April 20, 2024

Sougwen Chung named TIME100 Most Influential People in AI

Most AI-based artists work exclusively in front of their computers. Sougwen Chung is different: they train robots to physically paint in tandem with them on massive canvases. Before they used AI, Chung, who identifies as nonbinary, painted expansive abstract artworks filled with bold, flowing lines. They then trained a neural net on decades of those paintings—and built robots trained on those neural nets to paint with them in real time. When they paint a line, the robots mimic Chung’s line and then extend it outward with new ideas and patterns. “What I’m chasing is that surprise and wonder in that machine translation,” Chung says.

Chung, 38, travels the world, painting with their robots for live audiences. Chung compares their relationship with their robots to that of a musician with their violin. “In some ways, the robotic system is a kinetic instrument that I’m navigating with,” they say.


April 20, 2024

“New Hybridities” TIME100 Acceptance Speech

“My work, at its simplest level, is about exploring the contradictions that stem from not fitting neatly into one category,” Sougwen Chung, who identifies as nonbinary, said on Sunday in Dubai, where they accepted a TIME100 Impact Award for their influence on the field of artificial intelligence. “I like to think of [it] as a new hybridity.” Read more: https://time.com/collection/time100-i...

February 15, 2024

Sougwen Chung receives the TIME100 Impact Award at Museum of the Future

💙 Grateful to the whole team at @TIME for the #TIME100 Impact Award, recognizing individuals who have gone above and beyond to move their industries—and the world—forward in the AI space. I am honored to be one of these four recipients.

It's been a surreal few days, so many reflections and images to share, but first:

I took some time to reflect on the moment for my acceptance speech, excerpted below.

Sougwen Chung

"I’m inspired by Grace Lee Boggs who wrote that these are the times to grow our souls. She believed that creativity is vital in producing the necessary conditions not just for our survival, but for our evolution. Her words, and Grace’s life as an Asian-american philosopher and activist, are a testament to hybridity – hybridity of culture and of thought. Her authorship, the works of my peers, and the creative energy of the new generation continue to challenge and inspire me everyday.

I have learned that traditional forms of creativity must shape, but not be replaced by, technological development. That building our own tools and AI systems can help us sit with the existential questions posed by new technologies – A way that fear and hope can be held in the mind at the same time. We’ve observed the damage to our planet done by unchecked technological growth – the damage to our creative industries, too. We need now, more than ever, approaches that foreground hybrid creative innovation to help shape the development of the technology that shapes us, while stewarding what came before.

Sougwen Chung

This award is a spotlight on the meaning made by the artists of today, the artists that came before, and the ones to come. We carry with us the knowledge that exploring the human condition despite the odds, shapes the world in vital and profound ways.

We urge you to move beyond the binary – of thinking and of making and being – and to create the third path with us – To explore the in-between; as a space of imagination and hybridity.

Sougwen Chung

Together we can grow our souls to create the future we want to see, and there is much to do. Thank you so much."


January 5, 2021

Winner in “Science in the Arts”

“Science transforms its languages; Poetry invents its tongues.”

Thank you to Falling Walls for the award of winner in the category of Science in the Arts for my contributions to the field of Art + Research practice. 

I’d like to dedicate the award to my parents, who taught me about hybridity through example. My mother’s technical mindedness as a computer programmer and my father’s musical and artistic sensibilities as an opera singer, showed me the complementary possibilities of both ways of approaching the world. 

Hybridity rejects false binaries. I believe that by engaging practices that ~ connect ~ scientific and cultural fields, we’re able to better adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of living on an interconnected, damaged planet. And hopefully change it for the better.

While developing my own art and research practice for the past decade, I’ve seen the value of moving beyond the seeming contradictions of science in the arts; of seeing them as obstacles, But instead as unique sites for invention, growth, and transformation.

Thank you again to Falling Walls for this recognition. I’m looking forward to sharing much more of this continuing journey with you all this coming year.

February 25, 2020

Meet the three women of the year in Monaco

Published Wednesday 8 May 2019 - 10:58 AM Harsh Biyani

150 guests gathered on Saturday night at the Oceanographic Museum to pay tribute to the work of three women who dedicate their lives between art and science.

She always sees bigger, always more beautiful! Cinzia Sgambati-Colman, president and founder of the “Woman of the Year, Monte Carlo Award”, organized the 8th edition of her annual event on Saturday night at the Oceanographic Museum.

And for this 2019 edition, the theme chosen was “Art & Science”, inspired on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. During the evening, sponsored by the Walgreens Boots Alliance, the public discovered the three women who received the awards. It is Sougwen Chung (Chinese-Canadian) Monte-Carlo Award “Woman of the Year” 2019; Elena Rossoni-Notter (Monegasque) Prix Monte-Carlo “Woman of the Year” – Monaco; Special award for her entire career in Orlan (French).

Prince Albert II met with the laureates who told him about their career, alongside Cinzia Sgambati-Colman and Ornella Barra, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Sougwen Chung won the Monte-Carlo Woman of the Year Award in 2019 for her artistic work. Multimedia artist of Chinese origin, who grew up in Canada and lives in New York. She has been working with robots since 2015, exploring the links between “handmade” and design machines, to understand the relationship between humans and computers. Chung is an artist-in-residence at Google and in the cultural incubator at New Museum, New Inc. and a former academic researcher at MIT Media Lab. In 2017, she was one of three artists selected to participate in a new partnership between Nokia Bell Labs and New Inc. to support artists working with emerging technologies.

Elena Rossoni-Notter, Director of the Museum of Prehistoric Archeology of Monaco, received the Monte-Carlo Woman of the Year Award – Monaco, for her commitment, tenacity, research, discovery and dissemination of archaeological research on the territory of Monaco. Elena Rossini-Notter started working at the museum in 2014 as an archaeologist. She made several excavations in Monaco. She was appointed Director of the Museum in April 2018.

Orlan received the Monte-Carlo Award “Woman of the Year” – special award for her career. Avant-garde, a pioneer in the field of art, science and technology, the artist uses her body as a creative material and source of inspiration. Operated, scanned, remodelled in 3D, virtualized, this body questions, provokes. With a French robotics company, Orlan has designed a robot in her image: Orlanoïde.

November 4, 2019

“Drawing Operations” awarded the Lumen’s Art and Technology Prize

Deeply grateful to @Lumen_prize, for awarding the Art and Technology Prize to Drawing Operations, a project I started in 2015 exploring human and machine collaboration. Thank you Carla Rapoport, and Jack Addis for your support and welcoming me into the Lumens family.
In these deeply uncertain times, I find myself thinking of #DonnaHaraway’s writing in Staying With The Trouble 🖤: “It matters what worlds world worlds. We become together or not at all." Collaboration, for me, is a way to steer away from "a technophobic spiral, by conceiving of humans & machines as interacting parts of complex adaptive systems." .

Thank you to the early support of Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 1 by @juliaxgulia Karen Wong and Lisa Phillips through @NewMuseum’s incubator project @NewInc. And the continued development of Generation 2: Memory by CG-Arts NTT InterCommunication Center @japan_media_arts_festival and @jmaf_residency@a.wakimoto@takahikoazami. Was a pleasure to have iterations researched at Pier Nine @sherryingw and @salvagione.

Currently developing forthcoming generations, focused on Collective Collaboration with the support of @googleartsculture@dh7net
Thankful for the contributions of friends and collaborators @hardmaru@YotamMann@MaryFranck@_frnsys & musical collaborator @aquarianyes.
So much more to come. 🌹

Sougwen 愫君 Chung is a Chinese-Canadian artist and researcher. Chung is the founder and artistic director of ⇢ SCILICET, a studio exploring human & non-human collaboration.

A former research fellow at MIT’s Media Lab, Sougwen is considered a pioneer in the field of human-machine collaboration – exploring the mark-made-by-hand and the mark-made-by-machine as an approach to understanding the dynamics of humans and systems. 

— Sougwen 愫君 Chung is a Chinese-born, Canadian-raised artist & (re)searcher based in London / New York / Hong Kong.

— Sougwen 愫君 Chung is a Chinese-born, Canadian-raised artist & (re)searcher based in London / New York / Hong Kong.

— Sougwen 愫君 Chung is a Chinese-born, Canadian-raised artist & (re)searcher based in London / New York / Hong Kong.

Copyright Sougwen Chung