Below you can find our curatorial text on the theme of Edition 12: LOADING... Revealing Art, AI and Tech.

What’s coming, where we’re taking it, and where it’s taking us

Artificial Intelligence is a theme with a full spectrum of possibilities that might seem limitless. Yet as the festival developed, three main sub-themes became interesting to us: reality, and therefore virtual reality; humanity, us and the changes it makes to our everyday lives; and the future, prediction and imagination. At this year’s festival you’ll journey through every facet of AI. You’ll see just how important art is in imagining our AI future, you’ll be asked to ponder, challenge and interact with new tools and technologies, and you'll sense the impact of AI on us, our world and our humanity. But this story is still in the making: AI is loading…

AI right now

Developments in AI are moving fast. Almost everyday there is something new to test and explore. However, when researching this theme we found ourselves in the middle of an ongoing discussion to predict what the impact of AI will be on society. One group warns of dark days to come while the other believes in a utopian technological future. In the news, any new development is quickly labeled as either good or bad by the respective groups. “This is why it’s good for humanity.” “This is why we should be afraid.” There’s a lot of speculation and it’s easy to get sucked into it - but it’s not the full story. We want to let the discussion surrounding AI breathe a little so that we can really engage audiences with what’s happening right now.

Making it tangible

So how can we imagine AI visually? How can we bring it out of the physical servers and data centers where it lives and into the city of Amsterdam? Through light art we think we have a great opportunity to add another layer to this developing conversation. We set the artists, the international jury and ourselves the challenge of turning a predominantly code and language-based topic into something tangible, physical and visual. We want to show what’s actually going on, how artists and creators are using the new tools, and what mythologies, stories, materials, philosophies and futures are being woven into the fabric of the infant AI world.

A feast of inspiring AI light art

As the festival developed we continued to be amazed by the creativity of the artists, creators and designers, and the invaluable feedback we received from the international jury. We have the sense that so many things are changing, rapidly and profoundly, and the artists this year have captured that feeling beautifully. We are truly humbled and can’t wait to share with you this enormous feast of vibrant, innovative and thought-provoking light art that reveals our reality, our humanity and our future.

Welcome to LOADING… Revealing Art, AI & Tech

Waiting..., Frank Foole (2023)