selected Press:
2018 From Agriculture to Art — the A.I. Wave Sweeps In, New York Times
2016 Immersive Art Installations Light Up Houston’s Day for Night Festival, Hyperallergic
2005 Web Works that Insist on Your Full Attention, New York Times