Study-In on AI + Race + Art

| Art + Australia
 + Design by Design by Dennis Graeul  A grey stipple pattern on a white background contains the text: ‘AI + RACE + ART’. The text is split over 3 lines in a bold sans serif typeface. The image is animated with each line of text sharpening and blurring in sequence. Blurred text is chaotically subsumed by the stipple..

Study-In on AI + Race + Art

Study-In On AI + Race + Art | Art + Australia

What is study? For Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, study is a form of sociality. It is a meeting with, a brushing against, a bumping up of people, texts, ideas and things. It is the creation of a mutual and unpayable debt; a debt that is 'without count, without interest, without repayment.' As Moten states:

study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice.

This event is an exercise in precisely this kind of practice. It invites writers, researchers, activists, artists and others together for a day of speculative thinking, talking, listening and experimentation on the topic of AI, race, and art.

Terms like ‘AI’ are already associated with speculation—speculative fictions, speculative profits, speculative job losses, speculative risks and harms. Art also finds value in its connection to the speculative—speculative practice, speculative experiments, speculative funding, speculative futures. And critical work on race also productively turns to speculation when the empirical facts of inequity and injustice fail to create social change—speculative world-making and speculative methods to realise racial justice. 

This event combines these different strands of speculation, holding together disparate threads that may gesture to abstract and indeterminate futures but are all irreducibly historical, political, and situated. It focuses on AI, race and art because these are topics that need to be studied, that must be studied because they have implications on such things as subjectivity, politics, inequality, and aesthetics. It takes the form of a ‘Study-in’, that is, a temporary school that will interrogate AI and race, developing new methods and approaches to study that draw from and feed into artistic methods and strategies. It begins from the proposition that the challenge of understanding race in the contemporary moment requires responses that are equal parts creative, critical, technical, and collective. 

Through the process of collective study, the event will also build what might be called a speculative curriculum. Here, we take the traces of what Harney and Moten describe as the 'empty shell of what used to be called education' to cobble together a resource that can exceed the time and place of the ‘Study-in’ as an event and can be used by ourselves and others as an occasion for future study. 

The event is motivated by questions such as:

How are bodies classified, recognised, and operationalised by Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) systems that are situated within colonial and imperial histories and contexts? How are group-based differentials—such as race, gender, sexuality—shaped by data-driven technologies and AI systems? How do these technologies move us beyond understanding race and gender as either purely biological or purely cultural? And how might contemporary artistic practice help us to experiment, challenge, trouble, blow apart, and piece back together entanglements with technology, embodiment, and difference?

The Study-in is a day interrogating these questions and is curated by Thao Phan, Andrew Brooks, and Joel Stern in collaboration with CoVA, Art + Australia, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S).

Time & Location:

—Date: 2 December 2023, 10am-6.00pm
—Location: Melbourne/Naarm

Who Can Enrol?

We encourage artists, researchers, students, writers, critics and enthusiasts of all kinds interested in AI, race, and art to apply for the Study-in. The program offers a platform for discussion, collaboration, knowledge sharing and exchange. EOIs are encouraged from both creative and/or technological perspectives.

The Study-in will have limited capacity and selection will consider the diversity of age, gender, ability, cultural and disciplinary background to expand the ways AI, race, and art intersect. The selection process will prioritise access and inclusion, and the program will cater to participants of all abilities.

Required Commitment

The Study-in will be held on the 2 December, 2023. This is a full day event that runs from 10am - 6.00pm. It is a fully catered day of performances, screenings, readings, workshops and conversations. 

Participants are expected to attend the entire day. The event is free and a limited number of bursaries are available to assist those who need to travel, have caring responsibilities, or would otherwise not be able to attend without financial assistance. 

Expressions of Interest

—Tell us about yourself and why you are interested in attending the Study-in on AI + Race + Art? (200 words)
—Are you available to attend the entire day? (100 words)
—Do you have any accessibility requirements?
—We are making available a limited number of $500 bursaries to attend the event. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please provide a short statement on how it would support your participation (300 words).

Expressions of Interest can be submitted through the form located here.

Enrolments close

Friday 6 October, 2023, midnight.

For any enquiries please email Jeremy Eaton at

Links & Info
Cite this ArticleCite