In this critical theory course, ‘Dark Matters: On Race, Capitalism, and the Whiteness of the Screen,’ we reframed the history and future of computation to center its oversights, biases, and errors. Together we uncovered computation’s relationship to colonization, critical race theory, capitalism, incarceration and beyond. We discussed in small and large groups how we can use computational systems to create the matrix of our dreams while holding these systems accountable to their origins. By reading critical texts, viewing artworks and interacting with professional guests we learned how these structures are compromised so that we can begin to imagine what an outside to them might look like. This class relied on an expanded notion of study, where we challenged one another to think outside the box about what learning is and ultimately can be. We also looked at the practices of contemporary artists critiquing (and expanding the imaginary within) technology as examples of how radical imagination can be evoked through artistic practice. By the end of the class we created a project with contributions from each member of the class.
Images courtesy of teachers.
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By taking this class, you can expect to gain the following:
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American Artist makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning with their legal name change in 2013. Their work engages anti-Black state violence, surveillance, and criminalization, such as predictive policing. Artist is a 2022 Creative Capital and United States Artists grantee, and a recipient of the 2021 LACMA Art & Tech Lab Grant. They have exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA PS1; Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Kunsthalle Basel, CH; and Nam June Paik Center, Seoul. They have had solo museum exhibitions at The Queens Museum, New York and The Museum of African Diaspora, California. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, and Huffington Post. Artist is a part-time faculty at Parsons, NYU and UCLA and a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation.
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Zainab "Zai" Aliyu is an artist and cultural worker whose work is about the material affect of the "immaterial." She contextualizes the cybernetic and temporal entanglement embedded within societal dynamics to understand how all sociotechnological systems of control are interconnected, and how we are all implicated through time. She often dreams, experiments and inquires through built virtual environments, printed matter, video, archives, writing, installation and community-participatory (un)learning. Zai is currently a 2022 fellow at NYU Tisch's Future Imagination Collaboratory, design director for the African Film Festival at the Film at Lincoln Center in NYC and a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation.
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