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From Digital Colonialism to Artificial Stupidity: Reframing Technology for Human Recovery

May 7, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
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Inspired by the exhibition Hito Steyerl: This is the Future (on view through June 18, 2023), artist Morehshin Allahyari and Reed College professor Kris Cohen join Portland Art Museum curator Sara Krajewski to discuss how artists are interrogating the fast-moving proliferation of digital technology and its impact on lived experiences. How are artists using tools of digital fabrication, simulations, neural networks and other new media platforms to retell histories, fortify communities and imagine alternative futures? Co-presented with Converge 45, this program connects to the upcoming exhibitions of Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship opening in August 2023.

Morehshin Allahyari (Persian: موره شین اللهیاری‎), is a New York-based Iranian-Kurdish artist using 3D simulation, video, sculpture, and digital fabrication as tools to re-figure myth and history. Through archival practices and storytelling, her work weaves together complex counternarratives in opposition to the lasting influence of Western technological colonialism in the context of SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa). Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops at venues throughout the world and collected by major institutions. She is the recipient of The United States Artist Fellowship (2021), The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2019), The Sundance Institute New Frontier International Fellowship (2019), and the Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 award by Foreign Policy magazine. 

Kris Cohen teaches art history and media studies in the Art Department at Reed College. He works on the relationship between art, economy, and media technologies, focusing especially on the aesthetics of collective life. His first book, Never Alone, Except for Now (Duke University Press, 2017), addresses these concerns in the context of electronic networks. He is working on a new manuscript that accounts for how a group of Black artists working from the Sixties to the present were addressing, in ways both belied and surprisingly revealed by the language of abstraction and conceptualism, nascent configurations of the computer screen and the forms of labor and personhood associated with those configurations.

Sara Krajewski is the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Portland Art Museum and the curator of the exhibition Hito Steyerl: This is the Future on view through June 18, 2023. While at the Portland Art Museum, Krajewski has expanded the contemporary art program through exhibitions, performances, commissions, collection development, and publications, and she has fostered collaborations that bring together artists, curators, educators, and the public to ask questions around access, equity, and new institutional models.