Magnhild Øen Nordahl & Gabriele de Seta: Replicator Report: Generative AI and physical production


Time: 18 November, 16:00 CET
Venue: Østre, Østre Sksotredet 3
The conversation will be streamed live at

Visual artist Magnhild Øen Nordahl and researcher Gabriele de Seta discuss the relationship between generative AI and physical production. The conversation looks back at the “Replicator Workshop: A practical speculation on generative AI for physical production” convened by Øen Nordahl and de Seta in Bergen 6–8 November 2023, with participating artists Andreas Zissler, Funda Zeynep Ayguler and Hans Oscar Carlsson.

The term “generative artificial intelligence” describes a subset of machine learning systems used to synthesize various kinds of content including text, images, videos, sounds, and 3D models. In contrast to discriminative models which classify existing data, generative machine learning models are capable of synthesizing new instances of data according to what they learned from training datasets.

Generative AI has a growing range of applications, which run the gamut from scientific discovery and VFX work to industrial manufacturing and graphic design. Its use across domains results in the development of new creative practices and literacies like prompt engineering and model fine-tuning. The more consumer-oriented side of generative AI is often marketed through appeals to unlimited creativity and the almost magical capability to transform text into images or images into videos.

But what are the limits of generative AI? How does the seemingly endless variation in digital outputs interface with physical production processes? How close is generative AI to the science fictional fabrication afforded by the Star Trek replicator, and what can we speculate about the near future of generative AI for physical production through currently available tools?

The workshop with invited artists explores available models and tools, such as text and image to 3D-model converters, and develops an experimental pipeline from generative AI to physical production. Through the task of creating one physical object together the workshop participants use this practical work as a way to discuss through the above mentioned questions and to ask new ones.

Magnhild Øen Nordahl

Magnhild Øen Nordahl is a visual artist living and working in Bergen, Norway.  Working with sculpture and installations Nordahl examines how abstractions in 3D-modeling, science and technology shapes worldviews, knowledge, working practices and the making of things. Nordahl has co-founded Aldea Center for Contemporary Art, Design and Technology and is doing a PhD in artistic research at the University of Bergen. Current and recent exhibitions include “Ways of Unseeing” at Lunds Konsthall in Sweden and “The Machine is Us” at the Munch Museum in Norway.

Gabriele de Seta

Gabriele de Seta is, technically, a sociologist. He holds a PhD from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica in Taipei. Gabriele is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bergen, where he is part of the ERC-funded project “Machine Vision in Everyday Life”. His research work, grounded on ethnographic engagement across multiple sites, focuses on digital media practices, sociotechnical entanglements and vernacular creativity in the Chinese-speaking world. He is also interested in experimental music, internet art, and collaborative intersections between anthropology and art practice.

Return to the full symposium programme.