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Microsoft develops AI-powered platform for connecting artworks, cultures

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Bengaluru, June 17 (Ajit Weekly News) Microsoft and the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), here on Friday announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform for connecting artworks and cultures around the world.

The platform called INTERWOVEN is rooted in MAP’s vast collection of South Asian textiles and was developed as part of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, which leverages technology to empower people and organisations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of art and culture.

INTERWOVEN brings together collections from key institutions and partners across the world alongside MAP’s (including the V&A in London, MET in New York, Rietberg in Zurich and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada) to reveal connections between artworks from different cultures, mediums and time periods.

INTERWOVEN represents these visually and intuitively, encouraging further exploration, discovery and cross-cultural exchange.

aceAfter the pandemic, a primary aspect of our mission is to use the digital realm to connect with people across the country, and the world. Wea┬┐re rethinking the idea of museums. They cannot be mere repositories of objects,” said Kamini Sawhney, Director, MAP, in a statement.

“MAP will not just be a collection of objects, but a space for ideas and conversations that are initiated through our collections. INTERWOVEN fits securely within this vision.”

The platform works by providing users two options. The first allows the user to view predefined journeys, created primarily by MAP’s educational and research arm, the MAP Academy.

These combine relationships between global artefacts suggested by the AI, which are then researched and expanded further by individual curators. It is an explorative model for how AI might be used in museology and art historical research.

The second option invites general users to explore the platform to stumble upon meaningful and sometimes even surprising visual connections. It provides a new way to engage with culture and learn more about the history of textiles and fashion and their relationship to global exchange.

Previous projects under Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage initiative have involved improving accessibility through the Open Access collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the digital restoration of ‘Ancient Olympia’, in collaboration with the government of Greece.

In India, the MAP in Bengaluru is the first project under this initiative.

“INTERWOVEN is a project that is deeply impactful to society, culture, and heritage. The project interweaves technology with art, using AI to find shared histories in artistic traditions from different corners of the globe, particularly pertaining to something as rich and complex as textiles,” said Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer at Microsoft India.

“Our approach to AI centres around meaningful innovation and this project beautifully allows art to be more accessible and inclusive for people around the world. We stay committed to using technology to help celebrate and preserve culture as part of our AI for Cultural Heritage initiative,” she added.

–Ajit Weekly News

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