Art, Tech & Culture

The ghost in the machine is me.

Art, Tech & Culture
28 Aug, 2023

The ghost in the machine is me.

An Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium lecture co-sponsored by the English Department and the Department of Art Practice

with Jen Liu, Artist

Moderated by Xiaowei R. Wang

Accompanied by Mia J. Chong, Dancer

In conversation with Xiaowei Wang, Jen Liu will talk about her multifaceted GHOST_WORLD project, which proposes an intrinsically paradoxical task: to represent electronics workers through the digital imaging technologies that are designed to erase them, bridging the distance between labor and consumer through location-based AR. Wang and Liu will also address some of the overlapping themes in their respective works: the domination of the biobody through personal tech, the invisibilized logistics of racial technocapitalism, and the complex histories of community atomization and exploitation through automation.

Meanwhile, Mia J. Chong, a San Francisco-based contemporary dancer, will also be on stage to embody and interpret the conversation as it evolves. One of the performers in the choreographic portion of GHOST_WORLD, Chong will be working with Liu on an interpretive vocabulary for semi-automated labor and the fragmented body in the digitized technoverse.

GHOST_WORLD, will be presented in the Bay Area in Spring 2024, with a solo exhibition at / (slash) and choreographic performances for 4 dancers at The Lab.

About Jen Liu

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, painting, dance performance, and biomaterial, on diasporic Asian identities, postcolonial economies, speculative feminism, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. She is a recipient of the Creative Capital Grant, the LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant, the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video, the \Art Award from Cornel Tech, the NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Art, the Pollock-Krasner Award, and is a 2022 recipient of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission. She has presented work at MoMA, The Whitney Museum, and The New Museum, New York; Royal Academy and ICA in London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien; the Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; MUSAC, Leon; the Times Museum Guangzhou, and the Today Biennial Beijing, Shanghai Biennale, Singapore Biennial, and Taipei Biennial. She has also received multiple grants and residencies, including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Para Site, Hong Kong; Surf Point, Maine; Pioneer Works, ISCP and LMCC in New York; Sommerakademie, Bern, Switzerland; and de ateliers, Amsterdam, NL.

Her current body of work, Pink Slime Caesar Shift, builds from a speculative proposal to build a secret information network for labor activism – parallel with the possibility of art as an alternative for political discourse outside the news media cycle and its spectacularized suffering. Asian and Asian diaspora colonial biopolitics and feminist mutation are overall themes; creating fictional solutions to impossible economic and ecological problems are the internal logic; the end aesthetic sensibilities are evasive but effusive. Industrial/scientific texts and corporate sales brochures are cut together with firsthand accounts of workers, social media posts and poetry as well as pop song lyrics, providing a cross-section of sources stressing the diffuse interrelated nature of global economies.

About Mia J. Chong

Mia J. Chong (she/they) is a choreographer and dancer from San Francisco, California, the Indigenous lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone and Muwekma people. Mia currently performs and collaborates with Post:ballet while freelancing throughout the Bay Area.

She has received a Princess Grace Award, Chris Hellman Dance Honor, Aninstantia Foundation Grant, LINES Ballet Homer Avila Award, Jacob’s Pillow Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship, Metro Film and Arts Foundation Choreography Commission, and Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and nominations for her work as a performer and creator.

As a choreographer, Mia creates contemporary dance works with the intention of engaging viewers from all walks of life. Her work focuses on connecting with unique artists through processes and diverse audiences through performances. Mia’s choreography has been performed by Post:ballet, BODYSONNET, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Department of Dance, University of California Berkeley’s Chamber Chorus, Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Studio Company, Shawl Anderson Youth Ensemble, ODC Dance Jam, and more.

Mia danced professionally with ODC/Dance, Robert Moses’ Kin, Dance Theatre of San Francisco, San Francisco Symphony, and Concept o4, among others. She received her training from the Kirov Academy of Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, the Ailey School, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Contemporary Program, and ODC School.

As a dance educator, Mia has taught classes for Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, Jacob’s Pillow’s 360 Workshop Series, Westlake School for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Ballet Theater, ODC School, and more.

Mia graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Change. She is currently continuing her studies through the Master of Science in Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship program at Northeastern University.

About Xiaowei R. Wang

Xiaowei R. Wang (they/them), PhD is an artist, writer, organizer and coder. They are the author of the book Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech In China's Countryside, a 2023 National Book Foundation Science and Literature Award winner.

Currently: They are one of the stewards of Collective Action School (formerly known as Logic School), an organizing community for tech workers, a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center on Race and Digital Justice / UCLA Gender Studies and a Senior Civic Media Fellow at University of Southern California Annenberg. Their multidisciplinary work over the past 15 years sits at the intersection of tech, social and environmental justice. Xiaowei’s work is shaped by their Buddhist spiritual practice, guided by the experiences of their ancestors and the care of the communities they are part of.

Their most recent new media work, The Future of Memory, was a recipient of the Mozilla Creative Media Award, and explored the creation of a new language to bypass online surveillance. Their previous individual and collaborative work has been exhibited at a number of venues, including Haus der Kulturen der Welt, MoMA New York, Taipei Design City Exhibition, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and have taught workshops and given talks at Asian Art Museum, SF MOMA, TED, Taipei Design & City Exhibition 2014, IAM Weekend, The Conference, Unfinished Live, Cornell University, Harvard University, CtrlZ.AI Zine Fair Barcelona and more. Their writing has appeared in TANK, transmediale, The Nation and more.

They received a PhD in Geography with a Designated Emphasis in New Media, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2023, supervised by Brandi T. Summers (chair), Clancy Wilmott, Desiree Fields and Abigail De Kosnik.

More Info

Click here for the full 2023-24 Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium season.


BCNM events are free and open to the public. This event will be held in-person, on the UC Berkeley campus. We strive to meet all access and accommodation needs. Please contact info.bcnm [at] with requests or questions.

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