A computer screen covered with moss and slime.

More Than AI Sandbox: Glory Mold

More Than AI Sandbox

Posted on Tue 9 April

Watershed and MyWorld unveil six teams awarded £45K to build prototypes exploring the creative potential of Artificial Intelligence

Watershed and MyWorld are delighted to unveil six new commissions for More than AI Sandbox, a new programme awarding each team £45k to experiment creatively with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and create a prototype.

The last few years have seen a rapid rise in the power of machine learning, and wider access to tools enabling it to perform ‘human-like’ work. This has led to much greater public consciousness and debate around the presence of AI in our everyday lives, with opinions often polarised and anxieties of robots overthrowing or supplanting humanity easily invoked. 

In the creative and cultural sectors AI is having an impact on everything from writing, visual arts and music to film-making, games and performance. By bringing creative technologists and thinkers together, More than AI Sandbox seeks to find opportunities for the new forms of expression and accessibility to be found in AI, whilst grappling with the complexities of what intelligence is and how we might use it.

Jo Landsdowne, Executive Producer at Pervasive Media Studio says,

Artificial intelligence is becoming ever more part of our daily lives (whether we notice it or not). So, now is the time to ask how we want it to be used, to what ends, and who do we think should be leading that work? When I look at this brilliant group of projects and people I think - YES! These are the kinds of experiments that excite me about the future.”

The six More Than AI commissions are:

Creatura Speculatrix

CREATORS:  Domenica Landin x Playfool

The development of modern AI is centred on an assumption of the human brain as the focal point of all intelligence. Creatura Speculatrix explores an alternative path of AI evolution rooted in an understanding of intelligence beyond the human, one arising from the intricate interplay between the brain, body and environment. Through an immersive, artificial habitat, the project tells the natural history of Creatura Speculatrix, creature-like machines evolving from this broader understanding that prompts us to rethink what we understand about intelligence, and the diverse ways it can be expressed.

The Expression Orchestra


Collaborations with AI in areas like musical improv are in the moment, responsive and able to build on the joys of the offerings from those in the room. So can AI allow those who can’t play an instrument gain access to this musical experience? The Expression Orchestra comprises a collection of alternative, easy to use digital instruments designed to empower and broaden peoples’ access to musical performance primarily in educational settings, with a particular focus on SEN/D and ALN students. Sounds are created by a single point of interaction  e.g roll, throw, press. Creators, Pyka, will explore how  AI can make The Conductor, who sits at the centre of the experience, more capable of interpreting human interaction resulting in a richer musical expression for all.

The apothecary network

CREATORS: The Upsetters

The apothecary network is a prototype app that explores how creative tech and AI can play a part in climate action by sharing the knowledge required to establish a network of decolonial community apothecaries which centre herbalism, ancestral knowledge, community, collective joy and a connection with nature in radical, anti-racist ways, giving racialised and diaspora communities a sense of agency in green spaces. 

Glory Mould

CREATORS: Produced Moon

Welcome to 2349. For hundreds of years, the people of Earth have relied on Glory Mold to make their decisions, whether global conflict or personal drama. Part slime mold, part AI, Glory Mold has been incorporated into every aspect of life – but now, she’s disappearing. How has she shaped our world? What does her fusion of organic and artificial intelligences provide? What will we do without her? A speculative fiction installation created by Produced Moon and produced by Studio Areté, Glory Mold is an investigation of alternate intelligences. Featuring an interactive AI character influenced by real-time organic data, as well as artefacts from our imagined future, the experience aims to playfully challenge current conversations in business and academia around the role of AI and humans’ relationship with the living, organic world.

Crip* Intelligence

CREATORS: Poetic Computation

Described as a ‘a serious game where disability destroys or rescues AI Foundation Models from the companies controlling them through a crip-rebellion, an AI resistance of care, intelligences and crip-fantasy,’ this project will create disability justice tests that score the ethics of common AI foundation models. Based on table top role playing games, groups of players will test models’ knowledge and perception of disability, for example a customer support chatbot. By making visible the inherent bias and prejudice constantly replicated in these systems, players will explore creative and playful responses to how they might ‘rescue’ them. By inverting techno- solutionism, the idea that technology will fix disability, Crip Intelligence’s starting point is that disability could save society from technology.

*Crip is a term that we, along with some of our community, have reclaimed through disability scholarship, culture and activism. You can read about Crip reclamation here: https://nowthenmagazine.com/articles/crip-a-story-of-reclamation

Kinship Wayfinder 

CREATORS: Surfing Light Beams & Beta Jester

In this modern digital age, we have never been so close, yet so disconnected. Where is the social revolution? What will bring people together when they are so apart? These are the questions at the heart of Kinship Wayfinder.

Kinship Wayfinder is an exploration into how AI can help to foster meaningful connections; to create trust, kindness and friendships between disconnected people.  This multi-user playable experience gathers people together and takes them through a series of scenarios, with AI inhabiting different roles to guide players through the scenarios and create positive emotions amongst strangers. 

Emma Boulton, More Than AI Sandbox producer, Watershed says

Sandbox is back and this year we have six fantastic projects experimenting with artificial intelligence. AI is everywhere, however, its development can be a mystery to us. Sandbox felt like the space to not only explore AI creatively but better understand the wider impact of it. I am excited to see teams scratch beneath the surface of AI so that we might reflect and redefine relationships to and with it."

More Than AI  Sandbox will conclude with a public showcase in Bristol in September. Further updates to follow via the Pervasive Media Studio news page.

More Than AI Sandbox is part of the MyWorld IDEAS programme, supporting small companies with high-risk ideas through community building, research and development and audience engagement locally and internationally.

“What if, instead of being the thing that separates us from the world, and ultimately supplants us, artificial intelligence is another flowering, wholly its own invention, but one which, shepherded by us, leads us to a greater accommodation with the world?” James Bridle, Ways of Being.

Press Contacts

Rebecca Ladbury | rebecca@ladburypr.com | 07941 224975

Danya Agababian | danya@ladburypr.com | 07779 635147

What each More Than AI Sandbox teams will receive:

  1. A grant of up to £45,000 to fund the development of an idea into a prototype. This can be spent on company time, materials and specialist skills
  2. Three Sandbox workshops with all of six teams to inspire, challenge and upskill them around the theme of More than AI
  3. Advice from a Watershed Producer, Industry Experts/Advisors, Business Mentor and Creative Technologist
  4. Desk space and access to facilities in the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in Bristol, connecting them to a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists
  5. Support with developing inclusive practices
  6. PR support, showcasing opportunities and feedback events offering the opportunity for discussion and collaboration with both peers and the public
  7. Access support where relevant
  8. A short promo film documenting their prototype

About MyWorld programme

MyWorld is funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund. MyWorld is built on the production, technology and research strengths of the West of England region to create a globally unique proposition for creative technology, research and innovation. Bringing together 13 diverse partners across academia and industry, from the University of Bristol and the University of Bath, to the BBC, Bristol Old Vic and Aardman Animations. MyWorld’s strength lies in the collaboration between these incredible organisations, working together to not only create the cutting-edge creative technology but to create a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable West of England.

MyWorld is using investment into creative technology to stimulate growth and societal change in the industry and in the region. It’s the place where science, engineering and art meet and we want to make them all accessible for everyone. The MyWorld programme provides opportunities for businesses of all sizes to: 

  • Discover: Access pre-market trends in technology via an extensive research programme in our partner universities.
  • Build: Accelerate product and process prototype development through access to innovation funding and production facilities.
  • Learn: Access MyWorld skills development training or create a talent pool ahead of the market through academic and industry short courses. 


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