Egypt’s First AI x Art Event: the techQualia Gallery
Earlier this December, Synapse Analytics hosted its first ever AI x art event in Cairo: the techQualia Gallery. The event was held at the Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace, which was restored and powered as an innovation hub by Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). The venue is also home to The techQualia Gallery’s main partner: leading global innovation platform Plug and Play Egypt.
The techQualia Gallery aimed to provide a space where the interactive dynamic between the arts and artificial intelligence is traversed. Standing at the intersection between bleeding edge technological innovation and adjacent artistic explorations, the exhibition was formed as part of Synapse Analytics’s wider interdisciplinary initiatives, and was the first AI-enabled Gallery of its kind to take place in Egypt.
Over three days, the Gallery exhibited artworks that are fully AI-enabled: rather than created in collaboration with machines, they are created by them. These included audio-visual installations, generative prints, paintings, code-generated music, as well as AI-enabled performance pieces by more than 15 artists. Additionally, the Gallery hosted a number of collaborating entities at the forefront of the art scene in Egypt, including Medrar for Arts and Culture and Fabminds, showcasing their contributions to the local cultural scene in the form of interactive 3D technologies, educational games, and more.
The opening event of the Gallery featured an interdisciplinary panel of leading voices from the fields of art and technology, following a keynote speech by Dr. Tarek Attia, Managing Director of Tahrir Cultural Center (TCC). The panel, which was comprised of Timmy Mowafi, Co-Founder, MO4 Network (moderator); Ahmad Saqfalhait, Associate Professor of Practice and Associate Chair of the Department of the Arts, AUC; Jacquelyn Berry, Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, AUC; Ahmed Abaza, CEO, Synapse Analytics; and Dina Jereidini, artist and curator of the techQualia Gallery, discussed the state and deployment of AI as an emerging technology, the impact of which can be felt in various areas and is most visibly exemplified in artistic endeavors.
Closing remarks on the final day of the Gallery were given by Galal ElBeshbishy, COO and Co-Founder of Synapse, followed by an intervention by Dr. Ahmed Elgammal, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Executive Council Faculty, Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University, about the history and potential of AI as a creator of original artwork. A closing, live-coded audiovisual performance was provided by Bakht Collective.
Attendees included art enthusiasts, practitioners, executives. academics, and students, as well as members of the tech community. In the following weeks, a digital catalog of the artworks will be displayed on Synapse Analytics’s website and an ethnographic report about the anthropological findings of the exhibition will be published. In the meantime, techQualia articles about the intersections between AI and art can be found here. For more information about the Gallery, follow our Instagram page here.