The AI Alchemy Lab is an art practice, a speaker series, and a new metaphor for conceptualizing AI. Based out of the MIT Media Lab and the IGGI program at Queen Mary University London, the AI Alchemy Lab explores new conceptual frameworks for interacting with generative AI systems.

Al·che·my is the process of transformation, creation, and combination. It is in this conceptual space that we frame the convergence of human and computational creativity within generative deep learning technologies, specifically text-to-image AI architectures. Mystical traditions like alchemy, mediumship and astrology provide stylized frameworks for interpretting black-boxed complex systems. By turning to these methodologies for generative AI, the AI Alchemy Lab reifies the magic and unknowability of these machines, yet still centers agency on human creators to manifest artifacts in line with their vibes. This series of talks, interactive events and research aims to encapsulate these ideas through practice, but also through learning from others via talks and healthy debate.

The research surrounding the AI Alchemy Lab focuses around the material affordances of the emerging medium of generative AI. Recent work has explored how happy accidents spark creativity when communities use generative AI for collaborative speculation, who gets credit for AI-generated art, and conjuring AI spirits on Halloween. Check out the texts we find compelling on the syllabus page and learn more about the interactive Twitter bot.

The AI Alchemy Lab is principally organized by Amy Smith, Hope Schroeder and Ziv Epstein, from the MIT Media Lab and the IGGI program at Queen Mary University London.

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