Their work explores the behavior of hybrid agents at the frontier of art, artificial intelligence, and artificial life, through artworks and writings. Audry’s book Art in the Age of Machine Learning examines machine learning art and its practice in art and music (MIT Press, 2021). Their artistic practice branches through multiple forms including robotics, installations, bio-art, and electronic literature.
Audry studied computer science and mathematics (BSc, 2001), machine learning (MSc, 2003), and communication (interactive media) (MA, 2010) before completing a PhD in Humanities from Concordia University (2016). In 2017, they were a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and between 2017 and 2019, held Assistant Professor positions at the University of Maine and at Clarkson University. Sofian is an honorary member of artist-run center Perte de Signal (Montréal, Canada) which they led as president of the board in 2009-2017, and is actively involved in many open source softwares for new media.
Sofian Audry’s work and research have been shown at major international events and venues such as Ars Electronica, Barbican, Centre Pompidou, Club Transmediale, Dutch Design Week, Festival Elektra, International Digital Arts Biennale, International Symposium on Electronic Art, LABoral, La Gaîté Lyrique, Marrakech Biennale, Nuit Blanche Paris, Society for Arts and Technology, V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Muffathalle Munich and the Vitra Design Museum.
Driven by a fascination for autonomous, adaptive and self-organizing systems, I create fragile, affective, out-of-control machinic systems to generate evocative media experiences. These hybrid, dynamic assemblages blur the boundaries between technology and nature, science and culture, human and non-human. My open-ended and stratified works expand through different complexity levels, like life itself.
Computer programming is the cornerstone of my practice. I see it not only as a tool but also both a material and a creative practice. My algorithms are built within multiple materials such as image, light, sound and movement, creating dynamic artworks with diverse and hybrid forms. My dedication to using open source software and material, combined with my practice’s specific fusion of art and science speaks to my engagement in alternative dialogues for knowledge creation and dissemination.
My practice borrows from experimental science and hacking. I develop my projects iteratively through short research and development cycles in which ideas, forms and matter collide. Each new project becomes another opportunity to engage in a dialogue with matter, to enact the world around me. I picture myself working through this situation as an embodied agent, exchanging with my environment in an ongoing feedback loop.
My recent works stage autonomous electronic agents as they evolve within under-controlled environments. Rather than being directly engineered, their behavior emerges out of the indeterminate collision between their inner motivations, their bodies and their habitat. I thus invert, so to speak, the locus of control: neither the artist nor the audience have direct control over the agent’s performance. In line with this endeavour, I am currently exploring machine-learning algorithms in dynamic artworks as means of generating new forms of aesthetic experience.