JCU Students Organize "ChatXBT: The Lost Archives," First AI-curated Art Exhibit in Rome

“Art and Al, a dance of the divine,
A union of the human and the machine,
Creating beauty that’s both old and new,
A symphony of pixels and hues.”

– ChatGPT

ChatXBT: The Lost Archives

ChatXBT: The Lost Archives

A group of students from Professor Ilaria Gianni’s Spring 2023 course Curating Museums and Galleries, organized “ChatXBT: The Lost Archives,” the first AI-curated art exhibit in Rome. The exhibit, which was curated by students Aleksandra Nasobina, Robin Sauerman, and Mina Kyoleyan, was held on April 27 from 6 to 9 PM at Caffè Letterario in Rome.

ChatXBT: The Lost Archives was a groundbreaking exhibit that showcased the possibilities of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) in the curation process. Led by prompts from student engineers/curators from John Cabot University, this unique exhibit challenged traditional methods of curation and invited visitors to explore the potential of AI in the art world.

All necessary steps for the development of the exhibition were carried out by AI: from the initial planning stages to the creation of texts, press release, and posters. Each element of the show featured some form of AI involvement, creating a fully immersive and transformative experience for visitors, who were able to spot imperfections or mistakes deliberately included to showcase the current limitations of AI technology, raising important questions about the crucial role of humans in the creative process.

At the heart of the exhibition was a collection of vintage photos selected by the curators, enhanced and accompanied by a unique AI generated backstory. These pictures of past lives progress to present a reinvented story, artificially invented by AI, through the process of observation. This unprecedented use of AI technology in the curation process is a testament to the role that technology can play in shaping the perception and development of content.

With the emergence of hyper-detailed, realistic, and quickly generated images through AI, what would art look like if AI played a bigger role? How could AI affect the integrity of art? How can AI be used to enable creativity? Can people sense missing sentiment when AI is the artist?

AI undoubtedly comes with limitations such as creativity confined to technological advancement, complex legal issues, an absence of desire and intention, fewer mediums to work with, and less human interaction. However, it allows for speed, accessibility, fluent translation of thoughts, access to tools that are not available to human minds, and it enables collaboration through prompt generation.

Visitors explored these possibilities of AI in the art world and discovered the lost archives through ChatXBT. This unique and thought-provoking exhibition offered a journey into the unknown that inspired visitors’ imagination and challenged their perceptions of art and technology.