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Use case: Exploring latent culture-space at the Met

Published onApr 14, 2019
Use case: Exploring latent culture-space at the Met

In November, we joined with Open Learning to host the Met’s digital director Loic Tallon for a talk on campus. He shared dreams of making museums into cultural platforms.

In December, we joined with OL and Microsoft to host a hackathon around using AI to build deeper understanding of the Met’s OA collections. This is how that developed, and led to a public showcase at the Met.

December gathering at MS NERD

Ryan Gaspar wanted to find a collab between MS and the Met.
Peter K, SJ, and Loic discussed having an event to honor the anniversary of the Met’s OA program.
The Met’s Wikimedian in Residence + other wiki collaborators wanted the open metadata to mesh better with Wikidata.
Sarah Schwettmann proposed a studio for AI art at the Met.


12 Met curators (invited by Loic)
12 MIT students (invited by Sarah+Lana)
12 MSFT developers (invited by Ryan)

The Met x Microsoft x MIT Open Access AI Hack Teaser

February event at the Met

MS Teams coordination

Completed projects:
5 full projects

Gen Studio

Search for images in the Met collection that are similar to a generated image on

For each object at the Met, we can find a corresponding object in GAN latent space, then traverse the space between objects to discover artworks that could have been made, but never were.

Storyteller caption

Last-minute considerations:
(InstaMet algorithmic/image bias)
(more work needed for some)

Sharing and publicity:
Embargo; difficulty in code sharing

Met + MS shared this load. Additional MS press may have come through in March, including a site redesign.

Next steps:
Would we all do it again? The Met and OL are keen, each in their own way.

Photos from the event :

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