AI & Refik Anadol Breathe New Life Into Dvořák's Legacy

AI-enhanced creations, under the direction of artists, continue to make inroads into live performances. From Bob Bonniol and Steve Cohen's use of AI and Unreal Engine to create an immersive feel to Blake Shelton's tour this year, to David Forsee's use of Stable Diffusion and Craiyon to create shortcuts for his visions as a projection designer. 

A visually spectacular piece – titled DVOŘÁK DREAMS – created using AI by media artist Refik Anadol, opened on September 8, at the historic Rudolfinum concert hall as part of the annual classical music festival Dvořák Prague. The artwork is open to festivalgoers and the general public alike, attracting tens of thousands of spectators.

Refik Anadol's creation reimagines Antonín Dvořák’s life and music in a digital format, using the latest in machine learning and AI to bring the legendary composer's legacy into the contemporary world.

Plans are in development for the spectacular installation to be shown elsewhere internationally. The work is divided into four chapters using different data sets: Portraits of the composer, images of the nature that inspired him, stills of cities where he lived such as Prague and New York, and 54 hours of Dvořák's music compositions. Karel Komárek, co-founder of the Dvořák Prague Festival, and patron of the 0xCollection, who has played an instrumental role in the preservation of Dvořák’s cultural import, helped secure a wealth of primary source material that was used.

For nearly a year, Anadol and his team meticulously trained his signature algorithms, immersing them in original data, music and records from throughout Dvořák’s life, totaling over one million data points sourced from within the Czech Republic and abroad.

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Speaking at the launch, the artist delved into the thinking behind this remarkable piece. Anadol explained: “It was almost seven years ago that I started working with AI: the question was if a machine can learn, can it dream? Can it hallucinate? Because it’s really more inspiring to think about a machine as a dream machine … Whenever we think about these dreams and hallucinations and different cognitive skills we can start thinking about things like chance, control – and artmaking itself.”

The installation was commissioned and developed as part of the 0xCollection’s contribution to Dvořák Prague 2023 – with support from Allwyn, a leading multinational lottery operator – and attempts to honour cultural pasts in the present through art and technology.

Elle Anastasiou, Director of the 0xCollection, said: “The 0xCollection is a new initiative dedicated to preserving and developing digital life from the present for the future. For our first public display we decided to install Dvořák Dreams by Refik Anadol to honour a cultural past integral to the Czech Republic where we’re doing our first exhibition programming. We are excited at the possibility of bringing it to other cities, including in the US where Dvorak created some of his most frequently performed works.”

The Dvořák Dreams installation’s premiere is now over, and the 0xCollection’s debut exhibition, “Synesthetic Immersion”, featuring eight international artists in the KKCG Arts Space at Bořislavka, Prague runs until October 16th, 2023. Visitors to Synthetic Immersion are invited to challenge their expectation of what art should be and, instead, question what art can be - both now and in the future.

About Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey) is an internationally renowned media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. He is the Director of Refik Anadol Studio in Los Angeles and Lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. Anadol’s work locates creativity at the intersection of humans and machines. Anadol’s work has been exhibited at venues including MoMA, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Art Basel, National Gallery of Victoria, Venice Architecture Biennale, Hammer Museum, Arken Museum, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Ars Electronica, Istanbul Modern, and ZKM |Center for Art and New Media. Anadol has received a number of awards and prizes including the Lorenzo il Magnifico Lifetime Achievement Award for New Media Art, Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, Columbia University’s Breakthrough in Storytelling Award, and Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency.

About KKCG

KKCG is an investment and innovation group with expertise in lotteries and gaming, energy, technology, and real estate. Founded by entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Karel Komárek, KKCG employs over 10,000 people in 36 countries across its portfolio companies, with more than €8 billion in assets under management. Its businesses include, amongst others, Allwyn, a multi-national lottery operator with leading market positions in Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States (Illinois); MND Group, an international producer and supplier of traditional and renewable energy, active in drilling and exploration, energy storage, retail, and trading; ARICOMA Holding a.s., comprehensive IT services provider and custom software development across Europe and the US; and KKCG Real Estate which creates internationally recognized, award-winning architecture in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors with a focus on innovative and sustainable development. With operations on several continents, KKCG businesses draw on capital, networks, and insights from across the group to enable profitable, sustainable growth for the long term. KKCG is committed to supporting the communities where it operates, contributing to the societies it works within. 

About Allwyn

Allwyn is a leading multinational lottery operator. Allwyn builds better lotteries that return more to good causes by focusing on innovation, technology, efficiency and safety across a growing casual gaming entertainment portfolio. The lottery-first approach of focusing on affordable recreational play has earned Allwyn leading market positions with trusted brands across Europe in Austria, Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Illinois).

About 0xCollection

Focused on developing digital art from the present, for the future, 0xCollection (pronounced  ‘Hex Collection’) is a digital, new media, and time-based art collection and initiative based in  Basel, Switzerland.

The Collection’s mission is to further dialogue between artists working at the intersection of art and technology, and bring together a growing network of curators, experts, researchers, historians and artists excelling within the fields of digital new media art.