The Red Earth Project (2019-)


Introduction
  1. Overview    
  2. Research
  3. A Lecture at Princeton

The Book
  1. About
  2. Red Earth in the Paris Review
  3. Themes
  4. Form
  5. Where to buy

Process and Output
  1. Conceptual Development
  2. Photography
  3. Prose
  4. Computational and Subjective Translation
  5. Digital to Physical
  6. Process 1: Process and Theory
  7. Process 2: Making
  8. Compositions

Selected Works
  1. Red Earth, The Book
  2. Ever Abeokuta
  3. Colonial Enterprise
  4. Red Earth
  5. Amor Fati
  6. Direct Translation Diptychs 1, 2, 3 & 4
  7. Sixteenth Century Technology
  8. How Can Time Become a Circle
  9. Deference
  10. Solitary Breath

Exhibitions & Performances
  1. Studio Hanniball
  2. Archive of Forgetfulness
  3. Listening to the Red Earth, a film

Sales

Community

   1. The Red Earth Playlist
   2. Beyond the Zero Podcast



Related Works
  1. Planetary Portals

Next Steps

Object Int’l —
Info
  1. The Red Earth Project is an ongoing artistic, interdisciplinary study centred on prose reflections and machine translation, drawing attention to the precarious status of non-western cultural heritage, knowledge systems and practices in the increasingly dominant Western systems of data, virtual architectures and AI technologies. A critical study of machine learning (AI), this research asks how alternative cosmologies can be better represented within virtual architectures powered by probabalistic computation. 

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2. Research




Chinua Achebe’s essay in which he argues Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is explicitly racist and what this means for the literary canon and broader society, except Achebe arguably doesn’t take his critique quite far enough. 
Portrait purportedly of Thomas Bayes, English statistician, philosopher and Presbyterian minister, known for formulating the ‘Bayes Theorem’ integral to today’s machine learning and AI development. It is doubtful whether the portrait is of him. No earlier portrait or claimed portrait survives. Source: Wikipedia

The Red Earth Project has two points of origin: 1. Dante’s allegory of falling autumn leaves; his insistence that each damned soul is individual helps to think about synthesising data of the living and dead. 2. Difficulty with arguments in Chinua Achebe’s 1977 essay, An Image of Africa, where Achebe neglects to critique the power structure holding up the very ‘morality’ he appeals to while denouncing the racism of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

These points form the basis for an exploration of the connection between the foundation of modern statistical studies (which inform AI development today), their monotheistic origins, and how these religious origins relate to Christian missionaries, and the use of Christianity as an essential colonial strategy, for natural resource extraction from the continent of Africa. 

Today, we can chart the relationship between the extraction of resources for energy consumption and the development of technological hardware powering computational evolution and a central idea of morality-as-strategy enacted by the tech world. 

In the Red Earth Project, prose, photography, installation, and virtual architectures intersect to delve into this research, and interrogate the disregard of knowledge systems and cultures by the education and business sectors utilising probabilistic computation, informing today’s AI aspirations. 


Yorùbá artist. Figural post, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 62 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (159.4 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Allen A. Davis, 82.154.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 82.154.1_82.154.2_SL1.jpg). Source: Brooklyn Museum.
A chart depicting core principles of the Bayes Theorem
Anglican and Baptist missionaries in Africa
Daniel Motaung, a former Facebook content moderator employed by Sama, photographed near his home in South Africa on Feb. 11, 2022. Motaung alleges Sama wrongfully terminated him in 2019 while he was attempting to start a union. Aart Verrips for TIME