Factitious: a generative language residency from UKAI Projects

Factitious: a generative language residency from UKAI Projects

Join our Discord community now to take part in conversations, speaker talks, workshops, and to apply for an in-person residency (April 2024 in Toronto)


Esther Greenwood’s college professor describes her writing as ‘factitious’, meaning contrived, or perhaps in the language of today, 'performative'. Esther dreams of being a poet but struggles with issues of identity and with social norms and these struggles show up in her writing – unconvincingly it would seem. She is eventually admitted to a mental institution.

Of course, Esther Greenwood is the creation of Sylvia Plath and is the centre around which Plath’s thinly veiled autobiography, The Bell Jar, revolves. Published in 1963 under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas, it was attributed to Plath only after her death, a month after The Bell Jar’s release.

New Residency Announcement

2024 is the year of Shipwreck at UKAI Projects. We are exploring the experience of being adrift, of sloughing off the “parasitic and lymphatic matter” that Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset identified a century ago. If being alive is to be shipwrecked, then human culture is the swimming stroke. However, over centuries, we lose that sense of shipwreck, and are burdened by objectifications and behaviours that no longer serve us.

We are being asked to deal with a world where language created by machines may soon surpass language created by human beings. It would be relatively easy to dismiss all of this AI language as ‘factitious’, as sham or artifice. Language is a tricky thing though, and it is mediated and masked in ways that defy easy categorization.

So, we are launching an online community, a series of workshops, and a residency to explore being shipwrecked on this island with nothing but the accumulated knowledge, beauty, bile, and vernacular detritus of human history.

What can we build with it? How will we rearrange it? How will it express our condition? How might we reveal the Procrustean bed from whence it was born?



Generative language refers to text generated by artificial intelligence or related cognitive technologies. Advances in generative language have been rapid and unsettling.

What happens artistically and culturally when the volume of “artificial” language far outpaces that produced by human beings?

How might these tools be leveraged in service to creative work?

We invite you to join Factitious, a community, workshop series, and residency on the cultural implications of generative language.

We are inviting artists and creators hoping to imagine responses that both leverage and critique the current development path.


  1. To access elements, join our Discord Community: https://discord.gg/gUQPVhpc22
    1. Participate in conversations about generative language and connect with other creators exploring this topic.
    2. Join regular workshops and presentations from creators working with generative language in their practice (our February talks are confirmed):
      1. February 15, 2024: Introduction to the process and to generative language with the team at UKAI (in-person and live-streamed)
      2. February 23, 2024: Talk with Maurice Jones. Maurice investigates cross-cultural perceptions of artificial intelligence, public participation in science and technology policy, and curation as research-creation.
    3. Collaborate through UKAI’s new platform, built to be resilient to ecological and political volatility, and developed in partnership with the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence (development by Hypha Worker Co-operative)
    4. Apply to join a 9-person, 1-month residency at UKAI’s space at 379 Adelaide St. West (April 2024) and build out a material projects incorporating generative language (small honorarium ($500), material fees, and closing showcase made possible through support of the Canada Council for the Arts)

Our primary objective is to kick-start collaboration, research, advocacy, critique, and prototyping around the affordances of generative language for artists and their practices. Sociotechnical systems of unimaginable complexity and opaqueness will increasingly shape our relations. The resources necessary to participate in these conversations are considerable and without collective action, key criticisms and innovations will be missed. We see this project as a site of exchange that will carry forward through national and international partnerships.

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