Squeaky Wheel is presenting a new “public beta” exhibition and online project by multi-media artist Johann Diedrick that will demonstrate how AI systems do not represent underserved black communities. This will be done via an interactive web experience, as well as through an exhibition in Squeaky Wheel’s window gallery.
Diedrick, a Caribbean-American artist, engineer, and musician, will be incorporating 3D modeling, sound, and storytelling into this “experience” that he is calling Dark Matters, which opens on June 18 – an artist’s talk is being held on that same day (free, online event starting at 7pm).
Diedrick points to consumer artificial intelligence products such as Alexa and Siri as examples of mainstream technology that most people simply take for granted. Diedrick says that the datasets used to train voice interface systems lack representation of Black speech, which he equates to forms of racism and inequity.
A video installation version of Dark Matters will be on view 24/7 for free at Squeaky Wheel’s window gallery in downtown Buffalo.
The project was developed through a Mozilla Creative Media Award, and is presented at Squeaky Wheel as part of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Civil Writes Project.
“It’s an honor for us to be able to host Diedrick’s incisive work which speaks to the algorithmic racism inherent in artificial intelligence, but also questions whether inclusion in such harmful frameworks is a goal even worth pursuing,” stated Squeaky Wheel curator, Ekrem Serdar. “I am grateful to Just Buffalo Literary Center for giving us the opportunity to welcome back Diedrick, who was a Summer 2020 Workspace Resident.“
Squeaky Wheel’s exhibitions are made possible with generous support by the County of Erie and County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and individual members, businesses, and supporters.
Opening | Johann Diedrick: Dark Matters
When: In-person Friday, June 18, 4–6 pm | In-person remarks by Curator Ekrem Serdar at 5 pm | The online version will be available on Squeaky Wheel’s website June 18–September 10, 2021 | An American Sign Language interpreter will be present for the virtual artist talk.
Where: Squeaky Wheel, 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203 (Soft opening at Squeaky Wheel’s storefront space)
Virtual: Friday, June 18, 7 pm ET on Eventbrite (with public Q&A)
More information about the exhibition, including virtual public programs led by Just Buffalo Literary Center beginning June 8, can be seen at squeaky.org/darkmatters
Image: Johann Diedrick, Dark Matters, 2021.