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Art & AI residency. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (Partnership), Element AI, Google AI and the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) join forces to offer an unprecedented residency blending art and AI.


November 13, 2018 – Montreal – Leaders in their fields, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (Partnership), Element AI, Google AI and the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) are joining forces for the first time in an exciting initiative. Together, they’ll offer a Montreal-based professional multidisciplinary artist or art collective the chance to take part in Art & AI, a research and creation residency mixing the arts and artificial intelligence. As a global hub in both fields, Montreal is a recognized innovation powerhouse.

Launched today as part of the CAM’s Soirée Composite presented by HUB Montréal, in the presence of spokespersons Sandra Rodriguez and David Usher, the residency—one of the first of its kind in Canada—will address the potential role of AI in future urban development and citizen engagement, right in the heart of Montreal. The difference here is that the research will be filtered through the artistic imagination, bringing about a fertile partnership between art and AI that will lead to the creation of a unique prototype.

Art & AI residency

Lasting for six months (April to October 2019), equipped with a budget of $50,000 and benefiting from 200 hours of support from qualified professionals, the residency will bring the selected artist or art collective directly into contact with AI developers and researchers, thus providing access to the latest developments in the field. The selected artist(s) will be able to develop a prototype for an artwork, experience or installation that harnesses the power and potential of AI in an original way. At the same time, the project will expose AI researchers and developers to creative approaches that are different from those they are already familiar with.

Proposals must be submitted by noon on January 25, 2019. The name(s) of the winner(s) will be announced in March 2019. Details on eligibility criteria and the submission process can be found here: quartierdesspectacles.com/residenceia.

Project spokespersons: Sandra Rodriguez and David Usher

“If scientists are tasked with asking questions, artists, in turn, are there to shake things up. AI involves a range of technologies, and it’s vital that artists and citizens not be left behind by decisions that already influence our lives. With this cross-fertilization, we’re making place for creators—whose job it is to stimulate our imaginations—so that, together, we can design the cities of tomorrow.” — Sandra Rodriguez, PhD, creative director, filmmaker and sociologist of new-media technologies

“AI is a pioneering tool that, at present, remains largely out of reach for artists, in terms of both its availability and its cost. Through this residency, not only will artists get a chance to engage with AI, but they’ll also receive qualified support, and on two levels: from specialists in creation and new forms of storytelling like the NFB, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, on the one hand; and from global tech giants like Element AI and Google AI on the other. The initiative will push AI into new territories as it expands its palette of possibilities.” — David Usher, artist, bestselling author, entrepreneur and keynote speaker

Spokesperson bios

The five partners: a unique pooling of expertise

The residency brings together the cutting-edge expertise of five partners, each a leader in their field, with the creative power of multidisciplinary artists. The NFB has long championed innovation in auteur storytelling through the use of new technologies, with a view to stimulating reflection and exchange through strong and meaningful artistic experiences. The Partnership showcases art and interactive experiences in the public space. Element AI is a global leader in AI development and application, as is Google AI in deep learning. The Conseil des arts de Montréal benchmarks, supports and recognizes excellence in creation, production and distribution by Montreal-based professional artists.

National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership is an organization with more than 80 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, illuminating the Quartier and promoting the district as an essential cultural destination. The Partnership produces innovative urban installations that are interactive, participatory and dedicated to the public space. A showcase for new technologies, the Quartier des Spectacles positions Montreal as an international reference in the field. The Partnership receives financial support from the Ville de Montréal.

Element AI

Element AI is a provider of artificial-intelligence services, offering organizations unparalleled access to cutting-edge technology. We combine the best of entrepreneurship, technology and academia to create a world where AI is at the forefront and contributes to advancing collective knowledge. We are working to develop humane, ethical and explainable artificial intelligence.

Our goal is to democratize AI for everyone, because we believe the benefits of AI should be available to all.


At Google AI, we’re conducting research that advances the state of the art in the field, applying AI to products and to new domains and developing tools to ensure that everyone can access AI. Our labs in Montreal work with the research, business and arts community to ensure our city continues to be a world leader in the development and application of artificial intelligence.

Conseil des arts de Montréal

A dynamic partner to Montreal’s art community, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, guides, supports and recognizes excellence and innovation in professional artistic creation, production and exhibition. Through its Composite evenings, it contributes to the emergence of “Montreal, cultural metropolis” and other initiatives showcasing digital creativity. It presents projects by artists, entrepreneurs and industry professionals in order to strengthen the ties among them and foster rich, productive collaborations.

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Associated Links

Eligibility criteria and submission process can be found here: quartierdesspectacles.com/residenceia. Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Element AI
Google AI
Conseil des arts de Montréal
Soirée Composite
HUB Montréal
NFB Blog

Media relations

For more information or an interview with Sandra Rodriguez and David Usher

For the NFB

Marie-Claude Lamoureux
C.: 514-297-7192
m.c.lamoureux@nfb.ca | @MC_ONF

For the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

Marie Lamoureux
Public Relations Advisor
T.: 514-879-0009 #260 | C.: 514-923-6772

For any other information

For Element AI

Caroline Bourbonnière
Public Relations
T.: 514-261-4740

For Google AI

Aaron Brindle
Public Affairs, Google Canada
T.: 1-647-436-5167

For the Conseil des arts de Montréal

Raphaëlle Catteau
Project Manager – Communications and Press Relations
T.: 514-280-6973