Thoughtworks Arts


Karen Palmer’s AI Residency Comes to a Close

Newsletter sent on Tuesday, 10 April 2018
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Karen Palmer, filmmaker and “storyteller from the future” has spent the last 6 months at Thoughtworks as our Artist in Residence, focused on AI for her emotionally responsive immersive film, RIOT.

A shot of Karen’s work in exhibition
RIOT at the Thoughtworks Arts booth during SPRING/BREAK Art Show in March 2018

During the residency, Thoughtworks developers have written and open-sourced an emotional expression analysis system named EmoPy, building on the work Karen did with AI researcher Dr. Hongying Meng of Brunel University in London.

The system is performing well under test, and is usable by anyone for a variety of purposes. It is also fully integrated as an improved emotion detection system at the core of the new version of Karen’s RIOT installation.

Leading the technical development effort is ThoughtWorker Angelica Perez, a graduate from Stanford specializing in artificial intelligence research. RIOT is Angelica’s first project since joining Thoughtworks in July 2017.

Two women working at a white board
Thoughtworks developers Angelica Perez & Sofia Tania working on the project

During the last six months, Karen has also completed a TED Residency, and exhibited her work at the Future of Storytelling festival on Staten Island. Her work and her residency at Thoughtworks have been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, and Engadget. Thoughtworks team member Stephanie Weber was inspired by the project to write an article exploring how artificial intelligence is transforming the criminal justice system.

Thoughtworks Arts at SPRING/BREAK Art Show

Thoughtworks Arts in collaboration with HarvestWorks, exhibited at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show during New York’s Armory Week in March 2018. Artists from the Thoughtworks Arts Residency, Art-A-Hack, and our Directors were all included in this critically acclaimed, curator driven alternate art fair at 4 Times Square. We were honored to be selected to show in the highly competitive Special Projects section.

A wide shot of the exhibiton
The exhibition space just prior to opening

Read our full write-up of the show, and read a great recap of the experience of participating in the show from Art-A-Hack alum and co-creator of Dual Brains, Eva Lee.

Applications Under Review for 2018 Residency in Robotics

We are now reviewing all applications for our next Thoughtworks Arts Residency for Summer 2018 in robotics. We are pleased to welcome guest panelists from Baltan Labs in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and The Consortium for Research and Robotics at Pratt Institute in New York.

Ellen Pearlman and Mark parsons at a robotics lab
Thoughtworks Arts Director Ellen Pearlman on-site with Mark Parsons, Founder & Executive Director of The Consortium for Research and Robotics

We have received a large number of extremely high quality applications, and we are working very hard on the selection process. We are reviewing every application in detail as quickly as possible and will announce final selection by April 16th, 2018.

Updates from Art-A-Hack Alumni

Jason Levine is an Artist-In-Residence this spring at MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology. The program is hosting a free-to-the-public lecture and workshop with Jason on livecoding music, see our listings below for details.

Martha Hipley has been designing withfriends, a platform for artists and arts spaces to self-fund through membership campaigns. They have launched a crowd equity campaign for the platform, currently with over 30 arts spaces in their beta program. Martha also runs An Artist’s Guide to Computation, an online group for artists working with tech and coding. She is launching an interview-format newsletter and currently running an open call for artists interested in speaking about the technical side of their practice

Samuel Arsenault-Brassard is the Co-Founder & XR (Cross Reality) Director of LiL Pocket Gallery, a VR/AR focused gallery in Montreal. Their next show, Start Pretending: Augmented Reality (anti)fashion Show, will be up April 20 - 21, 2018.

LiL Pocket Gallery’s upcoming AR Fashion Show
Still from a photoshoot for LiL Pocket Gallery’s upcoming AR Fashion Show

Kseniia Galkina and Dmitri Akhmediyev from Art-A-Hack Special Edition Cyfest in St. Petersburg, Russia showed their project Hologram, created over just 2 weekends, at the Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern in London.

Sofy Yuditskaya is pursuing a PhD in AV Composition at NYU’s Graduate School of Arts & Science and just completed a residency with fellow Art-A-Hack alum Ria Rajan at Dynamicland in Oakland.

Rena Anakawe curated an evening of live art and sound for Sunday Service at Knockdown Center, which included work from fellow Art-A-Hack alum, Sharon De La Cruz.

Open Call for Artist in Residence with the Transpecies Society

Past residents Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas of The Cyborg Foundation + Transpecies Society are calling for artists from all disciplines who are interested in the creation and showcase of projects related to the exploration of perception, non-human identities, future, and/or technology.

Past Resident Heather Dewey-Hagborg Named One of AI Now’s First Artist Fellows

Heather joins Trevor Paglen as AI Now’s first Artist Fellows. The AI Now Institute produces interdisciplinary research on the social implications of artificial intelligence and acts as a hub for the emerging field focused on these issues. Founded in 2017, AI Now is housed at New York University, where it fosters vibrant intellectual engagement and collaboration across the University and beyond.

Directors and Alumni News


hannes bend (Past resident)
FluxBuddha: A Time-Based Performance Art Concert
The Rubin Museum
April 21, 2018 6-8 PM
New York, NY

Gene Kogan, Sophie Kravitz, Kate Sicchio (Art-A-Hack Alum)
April 18, 2018 - April 24, 2018
Belgrade, Serbia

Heather Dewey-Hagborg (Past resident)
I am here to learn: On Machinic Interpretations of the World
Frankfurter Kunstverein
February 15, 2018 - April 8, 2018
Frankfurt, Germany

Strings: Data and the Self
California Museum of the Arts
January 19, 2018 - April 15, 2018


Jason Levin (Art-A-Hack Alum)
Combining Livecoding and Real-time Software for Musical Improvisation
April 10, 2018 6-8 PM
MIT Museum, Building N51
Cambridge, MA

Live Coding Sinusoidal Traversals through Sound Sorted in Space
April 12, 2018 6-9 PM
MIT Museum, Building N51
Cambridge, MA

Jason Levine using a laptop in purple light
Jason Levine performing at Babycastles

Lisa Russell (Art-A-Hack Alum)
Keynote Speaker
Story Shifter: Big Data and Storytelling for the Social Good
Bangkok, Thailand

Karen Palmer (Current Resident)
Karen Palmer - Sensory Storytelling - Filmmaker from the Future
MIT Open Documentary Lab
Cambridge, MA

Ellen Pearlman (Director)
Panel Speaker
Breaking Boundaries: VR & Immersive Storytelling
St. Francis College Women’s Film Festival
Brooklyn, NY

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