Art & AI : artistic residency in research/creation and artificial intelligence

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Art & AI: artistic residency in research/creation and artificial intelligence

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (PQDS), Element AI, Google and the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) are joining forces to offer a Montreal-based professional artist or professional art collective a research and creation residency for a duration of six months.

The residency, which includes a budget of $50,000 and 200 hours of support from AI experts, will allow the artist or collective to collaborate directly with artificial intelligence (AI) developers and researchers, provide access to the latest advancements in AI, and expose AI researchers and developers to creative approaches different from those they are already familiar with.

As well as enabling discussions around the possibilities and issues associated with AI, this residency is intended to be an opportunity to address the potential role of AI in future urban development.


Proposals will be evaluated by a committee composed of representatives of the partner organizations (NFB, PQDS, Element AI, Google and CAM) and other representatives of the artistic community, using the following criteria:

• Relevance of the project’s use of AI

• The quality of the artistic approach and previous work

• Interest in the reflection on the city of the future and citizen participation

• Potential for cross-pollination between the art and AI communities

• Feasibility

find out all the details

Here : Art & AI: artistic residency in research/creation and artificial intelligence.


Deadline :

Submission of proposals | no later than Fabruary 5, 2019, at noon

All submissions must include:

• a project description indicating compliance with selection criteria (intent, approach, connection with AI)

• an overview of requirements for support and equipment

• summary budget and schedule

• name of the artist or list of members of the collective and abridged CVs for collective members or the artist,including previous works or links to them.

The project description must not exceed five single-sided pages (any additional pages will not be read).

The application must be submitted in a single copy in 8 ½ x 11 in. (21.6 cm x 27.9 cm) format, and delivered by email only. Only the required documents will be sent to the members of the evaluation committee.


The residency is designed to meet the following objectives:

• Support and stimulate collaboration between two of Montreal’s most vital professional communities (AI and the art world)

• Give artists an opportunity to access the latest developments in AI

• Give artists a setting where they can do research and creative work with the aim of developing a prototype artwork incorporating AI

• Give AI researchers and developers a creative perspective on their work, as well as the possibility of developing AI tools in collaboration with artists

• Spark discussions on the impacts and potential of AI in art

• Develop a prototype for an artwork, experience or installation suitable for presentation in a public space, featuring an original use of the possibilities enabled by AI

• Encourage discussion on the potential role of AI in future urban development and citizen participation


The duration of the residency is six months, from April to October, 2019. Element AI and Google will make staff, space and equipment available to the artist or collective. The artist or collective selected will be able to produce their work with a total of 200 hours of support from qualified professionals. The space, equipment and professionals will be selected based on the details of the project.

The amount awarded to the artist or collective will be $50,000. These funds are to be used to cover artists’ fees, other contributors’ fees, and the costs of producing a prototype.

The other partners will provide guidance consistent with project requirements and each partner’s respective expertise.


A seven-person jury will select the six finalists and the winner:

  • Pascale Daigle, Director of programming, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
  • Hugues Sweeney, Executive producer, interactive studio, NFB
  • Marie-Michèle Cron, Cultural advisor – digital and visual arts, Conseil des arts de Montréal
  • Valérie Becaert, Research group director, Element AI
  • Jean-François Belisle, Executive director and chief curator, Musée d'art de Joliette
  • Kakim Gho, Visual artist and curator
  • Nicolas Brault, M.A., Filmmaker and assistant professor, Bachelor program in the art and science of animation, École de design, Université Laval


Read the sponsors interview to learn more about the residency and its main audience.



“If scientists are tasked with asking questions, artists, in turn, are there to shake things up. AI involves a range of technologies, and it’s vital that artists and citizens not be left behind by decisions that already influence our lives. With this cross-fertilization, we’re making place for creators—whose job it is to stimulate our imaginations—so that, together, we can design the cities of tomorrow.”

— Sandra Rodriguez, PhD, creative director, filmmaker and sociologist of new-media technologies


Sandra Rodriguez, PhD is a creative director, a filmmaker and a sociologist of new media technologies. For over 16 years, she first wrote and directed award-winning documentary films, broadcasted internationally, before pushing creation in the interactive realm. Exploring new forms of non-fiction, she has since directed and produced interactive and immersive experiences, webdocs, has acted as UX consultant for public media institutions, national news (ici Radio-Canada Nouvelles, Ici RDI) and private events, as well as mentor for hackathons (MIT AR/VR hackathon, MIT Hacking Arts). In 2015, she was author and episode director (Big Data: A wolrd of Algorithms) on the acclaimed webseries Do Not Track/Traque interdite (Upian, NFB, ARTE, BR, Winner of the Peabody 2015). Today, Sandra heads the Creative Reality Lab at EyeSteelFilm, an Emmy awarded company based in Montreal, where she explores virtual, immersive and extended reality (Big Picture VR, MANIC VR, Chomsky vs Chomsky). Her most recent project Chomsky vs Chomsky, is a collective experience that explores AI, with AI, through AI.

Sandra has been honored to give Master Classes, Keynotes and talks on Digital Storytelling, on Human Centered Design, and AI and Arts, in high visibility events including: Cannes Film Festival, SXSW_Edu, Sundance New Frontier, IDFA, RIDM, Mutek, Taiwan International Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, VR Anti-Manifesto (Montreal and Berlin), Leipzig Dok Fest, NewStorytellers, IA arts, Frontieres IA and more. She is a Visiting Scholar and instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Open Doc Lab), where she teaches MIT’s very first course in VR and immersive media production (in collaboration with Oculus NextGen and the MIT Open Documentary Lab:


“AI is a pioneering tool that, at present, remains largely out of reach for artists, in terms of both its availability and its cost. Through this residency, not only will artists get a chance to engage with AI, but they’ll also receive qualified support, and on two levels: from specialists in creation and new forms of storytelling like the NFB, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, on the one hand; and from global tech giants like Element AI and Google AI on the other. The initiative will push AI into new territories as it expands its palette of possibilities.”

— David Usher, artist, bestselling author, entrepreneur and keynote speaker


David Usher is an artist, best selling author, entrepreneur and keynote speaker. As a musician he has sold more than 1.4 million albums, won 4 Junos and has had #1 singles singing in English, French and Thai. When David is not making music, he is equally passionate about his other life, as a Geek. He is the cofounder of Reimagine AI, an artificial intelligence creative studio working building interactive artificial intelligence technology.

David is an in-demand keynote speaker and travels the world speaking about the creativity, innovations and artificial intelligence to companies like Google, 3M, Cisco, Pepsi and Deloitte.

He is also the founder of the Human Impact Lab at Concordia University and is the co-creator (with Dr. Damon Matthews) of the Climate Clock. The Climate Clock has been presented at the UN's Cop23, the G7 Summit and is presently on touring exhibit with the Canada Museum of Science and Innovation.

David has a degree in political science from Simon Fraser University and his book on creativity and the creative process, Let the Elephants Run • Unlock Your Creativity and Change Everything is out now.

The five partners: a unique pooling of expertise

The residency brings together the cutting-edge expertise of five partners, each a leader in their field, with the creative power of multidisciplinary artists.


National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership is an organization with more than 80 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, illuminating the Quartier and promoting the district as an essential cultural destination. The Partnership produces innovative urban installations that are interactive, participatory and dedicated to the public space. A showcase for new technologies, the Quartier des spectacles positions Montreal as an international reference in the field. The Partnership receives financial support from the Ville de Montréal.

Element AI

Element AI is a provider of artificial intelligence services, offering organizations unparalleled access to cutting edge technology. We combine the best of entrepreneurship, technology and academia to create a world where AI is at the forefront and contributes to advancing collective knowledge. We are working to develop humane, ethical and explainable artificial intelligence. Our goal is to democratize AI for everyone, because we believe the benefits of AI should be available to all.


At Google AI, we’re conducting research that advances the state of the art in the field, applying AI to products and to new domains, and developing tools to ensure that everyone can access AI. Our labs in Montreal work with the research, business and arts community to ensure our city continues to be a world leader in the development and application of artificial intelligence.

Conseil des arts de Montréal

A dynamic partner to Montreal’s art community, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, guides, supports and recognizes excellence and innovation in professional artistic creation, production and exhibition. Through its Composite evenings, it contributes to the emergence of “Montreal, cultural metropolis” and other initiatives showcasing digital creativity. It presents projects by artists, entrepreneurs and industry professionals in order to strengthen the ties among them and foster rich, productive collaborations.