Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Eryk Salvaggio & Caroline Sinders: Glitching AI, Algorithmic Resistance, Labor Activism, Art as Research, & Feminist Technology | Urgent Futures #13
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Eryk Salvaggio & Caroline Sinders: Glitching AI, Algorithmic Resistance, Labor Activism, Art as Research, & Feminist Technology | Urgent Futures #13

🎙 Jesse is joined by polymath artists/researchers Eryk Salvaggio & Caroline Sinders for a wide-ranging conversation about the role of artists in society, the importance of artistic research, and AI.

Welcome to the Urgent Futures podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each week, I sit down with leading thinkers whose research, concepts, and questions clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.

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My guests today are Eryk Salvaggio & Caroline Sinders.

Eryk Salvaggio (

) is an artist, writer and researcher interested in the social and cultural impacts of artificial intelligence. His work, which is centered in creative misuse and the right to refuse, critiques the mythologies and ideologies of tech design that ignore the gaps between datasets and the world they claim to represent. A blend of hacker, policy researcher, designer and artist, he has been published in academic journals, spoken at music and film festivals, and consulted on tech policy at the national level. He is the Emerging Technology Research Advisor for the Siegel Family Endowment and a 2024 Flickr Foundation Research Fellow. Eryk's website is cyberneticforests.com.

Caroline Sinders is an award winning critical designer, researcher, and artist. They’re the founder of human rights and design lab, Convocation Research + Design. For the past few years, they have been examining the intersections of artificial intelligence, intersectional justice, systems design, harm, and politics in digital conversational spaces and technology platforms. They’ve worked with the Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern, the United Nations, the UK’s Information Commissioner's Office, the European Commission, Ars Electronica, the Harvard Kennedy School and others. Caroline is currently based between London, UK and New Orleans, USA. 

What role do artists actually play in society? What about in the development of AI? It’s easy to speak in vague, grandiose terms about the power of art, but when do the actual actions, techniques, and interventions of artists amount to real-world impact? I’m not saying that art needs to lead to impact, but it’s important that we’re clear about the moments it does so that we can learn from the ways it did and to what extent it was successful. More broadly, it helps us see the unique ways that art can communicate ideas within society.

Across their multidisciplinary practices, Caroline and Eryk embody the possibilities of the arts—and artistic approaches—as agents for culture change, for producing new ways of thinking, seeing, and being. As you’ll see in the conversation, there are multiple topics I could have gotten into with each of them that would have amply filled an episode.  For this conversation, I was especially keen to get into the subject of AI with them, jumping off from their shared work in ARRG, the algorithmic resistance research group, which has as its goal to explore the creative misuse of Generative AI, Machine Learning, and other automated data analysis systems. This artistic “hacking” approach to AI feels vital right now—in which I and many others feel we’re at a foundational moment in collectively determining our values and policies around machine learning technologies. Efforts like ARRG, as well as so much other amazing stuff they each respectively do, offer necessary alternative ways of imagining, which—at least hopefully—help the rest of us orient ourselves toward realizing futures we actually want.

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CREDITS: This podcast is edited and produced by Adam Labrie and me, Jesse Damiani. Adam Labrie also directed, shot, and edited the video version of the podcast, which is available on YouTube. The podcast is presented by Reality Studies. If you appreciate the work I’m doing, please subscribe and share it with someone you think would enjoy it.

Find more episodes of Urgent Futures at: youtube.com/@UrgentFutures. Past conversations include Taylor Lorenz, Lia Halloran & Kip Thorne, Cherie Hu, Lisa Messeri, Legacy Russell, and more. Here is the latest episode with scientist/mycologist Danielle Stevenson:

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Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Welcome to the Urgent Futures Podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each episode, I sit down with leading thinkers for dialogues that clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.