Berenice Olmedo

Attention After Technology

13 Oct 23 – 28 Jan 2024
Kunsthall Trondheim, Trondheim


Installation Views

Press Release

The exhibition Attention After Technology is a result of a two-year collaboration between Kunsthall Trondheim, Art Hub Copenhagen, Tropical Papers, State of Concept Athens, and Swiss Institute New York, with The Friends of Attention, D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University), Justin Smith-Ruiu (Université de Paris) as associated partners. Attention After Technology explores how algorithms affect us and how we could imagine them otherwise, through newly commissioned works by seven international artists. The participating artists are biarritzzz (Brazil), Vivian Caccuri (Brazil), Shu Lea Cheang (USA/Taiwan), Kyriaki Goni (Greece), CUSS Group (South Africa), Femke Herregraven (Netherlands) and Berenice Olmedo (Mexico). The artists consider how our attention is commodified and monetized in the “attention economy,” where our eyeballs, affect, and time have become some of the most sought-after goods. They examine algorithms with regard to social justice and concerns of equity and inclusion, probing their emancipatory potential as much as how they reinforce existing bias. The exhibition title, Attention After Technology, is a reference to the celebrated book Race After Technology (2019) by Ruha Benjamin, a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University in the United States. In her publication, Benjamin decodes the discriminatory designs embedded in algorithms that reinforce and deepen racial, socioeconomic, and other systemic hierarchies. In the lead-up to the exhibition, the artists participated in regular online meetings to workshop their artworks with the exhibition curators, the associated partner collective The Friends of Attention (an informal network of creative collaborators), and each other, as well as with advisors whom the artists chose to support their research. The artists’ advisors come from diverse disciplines including computer science and artificial intelligence, visual arts, and queer and trans technology studies. This collaborative practice was crucial to the process, since attention is not only a private practice, but also a collective one. While distraction and fragmentation may seem like antonyms of attention, the exhibition resists such simple dichotomies. Far from luddites opposing technology, the exhibiting artists both use and hack, celebrate and critique, discard and invent new tools. The exhibition explores attention as a practice, as an embodied technology, and as an evolving aesthetic, social, and political sphere. In bringing attention into debates around algorithmic justice, the works in Attention After Technology pull back the curtain on the neutrality of technology, while using it to draft new ways of relating. This exhibition is the first of three visual expressions of the overall ambitious project, spanning over two years (2022–2024). The exhibition will be shown at Kunsthall Trondheim (13 October 2023–28 January 2024), and after it will travel to State of Concept Athens (24 February 2024–27 April 2024). Furthermore, online versions of the works in the exhibition will be shown on Tropical Papers’ web platform from the end of November 2023. The associated symposium “The Digital Divide – Attention, Algorithms and Social Justice”, coordinated by Art Hub Copenhagen in partnership with IDA – the Danish Society of Engineers and TOASTER, took place on 4 May 2023 as well as the hosting of two artist residencies, with biarritzzz and CUSS Group. The overall project also includes curatorial and strategic contributions by Swiss Institute New York, USA.