Control Societies Speaker Series: Stephanie Dinkins, Stony Brook University

Afro-Now-ism: Community, Craft, and the Vernacular in Artificial Intelligence
Logo of the Control Societies speaker series
17 Feb 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Annenberg School, Room 500

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About the Talk

Afro-Now-ism: Community, Craft, and the Vernacular in Artificial Intelligence takes the position that everyone participating in society is an expert in our experiences within the community infrastructures which inform the makeup of artificially intelligent systems. Although we may not be intellectually aware of jargon used in exclusionary contexts, we share the vernacular of who we are as people and a community and the intimate sense that our data is being used by big entities. Afro-now-ism asks us to ground our understanding by taking the imaginary leap of defining ourselves and our communities outside of systemic oppression in order to craft the systems we'd like to see.

About Stephanie Dinkins

Associate Professor of Art at Stony Brook University, Stephanie Dinkins is a transdisciplinary artist  who creates platforms for dialog about artificial intelligence as it intersects race, gender, and our future histories. Her art employs lens-based practices, the manipulation of space, and technology to grapple with notions of consciousness, agency, perception, and social equity. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop AI literacy and co-create more inclusive, equitable artificial intelligence.

Dinkins’ artwork is exhibited internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues – by design. These include International Center of Photography, Bitforms Gallery, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Herning Kunstmuseum, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Wave Hill, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Spedition Bremen, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Through Project al Khwarizmi (PAK), Dinkins helps local communities conceptually understand what algorithms and artificially intelligent systems are as well as how and where these systems impact their lives.

Dinkins earned an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1997 and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Studies Program. Dinkins is a Soros Equality Fellow, Data & Society Research Institute Fellow, and Artist in Residence at Nokia Bell Labs. Past residencies include Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab, Pioneer Works Tech Lab, NEW INC, Blue Mountain Center, The Laundromat Project, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Art/Omi.

The New York Times recently featured Dinkins in its pages as an AI influencer. Apple Inc recognized Dinkins’ research and community-centered efforts by featuring her as a local hero in their “Behind the Mac” ad campaign (Brooklyn, NY edition). Wired, Art In America, Artsy, Art21, Hyperallergic, the BBC, Wilson Quarterly and a host of popular podcasts have recently highlighted Dinkins’ art and ideas.

About Control Societies Speaker Series

Control Societies was started as part of the School of Social Policy & Practice’s initiative on Culture, Society, and Critical Policy Studies in order to feature and engage cutting edge scholarship on the enumerating acts of governmentality in computational culture and the incalculable possibilities of justice. For the 2019/2020 academic year, the School of Social Policy & Practice will continue its speaker series in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication, which produces scholarship on the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of digital information and communication technologies, networks, and systems. Through the speaker series, the organizers aim to explore the philosophical foundations of algorithms, data, and their intersections with governmentality, surveillance, social policy, and the reconfiguring of power relations.

Future lectures include:

  • March 23: Denise Ferreira da Silva, University of British Columbia
  • March 30: Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University

For more information, visit

Additional funding is provided by the Provost's Excellence Through Diversity Fund.

This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also video stream many of these video recordings through the Annenberg web site. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by the Annenberg School for Communication. The Annenberg School for Communication, at its discretion, may provide a copy of the photos/footage upon written request.