Threads of Assumption: The Biases You Weave
Multimedia Performance Installation
June 24-27, 2021
Threads of Assumption is an interactive performance and installation by Maria Finkelmeier, Sofie Hodara, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, and Martha Rettig.
Our work responds to real stories about experienced bias, gathered on a virtual, anonymous conversation platform and analyzed by natural language processing artificial intelligence (AI). The resulting exhibition is a visual, sonic, and tactile representation of human truths and errors. The project asks us to reconsider our assumptions surrounding bias and what we accept as normal. How can we expect machines to extract meaning from what we don’t understand?
Data was collected from 22 sourced conversations. Each conversation was analyzed for emotional content and thematic language and transformed, by AI, into datasets. As artists, the concept of weaving this rigid data and the human experience became essential at every turn, similar to the way tactile weavings are made, with a tense warp and threaded weft.
The exhibition is centered around an interactive, room-scale loom, while hanging weavings, spoken word poetry, projections, and musical composition allows attendees to learn about and reflect upon the gathered data.
The data we gathered did not teach us anything new. It simply reinforced our society’s acceptance of harmful structures and individual’s perpetuation of rigid assumptions.
Thanks to our 44 participants, including:
Lisa Daria Kennedy
Additional thanks to: Bianca Mauro of BRM Production Management, J. Cottle, The Loop Lab, Aram Boghosian, Adam DeTour, Gabi Ammirato
This project is made possible (in part) by a Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation.