Jennifer González – “Skin Play: Visual Ethics and ”Race” in Digital Art”

thumbnailEven if “race” is a scientifically empty concept, ethnic differences and body type still play a significant role in the social and economic politics of our time. How have digital artists tried to work through the visual politics of racial identities? What is at stake in the “skin play” available to those who inhabit artificial worlds? How do such representations imply a certain ethics of social relation? In the 2009 essay “The Face and The Public: Race, Secrecy and Digital Art Practice” some of these questions are explored in the form of a critical response to theorists, such as Mark Hansen, who argue for the internet as a racially neutral domain. In this talk, Jennifer A. González will delve into the interplay of race and art in new media, using the arts to discuss the evolution of racial representation in the digital age.

Jennifer A. González teaches in the History of Art and Visual Culture department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York. She has written for numerous periodicals including “Aztlán,” “Frieze,” “Bomb,” “Camera Obscura,” and “Art Journal.” Her essays about cyborg bodies and racial embodiment in digital art can be found in anthologies like “The Cyborg Handbook” (1995) and “Race in Cyberspace” (2000). Her book “Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art” (MIT Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award.

The ATC series is produced by the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), with support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Meyer Sound and Theo Armour.