La Monnaie embraces artificial intelligence

At the start of its new season under the theme There will be fate, La Monnaie wanted to expand and diversify its audience. This is the mission entrusted to his agency. Mission which Base Design fulfilled by playing, on the one hand, on the concept of “destiny” which infuses the Ring – the epic tetralogy of Richard Wagner of which the Brussels opera offers a new production directed by Alain Altinoglu and staged scene by Romeo Castelluci -, and on the other hand, on artificial intelligence.

How to embrace destiny and integrate it into your creative process to meet La Monnaie’s ambitions? This is the starting point of a reflection which pushed the agency to change direction compared to its traditional approach and accept to deliberately lose control of creations by entrusting the imagery of its campaign to artificial intelligence ( AI). The agency thus asked La Monnaie playwrights to summarize works in a single sentence, before using these descriptions as “prompts” – written commands sent to generative AIs like Dall-E and Runway – in order to generate images campaign and bring posters to life.

A “bizarre, almost frightening touch”

According to him, it took the agency months to refine its copy so that the images reflected the nuances of each piece. Rather than hiding the AI ​​footprint in the final campaign images, Base Design chose to adopt the “weird touch, almost scary“which made AI-generated images famous.”We actually loved this aspect of the campaign visuals because we weren’t looking for perfect images.explains Bruce Vansteenwinkel, designer at Base Design, on the creative inspiration platform It’s Nice This gives the images an extraterrestrial feel. It’s slightly unsettling, and it echoes the darker, more disturbing content of the season in general, and this year’s world premiere of Wagner’s Ring in particular.”

It took Base Design agency months to refine its copy so that the images reflected the nuances of each room. ©Base Design

Base Design also made some adjustments, mainly through the motion design : the characters in the posters are animated so that they appear to be talking and moving. To do this, the team used a webcam, capturing their facial movements and transmitting them to another AI application (TokkingHeads) to bring them to life.

The campaign will be visible in the Brussels urban landscape throughout the 23-24 La Monnaie season. “AI is a hot topic in the creative industry. Some say it threatens our role as designers and artists. There are questions surrounding the destiny of the creative industry, design and the status of the artist in today’s society. We challenged this challenge head-on“, concludes Manon Bails, strategist and editor at Base Design. A success, certainly.FB

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