The exhibition Race in Digital Space at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 27 to July 1, 2001, explored how techno culture informs the social construction of race and ethnicity. Referring to the process of digital transcription, “digital space” is used as a deliberately elastic term to define both old-school and new-school media practices that respond to continual technological innovation. The word “race,” at once positional and relational, reflects a variety of cultural realities. In this country, when we employ the term “race,” we tend to think first of the tired dichotomy of blackness and whiteness—that is our default narrative. We may even embrace or reject race and digital media in the same argument. Yet, we linguistically trip over hyphenated terms of identities such as African- and Asian-; and situational prefixes such as post-, neo-, and re- in our search for fixed meanings. Although the title of this exhibition was gleaned from the conference of which it was a part, the show's challenge was to contextualize race as a dynamic power system that is further manipulated and complicated by hi-tech devices and evolving historical paradigms.
About the Author
Erika Dalya Muhammad, formerly at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the American Museum of the Moving Image, is an independent curator and writer whose work explores cut-and-mix culture. Muhammad organized the exhibition Race in Digital Space at MIT's List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Mass. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University.
Muhammad, Erika Dalya. "Race in Digital Space: Conceptualizing the Media Project." Art Journal 60:3 (7 May 2014), 92-95.