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Yona by Ash Koosha at Barbican AI More Than Human
Yona, an AI virtual popstar by Ash Koosha and Isabella Winthropcourtesy of the Barbican

Come meet one of the world’s first AI popstars at our Barbican talk

As part of the Barbican’s expansive AI: More Than Human exhibition, musician Ash Koosha will talk through his virtual superstar creation Yona, who will also perform

Artificial intelligence is permeating our culture – CGI influencers like Lil Miquela front world-spanning fashion campaigns, Sophia the Robot travels the world, acts in movies, and gains a legion of adoring fans doing it, while Charlie Brooker’s Miley Cyrus-starring Black Mirror episode centres on an AI pop queen robot.

The Barbican’s sprawling AI: More Than Human exhibition has been all about exploring the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence, from the future-facing literature of the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher and curator Suzanne Livingston, to the sounds of Kode9 and Lauren McCarthy’s real-life Alexa. Now, in a Barbican x Dazed partnership, we’re bringing you an evening of discussion and performance that introduces Yona, one of the world’s first AI popstars.

Yona sprung from the brains of musician Ash Koosha and artist Isabella Winthrop, a new kind of ‘auxiliary human’ created by tech company Auxuman, and is able to write her own lyrics, chords, and melodies. Her music is haunting and complex, layered with emotion that transcends any assumptions of artificial production. She performs with her creator, London-based, Iranian interdisciplinary artist Koosha. Their collaboration, Return O, was released on Koosha’s label Realms, a practice in humanising machine-driven art.

The evening at the Barbican will see Koosha in conversation with Auxuman co-founder Negar Shaghaghi. They’ll dive into Yona’s beginnings, AI and creativity, and what the future holds for a virtual superstar. Yona will also offer up a multimedia performance.

And if you’re a Twitter user, we’re running a competition for a pair of tickets to the exhibiton, the talk, a bundle of merch, and two cocktails prepared by the resident robot bartender.

Yona: Introducing a Virtual Popstar will take place August 23 6.30pm, and tickets are available via the Barbican