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South Australia’s digital creatives get innovative in Adelaide’s CBD

An artificial intelligence-powered art vending machine, virtual reality butterflies and a digital fortune cookie are all part of the creative projects set to bring the CBD to life for Adelaide’s CreaTech City Challenge.

The South Australian Government and City of Adelaide have been hunting for innovators, entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and businesses to design and deliver highly visible creative technology (‘CreaTech’) artworks to revitalise the city and North Adelaide as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

An artificial intelligence-powered art vending machine, virtual reality butterflies and a digital fortune cookie are all part of the creative projects set to bring the CBD to life for Adelaide’s CreaTech City Challenge.

Applications closed in March and shortlisted applicants were asked to pitch their ideas to the Adelaide CreaTech City Challenge Panel – with three applicants successful:
 
• The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Art Vending Machine – created by the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) and multidisciplinary artists Dave Court and James Brown – will require participants to negotiate with a vending machine to receive a ‘reward’, dependent on the ‘opinion’ the machine has formed about the participant. Each reward will be a unique artwork, ranging from non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to individualised personal feedback, and each will contribute to a growing online gallery. The project is a leading-edge example of art created as a collaboration between a participant and a machine in a public space.
 
• Herding Caterpillars in 3D by Butterfly Conservation SA and Flinders University’s The Void, involves augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences that showcase the unique biodiversity of the City of Adelaide through the life cycle of the Chequered Copper butterfly, its host plant Native Sorrell and its unique mutual symbiosis with the black ant. The project will launch during the 10-day Nature Festival in October 2022, with a trail of three interactive sculptures within the Adelaide Parklands triggering AR experiences through visitors’ smart phones, as well as VR performances (a 360-degree recording of the butterflies, plants and ants interacting, using human actors, delivered through supplied VR headsets).
 
• Fortune Cookie by Sandpit Media will involve a giant interactive fortune cookie, which when activated, will ‘dispense’ a fortune for the user that travels along a long tickertape style LED screen, unfurling like paper from the cookie into Rundle Mall.

Thematically, the work explores what the future of the world may hold, from the personal to the global. Each fortune will be uniquely created for each person who engages with it, using the power of AI and machine learning.
 
The CreaTech Challenge brings together creative skills and emerging technologies to engage audiences, support business growth and encourage investment in Adelaide’s public realm, with works set to be installed before the end of 2022.

Grants totalling $300,000 were made available as part of the challenge, a collaboration between the City of Adelaide, Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA) and the Department for Innovation and Skills (DIS), funded through the Capital City Committee’s Development Program.

Andrea Michaels MP expresses their excitement for the upcoming challenge.

“The CreaTech Challenge is about creating new, fun and engaging visitor experiences that attract people into the city and encourage them to spend more time here and visit local businesses. The convergence of creativity and technology is truly an exciting space.  This CreaTech Challenge has opened a door to discovering the local capabilities we have in this area.  

“South Australia has quality research and tertiary institutions, leading technologists and a wealth of creative talent that pushes boundaries and shares our stories with the world. Building the state’s capabilities in the emerging CreaTech sector will harness new opportunities through exciting collaborations between business, artists and researchers and create new South Australian IP.
 
“It will be exciting to see technological solutions that enhance people’s experience of the city, improve wellbeing, wayfinding and enhance the cultural life of Adelaide,” Michaels said.
 
Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor commented on the event saying that, “On behalf of the City of Adelaide, I congratulate our successful applicants who will help us reignite the city through creativity and technology. I thank the South Australian Government for working with the City of Adelaide to support our local entrepreneurs, innovators and creatives and recognise the value they add to our city’s culture and economy. 
 
“Adelaide is a UNESCO Creative City and my council is committed to creating opportunities that curate amazing artistic experiences here in our city. We are a city of makers and the depth of our city’s creative talent is demonstrated by these three unique, interactive and cutting-edge projects,” Verschoor said.


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