BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group
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BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology

In the grand halls of Art Basel 2023, a spectacle of art and technology unfolded, a testament to the boundless potential of human creativity and artificial intelligence. BMW, the venerated automobile manufacturer, unveiled its latest masterpiece, not on a conventional canvas, but on the sleek, metallic body of its fully electric sedan, the BMW i5. This is not just a car, but a dynamic canvas, an electrifying fusion of art and technology christened “The Electric AI Canvas.”

BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group
BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group

The Conception

The Electric AI Canvas is an extension of BMW’s virtual work, “The Ultimate AI Masterpiece,” a project that marries the precision of artificial intelligence with the fluidity of human creativity. In collaboration with Nvidia’s AI architecture StyleGAN, BMW has trained a base model to understand and represent art. This model is then further refined using works from contemporary artists, creating a unique AI that can generate abstract animations inspired by styles found in classical and contemporary art.

BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology

The Artists

Among the artists whose works have been used to train the AI, one name stands out – Esther Mahlangu. A trailblazer in her own right, Mahlangu is the first female Art Car artist born in South Africa. Her work on the 12th Art Car, the BMW 525i, in 1991, is a testament to her unique artistic vision. She coated the car’s bodywork with bright colors and ornamental shapes typical of her ethnic tribal Ndebele art, creating a moving canvas that was as much a work of art as it was a vehicle.

In The Electric AI Canvas, Mahlangu’s distinctive style is brought to life once again, this time through the lens of AI. Her vibrant colors and bold shapes dance across the surface of the BMW i5, creating a mesmerizing display of generative art.

The Technology

The creation of The Electric AI Canvas is a feat of technological innovation. Creative technologists Nathan Shipley and Gary Yeh have developed custom AI-generated animations using AI models trained on a curated dataset of renowned contemporary artists’ works. These models are built upon a foundational set trained on over 50,000 images spanning 900 years of art history.

The result is a series of brand-new abstract animations that are projected onto the BMW i5, creating a dynamic and ever-changing display of art. The car becomes a canvas, its surface animated with generative art that reflects the styles of the artists whose works have been used to train the AI.

BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group
BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group

The Electric AI Canvas is more than just a car or an art installation. It is a testament to the power of collaboration – between artists and technologists, between humans and artificial intelligence. It is a celebration of the limitless potential of creativity, a tribute to the artists whose works have inspired the project, and a glimpse into the future of art and technology.

As visitors to Art Basel 2023 marvel at the spectacle of The Electric AI Canvas, they are not just witnessing a car adorned with beautiful art. They are witnessing the birth of a new era in art, one where the canvas is no longer static, but dynamic and ever-changing, where art is not just created by human hands, but also by the precise calculations of artificial intelligence.

In this new era, artists like Esther Mahlangu continue to inspire and influence, their works transcending the boundaries of time and space to find new expression in the most unexpected of canvases. And as we stand on the cusp of this exciting new frontier, one thing is clear – the future of art is here, and it is electrifying.

BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology
BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology © BMW Group

FAQ - BMW Electric AI Canvas: A Symphony of Art and Technology

How fast is the BMW i5?

2024 BMW i5: Two Models and Plenty of Boost The i5 eDrive40 is electronically limited to a top speed of 120 mph, according to BMW, and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

What is BMW i5?

The BMW i5 is a fully electric sedan from BMW, which has been used as a dynamic canvas for the art installation "The Electric AI Canvas" at Art Basel 2023.

How much is the BMW i5?

The 2024 BMW i5 starts at $66,800. That's for the rear-wheel-drive eDrive40 version, which has the best range (up to 295 miles). The i5 M60 (with a maximum range of 256 miles) begins at $84,100. BMW also includes two years of free 30-minute charging sessions on the Electrify America network.

Will BMW make an i5?

Yes, BMW has produced an i5 model, which is a fully electric sedan.

Dr. Abigail Adeyemi, art historian, curator, and writer with over two decades of experience in the field of African and diasporic art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Oxford, where her research focused on contemporary African artists and their impact on the global art scene. Dr. Adeyemi has worked with various prestigious art institutions, including the Tate Modern and the National Museum of African Art, curating numerous exhibitions that showcase the diverse talents of African and diasporic artists. She has authored several books and articles on African art, shedding light on the rich artistic heritage of the continent and the challenges faced by contemporary African artists. Dr. Adeyemi's expertise and passion for African art make her an authoritative voice on the subject, and her work continues to inspire and inform both scholars and art enthusiasts alike.

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