Writing in progress:

--> a first version of this page was performed during the Society of Artistic Research conference on the 8th of April (www.sar2021vienna.ac.at) and will be worked upon further. 

--> a second version of the text will be performed during the lecture Ways of researching jewellery between the soup and the potatoes. Or, how to perform a (post)doctoral research in the arts in 3600 seconds, on the 24th of November, at PXL-MAD School of Arts, Hasselt (BE). 

Artificial Intelligems is part of a postdoctoral research in arts that I, Anneleen Swillen, am currently working on at PXL-MAD School of Arts, Hasselt and Hasselt University (BE). This page will share some insights into the research (topics, questions, methods…). As you might have read on the 'about' page, this website serves as an experimental writing tool, as well as way of documenting and presenting the research process. Additionally, it's an invitation to you, reader/viewer, to interact by using the blue and yellow sticky notes that you can find in the top left corner of this page to leave your thoughts, questions and images. 

Imagining jewellery.  
 Speculative reflections on creating, presenting and experiencing jewellery in the phygital age. 

/Verschijnselen mee-maken in de fygitale tijd.  

postdoc at PXL-MAD School of Arts and Hasselt University, Belgium  

How to imagine ancient-contemporary-future bodies and artifacts (jewellery especially) through new technologies and media in this (post-)digital phygital age, in which 'the' physical and 'the' virtual seem to be interwoven? This research explores jewellery phenomena within the digital visual culture observes current material/digital cultures and their impact on appearances and jewellery phenomena in the phygital age. (By experimenting with artifacts created and used for self-presentation and self-expression, this research explores the interactions that take place between people, things, technologies, spaces and images (…)) 

Current focus: Machine Learning (ML) and jewellery 

ML <> jewellery: potential, gaps? 

1. Little artistic research into ML and jewellery to date 

  • AI: ubiquitous, influential, explored in various domains 
  • > yet, roles + impact in jewellery? 
  • Opportunities + new perspectives for how jewellery is made, displayed, worn, experienced? 
  • threats? 
  • jewellery perspective?

2. Digital Adornments

Secondly, although ML is still new in the jewellery field, the use of digital media has been on the rise in recent years. This research wants to explore and contribute to some current developments regarding so-called digital adornments. These image-based ornaments, with which people express themselves online, introduce unconventional ways of wearing by hybrid bodies. What questions does that raise, f.e. concerning self-presentation? How do digital adornments relate to the body (both in terms of making and wearing)? How to connect with digital adornments? How does a mainly visual culture shape jewellery and bodies? This research explores how ML can further these current developments, while challenging the potential and threats, roles and impact of ML on jewellery as a discipline and discourse.   

ML <> jewellery -> questions! 

  •  new perspectives, surprising insights, different approaches ?
  •  to expand us as humans? (what does it mean to be human? > AI and jewellery)
  •  <> impact on jewellery, bodies, interactions with artifacts…?
  •  ‘artificial’, ‘fake’, ‘real’ = ?
  •  focus on potential <> to be critical towards algorithms?!

  • Can ML introduce new ways to create jewellery, in collaboration with diverse, human and non-human, “intelligent systems’’?
  • How can these learn from each other?
  • How do these seemingly supernatural, continuously meta-morphing pieces change our perspective on jewellery?
  • Which exciting insights might this technology foster for jewellery as a discipline and discourse?
  • Is AI changing our notions of what it means to be human? And if so, how does this affect our view of jewelry and bodies?
  • Do we create in collaboration with AI or do we mainly use it as a tool to expand our creativity?
  • What does it mean to work with algorithms that are often used for commercial purposes, and that might infringe on people’s privacy, exploit people…? How to be critical towards using such algorithms? How to work with them in ethical ways?


This research aims to raise and reflect on such questions through projects -Show Cases- as its main methodology. Collaborations are key and promote interactions between domains (arts, philosophy, anthropology, software engineering…) to encourage different perspectives. Presented through various dissemination formats and events, the aim is to reach a diverse audience of participants.

