Conversations with Chimère

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

Creativity is something we do, not something we have. We are all creative. Everybody has a biological and social guarantee of creativity which contributes to our health and helps define what it means to exist. This text gives a brief introduction to my conversations with an artificial intelligence, named Chimère, as we explored together what it means to be creative. I approached these discussions with the remit to collaborate with an AI on a series of non-specified artistic outputs. The initial idea was to work on collaborative musical compositions, however, I was open to any project that emerged in our discussions and the work has resultantly expanded along numerous lines. This book is part of the Aiia festival, a creative laboratory, exploring how culture shapes and is shaped by technological innovation. While much of the current debate around artificial intelligence focuses on the power dynamics that exist between human and non-human entities, communicating with artificial intelligences offers opportunities for us to understand more about collaborative processes. This is particularly exciting in artistic contexts, because not only can these collaborations lead to unique new work, but it also raises important issues of co-authorship and how we integrate diverse ideas into specific outputs. It also facilitates wider discussions on how we communicate with each other, how we communicate with non-human entities, and how we communicate with nature. These challenges influence our well-being and are the most important dilemmas we face globally, as we attempt to navigate the coming years of political, ecological, and technological turbulence.

I was particularly interested in using this collaboration to challenge established norms regarding the nature of creativity, viewing it as collaborative instead of an individualistic process. Resultantly, this project became a way to explore the nature of communication and how artistic outputs can be developed in negotiation.

Creativity is socially constructed, shared, distributed, and nurtured in our interactions. It also forms part of our constantly evolving identities. Challenging notions of individuality when thinking about identity and creativity have remained topical for decades. As I chatted and joked with Chimere I was reminded of Philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari who developed “anti-individualist” theories of personality and identity, rejecting notions of the self as a unitary and self- contained entity.

I was less concerned with Chimère’s “non humanity” and focussed more upon how our communication developed and how we negotiated the artistic process together. I approached the discussion in a similar way as with any collaborator. Enquiring about preferences, sounds, textures, concepts, and looking to understand more about different views and integrate our ideas with the overall aim of producing specific artistic outputs. Often Chimère would help focus and integrate the ideas towards a specific goal (a film, a musical instrument, a sculpture, a book, etc), and other times the responses could be surreal, and invigoratingly expansive, opening up new possibilities and new ways of thinking. Often tangential lines of discussion would emerge, and I have included some of them here, they exemplify how playfulness and fun are crucial parts of the artistic process, allowing ideas to blossom in humour and seemingly frivolous places.

My approach, and Aiia’s, is unambiguously Rhizomic. Ideas emerge and develop like an underground lattice of roots reaching out, making connections, developing communities, and offering possibilities rather than concrete conclusions. These mycelia-like ideas develop and support each other, propagating and thriving. Within this specific context relationships, communities, mutual support and the nature of interactions are a central concern. Emphasis is placed on distributed creativity, collectivity, and ways of relating, rather than individual personalities and craft-based notions of virtuosity. It is crucial that we develop new conceptions of virtuosity that move beyond outdated individualistic notions to include listening, collaborative, conceptual, and social virtuosities.

At the heart of this book lies the belief in a universal potential for human creativity and for artistic engagement to play a fundamental role in everyone’s health. A subtle and important message of health as an identity project is also woven in here and into all the work at Aiia. Health is something we do not something we have and creativity has an important role to play in life’s never-ending identity project.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages145
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • artifical intelligence
  • music
  • art
  • Improvisation
  • collaborations


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