The Imitation Game
13 February – 5 June 2016
Free to all
Part of the European City of Science programme, Manchester Art Gallery presents the work of eight contemporary artists who have been inspired by machines.
The exhibition takes its title from an experiment devised by Alan Turing as a way of testing a computer’s ability to imitate human thought. He first introduced 'The Turing Test' in 1950 while working at the University of Manchester.
As well as three new commissions, the exhibition also includes a series of works never before seen in the UK. Lynn Hershman Leeson shows Agent Ruby, an artificially intelligent web agent whose software has a become so sophisticated she has developed an independent craving for recognition as a human being, while Paul Granjon's Am I Robot roams the gallery interacting with visitors.
Other featured artists include Tove Kjellmark, Yu-Chen Wang, James Capper, Mari Velonaki and Ed Atkins.
In 1953-4, strange notes appeared on the noticeboard of the Computing department at the University of Manchester. As it turned out one of the very first software developers, Christopher Strachey, had programmed an early computer to generate love letters.
For this exhibition David Link has written a contemporary version of the program to run on a replica computer – the results of which are on display.