How do we challenge how Western and capitalist hegemonies shape technology to serve systems of oppression and extraction? Drawing from mystical practices of the global majority, we will speculate ways of building harmonious relationships between machines, humans and non-humans. This workshop considers both ancient and historical precedents as well as contemporary artists to illustrate ways technological artifacts carry sacred value, particularly in non-western and post-colonial contexts, and furthermore, how rituals themselves can be seen as forms of computation in their ability to transmit information and create and/or maintain networks. Taking this discussion as an entry point, participants will design their own oracles, thinking critically about intention, interpretation, and interaction. We will be using simple generative text models (Markov Chains) to develop browser-based (p5.js) scrying tools. Participants may work in pairs or individually. Participants are required to bring a laptop or optionally share if they are working in pairs. We recommend bringing something for note-taking. No prior programming knowledge or experience required. Openness to playing with code is encouraged.
The Digital Divination project began as a course that ran in 2019 at Parsons School for Design. Since then, we have continued to gather research and materials at Digital Divination — Are.na and to expand the curriculum into different knowledge shares and collaborations.
Aarati Akkapeddi is an artist, designer, coder, and educator based in part of Lenapehoking known as Flatbush, Brooklyn. In their art practice, they use code, video, printmaking, and other techniques to challenge commonly held assumptions by weaving together perspective-shifting connections. They currently work as a designer and developer at The Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network.
Erica Kermani is a transdisciplinary artist dedicated to movement building and collective liberation through art and media, technological sovereignty, and Iranian, Jewish, and queer mysticism. Her artwork utilizes scholarship, memory and archive to produce video, installation, and speculative fiction that interrogate and unsettle dominant narratives, towards healing of self, community, and Earth. She is a founder and worker-owner at Shadow Work Media and an educator and technologist at Community Tech New York.
This is a masks optional workshop.
Tickets are sliding scale:
$25 – low-income, BIPOC
$50 – General
$75 – Pay it forward (if you have financial means to pay more and support our future work)
This workshop does require 6 participants to run, so we will let you know 24 hours in advance if it is cancelled due to low enrollment.