Collective bread diaries: cultural identities in an artificial intelligence framework

  • Haytham NawarEmail author
Open Forum


The complex relationship between the current advancement of technology, including the wide scope of settings at which machinery plays substantial roles, and the cultural, historical, and political realities that have long existed across the history of mankind, is one that deserves absolute attention and exploration. This interconnection has been investigated in light of bread, and the meaning it signifies to people from all over the world. Drawing on the commonly unnoticed value of bread, and the everlasting impregnable imprint it has always had on revolutions throughout history, “Collective Bread Diaries” came to being as an interactive art project, employing the artificial intelligence of the MTurk platform in its investigation of “bread” as one’s peculiar voice and political statement. The author amongst other participants was granted the opportunity to draw and share personal visual representations of bread, eventually forming an array of visual diaries, each peculiar to its creator and each reflecting the cultural significance of the place from which it originated. The results are exceptionally reproduced drawings by a machine, with no apparent threads to culture, tradition, or history, emphasizes the conscious perception of one’s distinct identity. A number of 100 distinct drawings were machine-generated featuring various bread types. The process eventually investigates one’s perception of cultural identity, by exploring the cultural, socio-political, and religious threads that have long been weaved into the definition of “bread” across history.


Bread Cultural identity Artificial intelligence MTurk Drawing Arabic language Egyptian culture Sustenance Protest 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of the ArtsAmerican University in CairoNew CairoEgypt

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