Unsound Using AI to Curate 2023 Festival

The team curating this year’s Unsound Festival will include an “artificially intelligent artistic director (AIAD).” The DADA-themed program is scheduled to run Oct. 1 to 8 in Kraków, Poland.

“More than a century after its birth, we’re interested in Dada as a force guiding the festival,” says Mat Schulz, Unsound artistic director and cofounder. “This is not really about looking, or listening, backwards to the past for clues. We want to think about Dada in the present, and with an ear to the future, in which non-human agency is increasingly prevalent. AIAD is part of this – an absurdist provocation, rather than a techno-utopian statement.”

Codirector Gosia Płysa says the AIAD won’t always get its way.

“We began developing the concept of AIAD before the pandemic,” she says “Music festivals – like much human behaviour in general – often already look like they were created with algorithms, but we’ve been training our AIAD to give bizarre advice related to programming formats, and to inspire the humans in our team to make more playful or even crazy decisions. Whether we follow the advice is another thing, but that’s also true of human collaborators. We don’t always agree.”

The team is accept submissions for the festival’s discourse program until Apr. 1. Pitches should be 500 words maximum, and sent to dada@unsound.pl.

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