Seminar | Anthony Downey and Maya Ganesh on AI and Images

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 2, 2023

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

From the PMC:

Anthony Downey and Maya Ganesh | Neo-Colonial Visions: Artificial Intelligence and Epistemic Violence
In-person and online, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 15 March 2023, 5pm

Part of the series In Conversation: New Directions in Art History, which will explore the changing modes and methodologies of approaching visual and material worlds. Running from January to March 2023.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), often presented as an objective ‘view from nowhere’, constitutes a regime of power that further establishes historical forms of bias and evolving models of subjugation. A key component in this process, this presentation will suggest, involves the extraction of data from digital images in order to train AI. How, therefore, do we understand the transformation of images from their symbolic and representational contexts to their contemporary function as sources of digital data? Bringing together researchers in the field of visual culture and AI technology, and taking as its starting point the representational biases of colonial imagery, Anthony Downey and Maya Indira Ganesh will explore how the digital image has increasingly become the means to extract, archive and repurpose information. Based on the extraction and statistical repurposing of data, they will observe how AI renders entire communities susceptible to encoded and overt forms of epistemological violence. Designed for the purpose of training machine vision and the apparatus of AI, these repurposed “images” reveal, furthermore, how the extractive practices of colonialism have become inexorably aligned with corporate interests and neo-colonial economies of data extraction.

Book tickets here»

Anthony Downey is an academic, author, and editor. He is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa (Birmingham City University). He sits on the editorial boards of Third Text (Routledge), Journal of Digital War (Palgrave Macmillan), and Memory, Mind & Media (Cambridge University Press). He is the series editor for Research/Practice (Sternberg Press, 2019–ongoing). Recent and upcoming publications include Algorithmic Anxieties and Post-Digital Futures (forthcoming, MIT Press, 2024); Nida Sinnokrot: Palestine is Not a Garden (Sternberg Press and MIT Press, 2023); Khalil Rabah: Falling Forward/Works (1995–2025) (Sharjah Art Foundation and Hatje Cantz, 2022); Topologies of Air: Shona Illingworth (Sternberg Press and the Power Plant, 2021); and Heba Y Amin: The General’s Stork (Sternberg Press, 2020). Downey is the cultural and commissioning lead on a four-year multi-disciplinary AHRC Network Plus award, where his research focuses on cultural practices, digital methods, and educational provision for children with disabilities in Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Jordan (2020–2024). This award was preceded by an AHRC Development award in 2019. In 2020, Downey curated Heba Y. Amin: When I See the Future (at the Mosaic Rooms, London), and in 2022, he curated Heba Y. Amin: When I See the Future, Chapter II (Zilberman Gallery, Berlin).

Maya Indira Ganesh is a cultural scientist, researcher, and writer working on the social and cultural politics of AI, autonomous and machine learning systems. She is a senior researcher at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and an assistant professor, co-teaching a masters programme on AI, ethics, and society at the University of Cambridge. Ganesh earned her PhD in cultural sciences from Leuphana University, Lüneburg. Her work examined the reshaping of the ‘ethical’ through the driverless car, an apparatus of automation and automobility, big data, cultural imaginaries of robots, and practices of statistical inference. Before turning to academic work, Maya Indira Ganesh spent a decade as a feminist activist working at the point of intersection of gender justice, digital security, and digital freedoms of expression. Her work has consistently brought questions of power, justice, and inequality to those of the body, the digital, and knowledge making.

Call for Papers | Intellectual Histories of Art and the Archive

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 2, 2023

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

The Intellectual Histories of Art and the Archive
Paul Mellon Centre, London, 10 May 2023

Proposals due by 15 March 2023

Organized by Chloe Julius and Ambra D’Antone

For those interested in art’s intellectual histories, the archive offers a multitude of possibilities—especially those archives that hold the papers of art historians and critics. While the development of an idea can be traced through drafts, notes, and annotations, correspondence allows a wider intellectual context to be mapped. Yet these archives also pose certain problems, raising questions around authorship, authority, and authenticity. Given the selective and often partial nature of archive collections, what place should the discoveries they yield be afforded in a wider research project? Moreover, given the move from paper to a digital record, are the same kinds of research journeys still possible with email?

This event will bring together scholars working directly with the archives of art historians and critics to discuss the methodological questions and issues posed by archive-driven intellectual histories. While there is no geographical or historical restriction for the presentations, they should be rooted in a discussion of a particular archive. Presentations on early-stage research projects are encouraged.

This event has been organised in conjunction with the workshop Abiding Present: Challenges of Time in Art History, which will take place 11–12 May 2023 at The Warburg Institute. The workshop will explore anew art history’s complex dealings with time and the relationship between the present and the past in art history, initiating a dialogue that critically considers old and new methods in our field.

Please submit a one-hundred word abstract for a fifteen-minute presentation by 11.59pm (GMT) on Monday, 15 March 2023 listing “The Intellectual Histories of Art and the Archive” as the subject line to: events@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.

This is a collaboration between the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Warburg Institute, London. The co-convenors of this workshop are Chloe Julius, current holder of the PMC’s Archive & Library Fellowship, and Ambra D’Antone, Research Associate, Bilderfahrzeuge International Research Project, Max Weber Stiftung.

%d bloggers like this: