“Synthetic Cities” is an exhibition that centers around modes of human-machine co-authorship that question and explore creativity and originality. It is created by Stavros Didakis ,who is a professor of Interactive Media Arts at New York University (Shanghai) . It is open from Aug 24th 2023-Sep.24th. DU studio founder Ping Zhu attended the openning.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

The works presented in this exhibition focus extensively on analyzing and implementing co-authorship models that recognize both the importance of AI efficiency and human criticality. The city, in this instance, becomes a symbolic representation that reflects on the human condition and on collective and personal expression. It serves as a focal point for constructing narratives that strive to capture originality and contribute to the discourse on how we create, understand, and engage with the co-authored artistic content. The six presented works function as an interconnected apparatus that invites the viewers into ever-unfolding cityscapes, revealing intriguing connections between reality and imagination and showcasing conditions for an interplay between artificial creation and human perception.


1. Urban echos




Inspired by Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, this work showcases hundreds of visual and text narratives related to imaginary cities that have been co-authored with Generative AI. Through the interface, the audience may navigate these cities, and also review their text and visual analysis which has been accomplished through custom-trained machine agents (mCog).


2 .Co-Authored Traversals


“Co-Authored Traversals” is an interactive multi-screen work that comments on human-machine co-authorship and symbiosis. Through language and communication, we trigger digital ecosystems to go through multiple transformations. The human input is necessary for these systems to survive and evolve.


3.The Synthetic Realm

“The Synthetic Realm” presents a series of infinite panoramas that shift and evolve in the presence of humans.


4. Neural Cityscapes



“Neural Cityscapes” is an audiovisual work that highlights the emergence of original architectural structures that are inspired by Generative AI (Sound/music design by Frankfurt Helmet, VFX mixing: Benny).


5.“c = (h * m)^n”

“c = (h * m)^n” presents to the audience thousands of original definitions for human and machine creativity. Through the use of custom-trained systems, the artist attempts to identify the creativity limits and potentialities of humans and machines.

A symposium on “Synthetic Cities & Human-Machine Creativity” will take place on Saturday 9 of September 2023 at NYU Shanghai (Qiantan campus). The event will be open to the public, with free entrance.

The symposium will be streamed live on the [Digital Futures](https://www.youtube.com/c/DigitalFUTURESworld) channel.



Stavros Didakis, artist of this exhibition  is also an academic, and researcher who focuses on speculations concerning technological futures. He particularly delves into studying and experimenting with architectural augmentation, as well as personalized inhabitant experiences. His exploration encompasses sensory interfaces and technological frameworks as a means of extending human environments. Stavros has been the recipient of grants and awards in creative technologies, and he has showcased his interactive works at various international exhibitions and biennials, including the Shanghai Biennale, Chronus Art Center, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica, Athens Biennale, SIGGRAPH, and Media Architecture Biennale, to name a few. Furthermore, he has contributed to numerous publications in conferences, journals, and books, such as ISEA, ACM, Politics of the Machines, and Technoetic Arts. Currently, Stavros holds the position of Associate Professor in Interactive Media Arts at New York University (Shanghai). In this role, he instructs courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs (IMA, Low-Res), such as Synthetic Media, Emerging Technologies & Computational Arts, Responsive Environments, and Extended Perception.


Neil Leach is a professor at FIU, Tongji, and EGS. He has previously taught at other leading institutions, including the AA, Harvard GSD, Columbia GSAPP, Cornell, SCI-Arc, IaaC, and DIA. He is a co-founder of DigitalFUTURES, an academician in the Academy of Europe, and the recipient of two NASA research fellowships exploring 3D print technologies for the Moon and Mars. He has published over 40 books on architectural theory and digital design including “Architectural Intelligence” (Springer, 2020) and “Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction to AI for Architects” (Bloomsbury, 2022). “Machine Hallucinations: Architecture and Artificial Intelligence” (Wiley) will be published in May 2022. He is currently working on “Interactive Design”(Birkhauser, 2023), “Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction to AI for Architects,” Second Edition (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). “The AI Design Revolution: How AI Will Transform Architecture” (Routledge, forthcoming) and “The Death of the Architect: The Demise of the Architectural Profession In the Age of AI”, (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).


Daniel Bolojan is an Assistant Professor focusing on the application of computational design and deep learning strategies in architecture and the architectural design process. Over the years, he has taught several design studios and seminars at the Institute of Structure and Design-University of Innsbruck, Florida International University Miami, and conducted numerous international workshops and conference workshops, dealing with the application of complex systems and Neural Networks in architectural design.


A fiction writer, screenwriter, and columnist—Chen Qiufan(a.k.a. Stanley Chan) has published fiction in venues such as People’s Literature, Youth Literature, Science Fiction World, Esquire, and Chutzpah!. His futurism writing may be found at places like Slate and XPRIZE. He has garnered numerous literary awards, including Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award and China’s Galaxy and Xingyun(Nebula) Awards. In English translation, he has been featured in markets such as Clarkesworld, Pathlight, Lightspeed, Interzone, and F&SF. “The Fish of Lijiang” won a Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award in 2012, and “The Year of the Rat” was selected by The Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume One. More of his fiction may be found in Invisible Planets.  Liu Cixin, China’s most prominent science fiction author, praised Chen’s debut novel,  “Waste Tide” (Chinese edition 2013; English edition scheduled for 2019 by Tor, translated by Ken Liu), as “the pinnacle of near-future SF writing.”



Anna Greenspan is an Associate Professor of Global Contemporary Media at [NYU Shanghai](https://shanghai.nyu.edu/). Her research focuses on urban futures and emerging media.  Anna teaches courses in media theory, philosophy of technology, and urban studies in the program for [Interactive Media Arts.](https://ima.shanghai.nyu.edu/) She holds a Ph.D. in Continental philosophy from Warwick University, UK. While at Warwick, Anna was a founding member of the [Cybernetic culture research unit](http://www.ccru.net/) (CCRU).  Anna was the cofounder of the [Shanghai Studies Society](http://shanghaistudies.net/) and ran a digital humanities project on [street food](http://www.sh-streetfood.org/). Anna is also a founding member of the research hub [Hacked Matter](http://www.hackedmatter.com/), which is dedicated to investigating the process of technological innovation in China.  She is the co-director of NYU Shanghai’s new Center for AI and Culture. Anna’s book [Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade](https://www.amazon.com/Shanghai-Future-Modernity-Anna-Greenspan/dp/0190206691) was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Her latest monograph *China and the* *Wireless Undertow: Media as Wave* *Philosophy* will be published in the *Technicites* series with Edinburgh University Press.


VIP opening




Location: West Bund, Riverside Project Space, 2380 Longteng Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

Exhibition Period: Thursday 24 of August - Sunday 24 September 2023

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 2 pm to 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11.30 pm to 7.30 pm

Ticket: Free

Forum: A symposium on “Synthetic Cities & Human-Machine Creativity” will take place on Saturday 9 of September 2023 at NYU Shanghai (Qiantan campus). The event will be open to the public, with free entrance.



Creation and Production: Stavros Didakis

Production Coordinator: Gee

Media Production Assistants: Nora Yutong Liu, Yanrui Shao, Guoxi Yang, Vicky Chen

Space Design: DU Studio

LED Equipment: Leyard | Linso LED

Graphic Design: byscene

Special Thanks to the West Bund Art Museum Operations Team, West Bund Art Center Operations Team, Interactive Media Arts (NYU Shanghai), and NYU Shanghai.

For more information about the exhibition and the symposium, you may follow Stavros Didakis for updates.