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MW20 Artificial Intelligence in the service of creative storytelling

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MuseWeb 2020 presentation about creative use of AI in museum space. The presentation documents an interactive installation designed & created in 2019 by Superskrypt for Warsaw Rising Museum in Poland.

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MW20 Artificial Intelligence in the service of creative storytelling

  1. 1. Artificial Intelligence in the service of creative storytelling Reflection A digital installation at the Warsaw Rising Museum Piotr Burdyło / Superskrypt Emilka Bojańczyk / Superskrypt Anna Grzechnik / The Warsaw Rising Museum
  2. 2. Museums show a small percentage of their collections to visitors.
  3. 3. Digitising the vast archives is only the first step towards showing them to the public. If not provided with a narrative, they will remain indigestible—a sad case in point of museum “multimedia”.
  4. 4. Superskrypt is a digital creative agency. We work with museums and help them use technology in viewer-friendly ways. The Warsaw Rising Museum is one of the top storytelling Museums in Poland. It commemorates the event of the 1944’ Warsaw Rising during WWII. Young people are the main target and recipient of their exhibitions.
  5. 5. We would like to share our recent work —“Reflection. I am like you, surely”—a multimedia exhibition opened at the Warsaw Rising Museum in August 2019.
  6. 6. “Reflection” is an exhibition centred around two interactive mirror totems. The totems serve as magical windows to the past. Viewers see their reflection in the mirror transformed into the face of an insurgent that resembles them.
  7. 7. In the interaction, the installation makes a photo of a visitor with a hidden camera.The photo is analyzed to detect the visitor's face. Part of the photo with the visitor’s face is sent to an artificial intelligence module that analyses a database of almost 1000 archival photos of insurgents.The algorithm chooses the most resembling portrait.
  8. 8. mirror totem C O M P U T E R D A T A B A S E A I M O D U L E Photo of the viewers face Image of insurgent C A M E R A P R O X I M I T Y S E N S O R detects approaching visitor makes photo estimates visitors height Image of insurgent displayed Fallback images in case of network failure
  9. 9. The interface is designed to match the position of the viewer’s face in the mirror. The algorithm approximates the height of the viewer based on data from a proximity sensor and from the camera. An outline of a face is displayed at this calculated height, prompting the viewer to adjust his position to fit the oval as closely as possible. This interaction allows us to present the image of the insurgent in place of the viewers’ reflection.
  10. 10. The user sees her face transformed into the face of an insurgent in the final, culminating moment.This illusion of an interactive, magical mirror to the past creates a bond between the user and the insurgent. Visitors are also provided with a link to the photo of his “twin” on-line. They can access and download the image at a later date.
  11. 11. Privacy concerns were paramount while creating the installation.The objective was to clearly inform visitors about what data will be collected and what will and what will not happen with the data later. In order not to spoil the magical process of finding the visitor’s twin by too much legal information crammed inside the main interface, notices were installed on the walls leading up to the mirror.They are visible before scanning the face in the mirrors. All the biometric data are deleted after being processed and are not collected for marketing use nor handed over to third parties.
  12. 12. Legal notice at the exhibition: IMPORTANT INFORMATION! READ BEFORE YOU APPROACH THE INSTALLATION. The interactive mirror will scan your facial features to find your double among archive Insurgent photographs. By approaching the mirror and scanning your face, you grant your consent for short-term processing of your personal data. Detailed information is available at www.1944.pl Legal notice on the website: (…) Your personal data will not be made available to other recipients. Your personal data will be stored only for as long as it is necessary to match your face with the image of a person stored in the archive collection that serves as the database for the application you are about to launch.Your personal data will be processed for 2–3 seconds and no scanned image is saved on any media.
  13. 13. Artificial intelligence can be employed not only to track users and collect and analyse their data. Our installation shows that it can be helpful in serving exhibits that are meaningful to the viewer. In this way, technology is an extension of the curator, enabling him or her to process vast archives and pick the works that relate to the person viewing them.
  14. 14. The Museum has approximately 350 000 visitors a year. Data from the installation’s server point to about 30 000 requests for an image monthly.While some visitors scan their face more than once, this data points to a majority of the Museum’s visitors using the installation. The installation is heavily used by visitors, who are often even willing to wait for a few minutes to for their turn at the mirror.There are two totems within the installation—this helps to avoid queues.
  15. 15. Many visitors have strong emotional reactions when they see their “twin”. People are almost shocked, surprised at the accuracy of their physical resemblance to the Insurgent. The few seconds of waiting for the twin face to appear in the mirror and the accompanying animation bring up expectations to the highest level possible. People burst laughing, burst into tears, often with comments such as “He looks totally like you! / He looks like your dad / grandpa.” Most reactions—90% or so—were deeply positive. Negative ones happen when the person in front of the mirror is unhappy about the resemblance outcome. For the past 8 months since opening the exhibition, about 50 people contacted the Museum through an e-mail created to help research their unknown twin’s identity. Only 2 of those 50 understood that research is to be conducted among their own relatives instead of in the Museum’s archives.
  16. 16. Reflection: video – tinyurl.com/reflection-video Reflection: case study – tinyurl.com/reflection-case Reflection: presentation – tinyurl.com/reflection-presentation Piotr Burdyło / Superskrypt pburdylo@superskrypt.pl
  17. 17. Video