Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI

Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI assembles the work of artists who visualize the limits of our current algorithmic imaginaries, and envision speculative futures engineered for just outcomes.


Sep16
Nov19
All Day
2021-09-16 00:00:00 2021-11-19 00:00:00 Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI

RSVP for our Fall Programming on Eventbrite


Gallery Hours
Monday - Friday — 11am - 4pm
or email oxyarts@oxy.edu to schedule an appointment


Every algorithm encodes a future. 

Artificial intelligence structures the sociotechnical terrain of our present, and the human agents who train it shape political imaginaries of what is yet to come. From predictive policing to judicial risk assessment to border surveillance to automated hiring, the encoded biases of AI systems magnify existing structural inequalities. Predictive models don’t forecast a world that might be: they reproduce the world depicted in their training data. They project worlds marked by algorithmic oppression (Safiya Noble), the New Jim Code (Ruha Benjamin), algorithmic violence (Mimi Ọnụọha), and algorithmic coloniality (Shakir Mohamed, Marie-Therese Png, & William Isaac). 

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.  

Encoding Futures is co-curated by Oxy Arts and Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Mellon Professor of the Practice at Occidental College. 

Exhibiting artists include:
Algorithmic Justice League,Stephanie Dinkins, Aroussiak Gabrielian, Maya Ganesh with Padmini Ray Murray and Pratyush Raman of Design Beku, Kite, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Niama Safia Sandy, Caroline Sinders, Astria Suparak, and Mandy Harris Williams

The Encoding Futures exhibition will include a physical Reading Room inside the gallery, alongside a digital syllabus that includes readings, podcasts, and resources available to the public.
Access the digital syllabus here

Exhibition and programming made possible with the generous support of the Remsen Bird Fund.

The exhibition is staged in conjunction with Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for LA, a 3-month virtual residency program at Oxy Arts. Over the residency period, artists Nancy Baker-Cahill, Audrey Chan, Joel Garcia with Meztli Projects and Patrick Martinez researched and developed original virtual monuments to be geo-located at sites across Los Angeles. The monuments will be accessible for the public to view through the 4th Wall app. The prompt for the residency was to conceive a blueprint for a site-specific imagined future, and consider technologically enabled transformations that might shape the future of the chosen site. The artists considered past and present social, economic, and cultural inequities, power imbalances, and other forms of subjection, with the hope of foregrounding a radically equitable future sited in an emergent present. 

Image Credit:
Detail from Astria Suparak's Asian futures, without Asians series, with image from Ghost in the Shell, 2020-Present

Event Programming 

Thursday, September 16 | 4-8pm
Opening Reception

Friday, September 17 | 12:15pm
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism | Lecture by Safiya Umoja Noble

Sunday, September 19 | 11am
Launch Event | Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for L.A.

Thursday, September 30 | 7pm
Curatorial Walkthrough with Mashinka Firunts Hakopian

Thursday, October 7 | 7pm
Panel Discussion | Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for LA

Thursday, October 21 | 7pm
Workshop | Stop LAPD Spying Coalition 

Saturday, October 30 | 1-4pm
Symposium | Encoding Futures: Speculative Blueprints for Critical AI 

Thursday, November 4 | 7pm
Lecture-Performance | Mandy Harris Williams

Saturday, November 6 | 4pm 
Curatorial Walkthrough with Mashinka Firunts Hakopian

Sunday, November 14 | 2-4pm
Workshop | Feminist AI 

America/Los_Angeles public
Event Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021 - Friday, November 19, 2021

RSVP for our Fall Programming on Eventbrite


Gallery Hours
Monday - Friday — 11am - 4pm
or email oxyarts@oxy.edu to schedule an appointment


Every algorithm encodes a future. 

Artificial intelligence structures the sociotechnical terrain of our present, and the human agents who train it shape political imaginaries of what is yet to come. From predictive policing to judicial risk assessment to border surveillance to automated hiring, the encoded biases of AI systems magnify existing structural inequalities. Predictive models don’t forecast a world that might be: they reproduce the world depicted in their training data. They project worlds marked by algorithmic oppression (Safiya Noble), the New Jim Code (Ruha Benjamin), algorithmic violence (Mimi Ọnụọha), and algorithmic coloniality (Shakir Mohamed, Marie-Therese Png, & William Isaac). 

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.  

Encoding Futures is co-curated by Oxy Arts and Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Mellon Professor of the Practice at Occidental College. 

Exhibiting artists include:
Algorithmic Justice League,Stephanie Dinkins, Aroussiak Gabrielian, Maya Ganesh with Padmini Ray Murray and Pratyush Raman of Design Beku, Kite, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Niama Safia Sandy, Caroline Sinders, Astria Suparak, and Mandy Harris Williams

The Encoding Futures exhibition will include a physical Reading Room inside the gallery, alongside a digital syllabus that includes readings, podcasts, and resources available to the public.
Access the digital syllabus here

Exhibition and programming made possible with the generous support of the Remsen Bird Fund.

The exhibition is staged in conjunction with Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for LA, a 3-month virtual residency program at Oxy Arts. Over the residency period, artists Nancy Baker-Cahill, Audrey Chan, Joel Garcia with Meztli Projects and Patrick Martinez researched and developed original virtual monuments to be geo-located at sites across Los Angeles. The monuments will be accessible for the public to view through the 4th Wall app. The prompt for the residency was to conceive a blueprint for a site-specific imagined future, and consider technologically enabled transformations that might shape the future of the chosen site. The artists considered past and present social, economic, and cultural inequities, power imbalances, and other forms of subjection, with the hope of foregrounding a radically equitable future sited in an emergent present. 

Image Credit:
Detail from Astria Suparak's Asian futures, without Asians series, with image from Ghost in the Shell, 2020-Present

Event Programming 

Thursday, September 16 | 4-8pm
Opening Reception

Friday, September 17 | 12:15pm
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism | Lecture by Safiya Umoja Noble

Sunday, September 19 | 11am
Launch Event | Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for L.A.

Thursday, September 30 | 7pm
Curatorial Walkthrough with Mashinka Firunts Hakopian

Thursday, October 7 | 7pm
Panel Discussion | Encoding Futures: Speculative Monuments for LA

Thursday, October 21 | 7pm
Workshop | Stop LAPD Spying Coalition 

Saturday, October 30 | 1-4pm
Symposium | Encoding Futures: Speculative Blueprints for Critical AI 

Thursday, November 4 | 7pm
Lecture-Performance | Mandy Harris Williams

Saturday, November 6 | 4pm 
Curatorial Walkthrough with Mashinka Firunts Hakopian

Sunday, November 14 | 2-4pm
Workshop | Feminist AI 

Sponsored by: Oxy Arts
Detail from Astria Suparak's  "Asian futures, without Asians" series, with image from "Ghost in the Shell," 2020-Present