Discovery group members also contribute to art, supported by computers, or sometimes computers contribute to art and are supported by our group members. Here is a sample of contributions where the artistic flavor is often stronger than the scientific one. In many of them, the artistic responsibility has been with professional artists.
Poetry Machine

Michele Boggia, Sardana Ivanova, Hannu Toivonen and Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre

Poetry Machine is an interactive installation in Heureka's artificial intelligence exhibition Me, Myself and AI. The Poetry Machine uses AI (language models), to automatically produce candidate lines of poetry for the user to choose from. The AI was developed by MB, SI and HT, while the Heureka staff designed and built the physical installation – around a mechanical type writer! The installation is tri-lingual and works in Finnish, Swedish and English.

The exhibition was opened and the installation unveiled on June 22nd, 2022.

Erotic Poetry

Iikka Hauhio, Hannu Toivonen

The H-18 adult evening of Heureka Science Centre featured an erotic poetry machine built specifically for the event by Iikka. The visitors could instruct the machine about the topics and style of poetry to be generated – but guarded with a filter that rejected prompts that were too explicit. The installation and the accompanying lecture by Hannu demonstrated the use of large language models and the difficulties of dealing automatically with ambiguous and allusive texts.

Heureka Science Center 10 Feb 2023.

"Paratiisiperhe – variaatioita": Radio play written by a computer

Essi Salmenkivi (coding), Jessica Lindström (linguistics), Hannu Toivonen and Otso Huopaniemi (supervision), Juha-Pekka Hotinen (director, producer)

Review by Helsingin Sanomat 7.3.2021 (in Finnish):

Yle Draaman, Helsingin yliopiston tietojenkäsittelytieteen osaston ja Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulun yhteistyönä on syntynyt jopa kansainvälisesti kiinnostava pioneerityö, tietokoneen käsikirjoittama pitkä radiodraama. -- Tältä pohjalta voisi kuvitella, että pioneerityön lähtökohdaksi olisi otettu kaavamainen draama, kuten dekkari tai tieteisfiktio. Mutta Paratiisiperhe yllättää. Se on taidekuunnelma, tosin kyllä sekin on oman kaavansa löytänyt.

The Discovery Research Group, the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE,  and the University of Arts Helsinki have jointly produced a radio play (in Finnish): Essi Salmenkivi developed a radio play script generator in the research group, and YLE produced the final play from computer-generated scripts — the play, the (almost) whole play, and nothing but the play. The effort is part of YLE's R&D programme and was also kindly funded by HIIT.

Radio Yle 1, 7 March: First airing of the radio play

Radio Yle 1, 6 March at 19.02 - 20.30: Discussion on AI and radio plays, with Essi, Hannu, Otso, Juha-Pekka and others


The Discovery group had a seminar in Fiskars and tried out glassblowing after working hours. Creativity can be fun also without computers!

Suven laulu

Music: Sampsa Ertamo, Text: P.O. Eticus-Apparatus

Suven laulu is a composition by Sampsa Ertamo for mixed choir SATB, flutes (offstage), soprano recorders (offstage), and strings. The lyrics have been written by the P.O. Eticus-Apparatus software. 

Distribution: Music Finland,

Premier performance in Järvenpää church as part of Kotimusiikkiviikko, July 31st, 2016. Second performance (on the video) in the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Seminar of  the Department of Computer Science, University Main Hall, August 31st, 2017.

Vismantic: Meaning-making with Images

Ping Xiao and Simo Linkola

Vismantic is a semi-automatic system generating proposals of visual composition (visual ideas) in order to express specific meanings. It implements a process of developing visual solutions from ‘what to say’ to ‘how to say’, which requires both conceptual and visual creativity. The figures here are visual metaphors generated by Vismantic to illustrate the idea "electricity is green".

"The Machine's turn". A rap with lyrics by DeepBeat

Final lyrics and rap: AXIS. Production: Dave Fawbert. Programming: Eric Malmi.

A rap produced in collaboration between Curtis Northcutt, a.k.a. rapper AXIS, Dave Fawbert and the rap AI DeepBeat.

See Dave Fawbert's blog for a story on how these raps were produced.

Released in YouTube on July 28th, 2015. Also available in Spotify.

"Your Body’s Like Boom". A rap with lyrics by DeepBeat

Final lyrics and production: Dave Fawbert. Programming: Eric Malmi. Performance: Happy Attack.

A rap produced in collaboration between Dave Fawbert and the rap AI DeepBeat.

See Dave Fawbert's blog for a story on how these raps were produced.

Released in YouTube on August 1st, 2015.

Live improvisation session with Musicreatures

Petri Myllys (Musicreatures), Juho Laitinen (cello), and Heikki Nikula (bass clarinet)

Musicreatures is an iPhone app for creating music in a simple, game-like environment. The user controls objects on the screen by tilting the phone, thereby moving the objects around and collecting new objects to make larger groups of objects. The Musicreatures app then turns information on the screen to music, based on the sizes and locations of the groups of objects. A photo taken initially by the user is used as the background image, and the sounds of objects depend on the properties of the image directly under them. By touching and holding the screen, the user enters a solo mode where there is a more distinctive, direct musical response to movements of the phone.

