Join artists and musicians from the University of Southampton, the Winchester School of Art and around the world to explore how AI and the arts are coming together in media from photography, fashion and literature to comedy and music, in a festival of installations, demonstrations, comedy sets, readings and discussions.

The daytime programme is free to attend and runs from 11am to 5.30pm across Theatre Royal Winchester and The Arc, and is open to all.


The AI Arts Festival: Evening ticket includes a performance by special guests the Orchestre National de Jazz with machine collaborators – an exploration of interactions between instrumentalists and a machine within a large jazz orchestra.

This will be followed by a lively discussion into how AI and the arts intersect, featuring Dame Wendy Hall, BBC technology journalist Bill Thompson and other special guests.

Dr Pablo Galaz will be showcasing his multimedia live installation: Human-like Inclinations and there will be another chance to catch more comedy!

The evening programme runs from 6pm to 10pm across Theatre Royal Winchester and The Arc.

Making Music With HandI* – Dr Chiying Lam

Come and have a go with a brand-new app which makes music using hand gestures and movements from your smartphone.  

HandI, is a motion-based digital musical instrument (DMI), which unlike typical mobile apps that rely on direct-touch finger input, uses the orientation of your smartphone for musical expression. 
This DMI transforms hand gestures and movements into meaningful data for music processing, making it accessible to people with various cognitive and mental impairments. It fosters musical communication among players, allowing collaborative music-making without requiring prior knowledge or demanding motor skills. 
As a special feature, we will be recording all the music-making from the participants and crafting a dynamic sound collage at the conclusion of the festival. 

1:00-1:30pm *Relaxed Session
Relaxed sessions are designed for visitors who prefer a quieter environment. They are especially suitable for individuals with sensory sensitivities, complex support needs, special educational needs, and disabilities (SEND), as well as their families and/or carers. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Meet an animal robot* – Yijie Gao

Come along and meet the robot animal GUA. Built using AI, GUA has her own preferences and feelings. But be careful though – she’s not always friendly! 

1:00-1:30pm *Relaxed Session
Relaxed sessions are designed for visitors who prefer a quieter environment. They are especially suitable for individuals with sensory sensitivities, complex support needs, special educational needs, and disabilities (SEND), as well as their families and/or carers. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Fat Fingers* Dr Ian Dawson

We’ve all accidently pressed the wrong button when using a computer or our phone. Have you ever blamed ‘fat fingers’? 

Ian Dawson explores the amalgamation of photography and AI image software, to ask how accidental images might be arrived at through image prompting. The visual results are a fascinating display. 

AI in the Sky* Dr Laura Cinti

Encephalartos woodii is a rare plant on the verge of extinction, with an estimated 500 remaining. All existing specimens are male clones of one single plant, bred in botanical gardens and, without a female, they remain the last of their kind.

‘AI in the Sky’ tells a visual story about our ongoing search for the female counterpart, using drone technology and AI. Combining maps from our drone missions with an AI system trained on both real and synthetic cycads, it attempts to dissect and detect potential areas where the plant could be found.

The Machine Wants to Play* – Dr Seth Giddings

Seth displays an automated slideshow tracing the tangled history and genealogy of artificial intelligence, artificial life and robotics with play, games and toys.

Park Life*Dave Gibbons

An investigative journey into the possibilities around post-documentary photography using AI text-to-image generation tools and prompt-crafting techniques in an attempt to co-create convincingly absurd photographic imaginings.

Generating Fashion: Towards Digital Futures* – Alice Janssens

Alice explores how fashion, digital technology and generative AI can interact to foster creativity and drive forward innovation in the production and marketing of fashion items.

Storytime with AI* – Dr Kevin Brazil

Kevin Brazil will discuss and read for a short story in progress called ‘Love is Blind’. Set in a reality TV studio, this story features dialogue captured by AI transcription software, which I have also used as part of the writing process. I will talk about how this enables capturing voice and dialogue, and how AI in general can be a fun part of the writing process.

Robot Visions and Virtual Interfacings: seeing, sensing, shaping* Dr Luci Eldridge

How do past and present technologies affect how we perceive the world and see things? Hear from author Dr Luci Eldridge on how robotic vision is reshaping and reconstituting our perception of the world and the implications for these new ways of seeing ethically, politically, culturally and socially from an art and design perspective.

Love Letters [with AI]* – Dr Benjamin Oliver

‘British soul sensation’ Hannah Williams and composer Dr Benjamin Oliver perform music inspired by, or created with, AI.

The programme features cabaret number ‘How Could You Prefer It To Me?’ by Bella Barlow and Drew Crawford, Anna Appleby’s ‘Reservoir’, selections from Jennifer Walshe’s ‘A Late Anthology of Early Music Vol. 1: Ancient to Renaissance’ and a new version of Oliver’s song cycle ‘Love Letters’.

