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Originally presented on January 11, 2022
(In)Visibility: A Panel on Identity, Technology and Surveillance
Listen to the Latest Episode of the Vox Populi Podcast!

(In)Visibility: A Panel on Identity, Technology and Surveillance

Originally presented on January 11, 2022
Featuring Logan Cryer, Johann Diedrick and Harris Kornstein
Moderated by Roopa Vasudevan

About This Episode

In this panel discussion, artists Johann Diedrick and Harris Kornstein, along with curator Logan Cryer, discuss what it means to be seen (and unseen) through technological and surveillant lenses. Through both technical and non-technical creative processes, the panelists explore the complex and multilayered intersections of identity and technology in nuanced and considered ways—unsettling common assumptions of what it means to be seen by machines, along with the powerful people and systems that create and control them. The panel is moderated by Roopa Vasudevan: media artist, researcher and Vox Populi member.

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About The Artists & Projects

Johann Diedrick is an artist, engineer, and musician who makes installations, performances, and sculptures to encounter the world through our ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware and software. He is the founder of A Quiet Life, a sonic engineering and research studio that designs and builds audio-related software and hardware products for revealing possibilities off the grid through sonic encounters. He is a 2021 Mozilla Creative Media Award recipient, a member of NEW INC, the New Museum’s art and technology incubator, and an alum of and adjunct professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Johann discusses his Mozilla Creative Media project Dark Matters, a web experience that exposes the absence of Black speech in the datasets used to train voice interface systems in consumer AI products like Alexa and Siri. Using 3D modeling, sound and storytelling, the project challenges us to grapple with racism and inequity through speech and the spoken word, and how AI systems underserve yet oversurveill Black communities.

More Info: / / @johanndiedrick

Harris Kornstein is a scholar and artist whose research and art practice focus on digital culture, surveillance, data and algorithms, media art and activism, visual culture, and queer theory. Their current book project documents queer and trans cultural strategies that mobilize techniques of play, misuse, and obfuscation to counter surveillance capitalism. As a media artist, curator, and drag alter-ego Lil Miss Hot Mess, they have presented work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Institute for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, International Symposium on Electronic Art, ONE Archives, Apex Art, and numerous other universities, galleries, and festivals. They also co-founded the #MyNameIs campaign that challenged Facebook’s so-called “real names” policy, and is a leader in Drag Queen Story Hour. Harris holds a PhD in Media, Culture & Communication from NYU, and an MFA in Digital Arts & New Media from UC Santa Cruz.

Harris discusses their ongoing work Screen Queen Face Fail, which proposes drag as both a conceptual framework for rethinking the users and uses of popular technologies, as well as a set of speculative practical techniques for mitigating the harms sustained by data-driven surveillance. The project specifically explores how drag makeup functions as a tactic to confuse facial recognition algorithms through contouring and embellishing facial features like cheeks, chins, noses, and lip and lash lines.

More Info: / / @lilmisshotmess

Logan Cryer is a curator based in Philadelphia with a penchant for local art histories. They are an alum of Moore College of Art & Design, where they acquired a BFA in Fine Arts and minored in Curatorial Studies. Logan attended Headlong Performance Institute in the Fall of 2017 and has orbited experimental performance and dance spaces ever since. Since 2020, Logan has been a part of Television, a service that provides low cost technology rentals to curators, activists, and organizers in Philadelphia. In 2021, Logan launched SNAIL Gallery, an online curatorial experiment. SNAIL consists of exhibitions that are posted temporarily to Instagram and are subsequently archived through an essay, an artist talk, and the sharing of artist quotes. Logan is a contributor to Artblog and one of the hosts for Artblog Radio. They like to rewatch documentaries.

Logan discusses their exhibition Dark Sousveillance, which was on view at Vox Populi between November 2021 and January 2022, and featured the artists Kenyssa Evans, Danny Giles, Ishtar Sr., Cameron Jarvis, NIC Kay, and Danielle Morris. Dark Sousveillance contemplates how Black people are responding to the tension between wanting to be seen by each other and wanting to hide from the violence of hypervisibility. The artists in the exhibition present works that tell stories about the cities they have called home: Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Rotterdam, and Washington, D.C. These artists are critical of mass media and have produced candid works that celebrate the complexities of our day-to-day lives. Sometimes autobiographical, sometimes documentative, the artworks in Dark Sousveillance are generously genuine.

More Info: / / @mercuny

Roopa Vasudevan is a media artist, computer programmer and researcher, currently based in the part of Lenapehoking now known as Philadelphia. Her practice examines social and technological defaults; interrogates rules, conventions and protocols that we often ignore or take for granted; and centers humanity and community in explorations of technology’s impacts on society. Through a varied creative toolkit that includes data collection practices, systems design, web development, and remix, she seeks to emphasize personal and human experiences, often on an individual or local level, in a time of Big Data and surveillance capitalism. Her most recent solo exhibition, Machine Readable, was on view at Vox Populi in June and July of 2021 and continues to exist online.

More Info: / / @rouxpz

InVisibility Podcast
February 17, 2022 @ 8:00 am
March 17, 2022 @ 5:00 pm