Creative AI at MozFest 2021: A Wrangler Recap

Mozilla Festival

By Mozilla Festival | May 14, 2021 | Mozilla Festival

This blog was guest authored by Philo van Kemenade and Lujain Ibrahim, Space Wranglers for the Creative AI Space at Mozilla Festival 2021.


At MozFest this year, our team of Creative AI Wranglers set out to create a space to collectively re-envision, question, and interact with AI and its effects on our daily lives. Our aim was to fuel a community that can create a brighter future where humans and machines collaborate to unleash the best of us. One virtual MozFest, 27 Creative AI sessions, and many Spatial Chat conversations and Zoom calls later, here’s a recap of some of our favorite moments from the Creative AI space at MozFest 2021.

27 Sessions Exploring Human-Computer Creativity

In the Creative AI Space, Facilitators hosted 27 sessions from countries all around the world, including the Netherlands, the US, Brazil, India and many more. The programme included both live formats like workshops, live performances and discussions, as well as a virtual exhibition of art and media creations.

A screenshot of virtual sticky notes
A screengrab from Lance Weiler’s immersive paranoid thriller Project Immerse, premiered at the MozFest Creative AI Space

Together, these art and media exhibits presented a variety of exciting visions of human-machine creativity. From AI-inspired futures, plays, and poetry to virtual riots challenging narratives around AI, and from AI creatively prompting human stories to using machine learning to examine biological growth. The exhibition even extended into the streets of Amsterdam in the form of a special augmented reality exhibition with markers put up all around town! With a MozFest ticket, you can still check out all the art and media sessions here (until June 16).

Social Spaces at the Creative AI Space

To kick off the exhibition, we hosted a festive vernissage introducing MozFest participants to the Creative AI creators and their works. After a rapid fire of lightning talks, people mingled in the dedicated Spatial Chat gallery spaces for an opportunity to discuss artworks and designs with their creators.

Screenshot of a virtual room with wood floors and a beige wall that features an image of a plant on the right side. White text on the left side reads "Creative AI Gallery | Seeding Things; Jen Southern"
Q&A with artist Jen Southern in the Creative AI Gallery space dedicated to her work “Seeding Things”

To keep the spirits high throughout the festival, we hosted a special “Creative AI Happy Hour,” featuring the one and only DJ Doug on the wheels of steel. One cool aspect of the Spatial Chat platform is the spatial audio feature, which makes nearby avatars audible while people located further away sound distant. We discovered that this generated a very real party effect with some people dancing on a live streamed dancefloor while others engaged in conversation in a more quiet corner.

Black image with colorful parrot GIFs dancing around an announcement for the Creative AI Space Happy Hour event.
Creative AI Happy Hour! Bring your party parrots!

Two Weeks of Skill Sharing with Gradual

The Creative AI Space also featured a unique pilot of a new tool for connected community learning. Gradual invites community members to express what they would like to learn and share, maps these intentions in a network visualisation, matches people and skills and supports in the facilitation of meetings to exchange insights and skills. We had over 60 people participating, resulting in 15 emergent skill sharing sessions on topics ranging from fostering healthy online communities to combining Data Science and Law for responsible AI!

Screenshot of mixed media art and circular icons of people attending the vent all gathered together to chat.
Celebrating 2 weeks of skill sharing at MozFest in Spatial Chat

Increasing Accessibility with HyperAudio

The Creative AI space interviews with the creators as well as some of the Creative AI sessions are now available for viewing on HyperAudio! HyperAudio is a new, open-source project co-created by a long-time MozFest community member and Creative AI wrangler mentor, Mark Boas. The project makes video or audio more accessible to those with hearing impairments, to speakers of languages other than the spoken language in the video, and to those with different learning styles (preferring to read rather than watch).

Stay in Touch

Our amazing Wrangler team was Chinouk, Douglas, Gracielle, Lujain and Philo. We’d like to thank all the participants, Facilitators, Volunteers, mentors, fellow Wranglers, and the MozFest team for exploring Creative AI with us at MozFest this year!

Make sure to join the #creative-ai channel on the MozFest community Slack to continue engaging with our community of technologists, artists, activists, and enthusiasts. We’d love to see what you’re working on, what you’re thinking about, and how we can use our creativity to inspire more humane futures!

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit www.mozillafestival.org.

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