CLASSES | Libby Heaney
Thu 22 June — Sat 24 June 2023
Libby Heaney, CLASSES, 2021, still from video.
CLASSES is a video essay exploring the entanglements between machine learning classification and social class(ification).
The artwork takes place in a simulated model of a London council estate, where Heaney lives. Machine and human voices playfully narrate aspects of Heaney’s in depth research into accented speech recognition, natural language processing* and public space surveillance.
Parts of the narrative are written by GPT-J AI model highlighting its biases towards working class people. The work shows how historical and cultural biases around social class are being translated into code and how this affects people’s material conditions.
Towards the end of the essay, Heaney finds inspiration in her community gardening on the estate to propose a rewilded AI, that removes rigid hierarchical categories to build stronger relations between people and the world.
*GPT-J, Facebook’s FastText and GloVe word embeddings.
CLASSES was commissioned by the Science Gallery Dublin and exhibited at BIAS Science Gallery, Dublin, 2021; House of Mirrors, HMKV, Dortmund, 2022; Creative Machine, Goldsmiths, London; 2022; Privacy Techtonics, OTOKA, online, 2022.
Script of film text available to download here and will also be printed large print copy within Intermedia Gallery.
Part of Present Futures 2023