Episode Two explores the benefits and disadvantages of going unseen by surveillance technologies. We examine notions of visibility and invisibility in the context of AI imaging systems with author and professor Simone Browne, artist Sondra Perry, and artist and academic Mimi Onuoha.
Mirror with a Memory Episode Two: (In)Visibility
Simone Browne is associate professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (2015), examines surveillance with a focus on transatlantic slavery, biometrics, airports, and creative texts. Dark Matters was awarded the 2016 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize by the American Studies Association, the 2016 Surveillance Studies Book Prize by the Surveillance Studies Network, and the 2015 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Technology Research. Browne is also a member of Deep Lab, a feminist collaborative composed of artists, engineers, hackers, theorists, and writers.
Mimi Onuoha is a Nigerian American artist creating work about a world made to fit the form of data. She foregrounds absence and removal in her multimedia practice, using print, code, installation, and video to make sense of the power dynamics that result in disenfranchised communities’ different relationships to digital, cultural, historical, and ecological systems. Onuoha has spoken and exhibited internationally and has been in residence at Studio XX, Data & Society, the Royal College of Art, and Eyebeam. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Sondra Perry makes videos and performances that foreground the tools of digital production as a way to reflect on new technologies of representation and to remobilize their potential. Perry has had multiple solo exhibitions, including Typhoon coming on (Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, 2018) and Resident Evil (The Kitchen, New York, 2016). Her selected group exhibitions include New Order (the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2019), The Body Electric (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2018), and Greater New York (MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY, 2015). Perry was the awarded the inaugural Toby’s Prize by moCa Cleveland in 2018 and the 2018 Nam June Paik Award by Kunststiftung NRW.
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.