Summit 2020

How do we facilitate structural changes to the disciplines of Arts and Technology to be more equitable, collaborative, and open in the 21st century?

Forgoing our typical symposium format for 2020, the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology is recommitting to foster change by hosting a summit. From February 6-8, 2020, we will invite leaders and collaborators for a two-day dialogue with the goals of creating a more equitable and inclusive field and sustainable partnerships across institutions.

Our theme of (Re)Generation speaks to the polyvalence of the interdisciplinary work of arts and technology. Generation evokes productivity and co-creation, as well as the rapidity of shifts in and updates to technology, scholarship, and artistry. Re- as a prefix is both to call back and move forward, the compulsion for agility and reflexivity in the field. (Re)Generation exists as memory and fantasy, as celebration and critique.

Our hope is to strengthen our field for the future through:

  • Increasing collaboration and communication across organizations and institutions, regionally and internationally
  • Engendering a more inclusive and equitable field that cultivates, mentors, and advocates for all identities and backgrounds through pedagogy, practice, and research
  • Improving the professional pipeline and advancement of disproportionately represented groups, particularly with regard to race, gender, and class
  • Sharing best practices for the creation, curation, and sharing of work in arts and technology
  • Reenvisioning the format and content of arts and technology gatherings such as the Symposium

In this spirit, our upcoming biennial event includes a one-day forum on November 1, 2019, which leads to the two-day Summit February 6-8, 2020. The forum will consist of a featured presentation by Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock, Associate Professor of Civic Media at the Comparative Media Studies program, MIT (see bio below), as well as lunch and a workshop on research and teaching. This catalyzes the two-day Summit of presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions in February.

These events will help shape and improve our work in the discipline, and will make way for new modes of working, teaching, collaborating—(re)generating.

[Re]Generation Colloquium, November 1

1:00pm in 1941 Room, Cro

Sasha Costanza-Chock

“Transformative Organizing from #TechWontBuildIt to #DesignJustice”

Design is key to our collective liberation, but most design processes today reproduce inequalities structured by what Black feminist scholars call the matrix of domination. This talk describes the emergence of design justice, a field of theory and practice that is concerned with how the design of objects and systems influences the distribution of benefits and burdens between various groups of people. Design justice focuses on the ways that design reproduces, is reproduced by, and/or challenges the matrix of domination (white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism). Design justice is also a growing social movement that aims to ensure a more equitable distribution of design’s benefits and burdens; fair and meaningful participation in design decisions; and recognition of community based design traditions, knowledge, and practices. The talk concludes with the Design Justice Principles, developed by an emerging network of designers and community organizers, and invite people to get involved.

Sasha Costanza-Chock (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT. They are a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Faculty Affiliate with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Center for Civic Media, and creator of the MIT Codesign Studio. Their work focuses on social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice. Sasha’s first book, Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement was published by the MIT Press in 2014. They are a board member of Allied Media Projects (AMP); AMP convenes the annual Allied Media Conference and cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative and collaborative world.

 

October 14, 4:30pm in Oliva Hall, Cummings

Elisa Giardina Papa

“Artificial Intelligence and the Labor of Care”

 “What’s an invisible boyfriend?

A digital version of a real boyfriend without the baggage.

Conversations are powered by real creative writers. No bots.” 

The workers contracted by the “Invisible Boyfriend” app are part of an emerging class of precarious freelancers who provide care and affective labor online. In my latest project, “Technologies of Care,” I visualize this new invisible workforce of caregivers who, through a variety of websites and apps, provide clients with customized goods and experiences, erotic stimulation, companionship, and emotional support. The stories collected include a social media fan-for-hire, an ASMR artist, an online dating coach, and a human chatbot. In my current project “I’ll Learn to See Myself Exactly as You Want Me To,” I extend this exploration to the invisible human infrastructure that sustains Artificial Intelligence. The project is the result of a three months’ experience as a micro-task worker for machine vision companies. It is a documentation of the low-paid, low-skilled, and often alienating labor involved in testing, training, and correcting the errors of machine vision. Among the tasks performed are: error checking for motion tracking systems installed in self-driving cars, and the recording of my facial expressions to be used as a data set to train emotion detection algorithms.

Elisa Giardina Papa is an Italian artist whose work investigates gender, sexuality, and labor in relation to neoliberal capitalism and the Global South. Her work has been exhibited and screened at MoMA (New York), Whitney Museum [Sunrise/Sunset Commission], Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, Unofficial Internet Pavilion of 54th Venice Biennial, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, rhizome.org  [Download Commission], The Flaherty NYC, among others. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and a BA from Politecnico of Milan, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in film and media studies at University of California Berkeley. She lives and works in New York and Piraino (Sicily).

As the 2019-2020 Visiting Fellow/Artist, Elisa will be involved in our student experience by advising and meeting our seniors for studio critiques throughout the year and lead a workshop for our gateway class in the spring. In addition to her talk on October 14, she will be the featured artist in the upcoming exhibition [Re]Generation in Cummings galleries January-February 2020.