03 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’

02 Subaltern Futurism

Over the last two years, I’ve been developing a theoretical and critical framework titled ‘Subaltern Futurism’. Subaltern Futurism is envisioned as a speculative resource framework for artistic research, practice and the technological education of marginalised. Drawing from anti-caste literature, critical race theory, bahujan solidarity practices among other guiding experiences, it asks if artistic practice can become pedagogical tools to communities that are excluded from regular access to critical discourse around contemporary art & technology. The framework views technology through a sociological lens, as a fundamental right and shared resource. It expands upon Gramsci’s post-colonial notion of the Subaltern as ‘colonial populations who are excluded from the hierarchy of power’ to include the current state of digital colonisation, the shared sites for the digital commons and sections of technology users rendered ‘subaltern’ due to the capitalist pursuit of efficiency. Subaltern Futurism speculates that developing empathic relationships with technology through a range of critical & pragmatic actions can assist in the imagination of radical futures that are diverse, inclusive and conducted from multiple geographies especially arising from the global south and from contexts outside of euro-centric biases of inquiry. By considering a very wide scope at the outset, it is envisioned as a multi-year generative project occurring as various modular forms and widely disseminated within the ethos of open access.

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