Opening Ceremonies

Helen Pritchard (UK) & Winnie Soon (HK/DK), Romi Morrison (US), Eric Snodgrass (SE), Loren Britton (US)
08/08 2020


Opening Ceremonies is an online session that engages methods from Black Feminist Poet(h)ics, asking questions about our computational environments to an Oracle. Our Oracle is the text ‘DUB: Finding Ceremony’, the 2020 book of poetry from Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Through a guided process of welcoming, weaving, writing, choosing, reading and intuiting we will pose questions to the Oracle from participants that allow for thinking the world otherwise, as a source to work with, not extract from.

There have been moments where Black Feminist poetics have been proposed as an important practice for computing but has not always been followed with the care and labor needed for radically changing practices. For instance, Bowker and Starr asked why Black Feminist poetry wasn’t being read by science and technology scholars as an important part of critical technical practice.

Rethinking accountability and ethics for computational practices, we are proposing oracle(s) as a critical-technical practice for opening up patterning, possibilities and imaginations for accountability that arise within automation and digitalisation. Oracle(s) demands that we think the world differently and practice what it might mean for all of us to be free within a livable future.

Opening Ceremonies is convened by oracle(s): Loren Britton, Romi Morrisson, Helen Pritchard, Eric Snodgrass,– feat: Winnie Soon

Our program will be in English, with translation to languages listed below. We are looking into solutions to have speech to text captioning for Hard of Hearing, Deaf or people with difficulty understanding English, but without the desire for translation. And we are looking for ways to make a video call compatible with a screen reader as well. This workshop is welcoming to all levels of access as it will be online and therefore remote participation is *the* mode of engagement. There will be a pronoun round at the beginning of the workshop & some embodied exercises to begin the workshop together.

Languages and translation
The program will be in English – but also available for translation are: American Sign Language, Langsames Deutsch and Swedish.

Credit: Conjuring questions by Oracle(s), annotated text excerpt from Alexis Pauline Gumbs, M archive: After the end of the world. Duke University Press, 2018.

We would like to thank Constant for providing the open source infrastructure which means we don’t have to rely on Big Tech extractivism.