A group of Huddersfield artists have collaborated with artificial intelligence (AI) to create a new artwork.

The artwork, titled: ‘Pressure and Release’, was produced by The Making Space collective, based at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street in Huddersfield town centre.

The four artists involved – Helen Williamson, Amy Hirst, David Velez and Andrew Wilson – created the artwork with Microsoft’s Bing chat which is powered by GPT-4 AI.

The group chose to collaborate with GPT-4 in order to understand more about artificial intelligence and compare it to human creativity.

Helen said: “Everyone is talking about AI and we wanted to find out more. We decided the best way to evaluate AI was to use it as a tool for an activity in which we have some expertise.”

The group began their investigation by asking GPT-4 to tell them what to make and what materials to use but found the suggestions uninspiring.

Amy added: “The ideas it came up with were a bit cliched. Between the four humans present we had nearly 100 years of experience as artists, ranging from sound art to puppetry, and we had a hunch that the first suggestions from GPT-4 wouldn’t produce anything interesting.”

Instead the group asked GPT-4 to scour the day’s news and report what it found using a range of styles, for example in the style of children’s book titles. This approach proved more productive and the group picked their favourite contribution from GPT-4.

The artists added two rules of their own: to only use the tools and materials already found in their shared studio, and to complete the work in one Saturday afternoon session.

Helen added: “Restrictions are often useful to creativity. By using GPT-4 we were able to connect with current events but we also needed to restrict the possibilities in order to make something from the huge number of facts that GPT-4 can retrieve.”

The group then produced a range of options based on the GPT-4 suggestion and chose the final piece through discussion.

Amy added: “The four of us have worked together for nearly a decade so when we picked our favourite we were all happy with the choice because we trust each other’s judgement.”

The group felt that they didn’t have the same level of trust with their AI collaborator, but that might be built in future.

The Making Space felt that GPT-4 showed remarkable understanding but its creative interpretation was formulaic. Overall they found the experience enjoyable and instructive, and plan to develop the collaboration further.

After the artwork has been on display they are going to show it to the GPT-4 AI and ask for its critical opinion.