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Caroline Sinders: In Defense of Useful Art. How art allows for confrontation, exploration, and systematic problem solving

03/11/2021
An o

Can artwork be useful, can it be productive, and can it be a work of activism? 

Sinders’ artistic output can take the shape of a white paper, a civil society action, a design to solve a solution, a social justice workshop, an article, or an artwork artefact. However, she considers all of these outputs to be a form of artistic practice and research practice. 

For the past few years, Sinders has been looking at the impacts of artificial intelligence on society. Some of this work has taken the shape of lectures and workshops on data, surveillance, and AI, numerous articles on the harms of AI, the Feminist Data Set arts research project, and a new project recognizing human labour behind artificial intelligence systems. 

Her current project named TRK or Technically Responsible Knowledge is an open-source project that examines wage inequality and creates open-source alternatives to data labelling and training in AI. TRK is an alternative, open-source tool for dataset training and labelling, a time consuming but integral aspect of machine learning that must be completed in part by a human. The tool offers a wage calculator that helps visualize a livable wage to those that will then be responsible for completing the tasks. TRK is a part of the Feminist Data Set Project, using intersectional feminism as a framework to investigate each part of the machine-learning pipeline for bias, inequity, and harm.

This event is a part of the 2021/22 NN’s Morphisms online talks programme.

About the artist

Caroline Sinders is a machine-learning-design researcher and artist. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of technology’s impact in society, interface design, artificial intelligence, abuse, and politics in digital, conversational spaces. Sinders is the founder of Convocation Design + Research, an agency focusing on the intersections of machine learning, user research, designing for the public good, and solving difficult communication problems. As a designer and researcher, she has worked with Amnesty International, Intel, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation, and others.

Sinders has held fellowships with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Mozilla Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Eyebeam, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, and the International Center of Photography. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Open Technology Fund and the Knight Foundation. Her work has been featured in the Tate Exchange in Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, LABoral, Ars Electronica, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Slate, Quartz, Wired, as well as others. Sinders holds a Masters from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

About Morphisms

Morphisms is our autumn 2021/22 online talks programme exploring transformations and new arrangements of knowledge production. To morph is to gradually change one thing into another by describing the state in between. 

As we construct new digital and physical spaces at NN, we are thinking through these transitions. In October, we will launch the inaugural Library Stack NN Contemporary Art branch; the pilot programme for a digital lending library that explores both alternative publishing models and contexts for translocation. We have also commissioned artist David Blandy to produce Northampton The World After, a role-playing experience of gaming and speculative fiction for institution building and, through a new project collaborating with the Northamptonshire Black Archives Association, we examine the potential of digital archiving as a postcolonial methodology for preserving and documenting regional black* histories.

By way of these projects’ expansion, we will invite artists, curators and thinkers to address new movements and complex interactions. Speakers will discuss their methods of exploring inaccessible, opaque systems, such as internet platforms, online libraries, search engines, and how these play an increasingly significant role in the organisation of modern life. Morphisms will delve into the organising principles that inform these algorithmic projects and new forms of cultural intelligence.

Each season, NN hosts a programme of lectures by leading artists, curators, art historians and critics, situating the organisational concerns within the larger context of contemporary art. Talks are free and open to all, and will also be documented through audio recordings that reside in the NN Archives Talks. In order to receive a Zoom link, registration is required in advance via our website or Eventbrite.

*The Northamptonshire Black History Association defines black as people and groups from visible minority communities, especially those with African and/or Asian origins.

Access notes

The event will happen on Zoom – a link will be emailed to attendees. This event will be live captioned and transcription will be available afterwards. For help with how to set up Zoom and accessibility enquiries, email maria@nncontemporaryart.org.

This event will be recorded for archival purposes.

Register for free

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