AI in Cultural Inquiry and Art

The Special Interest Group AI in Cultural Inquiry and Art: Thinking and Making in the Algorithmic Condition addresses three complementary research lines: advancement of the idea of the ‘Algorithmic Condition’, capacity building in STARTS (Science + Technology + Arts) and STEAM (Science and Technology, interpreted through Engineering and the Arts, based in Mathematics), and concepts and curation.

wall with TV screens

In the 'Algorithmic Condition', information, knowledge, and exchange are omnipresent and pervading disciplinary and institutional boundaries, functions, and practices. Humanities scholars today collaborate more often and more deeply with creative and cultural professionals. Moreover, these professionals participate more actively in knowledge production both in and beyond academia. Artistic production changes under the influence of, and intervenes in, Artificial Intelligence especially by making new hybrid genres available for research and collaboration. These converging practices yield emerging and transforming genres and platforms for exchange within the academy and at the intersection of academic and creative practice, ultimately affecting the audiences of academies; media, art, and performance institutions; and ​makerspaces.

Research lines

Advancement of the Idea of the ‘Algorithmic Condition’

Ethics of Coding: A Report on the Algorithmic Condition (2018) extends Jean-François Lyotard’s 1979 The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. While Lyotard discussed ICTs, Felicity Colman et al. discussed Web 3.0, or the Internet of algorithmic media, automated document generation, and data subjectivity.

This research advances the report Ethics of Coding on social, ethical, and educational coding and their consequences for knowledge production and digital citizenship by collaborating at the intersection of cultural and media theory; philosophy of media and art; and media, art, and performance practice.

Capacity Building in STARTS and STEAM and SHAPE

STARTS stands for Science + Technology + Arts and STEAM for Science and Technology, interpreted through Engineering and the Arts, based in Mathematics. SHAPE stands for Social Sciences, Humanities & the Arts for People & the Economy. All three are transdisciplinary fields to which STEAM, with its additional emphasis on Liberal Arts, adds an educational component.

The research brings together Utrecht-based scholars that use art and design as perspectives to understand the role of Artificial Intelligence in science and technology.

Concepts and Curation

Humanities engagement with the Algorithmic Condition has generated a series of concepts - such as ‘algorithmic condition’ itself but also concepts such as ‘shareveillance’ and ‘cloud ethics’ - that describe, prescribe, and/or speculate about the entanglement of human cognition, subjectivity, and embodiment with Artificial Intelligence. Often, these concepts have come about by studying the work of, or by directly collaborating with, artists and curators who, in turn, pick up, develop, and/or repurpose the concepts for their public-facing projects and events. With this collaboration emerges a new contract between the two domains, as well as with citizens generally.

This raises questions, and space for projects, about: the functioning of concepts as tools for specific epistemic purposes; the development and affordances of digital, networked presentation formats and their accessibility; the impact of new strategies of concept-creation on the educational functioning of both academia and art.


Our researchers are active in the following research groups:

Faculty of Humanities

Transmission in Motion
[urban interfaces]

Faculty of Science

Human-Centred Computing

Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance

Organisation Studies


Activities in the realm of the SIG include research seminars with visiting (inter)national guest speakers from academia and the arts; co-creative, critical-making, exploratory, participatory workshops; and grant writing collaborations with the goal of developing integrative Open Access publications and/or toolkits.

Twice a year a call for activity proposals will be distributed UU-wide, and a selection of them will receive financial support.