Artificial Creativity

Guest editors are Dr. Bojana Romic and Dr. Bo Reimer, Malmö University, Sweden.

This special issue (#36) of “Transformations” entitled “Artificial Creativity” aims to stir a discussion about the cultural, societal, and ethical aspects of robots or AI engaged in creative production.

Machines engaged in creative activities can be traced back to Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s automata ‘The Writer’ and ‘Musical Lady’ (1770s), which involved calligraphic writing and the performing of music respectively. In the 1950s, Jean Tinguely’s ‘Méta-matics’ produced generative artworks, in response to the long-standing questions about the role of the artist.

Most recently, a number of artworks have featured robots that draw (Robotlab), paint (Moura), or make music (Weinberg, 2020). It has been announced that the 10th Bucharest Biennale in 2022 will be “curated” by Jarvis, an AI system created by Spinnwerks, Vienna (FlashArt, 2020).

These tendencies provoke at least two lines of inquiry. On one hand, what are the possibilities and potential pitfalls of AI technologies in the cultural sector? For example, AI makes its recommendations and choices based on its exposure to large databases, and yet worries pertain about the “increasing automation of the aesthetic realm”, that might, over time, reduce cultural diversity (Manovich, 2017).

On the other hand, AI technologies encourage debate about the meaning and purpose of human creativity (Gunkel, 2017). The title of this special issue is a playful rendering of the term artificial intelligence, which also serves as a reminder that technological innovations are often ripe with organismic language (Jones, 2017; Boden, 2004).

The call for papers invites researchers from different areas of expertise, including but not limited to: creative arts research, science and technology studies (STS), media and communication studies, critical cultural studies, humanities, human-robot interaction (HRI), ethics of technology, design anthropology, social sciences, gender studies, posthumanism, architecture, game studies, and voice interface design.

We especially encourage submissions rooted in the humanities, with a focus on robots (i.e. embodied AI) invested in creative/artistic labour. We also welcome submissions that critically address the contested terms “artificial intelligence” and “creativity”.

“Transformations” in an independent, open-access, blind-peer review journal, with no author charges (APCs).

Abstracts (400 – 500 words excluding references) are due 5 February 2021, with a view to submit articles by 31 May 2021.

 Abstracts should be forwarded to:


Boden, Margaret. The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms. Routledge, 2004.

Flash Art Feed. “The 10th Bucharest Biennale: the first biennial curated by Artificial Intelligence in VR.” May 27th 2020

Gunkel, David. “Special Section: Rethinking Art and Aesthetics in the Age of Creative Machines: Editor’s Introduction.” Philosophy and Technology, vol. 30, no. 3, 2017, pp. 263–265.

Jacquet-Droz, Pierre. The Musical Lady. 1770s, Musée d’art et d’histoire de Neuchâtel.

Jacquet-Droz, Pierre. The Writer. 1770s, Musée d’art et d’histoire de Neuchâtel.

Jones, Raya. “What makes a robot ‘social’?” Social Studies of Science, vol. 47, no. 4, 2017, pp. 556–579.

Manovich, Lev. “Automating Aesthetics.” Flash Art, vol. 50, no. 316, 2017, pp. 85-87

Moura, Leonel. Swarm Painting 08. 2002, Courtesy of Robotarium, Alverca / Sao Pãulo.

Robotlab. The Big Picture. 2014, Courtesy of Robotlab. ZKM, Karlsruhe.

Weinberg, Gill. “Shimon: Now a Singing, Songwriting Robot: Marimba-Playing Robot Composes Lyrics and Melodies with Human Collaborators.” 25 Feb. 2020,