An Initiative of

Supported by


AI and Art: A Complicated and Complementary Relationship


Sokcheng Thai

Brussels, Belgium – FARI hosted a workshop and a panel discussion about AI and Art held on January 27, 2023 at The Cookery event by iMAL, the organisation that provides a space for artistic practices around the creative and critical use of new technologies in Belgium.

The popularity of using artificial intelligence to generate art is growing. However, ethical concerns arise about making art with models that have been trained using other people’s artwork. The discussion involves diverse perspectives, including the computer science perspective, artistic perspective, and legal perspective on the relationship between AI and Art, with an emphasis on the significant contributions of AI and its limitations and some important considerations when it comes to constructing the relationship between the two. The speakers of the sessions include Hugue Bersini (Lead scientific adviser, FARI-ULB),  Geraint A. Wiggins (Professor of Computational Creativity, VUB and at Queen Mary University of London, UK), Eve Gaumond (Legal AI scholar), Johan Loeckx (Musician & Lab Manager at the AI Lab, VUB), and Helena Nikonole (New Media Artist and Independent Curator and Educator based between Cologne and Istanbul) with FARI’s co-director, Carl Mörch as the moderator.


The motive behind the co-organization of the workshop between FARI and iMAL is the needs that emerge from both sides: the artists and the scientists to fill the gap in understanding one another. “The artists would like to know more about technology but sometimes do not have access to the people who develop the technology  and the scientists may have pre-determined ideas of what arts can bring to the field of AI and the goal is to reflect on what is the relationship between these two fields,” said Mörch in his opening remark for the discussion. 

There are controversies around the relationship between AI and Art, whether they are complementary or complicated, appeared throughout the discussion. Bersini mentioned one of his books which aims to address a question: “Can AI generate authentic artists?” and his conclusion was: “No!”. He explained in the discussion that despite AI’s role to replicate the rules of art, it only tries to find a running process of the rules out of existing artistic productions but does not try to understand what things have been produced and therefore there are poor narratives in art produced by AI including more and more missing of originality, meaning, and sense. 

In support of Bersini’s view, Nikonole, as both an artist and curator, sees AI as more of a supporting tool, rather than holding a capacity to replace art. One of her AI productions in which she used AI as a translator from bird language to human language, making AI more of a mediating tool to help people understand other non-human agents.


The views of the AI & Art relationship from the perspective of the speakers who wear both the hat of AI researchers and artists themselves, including Loeckx and Wiggins, are also interesting. Loeckx said AI has a complementary role to his job as an artist, it gives him more musical insights in a place where there is a limitation in musical language. “It improves my thinking and sophistication of my thinking in both music and AI,” said Loeckx.

Wiggins emphasized the importance of making a clear distinction between creativity and art because not all creativity is artistic and not all art is creative. He delved into the concept of creativity when explaining his view on this relationship.“Creativity like intelligence is a property of what humans can do, you can’t see it until it happens (ex-post phenomenon) and we care about its novelty, quality, and how we feel about it,” said Wiggins. He also explained that AI aims to understand how the mind processes information and it can be achieved through (1) the structure of the system or (2) looking at the result of something including its structure and inferring the process that makes that structure.

Looking at the AI and Art relationship would not be complete without involving important possible legal questions. As a legal AI scholar, Gaumond’s work explores legal options artists have when their work is used to generate AI under Canadian law. One major legal problem of this relationship is how AI rips off other people’s work to produce art, for example through generative AI. She said: “The goal shouldn’t be about replacing artists; however, AI may help people who are creative but not skilful (e.g. crafting, drawing etc), who have plenty of ideas but cannot make things live. This tool may increase their creativity.” The question should therefore be: “How can we empower those new people without ripping off artists who are doing the job today and make sure that we can protect them and they can still make a living out of the work?” she added.

Prior to the panel discussion, Simeon Michel (FARI AI Developer) and Lluc Bono (FARI Researcher), also conducted a workshop in translating art from text-to-image tools to physical formats.





Other news

All news

All news