Exploring the Boundaries of AI and Personalized Narratives: The Tulpamancer Art Installation

A captivating new art installation at the Venice Immersive, the film festival’s VR sidebar, is blurring the lines between dreams and reality. Tulpamancer, created by Marc Da Costa and Matthew Niederhauser, harnesses the potential of open-source AI tools, such as Open AI and StableDiffusion, to reconstruct users’ memories and dreams and bring them to life through the immersive medium of virtual reality (VR).

The Tulpamancer experience takes participants on a guided two-step journey. First, they engage with an enigmatic AI entity named ‘Tulpa,’ who asks them probing questions about their past, memories, and future aspirations. Then, the participants don a VR headset and enter a virtual realm where a bespoke script, visuals, and voiceover are generated specifically for them.

The installation’s aesthetic draws inspiration from the 1980s, featuring a classic black screen with green text, evoking nostalgia while immersing visitors in a unique storytelling experience. Tulpamancer aims to contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding AI in art and explores the creation of highly personalized narratives.

Da Costa emphasizes the need for caution in AI’s use, acknowledging its potential for harm in the wrong hands. However, he and Niederhauser stress that Tulpamancer is merely an artistic installation, not the creation of a sentient artificial intelligence system. The installation aims to highlight the limitations of AI while offering a glimpse into the future possibilities of engaging conversations and personalized storytelling.

By testing Tulpamancer at Venice Immersive, Da Costa and Niederhauser hope to showcase how the quality of VR creation relies heavily on the information provided to the AI system. The more details shared, the more accurate the virtual world becomes. Conversely, without sufficient data, the resulting experience remains vague and incomplete.

While Tulpamancer may appear harmless, Da Costa urges the need for regulation and responsible use of AI technology due to its immense power. The installation serves as a thought-provoking reminder of the advancements in AI and its potential impact on diverse industries.


Q: What is Tulpamancer?
A: Tulpamancer is an art installation at the Venice Immersive that utilizes AI tools to recreate users’ memories and dreams through virtual reality.

Q: How does Tulpamancer work?
A: Tulpamancer engages participants in a two-step journey. They start by interacting with an AI entity named ‘Tulpa,’ which asks questions about their memories. Then, they enter a virtual reality space where a customized script, visuals, and voiceover are generated based on their responses.

Q: Why does Tulpamancer focus on personalized narratives?
A: Tulpamancer explores the potential of AI in creating highly personalized narratives and aims to contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding AI in art and storytelling.

Q: Are there any concerns regarding the use of AI in Tulpamancer?
A: The creators of Tulpamancer emphasize the need for responsible regulation of AI technology due to its power and potential for misuse. They believe that Tulpamancer offers a glimpse into the possibilities of AI while also highlighting its limitations.

Q: How does Tulpamancer reflect the quality of AI creations?
A: Tulpamancer demonstrates that the accuracy and richness of the VR experience depend on the amount of information shared with the AI system. The more details provided, the more detailed and immersive the virtual world becomes.

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