For one week from 6-11 March 2018 the Digital Maker Collective, UAL and invited guest contributors/makers from across the globe will transform Tate Exchange, Tate Modern into a large public tech innovation studio.

Sky News’ Gemma Evans playing the Mental Arm Wrestle Game with UAL’s Digital Maker Collective member, Irina Starkova

A space to get hands-on with technology exploration and rapid prototyping, and discover new forms of collaborative digital making experimentation.

The role of the arts in an age of rapid technological change will be reimagined. Guests will explore how, through the arts, we can move beyond everyday consumption and technology as a spectacle.

Here, UAL student and Digital Maker Collective member, Irina Starkova invites audiences to challenge the mainstream, say the unsaid and address inclusion, integration and the production of technology in our lives, society, work, education – and in the arts.

INTERROGATOR: Okay, fair enough, I’ll stop with the slang. How are you?

ELBOT: Just a moment! I’ll start my self-diagnosis algorithm and let you know the results.

INTERROGATOR: Very funny, that’s exactly what you’d say if you were a computer, right?

This was one of the conversations that took place at the Loebner competition – that set out to find the best conversational machine. The format of the event was to have a human pitted against a machine. The task of the interrogator was to figure out which was the human and which was the machine. In this instance the computer pulled off a double bluff and the interrogator was fooled into thinking it was human.

The point of the competition was to address Turing’s question – “Can a machine think?” or indeed “Is a machine intelligent?” Turing wanted to create a test to see whether you could converse with a computer and think that you were speaking to a human. He believed that by the year 2000 it would be possible to programme computers in this way.

This example shows that computers aren’t far off from humans – they can hold a conversation, make a joke and even fool some into believing they are human. Computers outperform humans in many ways, however, there are some things like communication, for instance, where computers are not quite there yet.

These issues made me want to explore technology and art, and see if and how they might link together, and whether in fact, computers are able to perform creative tasks. Even if computers cannot mimic us – can they help us in some other way?

Visitors playing the Mental Arm Wrestle

I have been working with the Gaming Group – part of the Digital Maker Collective which consists of a group of artists and designers from UAL. We are exploring emerging digital technologies in arts, education and society and considering how we can incorporate them into our arts practices.

We are undertaking a week long “digital immersion” at the Tate Modern from 6-11 March 2018 where we will be presenting our work alongside global collaborators from Russia, China and Denmark.

We will be running several projects throughout the week on AI, VR, Gaming and Robotics. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss topics such as “Is Technology Killing our Creativity?” and speaking to a Bionic Art Student Robot to see how far creativity can be automated.

Visitors will also have an opportunity to get hands-on with technology exploration and rapid prototyping. There will be lighting installations, the Movement group will give you a chance to experience the physicality of sound in a new way by touching a variety of conductive objects to trigger a range of sounds. The Gaming group have created an interactive puzzle which can be constructed in VR and you will also have a chance to compete in a “mental arm wrestle” using brainwaves instead of muscle power to beat your opponent.

Come and share your thoughts with us.

Young visitors watching our robot create abstract art


6 -11 March, 12 – 6pm, Tate Modern, 5TH Floor, Blavatnik Building, SE1 9TG

Click here for more information and details of the week-long programme.