That Which Protects the Diverse

‘Thus, that which protects the Diverse we call opacity.’
– Édouard Glissant

In 1985, feminist science and technology studies scholar Donna Haraway theorized the informatics of domination as a networked, computational reconfiguration of what Black feminist theorist bell hooks termed imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Now, almost forty years later, most of us live and die in the throes of this episteme, surrounded by informatic modes of control and injustice. But is there an outside? Are there informatics otherwise? What technologies might enable and nurture diversities of existence that exceed the informatics of domination? In response to these questions, this day of the conference-festival shares glimmers, desires, imaginaries, propositions, practices, theories, and lived experiences of an intergenerational, transnational gathering of artists and scholars committed to surviving in and beyond the informatics of domination.

The programme engages philosopher Yuk Hui’s concept of technodiversity by staging an encounter with Caribbean philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant’s notion of the Diverse, that is, minoritarian existences on Earth relating through alterities that are unknowable and unpredictable to standardized, dominant orders. Throughout the day, we will experience the Diverse’s technodiversity, a range of critiques and constitutions, protections and celebrations, that are anticolonial, antiracist, feminist, and queer, including presentations on indigenous futurism, computational hexes, viral love, opacity in cybernetics, and gendered robots and vampires. The program will also reckon with the institutionalization of diversity under the informatics of domination, questioning the very diversity of diversity today. Relating and resonating through Glissant’s opaque Diverse, the artists and scholars gathered here demonstrate how to create, use, dream, and think with technodiversity, in code and text, image and sound, performance and protest, seeking protection and liberation from the informatics of domination, but also alliance and pleasure along the way.

With Shu Lea Cheang, Ricardo Dominguez, Isadora Neves Marques, Shaka McGlotten and Nelly Y. Pinkrah

Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker and writer whose practice draws out the philosophies and imaginaries residing in computational technologies and their industries. Working across moving image, computation, installation, theory, performance, and science fiction, Blas has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings at venues including the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, 12th Gwangju Biennale, and e-flux. His current exhibition CULTUS addresses a burgeoning AI religiosity in the tech industry and is presented at arebyte Gallery, London and Secession, Vienna. Blas’s book Unknown Ideals was published by Sternberg Press in 2021. With Melody Jue and Jennifer Rhee, he is co-editor of Informatics of Domination, forthcoming from Duke University Press. Blas is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto.