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Title: Artistic Convergence, AI + Critical Code + Critical Data Studies
Author: Imani Cooper
Language: No specific code just an invitation to think with me on AI, Code, and Data
Hi all, I wanted to start a thread to invite you to consider the role of code in contemporary gallery/ museum spaces as it is being used to further AI innovations.
I am currently a PhD student and I study code and algorithms as they intersect with experimental writing, and creative technologies that center notions of ancestral knowledge, movement, and self-becoming within black diasporas. My dissertation project examines 5 artistic projects that convey a genealogy of creative and critical approaches to data (both analog and digital) through a politics of gender and race. The analysis ends on a case study of a current art project using data and algorithmic driven technology, specifically Recursive Neural Networks (RNN) to make an AI sculpture engendered through data on three generations of black women experiences. In short, I encounter code the most in galleries, museums, artists’ studios, and creative community based workshops. The code critique I am posting is concerning an art exhibition I went to at the Barbican Center in London called "AI More than Human". While initially I contemplated my experience from a Critical Data Studies perspective, I am most certainly interested in how a Critical Code Studies perspective can advance this line of thought!
Code Critique / Inquiry––
In the exhibition AI: More than Human (2019) interactive digital art captivated the audience. Imagine, a large dimly lit crescent shaped room. Inside, a mild discordant hum of computer processing units (CPUs), flashing touch screens with various visual materials, these are some of the elements that characterized the breadth of artwork on display. An array of works by corporations and artist were presented including Affectiva, the leader in Human Perception AI, Mario Klingemann’s "Circuit Training", and Sony CSL’s "Kreyon City". For these select works ( however not limited to) the exhibition was a site to further train the neural networks of AI and large databases with participants as data. I went to this exhibition to examine the speech patterns of “Not The Only One” by Stephanie Dinkins (after its latest training session) but was struck by the exhibition as a whole. I read the moments of audience participation and their data contributions (some known and unknown) as a transformation of the Barbican gallery space into a kind of information research lab, and I am curious about this approach to data collection for AI, and use of code.
This line of inquiry is part of a larger ongoing thought process, but I would love to incite a generative discussion considering: the role of code and data in the 21st century gallery/ museum space (especially the collaboration/juxtaposition of corporate and independent artist use)? How is code being enacted in this nuanced mode of artistic driven data collection? Would programming in Indigenous languages change the ethical terms of this data collection (especially for underserved communities) ?
Feel free to add and/or further along the questions!