“Racial Slavery — which generated Blackness as a site of permanent extraction, gratuitous physical violence, and social death — provided the material and ideological basis for the United States.” Artist, American. Black Gooey Universe.

Photo Credit Ramiro Chavez.

American Artist and Mother of All Demos II.

American Artist, a California-born artist who lives and works in New York, legally changed their name to American Artist in 2013. Artist creates thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production. American has earned many accolades at thirty-three years of age, including receiving the recent 2021 LACMA Art & Tech Lab Grant and attending the prestigious Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. American Artist’s art takes the form of sculpture, software, and video that amend viewers understanding of the colonial and racial beginnings of technology. Focused on making artwork that grapples with the black experience and technology, Artist’s first solo exhibition at Labor Gallery in Mexico City has several artworks that reinforce anti-colonial discourse surrounding race and technology. Situated against a white wall at Mexico City’s LABOR Gallery, on a white desktop, is a carefully modeled vintage Apple computer cast with dirt. Mother of All Demos II (2021) is modeled after the 1977 Apple II and stands as a critique of the technology sector. The title comes from the original demonstration of the graphic user interface (GUI), or shortened preferred by Artist, “gooey.”

Discourse: Historical Context of Art, Technology, and Race

Kate Crawford is a leading scholar of the social and political implications of artificial intelligence. Crawford’s 2021 insiders critique of the tech sector, Atlas of AI, claims fiber optic cables lay on top of the first telegraph lines connecting British colonies [p39]. Currently, extended Artificial Intelligence is driving ecological extraction. Begin with the prehistories of the planet and follow the timeline to the dawn of the global information society, relations between technology, material environments, and labor practices are interdependent. Our largest-scale AI systems drive environmental, data, and human extraction in various forms. From the Victorian era onward, computation emerged as a desire to manage the war, population, and climate change.[Crawford 39] The routes of submarine cables today still map out the early colonies. Currently, our largest-scale AI systems belie dark ironies driving forms of environmental, data, and human extraction. Behind fortifications of server yards and black box technologies, tech sector hides the hungry new life form, AIs.


Mother of All DemosII comprises a white tabletop on which a computer made of dirt sits. Before the production of the AppleII, the model discussed here, Apple made the Lisa. The Lisa GUI displays a white screen. The black CRT monitor in MOAD2 demarcates a racial code in the decision by Apple designers that demanded more power for the overall unit and decided a direction for the white neutral aesthetic Apple is known for today. On the dirt computer and spilled under it is a puddle of black gooey substance. On both sides of the wet sticky puddle two anonymous handprints, fresh, not smeared, are left with intention, like a stamp of the thumbprint. What if the technetium comes back as a hungry animal. If cooperation can be a person, then semi-sentient networks that exist in machines hunger and thirst like any animal on this planet. Formed, held in, by, and between bodies, this way of seeing significant kinship of earthen origin forms relativity and knowledge. Miners haul tons of rock at a cost to their bodies and local environment, and technology users mined for data feed the hunger that will demand evermore. As such, technology reaches one of two points. It realizes itself as a knowledge holder of the planet earth and a steward of life here on this planet. Perhaps a case of techno-optimism, but this step has all but assuredly happened. Visualize the total metal in all of your smart devices, now value your life inasmuch by owning the moral weight of that metal. Now visualize your body, tied by a rope and entering a narrow opening in the earth, descending thousands of feet into the burning earth for your devices. The second point is that a technological change will make all knowledge unusable in a future with new, few, or no rules. That has not happened and we are moving to a better planet for life.

Afterword, Notes and Works Cited

In this context, a movement of historical reference uses this as a metaphor for how individual tasks cannot function without the collective. This material makes this conceptual collection confront the limitations of the onlooker. They are gathering information and reading sources about Artificial Intelligence and the costs to human bodies and environments with plants and animals. This artwork, Mother of All DemosII, delves deep into the discourse of technology and race. They were brought together by American Artist in a sculptural art installation and using the vehicles of material and texture, race, and the beginnings of technology to trouble the limitations of onlookers’ white neutrality. This paper explores the limitations of the spectator. Affective knowledge, contained in bodies, absent but not missing, present in handprints of a black gooey substance. Mother of All Demos II presents vehicles of material and texture to the bodies missing in discourse, it’s not afraid to do work that does not mesh with contemporary mindsets. Emancipatory opportunities, an aberration from truth through Mother of All Demos concatenation of actualisms, result in the transfer of affective knowledge through bodies across landscapes and regions of time. Moreover, the missing knowledge embodied emotion or sensitivity changes the meanings of bodies in producing technologies, which means sharing knowledge and maintaining the discourse today. Ongoing forward, a sensitivity to or intuitive understanding of mutuality and mutuality and interdependence,

On Life Bearing rock.

Works Cited:

Atlas of Artificial Intelligence. Kate Crawford. Yale U, Press (New Haven). 2021.

Images of the Artworks of Black Gooey Universe at LABOR Gallery Mexico City.



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