Intro

Three digitised figures appear from a digital background. The background waves of digital data, in pink and green, all on a black background. The figures are also waves of data, two are in electric blue and green, the other an off white colour.
Vishal Kumaraswamy, Swaayattate, 2020 (video still)

Hi, my name is Vishal Kumaraswamy and welcome to my Virtual Studio.

I’m a Bangalore based Artist & Filmmaker. Within my practice, I work across AI, text, video, sound and performance and I look for points of convergence between Caste, Race & Technology. My works weave speculative narratives & counter-mythologies in multiple Indian languages around themes of Artificial Intelligence, Gender & Labour.

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your dataset won’t let me thrive / your dataset must die

‘your dataset won’t let me thrive / your dataset must die’ are a pair of video essays that seek to counter the mythologies surrounding Artificial Intelligence datasets & algorithms They are carried out as a comparative study of the works of the Black Beat Poet Bob Kaufman and the Kannada Dalit poet Siddalingaiah whose words (translation) are input into the text based neural network GPT-2.  The visual aesthetics of the work are drawn from generative AI imagery of brown faces, creative programming as well as animated representation of the words of each poet alongside text generated by the algorithm. The inability of the algorithm to generate text drawn from sufficient references to Black & Bahujan lived experiences reveal the encoded biases within the dataset and trace their origins to harmful mythologies of Caste & Race.

The works were commissioned by the Mozilla Foundation as part of the Reclaiming AI Futures project for the AI Observatory (https://ai-observatory.in/)

The image is a screengrab from the video 'your dataset won't let me thrive' and contains text laid against a black background with some generative abstract imagery. The text reads 'Abomunists Join Nothing But Their Hands or Legs, or Other Same'
Screengrab from ‘your dataset won’t let me thrive’

The image is a screengrab from the video 'your dataset must die' and contains abstract imagery of an AI generated face set against a dark blue background'
Screengrab from ‘your dataset must die’

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Interview with Vishal Kumaraswamy

Words in white capital letters say: “They closed around my head and with a golden sword shaved it;” The background is dark blue, reminiscent of an early evening sky. An unidentifiable black shape is in the bottom right corner - it looks like the shadowy silhouette of treetops. The image is a still frame from an artist moving image work by Vishal Kumaraswamy called "your dataset must die" made in 2021.
Vishal Kumaraswamy, your dataset must die, 2021 (still image from video)

Jamie Wyld (videoclub & Vital Capacities’ director): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work?

Vishal Kumaraswamy: Hi, my name is Vishal Kumaraswamy I’m a Bangalore based Artist & Filmmaker. Within my practice, I work across AI, text, video, sound and performance and I look for points of convergence between Caste, Race & Technology. My works a by weaving speculative narratives & counter-mythologies in multiple Indian languages around themes of Artificial Intelligence, Gender & Labour.

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