Performance at Science Forum Helsinki, Finland (Tieteen päivät), January 10th, 2015.

The premier of Koodike

Composition: Computer and Lotta Wennäkoski; Programming: Hannu Toivonen; Musicians: Juho Laitinen (cello) and Heikki Nikula (bass clarinet)

Koodike is a cut-and-paste piece, the material of which was composed by the computer (according to rules specified by Lotta Wennäkoski) and then stitched together to a final composition by Lotta.

Premier performance at Science Forum Helsinki, Finland (Tieteen päivät), January 10th, 2015.

Brain Poetry at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014

Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka, Jukka Toivanen, Aleksander Alafuzoff, Henri Kotkanen, and Jari Torniainen

Brain Poetry is an artistic installation that produces poetry from the user's brain waves. The installation was presented on a grand scale at the Frankfurt International Book Fair 2014. The technology behind the artwork is based on computational creativity methods developed by Jukka Toivanen in the Discovery Research Group lead by prof. Hannu Toivonen at the University of Helsinki. The artwork examines the combination of a human and a machine in a creative process.

The poem generated from the user’s brain waves varies individually. The Brain Poetry project highlights the dialogue between science and art and proposes a new perspective to the human-machine relationship. Cross-disciplinary discussions and joint artistic reflection of the Brains on Art collective form the background of the artwork.

Exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair, October 8th - 12th, 2014.

An exercise in non-computational creativity

Too much work on computational creativity can make us forget about more traditional forms of creativity... To avoid thinking that only computers can be creative, the research group signed up for an experimental, collaborative painting session under the guidance of artist Majbritt Huovila. The photos here illustrate the process.

O, he was Bieber

P.O. Eticus-Apparatus and a robot

In the Interational Conference on Computational Creativity, ICCC 2014, the session on poetry was opened by a robot performing a poem written by the software poet P.O. Eticus-Apparatus. The recited poem is from a paper titled The Officer Is Taller Than You, Who Race Yourself! Using Document Specific Word Associations in Poetry Generation, authored by Jukka M. Toivanen, Oskar Gross and Hannu Toivonen. The robot performance was programmed by the local organizers of the conference at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia.

Performed in ICCC in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on June 11th, 2014.

Riku Nieminen recites a poem by P.O. Eticus

Riku Nieminen and P.O. Eticus Apparatus

The Hyvät and huonot uutiset show of Nelonen TV asked actor Riku Nieminen to recite a poem written by the computer poet P.O. Eticus.

See the video here

Nelonen TV 21.5.2014


Brains on Art: Brain Waves

Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka, Jukka Toivanen, Aleksander Alafuzoff, Henri Kotkanen and Jari Torniainen

"The Brain Waves exhibition by the Brains on Art collective features a series of works that get their inspiration from brain research and cognitive science. The works employ scientific research methods for artistic purposes. The project emphasizes the dialog between two different fields: art and science. The works are based on the group’s discussions, sharing of information and shared artistic reflection."

Among others, 1195 individual new poems were generated based on the brain waves of the audience.

Exhibition at Galleria Huuto, Helsinki, March 27th - April 13th, 2014.

Computational Creativity Club

We organized a club night in Porvoon Paahtimo with performances, music, paintings, and installations produced in collaborations between creative machines and creative people. The event was organized in conjunction with the Autumn School on Computational Creativity, and featured numbers by its participants: Viewpoints AI, a virtual agent performance (by Mikhail Jacob); Machine Libertine, a media poetry performance (Taras Mashtalir, Natalia Fedorova); Phonetic Poetry, recitation of machine-discovered phonemic sonnets (Stephen McGregor);, musical collage generator (Sebastien Piquemal); Artworks in Python, exhibition of generative art produced using Python (Tom De Smedt); Brain Poetry, a mind reading installation that expresses brain waves as poetry (Jukka Toivanen, K. Mäki-Reinikka, A. Alafuzoff, H. Kotkanen, J. Torniainen); and ArNePo, exhibition of machine-inspired, hand-painted art combining news analysis, visual arts, and poetry (Sandra Lääne, Oskar Gross, Jukka M. Toivanen, Hannu Toivonen).

Event held in Porvoon Paahtimo, Porvoo, on November 20th, 2013.

Featured in Borgåbladet, November 22nd, 2013 (see the whole article; text by Birgitta Ehrstén, photo by Evy Nickström.)


Heikki Paakkanen and Jukka M. Toivanen

Oodimobiili is an automated poetry composition device that writes unique poems for visitors of the Turku International Book Fair.

Exhibited in Turun kansainväliset kirjamessut, Turku during October 3rd - 5th, 2013.

Musical chair

Tuomas Sivula, Hannu Toivonen

An installation consisting of a chair that automatically composes music, on-line, from the hearbeats, respiration, and movements of the person sitting on a chair.

Exhibited in the Think Corner (Tiedekulma) of the University of Helsinki, on September 11th, 2013.

