The Visual Culture 2019 Keynote Lecture

Katherine Behar: “Digitally Divided: On Data and Divisiveness”

See art from Katherine Behar below and at  .

See art from Katherine Behar below and at


Friday, April 12th

Wayne State University

Community Arts Auditorium

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Free and open to the public

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist and critical theorist of new media whose work explores gender and labor in digital culture. In contexts spanning automated labor, mandated obsolescence, big data, and machine learning, Behar sets object-oriented feminism into practice in her art and writing. Her work connects feminist and antiracist post-colonial histories with a wave of new theories that grapple with the nonhuman object world.


In “Digitally Divided: On Data and Divisiveness” Behar presents her artwork with a focus on how, in a culture inundated by the overproduction of big data, algorithms dismantle and rearrange us. The logic/s of algorithms are to allocate complex data-driven systems into manageable portions, but this technical process has a social byproduct: dividing data results in divisiveness at the cultural level, too. Algorithms have been unleashed to mete out standardization and suppress idiosyncrasy across diverse and defiant populations of humans and nonhumans, in ways that are socially, technically, and conceptually reductive. This lecture brings together examples of Behar’s videos, interactive installations, sculptures, and performances, alongside episodes from media history and popular culture to explore this core notion of being “digitally divided.”