On 15-19 November 2021 the Photography and Media Arts department at VAA hosted a creative workshop 'Doing Art with Unreal' for the KUNO network students. 13 students from the Nordic-Baltic academies in Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Lithuania worked together for a course of one week in Vilnius. 

The goal of the event was an attempt to tackle a highly complex tool (game engine) as an art-making  platform, as well as explore a possibility of novel approaches in computer assisted creativity. During the workshop a team of the students lead by the teachers Ignas Pavliukevičius, Egis Bachur and Žilvinas Lilas engaged with readily available generative algorithm tools as part of Unreal Engine 4, and also  GPT-2 in order to generate a human-readable text and to create an autonomously acting character(s) conveying emotionally meaningful behavioural traits. The team tried to crack open the enigma and find out if AI truly lives up to its name and delivers more than just the infamous deep fakes, predictable behaviour or an averaged output generated from the different inputs. The participants got a good primary exposure to the limits and the possibilities of the tool, the artistically viable results however require additional sessions of a deeper hands-on involvement with the subject. One unexpected albeit no less valuable outcome of the workshop was a joy of unhindered communication, a condition seemingly mundane under most of normal circumstances, in times when global pandemic heavily weighs in on us, reclaiming its true existential value.

Students have greatly enjoyed the course and are already looking forward to part 2 :) 

I loved it. It was truly inspiring and I learned a lot. Both from teachers and other students. It the chance to come back comes I’d be there in a second. THANK YOU!!! <3 

Miranda Martinsson, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts

Student accommodation and travel expenses were funded by the KUNO network. 
Photos by Arturas Bukauskas and student Viktor Kudriashov.