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LACMA Names 2018 Art+Technology Lab Awardees

The Art+Technology Lab at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced the recipients of its 2018 grants, which support projects that engage emerging technologies. The four recipients—Tahir Hemphill, Jen Liu, Sarah Rara, and Diana Thater—were chosen from more than 430 submissions and will receive up to $50,000.

Titled “Implications of a Rap Neural Network,” Hemphill’s project will create a neural network to examine how cultural production is influenced by artificial intelligence by drawing upon the artist’s Hip Hop Word Count, a database of the lyrics of more than fifty thousand rap songs from 1979 to the present.

For Liu’s project, “Pink Slime Caesar Shift,” the artist combines genetic engineering and labor activism. She will create wearable sculpture and accessories, and 3-D animations in order to draw attention to the production of synthetic meat and the plight of female factory workers in South China.

Rara will research human navigation and how it is mediated by video images. Rara first conceived of her idea for the project, called “Ellipsoid Body,” while working at Caltech’s Dickinson Lab, where she conducted research on the ring-shaped brain structure within fruit flies, which is responsible for their ability to navigate.

Thater will develop a new body of work that focuses on bio-inspired and bio-mimetic robots. Titled “The Zeroth Law,” the project will investigate how “these machines adapt the neurophysiology and behavior of their animal models.”

The projects will be realized with the support of the Art+Technology lab’s advisory board, which is composed of experts in various companies within the technology sector, including Google and SpaceX. The lab recently added two new board advisors: Chris deFaria, president of DreamWorks Feature Animation Group, and Farnaz Azmoodeh, director of engineering at Snap, Inc.