Credit: Simon Doury
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Simon Doury, Creative Coder for the Google Cultural Institute Paris

17 May 2023 Portraits
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Simon Doury graduated from the Concepteur Réalisateur Multimédia program at GOBELINS Paris in 2008, and is now a freelance Creative Coder and Interactive Developer & Designer. Since 2016, he has worked mainly for the Google Cultural Institute Paris. Passionate about music, he has also developed an activity as a musician and experimental composer.




What has been your career path since graduating from GOBELINS in 2008 with a degree in Multimedia Design and Production?

When I left school, I worked for " La Surprise ", a small communications agency, and then became a freelancer quite quickly.


I often had a good relationship with the project managers I worked with during my apprenticeship or at the start of my career. So it was natural for me to turn to them when I launched my freelance business.


I started working for agencies and studios, including BETC, Atoma and Les 84 (which at the time was a small production studio). I worked mainly on "experiential" sites and flash games.




You're Creative Coder for Google Cultural Institute Paris. What does your job involve?

Since 2016, my freelance time has been mainly dedicated to Google, as a member of the Google Art & Culture Lab.


Many of the projects I work on use machine learning and AI research carried out in-house by other teams.


I propose a project, then make a prototype, and if the idea appeals, I collaborate with other teams and artists in residence. The field of research is varied and the teams have access to the latest technologies, so the working environment is very stimulating.




Can you tell us more about the Google Cultural Institute and its missions?

Google Art & Culture is a non-commercial initiative. Its main mission is to protect and safeguard cultural and artistic works.


Part of the team works with institutions and museums to digitize and enhance artistic and cultural collections. The content is presented online and on an app to make it accessible to as many people as possible.




Capture d'écran Assisted Melody, Google Art & Culture Lab
Capture d'écran Assisted Melody, Google Art & Culture Lab

Assisted Melody, Google Art & Culture Lab

You've also been a freelance interactive developer and designer since 2010. Can you tell us a bit more about that? What are the flagship projects you've worked on?

The most importantprojects I've been able to work on have been developed at the Google Art & Culture Lab.


Last year, for example, I developed a visualization of the Timbuktu manuscripts. Over 40,000 pages have been digitized in order to preserve them and give everyone the chance to study them.


Art Palette is another of my favorite projects. It's a tool for searching works of art by color palette , developed with Etienne Ferrier. This project was very interesting for me, as I was able to take the time to optimize it to make the tool as fast and user-friendly as possible.


I also worked on several music projects that fascinated me, notably Assisted Melody, which lets you harmonize a melody in the style of a composer.




Have you ever worked with GOBELINS alumni?

Yes, very often! Several alumni work at the Google Art & Culture Lab. In agencies, I've also often come across GOBELINS alumni (in project management, motion design, development, web design, etc.).


I also collaborated a lot with Lab212, a collective of artists from my graduating class. We're still in touch and work together regularly on interactive installations.




You've also developed an activity as a musician and composer with "Glass Can". Can you tell us more about this project?

I've been making music for a long time, and I also listen to a lot of it. It's my preferred means of expression.


Although I sometimes produce music for commissions, particularly installations, I approach musical creation as an artistic expression, not as a way of recording commercial works.


I'm not attached to any particular style, and my creations move between techno, ambient and contemporary music...


I'm currently in discussions with a label. So there are a number of recent projects I've finalized that I haven't yet released, but I hope to do so soon! My music is available on my bandcamp.




What project are you currently working on?

At Google I regularly collaborate with the Magenta team, an open source research project that explores the role of machine learning as a tool in the creative process. The team's research focuses on AI and Music.


Right now I'm working with their latest model, MusicLM, a machine learning model that can generate music from a textual description. It's to music what Midjourney, Dall-e, Stable Diffusion,... are to images.




How do you see the future of your career? Would you like to devote yourself to music?

I've released several projects via my bandcamp. Right now, I'm looking for a label to publish my latest projects and do some concerts.




Interactive table for children / Simon Doury - Lab 212

Can you give us one good memory of your time at GOBELINS?

I have a lot of fond memories, especially during the production of end-of-year projects. We helped each other out and also took time out to relax around the ping pong table!


My work group and I built an interactive table for children. At the time, it was all very new, and it was very exciting to build this table.




What advice would you give to a recent graduate?

Put your heart and soul into your personal projects!




Interview by Sophie Jean

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