Software for Artists Day (S4AD) is a conference that aims to connect communities of artists, technologists, and activists through talks demonstrating expressive and often contentious relationships with emerging technologies. S4AD is a two-day gathering featuring presentations by Eva Papamargarita, Ann Haeyoung, LaTurbo Avedon, Francis Tseng, Caroline Sinders, Dan Taeyoung and Janus Rose — individuals responding to technological assimilation and ubiquity in ways that underscore it’s duality as a tool for repression and as a space for self-realization. The program will end with sound performances by Sarah Viviana Valdez. A public soapbox session will allow attendees to ask questions or highlight ongoing projects in order to find collaborators and build community. Collectively, we will seek to co-opt, critique, and disassemble a burgeoning digital colonialism through language, sound, and creative projects.
- Leo Shaw
- Willa Koerner
- Lai Yi Ohlsen
- Ann Haeyoung
- Francis Tseng
- Caroline Sinders
- LaTurbo Avedon
- Janus Rose
- Eva Papamargarita
- Dan Taeyoung
- Sarah Viviana Valdez
Anna Feng, Daniel Kent
Tommy Martinez, Angeline Meitzler
- CART CAPTIONER
FRIDAY, JUNE 14
Drinks / Check-In 7:00pm
Opening Remarks 7:30pm
AI is more than Math
Caroline Sinders 8:00pm
Can there be neutral data, unbiased algorithms, 'good machine learning? AI, algorithms, and machine learning are explicitly linked- by how they are fearfully and hotly discussed in the media as the future of technology, as dystopian tools and procedures and as a tech that is difficult to understand that needs regulation, ethics, and examining. This talk examines the current landscape of AI in consumer products, and suggest ways that design and art can mediate and potentially intervene in the AI landscape.
Caroline Sinders is a machine learning design researcher and artist. For the past few years, she has been focusing on the intersections of natural language processing, artificial intelligence, abuse, online harassment and politics in digital, conversational spaces. Caroline is the founder of Convocation Design + Research, a design and research agency focusing on the intersections of machine learning, user research, designing for public good, and solving communication difficult problems. As a designer and researcher, she's worked with groups like Amnesty International, Intel, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as others.
Caroline has held fellowships with Pioneer Works, Idea Cities, the Yerba Buena Centers of the Arts, Eyebeam, the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the International Center of Photography. Her work has been featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, the Houston Center for Contemporary Art, Slate, Quartz, the Channels Biennale, as well as others. Caroline holds a masters from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
sabotage, heresy, and traps
Francis Tseng 11:30am
Can the contradictions of technology be exploited to push back against its use by power? Can the force of power mediated through laws and algorithms be reflected against itself? This talk will focus on finding such exploits for material and rhetorical effect, hoping to salvage some of the notion that technology still has some liberatory potential.
Francis Tseng works primarily with simulation. His research interests include how algorithmic systems and logistics relate to autonomy and accountability, as well as sabotage and traps as forms of rhetoric and resistance. In the past he was a designer at IDEO, adjunct faculty at the New School, co-publisher of The New Inquiry, researcher-in-residence at NEW INC, fellow at the New York Times, and worked on spatial economic modeling at the Institute for Applied Economic Research. He is currently a fellow at the Jain Family Institute.
Saturday, JUNE 15
Breakfast / Check-In 9:30am
Opening Remarks 10:00am
On hybridity and tech work
Ann Haeyoung 10:30am
Ann Haeyoung will speak about hybrid identities, her work in the tech industry, confronting technology as a tool for perpetuating systems of oppression, and finding activism through art.
Ann Haeyoung is a tech worker and artist born in Seoul, Korea and based in New York City, USA. She uses video and sculpture to examine questions around technology, identity, and labor. She has had residencies at Pioneer Works, MASS MoCA, and Outpost Artist Resources, and traded her labor for wages at various tech companies.
Algorithms As Ideology: Fighting Fascism in Machine Learning & Automation
Janus Rose 8:45pm
Algorithms shape our world more than ever. But whose world are they creating?
By understanding algorithms as a form of computationally-imposed ideology, we begin to see how machine learning systems often reinforce pre-existing oppressive structures. White colonialism, gender binary, prisons and mass-incarceration are just a few examples of ideologically-guided systems which become further entrenched with the use of automation and artificial intelligence. In this talk, we will look at several case studies demonstrating how these technologies enforce oppressive ideologies and the structural violence they inflict on marginalized communities. We will discuss how these ideological systems can be meaningfully opposed, as well as how we might counteract them using our own visions of a more just and equitable future.
Janus Rose is a New York City-based writer and educator who studies technology’s impacts on privacy and human rights. Her work has been featured in DAZED Magazine, The New Yorker, VICE, and other print and online publications
Lunch / Workshops / Soapbox 12:30-3:00pm
* sign-up sheets for workshops and soapbox will be made available at 9am on the 15th. spots are limited *
How to Use the Internet Mindfully
facilitated by: Willa Köerner and Leo Shaw
More than ever, creative people find their attention pulled in many directions by digital and networked technologies. Keeping up with so many forms of online communication often feels mandatory in order to keep working. But, it can be both exhausting and dispiriting to build a creative practice—and a life—while “extremely online.”
Led by Willa Köerner of The Creative Independent, a resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people, and Leo Shaw of Are.na, a digital platform for connecting ideas, this workshop will ask participants to take a radical look at their own use of the internet.
Through a guided exercise, attendees will analyze their own habitual relationships with networked platforms, and will then use those insights to make a plan for reconfiguring their approaches to spending their time, attention, and emotional capital online. The workshop will conclude with a candid conversation about what it would take to reclaim the web as a space for creativity, intimacy, and intellectualism.
while(x): How to Write a Code Poem
facilitated by: Lai Yi Ohlsen
How can programming help us recognize emotional patterns? Play with programming and poetry in this activity where we’ll use language exercises and magnetic code blocks to build poetic structures of repetition.
A space is a collective technology
Dan Taeyoung 3:00pm
Despite our discussions of the digital, our bodies exist in the same physical space. Together, you and I, we create spaces, and spaces create us. We are made of our environments — we think and feel with our homes, conversations, friends, tools, and communities. This is a talk about experiments in creating and playing in communal spaces, and how spaces are a technological medium for the social.
Dan Taeyoung researches and creates design tools, architectural spaces, and social collectives that change the way we think and collaborate with each other. They study how our environments and relations change the way we think, feel, and play together. Dan teaches at Columbia University GSAPP, is a founding member of Prime Produce, a cooperative for social good, and Soft Surplus, a collective warehouse studio.
Making My Way Downtown: Avatar Identities in Public
LaTurbo Avedon 4:00pm
How will augmented reality change the way we perceive each other in public space? Avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon shares insights from their performance between virtual and physical worlds over the past decade, and looks forward to speculative forms of public interaction in the years ahead. Guests will be invited to participate in the presentation, as speakers, actors and renderers within the local network.
LaTurbo Avedon is an avatar and artist originating in virtual space. Their work emphasizes the practice of nonphysical identity and authorship. Many of the works can be described as research into dimensions, deconstructions exploring topics of virtual authorship and the physicality of the Internet.
They curate and design Panther Modern, a a file-based exhibition space that encourages artists to create site-specific installations for the internet.
LaTurbo’s process of character creation continues through gaming, performance and installations. Their work has appeared internationally, including TRANSFER Gallery (New York), Transmediale (Berlin), Haus der elektronischen Künste (Basel), The Whitney Museum (New York), HMVK (Dortmund), Barbican Center (London), and Galeries Lafayette (Paris).
