Tate Britain, in partnership with Microsoft, today launches Recognition, winner of IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation. Recognition is an artificial intelligence programme that compares up-to-the-minute photojournalism from Reuters with British art from the Tate collection.

Over three months from 2 September to 27 November 2016, Recognition will create an ever-expanding virtual gallery by searching through Tate’s archive and collection of British art online, comparing works with news images from Reuters based on visual and thematic similarities. Viewers around the world will be able to learn why the artificial intelligence programme selected each match. They will able to share their favourite matches online, looking at whether a machine can help us to look at the world anew through the lens of art.

A display at Tate Britain accompanies the online project offering visitors to the gallery the chance to compare the machine’s matches with their own and invites them to help retrain the algorithm. The experiment will explore whether an artificial intelligence programme can learn from the many personal responses humans have when looking at images. The results will be presented on the virtual gallery website at the end of the project.

Recognition incorporates multiple artificial intelligence technologies, including computer vision capabilities such as object recognition, facial recognition and composition analysis. It also uses natural language processing to interpret image captions and text, analysing context and subject matter. Matches like LS Lowry’s Industrial Landscape 1955 with a construction image of Changi Airport in Singapore demonstrates how Recognition analyses objects, colours and composition.

The winning team (Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon, Monica Lanaro and Isaac Vallentin) are based at Fabrica, a communication research centre in Treviso, Italy. They have worked with the artificial intelligence specialists, JoliBrain, to create Recognition.

 Tate’s 2016 IK Prize, in partnership with Microsoft, invited digital creatives, from researchers and software developers to artists and designers, to propose a project using artificial intelligence that will explore, investigate or ‘understand’ British art from the Tate collection in a new way. The Fabrica team received a £15,000 prize and £90,000 production budget to turn their idea into reality in collaboration with Tate and Microsoft.

The winning team at Fabrica said:

“Creating Recognition has been an incredibly fascinating and complex challenge. Taking our proposal from concept to fully functional artificial intelligence couldn’t have been achieved without the expertise provided by our collaborators Emmanuel Benazera and Alexandre Girard at JoliBrain, as well as the support and mentoring provided by Microsoft. We can’t wait to see what inspiring, insightful, humorous and thought-provoking relationships Recognition unearths between how the world is represented in British art and up-to-the-minute news.”

 Eric Horvitz, Technical Fellow and Director of Microsoft Research Lab at Redmond and IK Prize judge, said:

“Microsoft’s partnership with Tate is rooted in the belief that technology can make a profound difference in our lives and allow everyone to experience and achieve more – whether that’s in the world of Art, the world of work, or elsewhere.  Ongoing advances inAItechnologies are enabling new partnerships between people and machines. The Recognition project was motivated by the promise of this kind of collaboration. We envision a world where humans and machines work together in new ways to do amazing things. I congratulate the team from Fabrica on winning theIKPrize and going on to build Recognition.”

Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director, Tate, said:
“The aim of theIKPrize is to promote digital creativity. Partnering this year with Microsoft, we have focused on artificial intelligence, bringing cutting-edge and exciting technology to the forefront of how audiences can engage with Tate’s collection in the digital sphere. We expect Recognition to stimulate unusual and interesting encounters between art and current events in new, thought-provoking ways.” 

The IK Prize, named in memory of the philanthropist Irene Kreitman, celebrates creative talent in the digital industry. Initiated in 2013 by the Porter Foundation (IK Prize 2014 and 2015), the IK Prize is presented by Tate to a team, company or individual for an original idea that uses digital technology to explore art on display at Tate Britain and on the Tate website. The 2016 competition, in partnership with Microsoft, challenged digital creatives to come up with a project using a form of artificial intelligence to explore British art in the Tate collection.

For press information contact Cecily.Carbone@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8730/8731


Tate is delighted to be working with Microsoft to present IK Prize 2016.  In addition to their generous support of the prize, Microsoft has offered consultancy and technical support to the nominees and the winner during the development of their project. For more information about the IK Prize, visit tate.org.uk/ikprize


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.

Coralie Gourguechon is a designer with an interdisciplinary approach currently working as an Interaction Designer at Fabrica. She’s interested in the representation of technology which she deconstructs and simplifies, both on a physical and semantic level.

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 at the University of Bologna. Now based at Fabrica, his works 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. 
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.

The four shortlisted proposals for the IK Prize 2016 were:

  • The Wandering Intelligence of Art by Ross Frame and Tom Wyatt
  • OSCAR by Unit Lab (Mike Vanis, Cindy Strobach and Amina Abbas Nazari)
  • Texting Tate by Michel Erler
  • Recognition by Fabrica (Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon and Monica Lanaro)

The four shortlisted were chosen from over 200 entries by a panel comprising the following high-profile individuals and industry experts:

Paul Benun, CCO, Somethin’ Else
Alex Farqhuarson, Director, Tate Britain
Eric Horvitz, Director, Microsoft Research Lab at Redmond
Marguerite Humeau, artist
Aleks Krotoski, journalist and broadcaster


Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.


Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world’s media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV.

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.