Premiered and recorded by Williams and Riot Ensemble in 2023, ‘Love Letters’ includes melancholic, absurd and dramatic expressions of love made with LovelaceGPT, an AI text generation model developed by University of Southampton researchers.

Live interview* – Professor Thomas Irvine

Live interview of leader of the Orchestre National de Jazz, guitarist and composer Frédéric Maurin and saxophonist Steve Lehman – by Tom Irvine, Head of Music at University of Southampton.

Ex Machina – Orchestre Nationale de Jazz^

The Orchestre Nationale de Jazz and the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) present Ex Machina, a programme conceived by the American saxophonist Steve Lehman and Frédéric Maurin, artistic director of the ONJ. Ex Machina is the result of a collaboration with the Musical Representations team at IRCAM, headed by Gérard Assayag, and explores for the first time the possibilities of interaction between the instrumentalists and the machine within a large jazz orchestra.

By integrating devices created using Jérôme Nika’s Dicy2 environment, which implements interactive agents using machine-learning to generate musical sequences that can be integrated into musical situations, in the composition process and in the soloists’ improvisations in real-time, the computer becomes, in turn, a generator of electronic orchestrations for the composers and an improvisation partner for the musicians.

Performers and Technicians

· Mrs Fanny Meteier

· Mrs Catherine Delaunay

· Mr Julien Soro

· Mr Fabien Debellefontaine

· Mr Fabien Norbert

· Mr Daniel Zimmermann

· Mrs Christiane Bopp

· Mr Stephan Caracci

· Mr Bruno Ruder

· Mrs Sarah Murcia

· Mr Rafael Koerner

· Mr Frederic Maurin

· Mr Serge Lemouton

· Mrs Olympe Dumoulin

· Mrs Fanny Menegoz

· Mr Stephen Lehman

· Mr Olivier Laisney

· Mr Christopher Dingman

· Mr Erwan Boulay

· Mr Guillaume Jay

· Mr Yves Le Guen

Human-like Inclinations: Composing a multimedia live installation with AI^ Dr Pablo Galaz

A world premiere event, Dr Pablo Galaz showcases a live installation featuring (Amsterdam-based) musical collective Ensemble Resilience and multidisciplinary artist Angela Wai Nok Hu, in which the audience is immersed in live audiovisuals generated by both humans and AI.

Pablo’s composition (centres on AI notions such as bias and) is inspired by the question: “What would it mean for a machine (AI) to understand what it is like to be the kind of creature we are?”

The audience will be invited to explore the ARC Performance Hall whilst sounds produced by computer models specifically trained for this project by composer and software developer Dr Christopher Melen, musical performers, a multichannel sound diffusion system and video projections, create an immersive experience combining audiovisual elements controlled with facial recognition and sounds generated by electromagnetic waves that are not usually within the reach of the human ear. “Research in fields such as biolinguistics has shown that there is a blurry distinction between growing and learning in human beings. Our way of learning and growing differs fundamentally from the way AI models are trained. Using visual imagery from medical datasets and facial recognition to control sounds and images in real-time, this piece is inspired by the question: ‘What would it mean for a machine (AI) to understand what it is like to be the kind of creature we are?” explains Pablo.

WetAI Lab: PaintR* Dr Adam Procter and Dr Christina Mamakos

In this session Dr Adam Procter will talk about his work related to human centred and human understandable Education Technology and AI considerations. Dr Christina Mamakos will present thoughts around how contemporary painting practice might inform image/text AI technology.

Together with attendees we will workshop the process of creating prompts and creating images. Both attendees and machines will develop images from the prompts, a human to human and human to machine workshop. Help us explore the way we process and understand text to image as humans and machines!

Comedy Performances – Dr Steve Cross and Professor Les Carr

Daytime Performance*

Standup comedy about AI, from AI researchers at the University of Southampton and comedians across the country. MC’ed by Dr Steve Cross, the founder of the chaotic science cabaret show ‘Science Showoff, our funniest BSc’s and nerdiest PhDs will LOL at Alexa and ROFL at the robot apocalypse. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, you’ll love our new AI overlords! 

Evening Performance^

AI standup comedy, but this time ChatGPT will be the one performing! Under the tutelage of experienced comedian Ted Hill (‘Few comedians harness the frenetic activity of their minds quite as comprehensively as Ted Hill’ – Chortle) a version of ChatGPT trained by University researchers will join him the stage to help find the funny with the audience members. Part performance, part scientific experiment, all entertainment – guaranteed! 

Click the link below to book your daytime and evening tickets.

*Daytime ticket only

^Evening ticket only