Dr. Charlotte Kent secured a $20,000 unrestricted grant from Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence division for her work in Arts, Agency, and Automation. The Google grant, established in 2017, has awarded a total of 19 grants from 2017 to 2022. Over the last three years, they have distributed 5 grants annually. Charlotte Kent was among the exclusive group of 24 recipients since the grant’s inception.
Charlotte Kent discusses the impact of the grant on her work, expressing gratitude for the opportunity and highlighting the innovative aspects of her projects.
“Even prior to the conversation surrounding artificial intelligence in generative systems, there was confusion in art surrounding the notion of agency. Since Marcel Duchamp proclaimed the ready-made as art, artists have distanced themselves through various means from the creation of an object. Chance operations appear in Dada, surrealism, and Fluxus, most prominently, but also in elements of performance, video, and installation art as a way of mitigating the artist as the sole origin of art production. The question of autonomy arose in art theory and came to prominence amidst this shift with claims of the death of the author. Early computer art embraced algorithmic outputs, often using plotters and kinetic machines to manifest emergent forms. At the same time, rule-based art got popularized within Conceptualism as eliminating artistic intention. Net-art cultivated webcams and hyperlinking to present the unexpected and a kind of choose-your-own-adventure interactivity that gaming then emphasized. Now, with the popularity of code-based generative art and machine learning generated outputs, many artists celebrate the uncertain agency in their creativity. But, what is agency? Even in this brief description, other terms like autonomy, intention, authorship, generative, emergence, and creativity appear, further confounding clarity. As popular media decry the mass-manufacture of art that obviates any certain originating point, and legal scholars file copyright and intellectual property concerns, artists present an array of ideas about their practices using “artificial intelligence” systems.
Recognizing the need for some articulation of agency and its related terms within contemporary art practice with automated systems, I propose to assess the impact of different disciplinary notions of agency as they relate to art practice and theory as well as articulate the cultural differences conceiving agency between two artists located in Los Angeles, California and Tokyo, Japan — nations respectively known for their individualist and collectivist cultures.” – Dr. Charlotte Kent
To find out more information, please visit:
- Google Research: Collaborations with research and academic communities
- Artists + Machine Intelligence (AMI) Research Awards
On November 9 2023, Dr. Charlotte Kent was invited to speak and moderate a panel at the Paris Photo for the Digital section about Conceptual Art and Synthetic Photography in the Age of AI.
On October 19 2023, Dr. Charlotte Kent led a workshop titled “Creativity Unleashed: Harnessing the Power of Art and Tech for Lasting Impact.” The workshop was organized by the international group We Are Museums and took place at the Qatar American Institute for Culture in Washington, DC. During the session, Kent explored the intersection of art and technology, providing insights on leveraging creativity for meaningful and lasting impact.
On October 12 2023, Dr. Charlotte Kent spoke at Montclair State University at the University Gallery for a roundtable discussion on “Art, Artificial, Intelligence, & Race.” The discussion featured artist Ari Melenciano, an exhibiting artist in the University Galleries’ fall exhibition The Backend, who’s using AI both artistically and as a tool for societal inquiry. Ari’s current art and research practice is deeply invested in studying consciousness, both as a mythopoetic technique for unveiling the collective unconscious in her studio practice and through a computational anthropological approach with AI to understand the collective conscious. Through her interrogation of notions of truth and objectivity, her work reveals the influence of myths that humanity is rooted within, as well as how the power dynamics of language are being automated through AI. The conversation was engaging for all who attended.
Also, on October 4, 2023, Charlotte Kent spoke at Bard Graduate Center, where she delved into the intriguing topic of the Material Culture of Blockchain. This event was an insightful exploration of the intersection between material culture and the transformative technology of blockchain, offering a unique perspective on the cultural implications of this emerging field.
Lastly, on July 13th and 14th 2023, Dr. Charlotte Kent was invited to talk at the ZKM Center for Art and Media Symposium on “Generation Image” which is about generated images in the context of the proliferation of anxiety and AI. Her talk “Art by Fiat: Discourse as Critical to Large Language Model Generated Production” analyzed four projects by leading conceptual artists who used DallE, Midjourney, and Chat-GPT to engage and critique the possibility of these new software. Rather than discussing these projects in terms of style, like surrealism or realism, she identified recurring features apparent in this creative practice and argued for the scopic regime that these generative softwares produce. The dominant critiques of these generators are economic, legal, and some narrow notions of creativity. These are important spaces of inquiry, but as a visual culture scholar invested in the politics of aesthetics, her paper aims to address the larger cultural impact and the changing ways of seeing, and therefore thinking, that these large model generators produce.
To find out more information, please visit https://zkm.de/en.
Dr. Charlotte Kent, PhD is the Associate Professor of Visual Culture, Visual and Critical Studies Program Coordinator at Montclair State University and an arts writer. Her work theorizes how visual and linguistic rhetorical devices constrain what we see by exploring their historical and political context. Her current research investigates the absurd in contemporary art and speculative design. She writes for academic journals (Word and Image, Leonardo, Journal of Visual Culture, etc) and general audience magazines (Art Review, BOMB, Wired, among others), with a monthly panel and column on Art and Technology for the Brooklyn Rail, where she is also an Editor-at-Large. Prior to academia, she developed education for the eyecare industry and managed an art school located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center, St. John’s College, and Philips Academy Andover. She currently lives in New York City.
To find out more information about Charlotte and her work, please visit her website,