Artificial : A Love Story by Amy Kurzweil

Artificial : A Love Story by Amy Kurzweil

A visionary tale spanning three generations of artists whose quest for significance and bond surpasses the boundaries of existence. How do we connect with and preserve our family’s past? Is it through technology? Through spirituality? Art, literature, music? Or do we search for echoes within ourselves? In the thought-provoking book “Artificial,” we encounter the Kurzweils, a family of creators who employ unconventional methods to uphold their legacy. At the heart of this narrative is the renowned inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, who diligently safeguards the writings of his late father, Fredric. Fredric, an accomplished conductor and pianist, fled from the Nazis in Vienna back in 1938. Art once saved his life when an American benefactor, captivated by Fredric’s musical brilliance, sponsored his immigration to the United States, mere weeks before Kristallnacht. Now, Fredric has returned.

Employing artificial intelligence and rescued writings, Ray endeavors to construct a chatbot that imitates Fredric’s voice. To ensure the perpetuity of their family’s complex legacy, he enlists the help of his daughter, Amy Kurzweil, an artist and cartoonist. Amy’s profound comprehension of her family’s traumatic displacement resonates with her own pursuit of a creative life in the present. Together with her partner, Jacob, they chase employment opportunities and each other across the nation.

Kurzweil not only invites us into an exploration of artistic accomplishment but also values dialogue and connection, the act of knowing and being known by others. With Kurzweil’s characteristic wit, humanity, and stunning hand-drawn illustrations, “Artificial” delves into nuanced inquiries about art, memory, and technology. Ultimately, it demonstrates that love, a product of devoted attention, is the foundation of a meaningful existence.

Navigating the Layers: Amy Kurtzweil’s Personal Journey with Technology and Family

Join us on this lovely Monday evening. My name is Amali and I’m the events director at Books or Magic. We are thrilled to have Amy Kurtz and Kristen Radkey with us tonight to celebrate the launch of Amy’s newest graphic memoir, “Artificial”. Before we begin, there are a few logistics to address. We will have a Q&A session with the audience towards the end of the discussion, so start thinking of your questions. Amy will also be signing books after the talk for those who are here in person. For those joining us virtually on the livestream, we encourage you to purchase a copy of “Artificial” online using the link in the livestream description. Now, let’s dive into the story of Amy’s family and explore the many layers of creation, consciousness, art, invention, and love in the age of technology and artificial intelligence. As Kristen Radkey says, this book is beautiful, strange, and belongs on your bookshelf forever. Amy Kurtzwell is a New Yorker cartoonist and the author of “Flying Couch”, a graphic memoir. Kristen Radkey is the author of “Seek You” and the creative director of The Verge. They will engage in a conversation about Amy’s new book. But before we get into it, let’s start with some cartoons to break the ice. Amy will then play her book trailer, which explores the story of her father and grandfather and their experiences with technology and artificial intelligence. The book delves into the question of how technology helps preserve and communicate with the past, and what it leaves out. Amy will also read an excerpt from the book to give you a taste of her writing. The process of creating “Artificial” spanned seven years, involving extensive research, writing, sketching, and editing. The hardest part for Amy was the ending, as the pressure of finishing the book and sharing her personal thoughts and feelings became overwhelming. Throughout the process, Amy remained optimistic about the potential of technology and its ability to enhance our lives and creativity. She believes that artists can use technology to navigate and make meaning from the vast amount of information in our lives. Amy’s approach to technology is one of curiosity and an exploration of its possibilities. She emphasizes the importance of creativity and human connection in the face of technology’s advancements. Despite the challenges and long process of creating the book, Amy finds fulfillment in the materiality and physical making of a graphic memoir. She feels nostalgic for the pages and the tangible process of creating art. Moving from quick daily cartoons to a longer work required a shift in mindset and approach, but Amy found that the skillset developed through creating cartoons helped with the longer work of the book. As for the future, Amy is considering new ideas and projects, and she remains optimistic about the potential of technology and its creative possibilities.

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