ARTCODE Newsletter

ARTCODE is a newsletter sharing the journey that's emerging through my practice: how our relationship with machines shape who we are.

I share new work, snapshots of the thinking behind the work, occasionally a longer text as ideas solidify into something new.

I write only when I have something I need to say. It's at most weekly and at least monthly.

See below for a sample

Recent editions

A still from Agency of Chaos Unmoved by Tim Murray-Browne. Abstract AI-rendered image in greys.

Agency of Chaos, Unmoved (actualised)

Last week was my first live performance with AI audio. I'm calling the piece Agency of Chaos, Unmoved.

… I experimented by combining these models together in new ways. If I feed the sound of Alan Watts through the model trained on his own voice, I get a slightly distorted version out. The distortion has an uncanny nature to my ears, less like analogue noise or digital glitch, and more like a skilful robotic imitator slipping up here and there. Next, I tried running the models simultaneously, and feeding the internal language encoded by one model into the decoder of a different model. The sound departs further. The dynamics and rhythm remain. The timbre is reminiscent but not quite there.

A bare wooden weed grows out of the crack between the sidewalk and a brick wall.

Agency of Chaos, Unmoved (theorised)

On Tuesday I’m giving a sound performance at the Cafe SAT in Montreal to close the (de)Stabilizing Diffusions exhibition. Usually when I’m working with performance, either I’m playing with others or creating an interactive system and directing others to perform with it. This will be my first solo sound performance in seven years. I’ve been a tad nervous.

An open-ended performance with real-time AI-generated audio. The computer music pioneer Joel Chadabe described performing with a non-deterministic system as like sailing a boat through stormy seas. A storm has its own agency of chaos, unmoved by whatever intentions I may have in harnessing its forces. In moments of desperation, it’s tempting to think that the storm is aware of our plight as it ushers or torments us.

AI-rendered abstract image reminiscent of dense foliage. Still from “World Without End” by Tim Murray-Browne.

World Without End: An audio-visual meditation on memory and AI mysticism

World Without End is the next in my series of voyages from the micro to the macro inside the latent space of a generative GAN.

An image of two people. The person on the right is lifelike. The person on the left starts off lifelike but the nose is deformed and the eye transforms into paint-like smudges.

AI’s weird and uncanny mistakes reveal the gaps in how I perceive intelligence

Do you remember four years ago when we first saw those AI generated photos of people’s faces and were told “this person does not exist”?

I remember the disorientation of that moment. It seemed incredible that an AI had acquired such a deep knowledge of the complexities of the human face, as well as the capability to render with photographic realism. When I was only confronted with the flawless images, it was easy to jump to that conclusion.

Embryonic Self-portrait in Latent Space. Artwork by Tim Murray-Browne. A grid of images showing abstract swirls faintly reminiscent of Tim's face

The satnav effect: Is AI stopping me from learning?

A couple of years ago I started trying to drive without using a satnav (or more precisely, Google Maps on my phone).

I’ve always been suspicion of satnavs. All they do is bark out orders. It seems harmless enough, but I suspect somewhere in my subconscious it’s reinforcing the narrative: ‘better do what this machine tells me to’. I can’t help but feel a step towards the subjugation of humans by machines. Perhaps people felt this way when they introduced traffic lights. Grumble grumble.

But my issue with the satnav was more practical. I noticed I wasn’t learning my way around when driving in the same way I did when walking or cycling.