This article engages with the work of Adrian Piper in order to explore relationships among visuality, data, race, and gender. It specifically pairs Piper's multimedia installation Cornered (1988) with her conception of pseudorationality, which she develops in her philosophical work on Immanuel Kant, and brings this pairing to bear on current discussions in software and critical algorithm studies. Cornered's exposure of the pseudorationality of racist perception and its visual grammar contributes to our understanding of the racist and gendered conditions of data's appearance, particularly in terms of data's reliance on the visual. Ultimately, I argue, Piper's work provokes us to call into question the stability of “data” itself.
Lights! Race! Gender! Adrian Piper and the Pseudorationality of Data
Michael Eng is Shula Chair and an associate professor of philosophy at John Carroll University. His research focuses on the relationship between aesthetics and subjectivization, particularly in terms of disability, race, and gender. His work has appeared in parallax, Deleuze Studies, and Comparative and Continental Philosophy, as well as in the collections Race, Philosophy, and Film (Routledge, 2013), The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas (Oxford University Press, 2013), and The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein (Salt Publications, 2012). His article on Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and music is forthcoming in parallax, and he has just completed his first book, The Scene of the Voice: Language after Affect.
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Michael Eng; Lights! Race! Gender! Adrian Piper and the Pseudorationality of Data. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2017; 3 (3): 133–148. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.3.133
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