Playing with Infinity

Credits: Image co-created by Carla Emilie Pereira, Designer of the Champalimaud Foundation Communication, Events & outreach Team; Dall-E and all the artists and contributors who created the images that this tool is now using.

Versão Portuguesa

A generous portion of cheer, a dose of reality, and a little pinch of magic.

Each year, the Champalimaud Foundation’s Communication, Events and Outreach team comes together to create a Winter Postcard to celebrate the season with our colleagues, friends and followers. As is tradition, the team met to explore the possibilities, but this time decided to take a co-creative approach featuring our team, Dall-E (an open Artificial Intelligence – AI image-from-words generator) and all the artists and contributors who created the images that this tool is now using. The goal was to see if AI could be used alongside other more conventional tools to produce a piece of work that reflected our vision. Having already played around with novel AI image-generation tools, some wondered if this could be used as the starting point for the implementation of an interesting concept.

As well as this desire to try something new, it was also felt that using AI for our Winter Postcard would pay homage to the incredible work that many of our researchers and healthcare professionals are doing every day to develop and optimise AI tools for the betterment of knowledge and health. Far from competing with the artist, we hoped to use this tool as a jumping-off point to inspire ideas and complement the artistic process. We hope you agree that this represents an intriguing coming together of human and digital artistry.

To begin the process, keywords (‘winter’, ‘party’, ‘Champalimaud’ etc.) were entered into Dall-E to represent the different aspects we wanted to include. “Trial and error” produced myriad results: some realistic (and often creepy!), some surreal. Using the ‘digital art’ setting produced the desired effect/style, but still it wasn’t possible to get everything that we wanted in one image, and that’s when the human artistry came in.

Our graphic designer selected three of the created images – a snow globe, partying scientists and a wintery tropical garden – and combined them to create a single cohesive piece.

Those who know the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown well will certainly notice that the elliptical shape of the snow globe represents the iconic window of our Auditorium – a motif that can be found in several different areas of the building’s architecture. The greenery around the snow globe (and through the window behind the party, if you look closely) is homage to our interior tropical garden: allow the snow as artistic licence to add to the festive spirit! And the little ‘scientists’ inside? That’s in the eye of the beholder! Some see ice-skating, others see a party – how about you?

Curious and feeling inspired? Try it out.

Happy Holid(AI)s!

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