In the Fall of 2022, Artificial Intelligems was invited by Ponton magazine for a contribution to their first issue. 

This page shows our concept text, how to experience the Ornamutations AR filters that we developed for this project, as well as an essay by researcher and writer dr. Laura Tripaldi. 

Find the publication here


1. Artificial Intelligems for Ponton magazine 

What are the roles and impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on craft? Which possibilities, as well as challenges and dangers, might AI offer for artistic practice? How to explore AI’s potential for more-than-human1 co-creation? Do we, humans, create in collaboration with AI, a designing-with2 , or do we use it as a tool, an Extended Intelligence (EI)3, to enhance our creativity and go beyond assumed limits of the human body4?

An artistic, philosophical, fundamental research perspective should complement utilitarian approaches and instrumentalised research aimed at practical, industrial, applications. How can we embody technologies such as AI, which, despite (or perhaps precisely because of) being ubiquitous, appear to work in invisible and mysterious ways? Digital technologies and computation processes, in fact, are very material, and it is important to be aware and critical of the potentially exploitative ways and contexts in which these materials are harvested and circulate.5

Together with Greg Scheirlinckx, a composer, sound engineer and data scientist, Swillen founded Artificial Intelligems as a research platform to explore AIs as co-creators and mediating technologies between humans and non-humans. Artificial Intelligems explores machine learning as a speculative and participatory imaging tool. In 2021, a call for jewellery makers to share images of their works led to a submission of 969 images. This dataset was used to train a StyleGAN algorithm6, which, after hours of ‘learning’ these images, generated continuously transforming Ornamutations that spark new questions and ideas, such as: What if jewellery would grow on and along with the body?

By co-engineering adornment with self-learning algorithms, and by working with images of other artists’ pieces as material for a collective creation, they aim to create new types of ornaments within the phygital realm that challenge perspectives on human-centred design, materiality, value, agency and authorship. To imagine jewellery as a continuously meta-morphing multidimensional being, at once fluid, solid and gaseous, questions interactions with physical bodies, materials and spaces.

For Ponton magazine, Artificial Intelligems created a phygital piece to engage with these Ornamutations, encouraging intra-actions7  between bodies, images, matters, surfaces, realities and intelligences. The digital ornaments that emerge when visiting their Insta account8 can be worn through augmented reality, creating hybrid bodies. Artificial Intelligems aims to explore novel ways to co-create, present and interact with adornment, while questioning how images and bodies relate and what tactility can mean within digital media. Rather than considering presenting as a way to show final, and fixed, results, they opt for encounters in which making, communicating, and reflecting are intertwined.

Entering a dialogue with various domains is essential. Therefore, Artificial Intelligems invited Laura Tripaldi, materials scientist, writer, and independent researcher, for a textual reflection on themes that play a central role in their related research.9 ‘Nanotechnologies,’ as Tripaldi writes, ‘can offer new opportunities to interface biological organisms with artificial objects to build real hybrid organisms in which there is a vanishing distinction between the living body and non-living matter’ (137). 

