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Tate announces winner of IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation: Recognition by Fabrica

Fabrica receive a £15,000 prize and a £90,000 development budget to turn their proposal – an artificial intelligence program that will compare up-to-the-minute photojournalism with British art from the Tate collection – into a reality online and at Tate Britain in late summer 2016. 

The 2016 competition

The 2016 IK Prize, in partnership with Microsoft, challenged digital creatives to use a form of artificial intelligence to allow the public to explore, investigate or ‘understand’ British art in the Tate collection in new ways. An expert panel of judges selected a shortlisted four ideas in response to a brief on artificial intelligence. They included a proposal to give artworks the power to daydream, an intelligent machine comparing artworks with the never-ending stream of images from across the internet, an A.I. artist-in-residence learning to create art, and an experiment to see if a machine can learn to describe artworks as well as humans.

2016 Shortlist

The Wandering Intelligence of Art

Ross Frame and Tom Wyatt 

Imagine if artworks could daydream. All day long on the gallery wall being stared at. This is the life of an artwork. But what if they looked back, noticed their surroundings, and were inspired themselves? Ross Frame and Tom Wyatt propose to give artworks eyes and ears to pick-up on the actions of visitors. Using facial recognition, sound detection and various other methods, the intelligent machines ‘inside’ each work will let their minds wander, influenced by the ‘data’ all around them. Both online and on-mobile, at home or during a visit to the gallery, the public will be able to see into these machine-minds and witness how visitors’ actions ‘transform’ how the artworks think. How will this affect an artwork, changing how it appears in virtual form? Where does an artwork’s mind wander?

About Tom Wyatt

Tom is a scientist working at University College London at the interface between Biology and Physics. He experiments to learn about how cancer cells divide and specialises in writing code to extract useful information from microscopy images. He has also worked in helping to build nano-robots from DNA and using artificial intelligence to help understand the connections between fruit fly brain cells. 

About Ross Frame

Ross has worked in the creative industry for the past 6 years. With a background in graphic design he has worked on design projects for The Museum of Everything and managed major advertising campaigns for Sky Broadband and UKTI

We’re both super excited to be shortlisted for the IK prize and by the prospect of turning our idea into a reality.

Portraits of Ross Frame and Tom Wyatt
Ross Frame and Tom Wyatt


Fabrica – Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon, Isaac Vallentin and Monica Lanaro

Fabrica is a communication research centre based in Treviso, Italy, part of the Benetton Group. Established in 1994, Fabrica offers to young researchers from around the world a one-year scholarship within disciplines such as design, visual communication, photography, interaction, video, music and journalism. 

Recognition is an autonomously operating software programme. All reasonable steps have been taken to prevent publication of challenging, offensive or infringing content. Comparisons between artistic works and other material are made by the software programme and are for the purpose of stimulating debate about art, expression and representation. Tate invites online discussion about these comparisons and encourages users to treat copyright material appropriately according to their local law.

About the team

Coralie Gourguechon is a designer of objects and experiences and currently works as an Interaction Designer at Fabrica. Her work around electronic and digital devices aim to bring transparency to these black boxes, through making their inner workings and conception process more accessible.

Monica Lanaro, project manager at Fabrica, has worked for the Dedalo Minosse Prize commissioning a building in Vicenza, for Festivaletteratura in Mantova and for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Angelo Semeraro studied Computer Science. Now based at Fabrica, his projects include interactive installations and mobile applications experimenting with the perception of sounds and spaces, and the boundary between physical and digital.

Isaac Vallentin is a Canadian designer and musician. He is one half of the award-winning multidisciplinary studio, LOG Creative Bureau.

Portrait of Tate Presents sitting on a bench
Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon and Monica Lanaro


Jolibrain are artificial intelligence specialists based in Toulouse, France. Jolibrain is the editor of the DeepDetect deep learning API and server used in a variety of industries. Jolibrain are experts across the field of A.I. and its applications in a range of industries, from image recognition to NLP applications and cyber security.

Emmanuel Benazera is a former AI researcher with CNRS, NASA and other institutions. His areas of interest include machine learning, search engines and automated decision making. He is a keen Open Source advocate and participates in the development of a handful of open deep learning, optimization and search tools.

Alexadre Girard is an OpenSource web developer based in Toulouse, France. Using cutting-edge front-end technologies, his projects includes data-visualisations and dashboards for various web projects and industries.


Unit Lab – Mike Vanis, Cindy Strobach and Amina Abbas Nazari 

Unit Lab propose OSCAR (Observant Systematically Creative AI in Residence), an intelligent and interactive machine personality, to embark on a residency at Tate Britain in collaboration with the gallery’s physical and online visitors. An experiment exploring the subjective/objective differences between human beings and computers, OSCAR will develop over the course of the residency. He will consume art within Tate Britain, gather people’s views and explore the history and context of artworks. He will then step into the physical realm by controlling machinery and learning to create, with the climactic act of presenting his own artwork to the world. 

About Unit Lab

Unit Lab is a London-based design studio founded by Cindy Strobach and Mike Vanis. Together with associate Amina Abbas Nazari, we create installations and objects that span across design, science and the natural world. 

Mike is an engineer with a background in computer science. His portfolio includes communication technologies, robotics research, and commercial products. He has previously worked for Technology Will Save Us, Google, BBC, and Hirsch & Mann. 

Cindy is a designer with a background in product and furniture design. Cindy sees herself as an inventor who uses design to situate her work within everyday life. Her work is interactive, spanning across craft, science and technology. 

Amina designs interactions and experiences for cultural institutions, festivals and events; specialised in public participation and communication. She has previously worked with RBG Kew, Guerrilla Science, Heatherwick Studio and was the co-founding producer of Cally Festival.

Photograph portrait of Unit Lab – Mike Vanis, Cindy Strobach and Amina Abbas Nazari
Mike Vanis, Cindy Strobach and Amina Abbas Nazari

We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the IK Prize since it gives us the opportunity to present artificial intelligence to the public and explore the technology’s capacity to create art.

Texting Tate

Michel Erler 

Michel Erler proposes Texting Tate, an intelligent ‘chat bot’ that looks at artworks from the Tate collection and learns to describe them with the help of the public. The bot will even engage in conversations with the public who, by logging on to the chat bot online, will answer questions about what they think about particular works of art – do they like it; how does it make them feel; what does it remind them of? As the bot receives more answers and asks more questions, it will build on its own ability to describe works of art. The public will correct the bot’s mistakes and suggest better, more intelligent, descriptions, forming a collaboration between man and machine.

Michel Erler is an experimental interaction designer exploring the intersection of design, science and art. His previous work has dealt with the immaterialisation of currencies, neuro-ethics and low-tech robotics among other themes.

Portrait of Michel Erler sitting in an office
Michel Erler

The IK Prize gives me the chance to explore and combine two very different worlds, artificial intelligence and art, in a manner that is truly exciting and unconventional. Being shortlisted for this prize is a really unique opportunity.

The IK Prize 2016: Recognition takes place online and at Tate Britain Friday 2 September – Sunday 27 November 2016.

Join the conversation #recognition #ikprize        

IK Prize in partnership with Microsoft. 2016 winning project Recognition created by Fabrica and Jolibrain. Content Provider: Reuters.