If we know that it is impossible for a photograph to be objective, then why do we rely so heavily on photography as evidence? In Episode Three, we speak with artists Lynn Hershman Leeson and American Artist to consider how AI can complicate our relationship to pictures we would otherwise think of as visual “proof.”
Mirror with a Memory Episode Three: Evidence
American Artist uses video, installation, new media, and writing to consider black labor and visibility within networked life. Artist is a resident at Red Bull Arts Detroit, a former resident of Eyebeam, and a 2018–2019 recipient of the Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship. They completed the Whitney Independent Study program as an artist in 2017. They have exhibited at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Koenig & Clinton, New York. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, and HuffPost, and their writing has appeared in The New Inquiry and Art21. Artist is a part-time faculty member at Parsons School of Design and teaches critical theory at the School for Poetic Computation.
Lynn Hersman Leeson is an artist and filmmaker investigating identity, surveillance, the relationship between humans and technology, and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. She has made contributions to the fields of artificial intelligence, bio art, film, installation, interactive and net-based media art, performance, photography, and video. Her work is featured in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, and the Walker Art Center, among others. She has received an ACM SIGGRAPH Lifetime Achievement Award, the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and the San Francisco Film Society’s Persistence of Vision Award.
Martine Syms is an artist using video and performance to examine representations of blackness. Her work has been exhibited and screened extensively, including presentations at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New Museum, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She runs Dominica Publishing, an imprint dedicated to exploring blackness in visual culture. Syms is the author of Implications and Distinctions: Format, Content and Context in Contemporary Race Film (2011). She is a faculty member in the School of Art at the California Institute of the Arts.
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The Mirror with a Memory podcast focuses on different facets of the conversation around artificial intelligence and photography—from biometrics and racial bias to the ways that we perceive the environment and international borders. Hosted by renowned American artist Martine Syms, the six-episode series features leading artists and thinkers in dialogue accompanied by excerpts from important artworks, unpacking the ways in which the collision of photography, surveillance, and artificial intelligence impacts everyone.