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Mechanized Cacophony Still Mechanized Cacophonies by Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders

The New Real: Mechanized Cacophonies

Featuring newly commissioned artworks alongside a series of critical reflections, this exhibition explores the boundary between the real and artificial. 

The International Festival and Edinburgh Futures Institute have co-commissioned The New Real, a digital art exhibition which aims to build awareness of the ways data systems and artificial intelligence reflect and shape our social reality.

The exhibition comprises two arresting digital installations that reflect on humanity’s journey into a ‘new real’ and how we make sense of differing realities. Rather than using traditional methods, these artworks are created by artists using data and machine-learning algorithms as their material.

Mechanized Cacophonies, from Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders, uses technology to create a work inspired by what both artists missed the most during lockdown, nature. This interactive online artwork explores how our contact with nature is mediated by technology.

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Working remotely, the two artists captured sounds and images from a variety of sources. They trained a computerised neural network to interpret the resulting dataset and then generate an array of eerie and uncanny visuals and soundscapes.

The audience experiences a natural environment – mesmeric waves crashing on a shore – generated by AI. Viewers are encouraged to immerse themselves in the work by taking an active role in bringing it to life across multiple devices.

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Curated by Drew Hemment
Edinburgh Futures Institute 
Artwork by Anna Ridler & Caroline Sinders 

The New Real is an initiative by University of Edinburgh, working with Edinburgh's festivals and The Alan Turing Institute, to showcase the extraordinary creative potential of AI, and support resilience and recovery in the arts and creative industries.

A project by the Experiential AI research group at Edinburgh Futures Institute and Edinburgh College of Art.

Supported by Edinburgh Futures Institute; Creative Scotland; Creative Informatics; and the Data-Driven Innovation programme of the South East Scotland City and Region Deal. 

Thanks to Festivals, Cultural and City Events, School of Informatics, Bayes Centre at the University of Edinburgh; Heriot Watt University.  

Mechanized Cacophonies developed in partnership with Ars Electronica and AI Lab (ARTificial Intelligence Lab). 

8 March-3 May 2021


This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book or watch. The 2021 programme will be announced in June.