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Third Space AI


With artificial intelligence (AI) systems now able to write convincing poetry and philosophy, to generate completely realistic or wildly creative images and ideas, we truly enter an age of post-truth. AI opens up possibilities to address complex problems and imagine new worlds, bringing challenges and tensions as well as opportunities.

The research project

The concept of the ‘third space’ comes from the ancient Persian philosopher Suhrawardi, who described reality as existing on three parallel planes: the realm of the senses, that of the intellect, and an in-between plane, at once everywhere and nowhere. This is the plane our project explores.

Based at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University, Kevin Walker’s research takes an ethnographic approach to AI, acknowledging the subjectivity and bias of both humans and machines, but not comparing humans with machines as functionally equivalent. If we consider ‘intelligence’ to be when a certain level of complexity is reached by a system, whether natural or ‘artificial’, then perhaps a machine intelligence, as a participant-observer in human cultures, could give us new insights about ourselves. In the face of great complexity and rapid change, perhaps poetry and nonlinguistic methods are better suited to approach such an ‘intelligence’ or ‘culture’ of machines.

The artist

Kevin Walker will work with Coventry-based artist Edie Jo Murray, whose work invites audiences into imagined worlds where the rules are different and reality is disrupted.

Edie is an Artist Fellow at Birmingham Open Media. Recent work includes commissions from the Open Data Institute, Warwick Arts Centre and Meadow Arts. In 2020, she was a recipient of an Arts Council England ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ grant, and completed a Masters degree in Digital Media and Culture from the University of Warwick.

“My work is both eclectic and anachronistic: references to ancient myth and folklore sit alongside 90s TV nostalgia and futuristic digitally rendered environments. A core focus on digital tools and immersive technologies (AR, VR, interactive storytelling) is enriched through vibrant, sensory-driven exploration of physical media.”

Edie Jo Murray