Bengaluru’s MAP, Microsoft launch AI-powered platform for textile history

Gerard Ortiz

Bengaluru-based mostly Museum of Art & Pictures collaborates with Microsoft to start an AI-driven, interactive digital system that guides the viewer by way of textile heritage across areas and eras

Bengaluru-based mostly Museum of Art & Images collaborates with Microsoft to start an AI-powered, interactive electronic platform that guides the viewer as a result of textile background across areas and eras

A Persian kalamkari wall hanging that dates back again to the late 17th Century or early 18th Century is my starting off issue. A closer glimpse at the fabric reveals a royal personage seated in a pavilion surrounded by crocodiles and an elephant-like figure beside which stand 7 disciples in courtly apparel. The scene is most likely established in a backyard garden. Boasting the kalamkari technique of hand painting and block printing that entails resist dyeing, the fabric is a welcome blend of red, maroon and indigo, outlined with black.

A single click absent, linked to the former by an artery, is a carpet adorned with flower motifs that originated involving 1750 and 1850, possibly in Armenia or Dagestan. Aided by far more insightful arteries, a prosperous textile history reveals alone on screen. Many thanks to AI (Synthetic Intelligence) and equipment studying driven by Microsoft, Interwoven, a huge collection of South Asian textiles that the Museum of Art & Pictures (MAP) prides by itself on, has just turn out to be globally available. 

Shikargarh brocade skirt; Unknown; 20th Century

Shikargarh brocade skirt Mysterious 20th Century
| Photo Credit score: Exclusive arrangement

The platform, which is reasonably straightforward to navigate, has filters to discover connectors and differentiators amongst each individual piece of textile: designs and motifs, geographies and cultures, date and eras, and the like. One also gets to devise a customized journey on picking out a one piece of art.

The still-escalating collection of MAP has been in the will work for just one-and-a-fifty percent decades.  “The rationale we chose textiles is since it uncovers all these connections amongst locations and cultures. Take South Asian textiles for instance: our craftsmen have mastered some of the most sophisticated weaving tactics and developed exquisite textiles that travelled above the seas for the reason that of the powerful trade connections that existed. We have been in the earth market place for generations,” says Kamini Sawhney, director, MAP.  However Interwoven draws on the potent textile base in the museum’s assortment, it also contains artefacts from institutes across the world, these kinds of as the V&A (London), Achieved (New York), Rietberg (Zürich), and the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada).

Engineering for very good

AI as a technology is plainly becoming adopted throughout multiple domains and sectors, Rohini Srivathsa, national technology officer at Microsoft India, quips. AI for Great is a Microsoft initiative that, over the next 5 years, will show major determination to use the technologies to address some of the difficulties as properly as prospects in the globe. “AI for Cultural Heritage is one of five this sort of programmes. And this collaboration is a relationship made in heaven,” she adds. 

Morakuti pichwai; Unknown; early 20th Century

Morakuti pichwai Unfamiliar early 20th Century
| Photo Credit: Particular arrangement

“The pondering guiding the experience when you go on the web-site, in phrases of the journeys that men and women go via, comes from the MAP academy. Driving the scenes, there is fairly a bit of technologies that plays in — AI text analytics, cognitive lookup, custom vision, laptop or computer vision… There is a great sum of tagging of information and establishing of instruction models that comes about in the qualifications. But once you make that, the machine understanding and AI engines are capable to recognise some intriguing connections in between MAP and the partner museums,” suggests Rohini. These are connections that the human eye will most likely fail to see. “It opens up abilities to produce a very personalised working experience,” she provides. When the correct resources are put within just the fingers of area experts and gurus, the know-how can take on the job of a multiplier. 

Patola Ceremonial Textile; Unknown; early 19th Century

Patola Ceremonial Textile Unidentified early 19th Century
| Picture Credit rating: Special arrangement

“There are two options for the viewer: the curated journey and the customised journey. The former is developed by the educational exploration staff at the MAP academy. For this, AI throws up connections in between various worldwide artefacts, and then the workforce researches and expands on them to generate a journey,” states Kamini. For example, in Leisure and Participate in, you would see motifs of searching, examining or engage in. A vibrant dhurrie from the 1940s depicts a searching scene, primary you to an artefact from the Smithsonian Institute that exhibits the eagle dance from the 1830s.” Every single time, the customised journey would be distinctive (for the identical viewer). Consequently, an artist’s look at would be distinct to that of a conservationist or a collector. 

Access is critical

Does the critique that art viewing is not at its optimum amount when accomplished on the digital space, pose a obstacle to this initiative? Kamini thinks that it is dependent on an individual’s taste. “But we always search at this debate as an ‘either/or’. I do not imagine 1 substitutes the other. The essential is to look at the strengths of the digital room and use it finest. You are unable to replicate the practical experience of a actual physical area, but you can make a totally new 1. We seem at the bodily and digital space as two parts of a pole.”

Although we are realising how crucial physical interactions are, it is pertinent to glance at how the two mediums construct on each individual other, adds Rohini. “If I am sitting down in a tier 2 or tier 3 [city] and am capable to experience this practically, there is a greater propensity that I will journey to look at it bodily.” She is specific that the introduction of spaces like the Metaverse and equipment like Augmented Reality is going to adjust the way art is consumed. 

Interwoven hopes to be one such segue involving the two. “An comprehension of the past sales opportunities you to the foreseeable future,” suggests Kamini, including, “while initiating global cultural exchanges. Artwork just helps us make feeling of the earth we stay in.”    

Visit interwoven.map-india.org to perspective the selection.

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