Project: Algolit

Data Workers

Data Workers is an exhibition of algoliterary works, of stories told from an ‘algorithmic storyteller point of view’. The exhibition is a creation by members of Algolit, a group from Brussels involved in artistic research on algorithms and literature. Every month they gather to experiment with F/LOSS code and texts. Some works are by students of Arts² and external participants to the workshop on machine learning and text organised by Algolit in October 2018 in Mundaneum.

Companies create artificial intelligences to serve, entertain, record and know about humans. The work of these machinic entities is usually hidden behind interfaces and patents. In the exhibition, algorithmic storytellers leave their invisible underworld to become interlocutors.
The data workers operate in different collectives. Each collective represents a stage in the design process of a machine learning model: there are the Writers, the Cleaners, the Informants, the Readers, the Learners and the Oracles. Robots voice experimental literature, algorithmic models read data, turn words into numbers, make calculations that define patterns and are able to endlessly process new texts ever after.

The exhibition foregrounds data workers who impact our daily lives, but are hard to grasp or imagine. It connects stories about algorithms in mainstream media to the storytelling in technical manuals and academic papers. Robots are invited to go into dialogue with human visitors and vice versa. In this way we might understand our respective reasonings, demystify each other’s behaviour, encounter multiple personalities, and value our collective labour.
It is also a tribute to the many machines that Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine imagined for their Mundaneum, showing their potential but also their limits.

The opening is on Thursday 28 March (18-22h). As part of the exhibition, we invite Allison Parrish, an algoliterary poet from New York. She will give a lecture in Passa Porta on Thursday evening 25 April and a workshop in the Mundaneum on Friday 26 April.

Data Workers is a creation by Algolit.
Works by: Cristina Cochior, Gijs de Heij, Sarah Garcin, An Mertens, Javier Lloret, Louise Dekeuleneer, Florian Van de Weyer, Laetitia Trozzi, Rémi Forte, Guillaume Slizewicz, Manetta Berends, Mia Melvær.
A co-production of: Arts², Mundaneum, Constant.
With the support of: Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Arts Numériques, Passa Porta, Ugent, DHuF - Digital Humanities Flanders and the Distributed Proofreading Project.
Thanks to: Mike Kestemont, Michel Cleempoel, François Zajéga, Raphaèle Cornille, Kris Rutten, Anne-Laure Buisson, David Stampfli.


Mundaneum, 76 rue de Nimy, 7000 Mons