Education from Below is a two-year collaborative programme organised between the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, MACBA, Barcelona and WHW, Zagreb.
Education from Below explores art as a place for dialogue, collective learning and imagination. Education doesn't belong only in institutions, but it can be horizontal and come from below, from communities.
The project recognises that art practices can dislocate the usual hierarchies of what should or should not be learned and traditional divisions between theory and practice, and that knowledge does not have to be based on accumulation, but rather on sharing and mutual learning.
The partners will explore new models of art practice based on collective learning and will generate a network of institutions and professionals for sharing methodologies.
Education from Below links three independent programmes for artists, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, PEI at MACBA, and WHW Akademija that each provide important opportunities for artistic development outside of formal education systems. The project will be realised over the course of autumn 2019 – autumn 2021 through seminars, study groups, artist residencies, exhibitions, series of lectures, an international conference, a collective reader and a common web platform, involving many artists, thinkers and educators.
The subject of Flavia Dzodan’s talk is the Coloniality of the Algorithm, or how contemporary technologies became a tool of racial, gender and class exclusions that can be traced back to the foundational moment of modern capitalism in the eighteenth century.
The databases that feed algorithms of both corporations and the surveillance state operate through the logic of resource extractives to classify us as voters, consumers, friends, foes, love interests, sex partners, suspects, criminals or potential perpetrators. Each of the steps that leads to these classifications has been informed by centuries-old ideologies converging to assign us a role; a place in the database. These taxonomies, or systems of classification, have been in use since colonial times and cannot be detached from a history of racial, gender, sexual or class hierarchies.
Flavia Dzodan is a writer and cultural critic based in Amsterdam. She is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Rietveld Academie - Sandberg Instituut. Her research is focused on the politics of artificial intelligence and algorithms at the intersections of colonialism, race and gender. In her research, Dzodan examines the ways that technology is created and deployed to reproduce historical patterns of cultural reproduction. Her current research on “Beauty and the Machine” attempts to understand how cultural analytics would operate vis-à-vis semiotic codes, particularly in regard to teaching machines, to identify highly subjective and culturally dependent ontologies, such as what constitutes beauty, as well as teaching algorithms curatorial skills based on aesthetic categories. This current research is a continuation of her previous research on “the coloniality of the algorithm” that situated Linnaean taxonomies at the heart of both colonial history and our contemporary uses of technology. She is the editor of the blog The Research Papers, where she has written about the rise of the alt-right, big data, networks, algorithms and community surveillance. She has been published in Dissent Magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post, among others.