Eva PapaMargarita 5:00pm
The talk will trace the symbiotic procedures and entanglement that takes place between humans, nature and technology. Starting from her personal artistic practise and through specific projects the talk will bring to surface questions around issues that deal with simulative procedures, our relationship with materials and technological artefacts, non-human life forms/environments and at the same time explore the dynamic balance and obscure simultaneous situations that happen between these ‘ecosystems’ that host and process our actions.
Eva Papamargariti grew up in Greece where she graduated from the Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly with a Diploma in Architecture (2012). She holds a Master Degree on Visual Communication Design from Royal College of Art, London (2016). Her practice focuses on time-based media but also printed material and sculptural installations that explore the relationship between digital space and material reality. She is interested in the creation of 2d/3d rendered spaces and scenarios which provoke narrations based on the obscure simultaneous situations happening in a quotidian frequency on the verge of digital and physical environments, blurring the boundaries between these ‘ecosystems’. Her work delves into issues and themes related to simultaneity, the merging and dissolving of our surroundings with the virtual, the constant diffusion of fabricated synthetic images that define and fragment our identity and everyday experience, the entanglement that takes place between humans, nature and technology. Furthermore, processes that are established through online presence, as well as the traces that our operations inscribe to the objects and habitat where we find ourselves situated into, through our continuous interaction with devices and machinic artifacts.
She has exhibited her work in cities like, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Berlin, Seattle, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Toronto, Montreal, Athens in institutions museums and festivals such as the New Museum (New York), Whitney Musem (New York), Tate Britain (London), MAAT Museum (Lisbon), Museum of Moving Image (New York), MoMA PS1 (New York), Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Athens Biennale( Athens), Thessaloniki Biennale (Thessaloniki), Transmediale Festival (Berlin)
Replacing a Scar, Relieving the Voice
Sarah Viviana Valdez 6:00pm
“Replacing a Scar, Relieving the Voice”, is an amalgamation of two performance pieces presented by Sarah Viviana Valdez taking on the narrative about a character under the moniker i_like_dog_face. An arrangment of electronic sounds, operatic vocals and the use a theatrical atmosphere revoloving around natural objects such as a coiled jute string pulled from the mouth and the peeling of a ‘Second Skin’ fabric attached to her face. This performance piece emerged after the production of her first album under the moniker i_like_dog_face, “Sleeples Illusions”. Throughout the tracklist of the album there is an intermix of sounds exploring expressive clusters, tones of bells harmonzied with machinery samples, pop composition and vocal processing. The live performance intends to aggergate the sonic moments of the album with an additional live performance to champion a connection between the techological and the biological interface.
Sarah Viviana Valdez (Kansas, b.1988) is a multimedia artist, currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her practice spans across different disciplines including a body of work focusing on performance, operatic vocals, sound, video, wearable technology, clothing designs, and the production of biodegradable materials. The development of Valdez’s moniker i_like_dog_face in 2010, is where she began to explore the use of a fictitious character to compose and record music. The narrative of this character also plays a huge role with the diffusion of live performances with sound to explore the malleability of environments, both spatially and on the level of human interaction (the audience-performer relationship). Her latest primary focus has been with the use of digital processes in conjunction with microbial substances, under the loose guise of fashion. Her use of unconventional materials that biodegrade to merge biology with technology played a central role for her moniker’s creative process between 2012-2017 when she recorded at her previous home in Sarasota,FL, her first LP album ‘Sleeples Illusions’, which was released on Hot Releases.
As of late this context has continued in recent performances around the concept of healing with scoby fabic pieces titled, ‘Second Skin’ which found it’s a way for her collaborative work with NY-based composer and visual artist Jeremiah M. Carter under the moniker Utopia Brigade with their recent album, ‘Letters of Affection’, which was released on Vienna Press. She received a B.F.A from Ringling College of Art and Design in 2010. Valdez has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally at venues such as Knockdown Center, ICA Miami, Elastic Arts, Art in Odd Places Orlando, INDEX Festival, Casa Quien and John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
* Credits for attached promotional photograph: Still from music video “Sleepless Illusions”, Photographer Sophia Schultz Rocha