B-Side China: AI as Artist with Wang Changcun and Benjamin Bacon


B-Side China is a podcast monitoring the flip side of cultural stories in the PRC, initiated by Josh Feola for RADII.

On this episode, Wang Changcun (aka ayrtbh) and Benjamin Bacon (aka SoundSpade), two Shanghai-based artists whose practices bend the line between coding and composition, discuss the impact of Artificial Intelligence on creativity. Is AI a tool? A separate consciousness that can be collaborated with? Both? Neither?

Our discussion touches on Google’s recent re-entry into China with the 2018 opening of an AI laboratory in Beijing, ideas recently put forward by artists like Holly Herndon and Lawrence Lek about the potential for human-AI creative collaboration, a few speculative ideas about how the supposed distinction between humanity and artificial intelligence might break down over time, and the one field in which AI is never likely to match human ingenuity (namely: stupidity).

Find another relevant fork of this conversation in the latest episode of RADII’s Digitally China podcast:

Digitally China Podcast: Are We Already Enslaved to AI?

Find B-Side China on iTunes or Stitcher (or here), and more RADII podcasts here.

Cover photo: Wang Changcun performs at Beijing’s Today Art Museum in 2017

Opening track: “Far” by SoundSpade; Closing track: “damn.gif” by ayrtbh

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a US-based writer and musician, and RADII's former Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, MIT Technology Review, Artsy, Bandcamp Daily and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.
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