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Mimi Onuoha

Mimi Onuoha is a Nigerian-American artist who explores the friction between the fluid messiness of people, and the quantified, categorized state of our technological society.

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Mimi Onuoha is a Nigerian-American, Brooklyn-based new media artist and researcher whose work deals with the missing and obscured remnants forged from a society based on automation. Through layerings of code, text, interventions, and objects, she seeks to explore the ways in which people are abstracted, represented, and classified.

Onuoha has been in residence at Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, Studio XX, Data & Society Research Institute, Columbia University’s Tow Center, and the Royal College of Art. Her exhibition and speaking credits include venues like La Gaitê Lyrique (France), FIBER Festival (Netherlands), Mao Jihong Arts Foundation (China), Le Centre Pompidou (France) and B4BEL4B Gallery (San Francisco). Her writing has appeared in Quartz, Nichons-nous Dans L'Internet, FiveThirtyEight, and K. Verlag. In 2014 she was selected to be in the inaugural class of Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows, and in 2017 she was nominated as a Brooklyn Artist of the Year.

Onuoha earned her MPS from NYU Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she is currently a Researcher. Most recently she has been named the 2018-19 Creative-in-Residence at Olin College for Engineering.

Selected AI projects:

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Written in 2018 by Mimi Onuoha and Mother Cyborg (Diana Nucera), A People’s Guide to AI is a comprehensive beginner's guide to understanding AI and other data-driven tech. The guide uses a popular education approach to explore and explain AI-based technologies so that everyone has the chance to think critically about the kinds of futures automated technologies can bring.

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The second installment in The Library of Missings Datasets series focuses on black people. Black folks are both over-collected and under-represented in American datasets, featuring strongly as objects of collection but rarely as subjects with agency over collection, ownership, and power. Version 2.0 of The Library of Missing Datasets speaks to this reality.

Us Aggregated - Mimi Onuoha.jpg

The second work in the Us, Aggregated series, Us, Aggregated 2.0 focuses on who has the agency to define who "we" is. Using an image from the artist's personal family archives as its starting place, Us, Aggregated 2.0 presents a frame clustered series of photographs that Google's reverse-image search algorithms have categorized as similar and tagged with the label "girl".

Onuoha on her work:

“I am an eternal hybrid, drawn always to in-between spaces. My work deals with the tensions at the heart of the "Information Age". I am fascinated by how metrified societies require the fluid, organic, messiness of people to be secured, tagged, categorized, and abstracted.

In a world mediated by computers, everything begins to look like data, and that which doesn't fit the mold is at risk of being forgotten. My practice begins with these patterns of absence, which are always real and material and located within people, especially folks of color and folks of queerness and folks who have immigrated and folks who are stuck between categories.

I aim to trouble the assumptions baked into the technologies that mediate our experiences.”

Onuoha’s exhibitions and talks:

Mimi Onuoha’s writing and videos:

1. Art books and magazines:

2. Journalism:

3. Digital publications:

4. Academic and research:

5. Mimi’s videos:

Learn more about Mimi Onuoha: