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Visualizing Abolition: Reginald Dwayne Betts and Craig Haney

Join us for the next conversation for Visualizing Abolition focusing on technology, surveillance, and contemporary art with American Artist, Ruha Benjamin, and Simone Browne. American Artist is a contemporary artist working in video, installation, new media, and writing to consider how structures of racism and labor intersect with networked life and digital systems.

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Event Series Event Series: Visualizing Abolition

February 2, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:30 pm

Rachel Nelson, Simone Browne, Gina Dent, Ruha Benjamin, and American Artist on a Zoom call.

Ruha Benjamin is Professor, African American Studies, Princeton University and founding director of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab. She researches the intersections of race, justice and technology. Simone Browne is Associate Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies , University of Texas at Austin, and Research Director of Critical Surveillance Inquiry (CSI). Browne researches the social and ethical implications of surveillance technologies.

Surveillance and Cinematics
w/ American Artist, Simone Browne and Ruha Benjamin
Featured Music Video – Cécile McLorin Salvant
February 2, 2021, 4-5:30 p.m.

Visualizing Abolition is a series of online events organized by Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies and Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences. The events feature artists, activists, and scholars united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition. Originally, Visualizing Abolition was being planned as an in-person symposium. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the panels, artist talks, film screenings, and other events will instead take place online. The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020-June, 2021. To accompany the exhibition, Solitary Garden, a public art project about mass incarceration and solitary confinement is on view at UC Santa Cruz. 

About the Speakers

American Artist

American Artist (b. 1989 Altadena, CA, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is an artist whose work considers black labor and visibility within networked life. Their practice makes use of video, installation, new media, and writing. Artist is a resident at Red Bull Arts Detroit and a 2018-2019 recipient of the Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship. They are a former resident of EYEBEAM and completed the Whitney Independent Study program as an artist in 2017. They have exhibited at the Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Koenig & Clinton, New York. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, and Huffington Post. They have published writing in The New Inquiry and Art21. Artist is a part-time faculty at Parsons The New School and teaches at the School for Poetic Computation.

Simone Browne

Simone Browne is Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, was awarded the 2016 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize by the American Studies Association, the 2016 Surveillance Studies Book Prize by the Surveillance Studies Network, and the 2015 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Technology Research. Simone is also a member of Deep Lab, a feminist collaborative composed of artists, engineers, hackers, writers, and theorists.

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (2019), among numerous other publications. Benjamin writes, teaches, and speaks widely about the relationship between knowledge and power, race and citizenship, health and justice. 

Visualizing Abolition is organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.


February 2, 2021
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
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