Microsoft, Museum of Art & Photography create AI-powered platform for linking artworks, cultures
Tech titan Microsoft and the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bengaluru, on Friday announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence-powered platform for connecting artworks and cultures across the globe.
The platform, INTERWOVEN, is anchored in MAP's wide collection of South Asian textiles and was developed as part of Microsoft's AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, which leverages technology for benefit of people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of art and culture.
Past projects under the initiative have involved improving accessibility through the open-access collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the digital restoration of 'Ancient Olympia', in collaboration with the Government of Greece. The MAP in Bengaluru is the first project under this initiative in India.
Microsoft and MAP, Bengaluru, showcased the new artificial intelligence-powered platform for connecting artworks and cultures, at a virtual event on Friday. The platform offers users two options. The first, which is 'Curated Journeys', lets the user view predefined paths, created primarily by MAP's educational and research arm, the MAP Academy. These combine relationships between global artifacts suggested by the AI, which are then researched and expanded further by individual curators. It is an explorative model for how AI can be used in museology and art historical research. It covers a range of themes, from ideas around anti-imperialism to representations of women, to explorations of leisure, according to the statement. A case in point is that one of the journeys even traces the forms and functions of handbags across several cultures and timelines, shedding light on their associations with ideas of community, convenience, and haute couture.
The second option (Custom Journeys) invites general users to explore the platform to discover meaningful and, at times, surprising visual connections. The MAP Academy, the knowledge partner of INTERWOVEN has been leading the research and curated content of the project along with Microsoft. INTERWOVEN has been over a year in the making and brings together collections from key institutions and partners across the world alongside MAP's (including the V&A, London, MET, New York, Rietberg, Zürich, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada) to reveal connections between artworks from different cultures, mediums and time periods. INTERWOVEN represents these visually and intuitively, in the process encouraging further exploration, discovery and cross-cultural exchange, the statement said. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer at Microsoft India, described INTERWOVEN as a project that is ''deeply impactful'' to society, culture, and heritage. ''The project interweaves technology with art, using AI to find shared histories in artistic traditions from different corners of the globe, particularly pertaining to something as rich and complex as textiles,'' Srivathsa said.
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