News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB s resident media artist presents Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada

Author: Communications

Posted on Nov 4, 2014

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB

Dr. Henry Svec is UNB's 2014-15 media artist-in-residenceHenry Adam Svec, UNB’s 2014-15 media artist-in-residence, will give his inaugural performance on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall on UNB’s Fredericton campus.

Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada explores the possibility that Svec has built a digital machine capable of sorting through the entire body of Canadian folk music and generating new, authentic compositions from the source data. Built in Dawson City, Yukon, with the Czech programmer Mirek Plihal, Svec's A.I. named LIVINGSTON is reconfiguring the rules of songwriting and culture in Canada. 

In his Nov. 6 performance at UNB, Dr. Svec will recount the experience of building an artificially intelligent database of Canadian folklore, and perform and discuss selections from Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada, Vol. 1.

"We used to worry so much about sources and origins, in Canadian folkloristics,” says Svec. “LIVINGSTON helps us rather to focus on the signals, which can be beautiful."

“The event will be roughly half music, and half analysis, but all informative.”

Housed in the culture and language studies department, Svec is UNB’s second media artist-in-residence. The program was launched in 2013 to allow students, faculty and staff—as well as the greater Fredericton community—to meet with and learn from a practicing media artist.

Read Svec’s bio

Media contact: Kelsey Seymour