Show Case #1: Artificial Intelligems

  •  explores ML as artistic output, participatory design tool and experimental exhibition format, among other.
  •  open call for jewellery makers to collect images of their works 
  • > to reach a variety of makers and works
  • > broaden the often considered in-crowd art jewellery field
  • > reach new audiences
  • > explore new contexts 
  • > go beyond 'our circle'
  • > try not to control and decide everything ourselves
  • >> prediction <> control <> randomness <> chaos <> surprise 
  • >> self-learning 
  • >> Can ML imagine a new jewellery species?
  • >> Paradoxes
  • >>> humans program the code, give instructions, make decisions. How to go beyond human control? How to let the machine decide as much as possible on its own? 
  • >>> how to create something new out of what already exists?  
     Might ‘newness’ happen when different kinds of intelligence - human, machine, materials, other - meet/blend/encounter? 

INPUT: 969 images, by 124 jewellery makers

--> StyleGAN





  • human-centered design?
  • the role of the designer/artist today?
  • making processes? 
  • ownership?
  • agency? (human, machine?) 
  • Do we create in collaboration with AI, or do we mainly use it as a tool to expand our creativity?
  • … 

Ornamutations, February 2021 

Working with images of other artists’ pieces as material for a new, collective creation, calls authorship into question. Who made ‘the artistic work’? Who should be involved in the decision-making process? Might this entail possible conflicts between artistic freedom and ethics? What are best practices? As long as it’s within the context of a research project, working with these images seems ‘ok’, however, as soon as one starts to think about selling the generated output, it becomes complicated. What does 'collaborating with more-than-human 'intelligent systems' mean? Paradoxically, introducing AI into the making process further complicates these questions while, at the same time, it can propose new ways of dealing with these issues and new perspectives. How should such a comprehensive research project, involving many practitioners, and an AI, be approached, presented, and reflected on? How to encourage discussion and develop points of view about related themes and questions? 


Munich Jewellery Week (March 2021)

  • live dreams + talks 
  • speakers from various domains (jewellery, philosophy, anthropology, biology, mathematics and software engineering) + participating artists
  • on artificiality, intelligence, creativity, materiality, digital curation…
  • dreaming sessions + conversations to present, contextualize, reflect on the  research
  • encouraging fresh and critical perspectives on AI and art practices 
  • generous: exchanging ideas, experiences, questions 
  • Open mind + inviting others for discussion through talks + by experiencing and co-creating the work
  • carefully considering our roles and responsibilities
  • read + see more about this event at Show Case #1: Artificial Intelligems during Munich Jewellery Week 2021 

Artificial Intelligems in Current Obsession's MJW21 paper

Current Obsession's paper

  • "bringing the exhibitions to your door": publication as alternative for the otherwise physical Munich Jewellery Week, since hardly anyone was able to travel to Munich because of the Covid pandemic.
  • flip book -> DIY dreaming session
  • analogue medium
  • to experiment with presentation as an artistic medium and method to create, communicate and reflect
  • medium, context, format! 
  • In a constant search for ways to gather and share potential knowledge, we explore various methodologies 

  • translations (from one medium to the next) 
  • interactions (between physical and digital media, things, bodies, realms)

Questions and topics that arise in one project, might fuel the next. Output becomes input, similar to how a machine might work. 

  • generated images <> physical materials, pieces and bodies?
  • bodily experiences?
  • How to embody these images? 
  • visual = enough/most important?
  • To show things that do not exist 'in real life' (?) 
  • physical objects to provide multi-sensory experiences? As counter-reaction? Something to hold on to? 
  • phygital society: co-existing movements 
  • How (+ why) to re-think traditional forms, materials, techniques, functions or concepts within the context of a contemporary society in which AI plays an increasingly significant role?
  • craftsmanship <> uniqueness <> tactility <> artistic <> industrial <> mechanic <> digital … processes?
  • AI <> goldsmith’s traditions <> craft practices? 

ML <> jewellery characteristics (such as wearability, materiality and manufacturing processes, as well as human-centred design)

  • traditional values and developments <> current society
  • >how different ways and views can co-exist and interact, to broaden understandings and push boundaries 
  • > to create and share knowledge (?) 
  • > within and beyond jewellery 


  • to start/further conversations with ourselves and others
  • active archive
  • continuous publication of the research
  • creative writing tool
  • experiment in documenting and sharing the research process 
  • meta perspective
  • 'visitors' as participants
  • Online accessible
  • frames the research
  • collection of texts, images, ideas, references, questions… 
  • interdisciplinary platform
  • artistic research + collective creation project + experimental exhibition