A.I. and Composition
How can humans learn from non-human intelligence? Are hybrid creative processes our future?

Holly Herndon, 39, is one of the most important avant-garde artists of our time in electronic music. She has successfully mined the outer edges of electronic and avant-garde pop and emerged with a dynamic and disruptive template of her own, all while studying for her soon-to-be-completed PhD degree at Stanford University, researching machine learning and music. Holly Herndon’s third full-length album PROTO was in large parts created with her own A.I. “baby”, Spawn. For the album, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers and, in the case of Spawn, also a non-human intelligence housed in a self-built, souped-up gaming PC. The result is a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk-inspired singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion. With her art, Holly Herndon raises questions about what humans can learn from non-human intelligence and about the concept of hybrid creative processes.

Photo: Boris Camaca