Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to leave nothing behind. It is the sharpening of computational vision, the reach of quantification into the most inner corners of our lives. It is the mass accumulation of pristine data. Life is data, we are told, and AI represents the seamless divination of insight from our traces. Nothing, no-one! escapes.
Yet, despite this seemingly inevitable machinery, there are residues – things that stick and smear, pasts that linger, lands wasted, bodies rendered disposable, labor discarded. What if we stick with what remains, with these residues – data not used, life that isn’t attractive to computation, tricky histories of other technological and political moments? What if we attend to residual labor, the work of cleaning up, of redirecting vision, of what is soon to be replaced by machines? What lifeforms with technology might become possible then?
With our 2023-24 theme NO_ESC: RESIDUES OR WHAT REMAINS, we invite people to think with us on theory, geopolitics, governance, violence, ecologies, and claims to sovereignty in relation to the residues of contemporary data regimes. What new theoretical toolkits might we need in the age of NO_ESC? What does activism look like amidst the global quest to reach, enroll, and govern the left-overs, wasted, discarded, useless?
NO_ESC includes the launch of the NO_ESC art+research zine, a series of panel discussions, a collaboration and partnership with the AI Center at NYU Shanghai, and an art residency program.