“Sympathetic White Robots (and Cyborgs)”
Installation, vinyl print (11′ wide x 6.5′ high, dimensions variable) and video
Commissioned by Oxy Arts
“In the collage Sympathetic White Robots (and Cyborgs), produced for the exhibition, the artist compiles stills from films that marshal empathy for AI agents who are coded as white and humanized through their association with whiteness, including Ex Machina, Blade Runner, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Suparak’s video, Virtually Asian, is embedded in the collage. It assembles footage from films like Star Wars and Ghost in the Shell, which extract Asian visual cultures to perform worldbuilding at the same time that they omit Asian actors from the worlds they build.
Suparak’s media archaeology interrogates imaginaries of AI that instrumentalize Asian bodies while performing Asian erasure, and identifies openings for building imaginaries of the future otherwise.” – Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, co-curator, Encoding Futures
Sympathetic White Robots (and Cyborgs) was commissioned by Oxy Arts for the exhibition “Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI,” and is one part of Astria Suparak’s ongoing research project, Asian futures, without Asians.
ENCODING FUTURES: Critical Imaginaries of AI
Curated by Mashinka Firunts Hakopian and Meldia Yesayan
Oxy Arts, Los Angeles
September 16—November 19, 2021
Artists: Algorithmic Justice League, Stephanie Dinkins, Aroussiak Gabrielian, Maya Ganesh, Kite, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Niama Safia Sandy, Caroline Sinders, Astria Suparak, Mandy Harris Williams
Algorithmic worldmaking often unfolds in a “black box”: an opaque space of automated decision-making whose rationale is hidden from public view. Researchers and cultural workers are opening up the black box for scrutiny to imagine possibilities for feminist, antiracist, and decolonial AI. This exhibition assembles the work of artists who visualize the limits of our current algorithmic imaginaries, and envision speculative futures engineered for just outcomes.
Sympathetic White Robots (and Cyborgs) is a new installation commissioned for this exhibition.
In conjunction with the exhibition is Speculative Monuments for LA, a virtual residency program featuring artists Nancy Baker-Cahill, Audrey Chan, Joel Garcia with Meztli Projects and Patrick Martinez.
In conjunction with the exhibition Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI, Occidental College is offering the course “Art, AI, & The Aesthetics of Algorithmic Justice,” taught by Mashinka Firunts Hakopian in the Department of Art and Art History.
From the course description: “This course attends to the work of artists who map the limits of our current algorithmic imaginaries, render algorithmic harms visible, and imagine speculative futures optimized for just outcomes.”
The syllabus is available online at: https://www.mashinkafirunts.com/syllabus-art-ai-the-aesthetics-of-algorithmic-justice
ForYourArt, “Top Pick of the Day,” Sept. 16, 2021
Hyperallergic, “Your Concise Los Angeles Art Guide for October 2021,” Matt Stromberg and Elisa Wouk Almino, October 2021
“Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month.
Hey, LA! Below are 10 shows we think are worth your time this month. Artists uncover the biases of AI, a show mines Japanese animation beyond manga, and two solo shows spotlight original local artists June Edmonds and Pippa Garner. […]
‘Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI’: Algorithms, rather than actual humans, are increasingly shaping how data is used and interpreted, but rather than representing cold objectivity, they often reproduce entrenched systems of bias and oppression. Co-curated by Oxy Arts and Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Encoding Futures features artists who illustrate the failings of AI-generated algorithms, and imagine how they could be used to produce a more equitable future.”