Assembly Gallery Activation:
In January 2017, Recess launched Assembly in a satellite space in downtown Brooklyn. To expand upon our mission to connect artists and publics, Assembly is at once an artist-led diversion program for court-involved youth and a public storefront gallery. Assembly is located at 370 Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn.
From September 7–December 22, 2017, Assembly’s public storefront gallery will host Project al-Khwarizmi (PAK) POP-UP Workshop, a project by Stephanie Dinkins devoted to exposing pervasive forms of digital discrimination and offering means of working against these inequities. Similar to Recess’s seasoned Session program in Soho, which allows artists to pursue works in progress in a public setting, Assembly grants participating artists the opportunity to activate and add to the space cumulatively, working toward an evolving installation rather than a static exhibition.
Central to PAK POP-UP Workshop is an investigation of algorithms—precise, reusable sets of steps developed for computers to accomplish tasks. Algorithms are the building blocks that make up digital communication systems, medical records archives, and business operations software (among other structures). More generally, anyone who surfs the internet or uses intelligent personal assistants like Siri or Alexa comes into contact with algorithms whose outcomes range from ranked search findings to targeted advertisements in their most harmless forms. While these results might seem to be objectively generated, algorithms can produce content that reinforces systemic inequities. For example, low-income individuals might receive notifications for high-interest loans online, or Siri might harbor racial biases about its user.
Throughout PAK POP-UP Workshop, Dinkins will create opportunities for visitors to isolate and study algorithmic systems in order to consider how the biases ingrained within them impact our daily lives and mold our histories. In particular, the project will include a video installation documenting the artist’s interactions with the social robot Bina48, a workstation and confessional in which visitors can trace and explore the ways in which digital discrimination arises, and schematics of the algorithmic systems that perpetuate racial and socioeconomic biases. Across these components, PAK POP-UP Workshop will endeavor to empower individuals to recognize and intercept moments in which our personal traits are identified, flattened, and used against for or against us by emergent technologies.
In addition to her work on PAK POP-UP Workshop in the gallery space, Dinkins will participate as a guest teaching artist during the educational diversion programs, and she will collaborate with lead teaching artist Leonardo to incorporate material from her project into the program’s curriculum. Dinkins will also guide program participants in creating final projects that, once complete, will appear alongside her work in the storefront gallery.
Open to the public Thursday – Saturday, 12-6pm
370 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
About the Artist
Stephanie Dinkins is an interdisciplinary artist and an associate professor at Stony Brook University, where she teaches digital art and interactive media. Her art employs lens-based practices, the manipulation of space, and technology to grapple with notions of consciousness, agency, perception, and social equity. Her work has been exhibited at a broad spectrum of public, private, and institutional venues including Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Herning Kunstmuseum, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Wave Hill, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Spedition Bremen, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She has received grants from Harvestworks, the Puffin Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the LEF Foundation, and has completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program, The Laundromat Project, Santa Fe Art Institute, Art/Omi, and Blue Mountain Center.
Major funding for Assembly is provided by The Horace Goldsmith Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and The Salomon Foundation. This program is also made possible with donated space and program support from Alloy Development.