Tate Britain Exhibition

IK Prize 2016: Recognition

Sir Peter Lely Two Ladies of the Lake Family c.1660, Tate Eunuchs apply make-up before Raksha Bandhan festival celebrations in a red light area in Mumbai, India, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 Left: Eunuchs apply make-up before Raksha Bandhan festival celebrations in a red light area in Mumbai, India, 17 August 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui 

Right: Sir Peter Lely Two Ladies of the Lake Family c.1660, Tate

Can a machine make us look afresh at great art through the lens of today’s world?

Recognition, winner of IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation, is an artificial intelligence program that compares up-to-the-minute photojournalism with British art from the Tate collection. 

Visit the virtual gallery as it evolves online and help re-train the algorithm in an installation at Tate Britain. 

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Over three months, Recognition will create an ever-expanding virtual gallery by searching through Tate’s collection of British art and archive material online, comparing artworks with news images from Reuters based on visual and thematic similarities twenty-four hours a day. Making unforeseen comparisons across history, geography and culture, the result will be a time capsule of the world represented in diverse types of images, past and present.

Recognition incorporates multiple artificial intelligence technologies, including computer vision capabilities such as object recognition, facial recognition, colour and composition analysis; and natural language processing of text associated with images, allowing it to analyse context and subject matter and produce written descriptions of image comparisons. 

The display at Tate Britain accompanies the online project offering visitors the chance to interrupt the machine’s selection process. The results of this experiment – to see if an artificial intelligence can learn from the many personal responses humans have when looking at images – will be presented on the virtual gallery site at the end of the project.

IK Prize 2016

The IK Prize is presented annually by Tate for an idea that uses digital technology to innovate the way we discover, explore and enjoy British art in the Tate collection.

The 2016 IK Prize, in partnership with Microsoft, challenged digital creatives to use artificial intelligence to explore, investigate or ‘understand’ British art in the Tate collection. Selected as the winner for Recognition, Fabrica received a £15,000 prize, £90,000 production budget and support from Tate and Microsoft. Fabrica collaborated with artificial intelligence specialists and web developers Jolibrain to turn their idea into reality.


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.


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.


Recognition is an autonomously operating software programme. All reasonable steps have been taken to prevent publication of challenging, offensive or infringing content and Tate will be monitoring the project’s progress closely. 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. 

If you would like to contact Tate regarding content produced by Recognition, email recognition@tate.org.uk

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

Tate Britain

Archive Gallery

Online and at Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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2 September – 27 November 2016

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