Southern California Institute of Architecture

To support architecture students in the creation and dissemination of multi-media fictional narratives based on the latest research on AI and automation

  • Amount $200,000
  • City Los Angeles, CA
  • Investigator Liam Young
  • Year 2018
  • Program Public Understanding
  • Sub-program New Media

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is host to a unique program, “Fiction and Entertainment,” devoted to the notion that architectural training and a strong design background provide an excellent foundation for success in nonarchitectural fields such as media and entertainment. Funds from this grant support an expansion of the Fiction and Entertainment program that will help 16 master’s students incorporate the latest research in AI and automation technologies into multimedia fictional narratives including short films, animations, documentaries, video games, VR environments, music videos, and web series. Grant funds will allow students to engage in a year-long exploration of AI and automation technologies guided by eight experts in these fields—from Google, Uber, Sidewalk Lab, and elsewhere. Additional workshops and labs will pair students with leading artists to discuss world building, storytelling, character development, and production. As they refine their projects, each student will be matched with an appropriate technologist collaborator whose research they will crystallize into fictional projects. The grant will be capped by a daylong storytelling symposium, Fear & Wonder, which draws 500 people to hear leading directors, conceptual artists, video game designers, and storytellers “share their approach to imagining alternative worlds as a means to understanding our own.” The resulting work products, which may take a variety of multimedia forms, will then be screened at a Future of Automation symposium, which will be interspersed with themed panel discussions to further contextualize the issues. Experts and well-known figures in technology and the arts will be invited to participate. Last, Sci-Arc will produce a 12-minute documentary about all the projects and distribute it via social media.

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