Brains on Art: Brain Poetry

K. Mäki-Reinikka, J.M. Toivanen, A. Alafuzoff, H. Kotkanen, J. Torniainen

An installation producing poetry from the user's brain waves. The poetry composition algorithms are based on methods developed by J.M. Toivanen. The artwork examines the combination of a human and a machine in a creative process.

Exhibited in XL Art Space, Helsinki, during September 7th – October 5th, 2013.

ArNePo: Arts, News and Poetry

Artist: Sandra Lääne, Computational creativity: Oskar Gross, Jukka M. Toivanen, Hannu Toivonen

ArNePo is an art project where news analysis, visual arts and poetry is mixed together. In December 2012 a computer analyzed daily news and generated poems based on the news stories of the day. The generation process was abstracted into a matrix which was visualized as an image. These images were given to the artist to use them as inspiration and paint them on canvas.

Exhibited in Art Museum of Tartu, "Tartu Ülikooli maalieriala bakalaureusetööd", Estonia, June 5th - 30th, 2013.

Also exhibted in: Culture Centre of Jõgeva, Estonia, 1 August 2013 - 30 August 2013; Exactum, University of Helsinki, Finland, 24 October 2013 - 14 November 2013.

Reviewed in Eesti Ekspress, October 6th, 2013.

Soul Music

Tuomas Sivula, Hannu Toivonen

An installation with computational, biophysically inspired music automatically composed by a hammock equipped with sensors to detect breathing and movements of its user.

Exhibited at the 8th Conference of Science Journalists, Helsinki, on June 24th, 2013.

Brains on Art: The Suit

K. Mäki-Reinikka, J. Torniainen, A. Alafuzoff, H. Kotkanen, J.M. Toivanen

An art performance utilizing the methodology of galvanic vestibular stimulation to convey abstract data in a concrete and feelable way. In the performance, stock market data from the previous week is transmitted to the electrodes behind the performer's ears. The electric currents (GVS stimulation) cause the performer to lose his balance every time the stock index changes for better or worse. The stock index is projected to the wall next to the performer, so the passers-by can see the data feed and the changes in the balance of the performer.

Performed in Entresse Shopping Centre, Espoo, on 3rd and 4th of May 2013.

Brains on Art: It's not just in your head

K. Mäki-Reinikka, A. Alafuzoff, H. Kotkanen, J.M. Toivanen, J. Torniainen

An interactive EEG installation that produces physical response to viewer's brain waves. As the viewer puts the EEG headset to his/hers head the art piece recognizes and analyzes the signal. The signal is then transferred to three speakers inside exhibition stands. Small plastic balls start to bounce on the top of the speakers according to the signal. The viewer can now try to control the stands by controlling his/hers mind.

Exhibited in L3 gallery in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, as a part of Warehouse Tech Exhibition in spring 2013.

Biomusic performance

Ove Holmqvist, David Murphy, Joonas Paalasmaa

Various live performances using the biomusic system. The music is entirely generated from biosignals, such as heartbeats and breathing. It is controlled using biomechanical activity and postures.

Performances in:

  • Eteläsuomalaisen osakunnan 107. vuosijuhla, Oct 10, 2012
  • 11th International Symposium on Intelligent Data Analysis, Oct 26, 2012
  • 8th World Conference of Science Journalists 2013, Jun 24, 2013
  • Gallery Jade, The 25th Night of the Arts, Aug 22, 2013
Sleep Musicalization

Aurora Tulilaulu, Joonas Paalasmaa, Mikko Waris, Hannu Toivonen

Sleep musicalization is a novel way of perceiving and experiencing sleep measurement data as music. Music has a unique capability to invoke emotions, giving users a novel opportunity to perceive their data also as innate feelings. In the case of sleep measurements, musicalization complements the more informative, no-nonsense visual results with an emotional component towards one's own sleep.

An interactive web installation: (launched in August 2012)

Reviewed by CNET (Sep 12, 2012) and by Discovery News (Sep 12, 2012), featured by YLE TV and CBC Radio, and by hundreds of websites in more than dozen languages.

Play a sample song, "Deep Dreams", composed by the Sleep Musicalization application.


Tee se kotona. Kiitos.

Text: Heikki Paakkanen and P.O. Eticus. Art: Heikki Paakkanen. Japanese translation: Namu Tankeroinen

A book by artist Heikki Paakkanen and cyberpoet P.O. Eticus-Apparatus developed by Jukka M. Toivanen. Japanese style woodcut images are accompanied by computational haikus in this intriguing piece of art.

Published in September 2012 by AAARGH! hyväluoja. ISBN 9789519770840.

Available for purchase at Rosebud.

Public recitation of haikus by P.O. Eticus

Heikki Paakkanen, P.O. Eticus (J.M. Toivanen)

Release of the art book Tee se kotona. Kiitos. by artist Heikki Paakkanen and cyberpoet P.O. Eticus-Apparatus developed by J.M Toivanen at the University of Helsinki. The event included printing of Japanese style woodcut images with a road roller and recitation of computational haikus in Finnish and their translations in Japanese.

Performed in Kansalaistori, Helsinki, on September 7th, 2012.

Reviewed in Helsingin Sanomat 8.9.2012