Whitehead Lectures in Cognition, Computation and Culture

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Goldsmiths' Departments of Computing and Psychology organise regular lectures by guest speakers throughout the academic year encompassing diverse aspects of cognition, computation and culture. All are welcome to attend.

All seminars are held at 4pm in the Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre, unless otherwise stated. Check our map for directions to Goldsmiths. For enquiries related to the lectures, please contact Karina Linnell or Frederic Leymarie.

Autumn 2017

Painting with real paints - e-David, a robot for creating artworks using visual feedback

Speaker: Prof. Oliver Deussen, Visual Computing, Konstanz University
When: 4pm Wednesday 18 October 2017

In Computer Graphics, the term Non-Photorealistic Rendering is used for methods that create "artistically" looking renditions. In last years deep neural networks revolutionized this area and today everybody can create artistically-looking images on their cellphones. Our e-David project targets another goal: we want to understand the traditional painting process, imitate it using a machine and employ techniques from computational creativity on top of this to create artworks that have their own texture and look.

The machine supervises itself during painting and computes new strokes on the difference between content on the canvas and intended result. The involved framework enables artists to implement their own ideas in form of constraints for the underlying optimization process. In the talk I will present e-David as well as recent projects and outline our future plans.

Bio: Prof. Deussen graduated at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is now professor for visual computing at University of Konstanz (Germany) and visiting professor at the Shenzhen Institute of Applied Technology (Chinese Academy of Science). In 2014 he was awarded within the 1000 talents plan of the Chinese Government. He is vice speaker of the SFB Transregio "Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing" that is a large research project conducted together with University of Stuttgart.  From 2012 to 2015 he served as Co-Editor in Chief of Computer Graphics Forum, currently he is Vice-President of Eurographics Association.

He serves as an editor of Informatik Spektrum, the journal of the German Informatics Association and is the speaker of the interest group for computer graphics. His areas of interest are modeling and rendering of complex biological systems, non-photorealistic rendering as well as Information Visualization. He also contributed papers to geometry processing, sampling methods,  and image-based modelling. 


Summer 2017

The Neural Aesthetic

Speaker: Gene Kogan
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths
When: 4pm Wednesday 3 May 2017

Artist and programmer Gene Kogan discusses how artists and musicians are using deep learning for creative experimentation.

Over the last two years, deep learning has made inroads into domains of interest to artists, designers, musicians, and the like. Combined with the appearance of powerful open source frameworks and the proliferation of public educational resources, this once esoteric subject has become accessible to far more people, facilitating numerous innovative hacks and art works. The result has been a virtuous circle, wherein public art works help motivate further scientific inquiry, in turn inspiring ever more creative experimentation.

This talk will review some of the works that have been produced, present educational materials for how to get started, and speculate on research trends and future prospects.

Gene Kogan is an artist and a programmer who is interested in generative systems, artificial intelligence, and software for creativity and self-expression. He is a collaborator within numerous open-source software projects, and leads workshops and demonstrations on topics at the intersection of code, art, and technology activism.

Gene initiated and contributes to ml4a, a free book about machine learning for artists, activists, and citizen scientists. He regularly publishes video lectures, writings, and tutorials to facilitate a greater public understanding of the topic. / / @genekogan

Design for Human Experience & Expression at the HCT Laboratory

Dr. Sid Fels, Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, UB
4pm Wednesday 24 May 2017
Goldsmiths Cinema, Richard Hoggart Building

Research at the Human Communications Technology (HCT) laboratory ( has been targeting design for human experience and expression.

In this presentation, I’ll start with a discussion of gesture-to-speech and voice explorations, including Glove-TalkII and the Digital Ventriloquized Actors (DIVAs). I’ll connect these to other explorations of the new interfaces for musical and visual expression that we have created. I will discuss our work on modelling human anatomy ( and function, such as speaking, chewing, swallowing and breathing ( with biomechanical models using our toolkit Artisynth (

This work is motivated by our quest to make a new vocal instrument that can be controlled by gesture. I’ll discuss some of the activities we have been doing on some new 3D displays: pCubee and Spheree. Finally, these investigations will be used to support a theory of designing for intimacy and discussions of perspectives on human computer interaction for new experiences and forms of expression.