Squeaky Wheel announces Dark Matters, an exhibition and online project by Johann Diedrick
Opening June 18, Dark Matters explores the racial biases in how artificial intelligence recognizes Black speech.
By: Squeaky Wheel
Dark Matters exposes the absence of Black speech in the datasets used to train voice interface systems in consumer artificial intelligence products such as Alexa and Siri. Utilizing 3D modeling, sound, and storytelling, the project challenges our communities to grapple with racism and inequity through speech and the spoken word, and how AI systems underserve Black communities.
A video installation version of Dark Matters will be on view 24/7 for free at Squeaky Wheel's window gallery in downtown Buffalo. An iterative online version will be available on our website June 18–September 10, 2021, which the artist intends to present as a way to receive feedback from the public on the work's development. An outdoor soft opening will take place at Squeaky Wheel's storefront space on Friday, June 18, between 4–6 pm, with in-person remarks by Curator Ekrem Serdar at 5 pm, and a virtual artist talk and public Q&A with the artist at 7 pm ET. An American Sign Language interpreter will be present for the virtual artist talk. More information about the exhibition can be seen at https://squeaky.org
Squeaky Wheel Curator Ekrem Serdar stated: "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. I am grateful to Just Buffalo Literary Center for giving us the opportunity to welcome back Diedrick, who was a Summer 2020 Workspace Resident."
About the artist
Johann Diedrick is a Caribbean-American artist, engineer, and musician who makes installations, performances, and sculptures for encountering our world through your ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software. He is the founder of A Quiet Life, a sonic engineering and research studio that designs and builds audio-related software and hardware products for delightfully encountering our environment and each other. He is a 2021 Mozilla Creative Media Award recipient, a member of NEW INC, and an adjunct professor at NYU's ITP program. His work has been featured in Wire Magazine, Musicworks Magazine, and presented at MoMA PS1 (Queens, NY), Somerset House (London, UK), Social Kitchen (Kyoto, Japan), Common Ground (Berlin, Germany), Recess (Brooklyn, NY), Knockdown Center (Queens, NY), and Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY).