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INTERWOVEN 

Curating digitized information for a machine learning tool that increases global access to knowledge about South Asian textiles. 






A collaborative project between the ︎︎︎ Museum of Art and Photography (India’s first digital museum) and ︎︎︎ Microsoft Corporation (through the︎︎︎ Microsoft AI for Cultural Heritage Initiative), INTERWOVEN showcases South Asian textiles to a global audience and builds further engagement with the field by utilizing Microsoft AI to draw previously unknown connections between artworks and cultures.

This platform connects South Asian textile collections in the region to other important collections around the world to spark dialogues between different specialists and institutions and serve as a useful tool that academics and researchers can employ in their work.


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“Using technology to enhance human ingenuity, celebrate human creativity, and enable human connection is at the heart of Microsoft’s work. INTERWOVEN reminds us both of the vibrancy of different cultures and how these traditions are shared in a conversation across time and place.”

— Brad Smith
President and Vice Chair, Microsoft



︎︎︎ Microsoft and MAP Develop New AI-Powered Platform (Hindustan Times) 

︎︎︎ Microsoft, MAP, Bengaluru, Create AI-Powered Platform Linking Artworks, Culture (Economic Times)

︎︎︎ This New AI-Powered Platform Will Change The Way You Look At Museums (Elle Magazine)

︎︎︎ MAP Academy and Microsoft Join Forces for AI-Driven Journeys Into Textile Art  (Jing Culture and Commerce)








INTERWOVEN showcases South Asian Textiles—to a global audience and build further engagement with the field.

INTERWOVEN utilizes Microsoft AI—to draw previously unknown connections between artworks and cultures.


INTERWOVEN connect global collections—to spark dialogues between different specialists and institutions.

INTERWOVEN serves as a useful tool—to academics and researchers working in the field of textiles and beyond.








“This project makes South Asian art accessible to anyone from the comfort of their own homes. It champions new, equitable futures, that allow future research in the South Asian diaspora.”




USER-BASED DESIGN—


Through engaged, user-centered research—INTERWOVEN was designed with consumers, museum professionals, and textile scholars in mind. The platform is accessible with the opportunity to uncover more in-depth connections to South Asian culture at every level of interaction.






“INTERWOVEN is an illustration of how human-centered technology—when it is thoughtfully and collaboratively designed—can help elevate and expand access to our collective history.”



ENCOURAGING DISCOVERY: Exploring Unique User Paths  

Starting with a single piece of artwork from MAP, users embark on a journey that crisscrosses mediums and eras, arriving at surprising and revealing points in art history. This experience will capitalize upon widespread interest in fashion and textiles to establish the global relevance of South Asian culture and provide an entry point for Art History through visual recognition and textual data such as colors, patterns, shapes, weaving techniques, names, dates, etc. 





Primary User
:
General Consumer


  • Anyone with an interest in art and culture can discover connections on the platform, either through open exploration or a journey curated by art scholars.


The aim for the primary user is to:

• Discover something unexpected by connecting artworks in creative new ways through AI

• Walk away with new knowledge

• Increase understanding of similarities between cultures



Secondary User
:
Academics and Researchers


  • For art historians and curators, AI can help uncover commonalities that inspire new ideas and novel avenues of scholarship.


The aim for the secondary user is to:

• Use AI to identify key shifts and connections in textile design, patterns, and costumes within Art History across geographies and cultures

• Highlight global exchange in textile history



TRAINING MACHINE LEARNING—


With digitized, curated information, a machine learning algorithm discerns fine patterns that link seemingly disparate works of art with its robust analytic engine. 








META-DATA: The Algorithm 

Underlying the tool is a robust analytical software that uses computer vision and text recognition software to help distill images and descriptions of artworks into a massive database. The platform will link images from South Asian textile collections to other partner collections around the world through curated metadata tags and categories identified using Microsoft's suite of AI tools.


UNCOMMON CONNECTIONS: An Example


This journey explores “the sustained economic, cultural, religious and social contact between vast geographies, through historical artifacts.”

Beginning with a kalamkari prayer mat, designed in the Deccan and destined for Iranian markets, the journey traces objects such as jewelry, narrative paintings, and a portable shrine. These objects show us how the spread of religious practices across geographies was also accompanied by the spread of visual cultures, materials, and artistic techniques. We see how objects from South Asia and beyond reveal sustained exchanges of concepts and iconographies over centuries, exemplifying confluences between Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic traditions in Eastern Eurasia.





GLOBAL COLLABORATION: The RISD Museum


MAP collaborated with many museums worldwide, to develop its repository of images from South Asian and global textiles, craft, and contemporary art archives. Here is the selection of works from the RISD Museum that were curated:


The template for cataloguing each work of art followed a strict format, to allow the machine learning algorithm to discern fine patterns connecting these collections:








PROJECT  DETAILS





Collaborators:

︎︎︎ Museum of Art & Photography
The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) was launched digitally in 2020, and its educational platform, The MAP Academy, in 2022. Given South Asia’s deep tradition of textile creation, and longstanding history in the trade, MAP’s collection is uniquely suited to showcase the worldwide spread of culture from one regional artform to another.

︎︎︎ Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft’s ‘AI for Cultural Heritage’ initiative leverages the power of AI to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage. Microsoft supports specific individuals and organizations through collaboration, partnership, and investment in AI technology and resources.

︎︎︎ Various museums globally

Together we seek ways in which we can help to serve as a catalyst for the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage around the world.


Timeline:
24 weeks (March-Sept 2021)

Tools:
Microsoft Suite, Miro Board, Adobe Xd, Adobe Photoshop, Pen and Ink
Skills:
UI/UX Design, Project Management, Historical Research, Museum Curation, Machine Learning, Access through AI


Role:
RISD Museum Team Manager, working on
  • Manage all communications and project details
  • Curate the collection of 100 objects from the RISD Museum’s collection to be uploaded to the repository
  • Assess user needs, motivations, and frustrations
  • Ideate and brainstorm for the creation of the platform, and user interface
  • Consider the role of AI and machine learning in the broader scope of South Asian textile scholarship and museum access


Disclaimer:
* THIS WORK WAS UNDERTAKEN DURING A FELLOWSHIP WITH THE MUSEUM OF ART, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
** ALL WORK PRODUCT BELONGS TO MAP ACADEMY
*** CONTENT ON THIS PAGE HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM MICROSOFT CORP, MUSEUM OF ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY, BANGALORE, MAP ACADEMY





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YUKTI V. AGARWAL


As a multidisciplinary thinker, my work aims to reimagine societies and futures through engaged research and purposeful design and innovation. 

︎︎︎ About


Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program

Majors 3 
    Textile Design  
    Psychology   
    Mindfulness Studies

Minor 1
    Art and Design History





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Current Work:
Brown + RISD Honors Thesis

How can the multisensorial design of public space facilitate moments of implicit mindfulness in momentary experiences—to develop more dispositionally mindful communities?