 1. The phrasing of the more-than-human ‘speaks in one breath of nonhumans and other than humans such as things, objects, other animals, living beings, organisms, physical, geological forces, spiritual entities, and humans’ (de la Bellacasa 1).
 2. Professor in design Ron Wakkary wonders ‘How to describe or critically imagine the designer of things when freed of the assumption that a designer is exclusively human?’ To answer this question, he utilizes the term ‘the vitality of things’, ‘a distributed agency, a good starting point for seeing designing-with or the sharing of the foreground with nonhumans that, so to speak, are as equally creative or agentic in the designing of things. The designer of things is the bringing together of agentic capacities across humans and nonhumans in ways that create things’ (173).
 3. See Leach (9 – 10, 93, 142, 170).
 4. Or is AI perhaps strikingly human, because, as architects and curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley argue ‘The human is inseparable from the artifacts that it produces, with the human body having the extended shape of all the artifacts it has made and each artifact being an intimate part of its biology and brain. But also, and more important, the human emerges in the redefinition of capacity provided by the artifacts. In a sense, the artifacts are more human than the human. Artifacts are therefore never simply the representatives of human intentions and abilities. They are also openings, possibilities of something new in the human, even a new human’ (23–24).
 5. Writer, composer and producer Kate Crawford argues that ‘Artificial Intelligence is both embodied and material, made from natural resources, fuel, human labour, infrastructures, logistics, histories, and classifications. AI systems are not autonomous, rational or able to discern anything without extensive, computationally intensive training with large datasets or predefined rules and rewards. In fact, AI as we know it depends entirely on a much wider set of political and social structures. And due to the capital required to build AI at scale and the ways of seeing that it optimizes, AI systems are ultimately designed to serve existing dominant interests. In this sense, AI is a registry of power’ (8).
 6. Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) were introduced in 2014 by Ian Goodfellow, computer scientist and engineer, and are a fast-growing area in deep neural networks that can be used to generate images, speech, prose and more (Machine Learning Paperspace). StyleGAN2, as used by Artificial Intelligems in their current projects, is a GAN machine-learning framework in use by many AI artists, created by Nvidia researchers and released to the public in February 2019 (Saltz et al.).
 7. ‘Going further than interaction, Barad’s intra-action problematises not only subjectivity but also the attribution of agency merely to human subjects (of science) - as the ones having power to intervene and transform (construct) reality. The reversibility of touch (to touch is to be touched) also inspires the troubling of such assumptions: who/what is object? Who/what is subject? (…) There is “intra-touching” (…) reality is a process of intra-active touch. Interdependency is intrarelational. As it undermines the grounds of the invulnerable, untouched position of the master subject-agent, that appropriates inanimate worlds. (…) This is thinking-touch as world-making.’ (de la Bellacasa 2017: 116 - 117)
 8. See How To. 
 9. See chapter 3 on this page for the text by Tripaldi. 

Works Cited:

  • Colomina, Beatriz and Mark Wigley. Are We Human? Notes on an Archaeology of Design. Lars Müller Publishers, 2016.
  • Crawford, Kate. Atlas of AI-Real Worlds of Artificial Intelligence. Yale University Press, 2021.
  • de la Bellacasa, Maria Puig. Matters of Care - Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
  • Leach, Neil. Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. An Introduction to AI for Architects. Bloomsbury, 2022.
  • Machine Learning Paperspace. Generative Adversarial Network (GAN),’’ AI Wiki, 8 August 2022,
  • Saltz, Emily, Lia Coleman and Claire Leibowicz. “Making AI Art Responsibly. A Field Guide.” Partnership on AI, 8 August 2022,
  • Tripaldi, Laura. Parallel Minds. Discovering the Intelligence of Materials. MIT Press, 2022.
  • Wakkary, Ron. Things We Could Design For More Than Human-Centered Worlds. MIT Press, 2021.


 2. Intra-act with the Ornamutations AR filters

How to wear the Ornamutations AR filters?

- Visit the Artificial Intelligems Instagram account.
 - Click on the stars icon above the image feed.
 - The Ornamutations will emerge.
 - You can move, turn and scale the Ornamutations with your fingers on the screen. Play around with them, picturing them in various ways on the body (from a tiny ornament to an all-encompassing creature, morphing with the body). Please note: when you move your phone, ‘bring’ the Ornamutations with you by dragging them with your fingers, otherwise they move out of focus.
 - Make a screenshot of the Ornamutations on the body by tapping on the circle at the bottom of your screen.
 - Feel free to share your image(s) (@artificial_intelligems, #artificialintelligems). We'll be happy to see how you wear the Ornamutations, and share your photo on our account!  
 - Lost? Restart.

For Ponton, Artificial Intelligems collaborated with photographer Alexander Popelier and model Ebenezer Ankrah to create a unique photo to intra-act with the AR Ornamutations. Discover this phygital piece in the publication