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Computational Creativity

September 25, 2012



How we think, whether we are physicians, researchers, students, patients, or in another role, influences how we exchange and accept information, and how we function and respond to stressful events. How we think is impacted by illness of the brain, such as neurological or mental illness. In psychiatric illness, the ability for abstraction, and the use of metaphor, may be implicated in the illness; for example, the arm that cannot move in the conversion disorder patient who fears using that hand to harm themselves or another, or the depressive symptoms reminiscent of learned helplessness in the depressive patient. In neurological illness, the loss of function from a stroke or other impact, may be recovered through rehabilitation incorporating imagination, such as the mirror technique written about by Dr. Ramachadran. As such, understanding the human capacity for creative thinking may both help further understanding of illness, recovery from illness, as well as encourage further reflection on how we ask questions, and how we innovate in patient care.

Computational creativity investigates the process of creativity, and as such, involves both scientists and artists in problem-solving and design. As a discipline outside of medicine, it may offer an alternative viewpoint to invite new perspectives on illness and recovery. Philippe Pasquier will join us on October 18, 2012, to review computational creativity. Ben Bogart will also speak, as to “A Machine that Dreams: An Artistic Enquiry of Cognitive Theories of Dreaming and Mental Imagery”.


Title: Computational Creativity

The ability to invent and use tools is a defining characteristic of human beings: from the invention of the wheel to the development of cell phones, technology and humans have been co-evolving. In recent years, artificial intelligence has been successful at endowing machines with autonomous and proactive behaviors to achieve tasks that normally rely on human intelligence. Computational creativity is a new and expanding field that attempts to simulate human creativity, and to discover creative processes that are beyond human capability. This field brings together academics and artists to design systems that are capable of making creative decisions.


1.  At the end of this presentation, the audience will be able to define artificial intelligence and computational creativity
2. The audience will be able to discuss techniques and methodology used to design and evaluate tools for computer-assisted creativity.
3. The audience will be able to better describe the variety of processes that can be at play during creative tasks.

After studying computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive sciences in Europe, Canada and Australia, Philippe Pasquier joined Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) in January 2008 as an assistant professor. Philippe Pasquier is both a scientist specialized in artificial intelligence and a multi-disciplinary artist. As an artist, he has served as a member or administrator of several artistic collectives (Robonom, Phylm, MIJI), art centers (Avatar, Bus Gallery) and artistic organizations (P: Media art, Machines, Vancouver New Music) in Europe, Canada and Australia.

His work has been shown internationally and funded and supported by more than 20 scientific and or cultural institutions including the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Council for the Arts, the French Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Council for the Arts.


More on Philippe:

MAMAS laboratory:

More on SIAT:



“A Machine that Dreams: An Artistic Enquiry of Cognitive Theories of
Dreaming and Mental Imagery”


1. During this presentation, the audience will acquire knowledge of
selected neurological theories of dreaming and mental imagery and
compare their properties for the purpose of evaluating the potential
contiguity between perception, dreaming and mental imagery, and perhaps
even hallucination and mind-wandering.

2. Through the lecture, attendees will reflect on the use of
neurological knowledge in the service of the computational construction
of a system that generates visual images in order to critique
computational models.

3. Following this presentation, the audience will have considered a
possible role for artistic production in the development of knowledge of
brain science in order to develop a broader scope of conceptions of mind.


Ben Bogart is an artist working in installation, audio-visual improvisation and software development. His installations create content
live in response to their sensed environment. He works in an Open Source context and makes all the software he develops, that is of general use, available under the GPL. Physical modelling, chaos, feedback systems, evolutionary algorithms and artificial intelligence have been used to inform and engage in his creative process. Ben holds a Masters of Science in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University. His current work deals with computational implementations of embodied creativity, memory and dreaming.

  1. September 25, 2012 10:47 am

    Looks like chaos theory of the brain and the new look, distributed, dynamic, interacting systesm of the brain at molecular and molar levels
    Hal Weinberg

  2. mlove permalink*
    October 13, 2012 1:32 am

    After the talk, perhaps the Lab Art Show?

  3. keksvogel permalink
    October 19, 2012 4:01 am

    Great talk and a wonderful experience! Too sed thath I will only be able to attend one more in November…

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