Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab Inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Mimi Onuoha ‘11.

Written by
Ruha Benjamin
June 23, 2021

While in (virtual) residence, Onuoha will work with undergraduates on a long-term artistic machine learning project this summer. She will also create a moving image commissioned piece for the lab about undoing algorithmic violence through fluidity and absence, and give a public talk on her work this fall.

Mimi Onuoha is a Nigerian-American artist whose work is about the implications of a world made to fit the form of data. By foregrounding absence and removal, her multimedia practice uses print, code, installation and video to make sense of the power dynamics that result in disenfranchised communities' different relationships to systems that are digital, cultural, historical, and ecological.

Onuoha has been in residence at Studio XX (Canada), Data & Society Research Institute (USA), the Royal College of Art (UK), Eyebeam Center for Arts & Technology (USA), and Arthouse Foundation (Nigeria, upcoming). She has spoken and exhibited internationally at venues like La Gaitê Lyrique (France), FIBER Festival (Netherlands), Mao Jihong Arts Foundation (China), and Le Centre Pompidou (France).

Her recent work includes In Absentia, a series of prints that borrow language from research that black sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois conducted in the nineteenth century to address the difficulties he faced and the pitfalls he fell into, and A People's Guide To AI, a comprehensive beginner's guide to understanding AI and other data-driven systems, co-created with Diana Nucera. Onuoha lives and works in Brooklyn. 

The residency is cosponsored by Lewis Center for the Arts, University Center for Human Values, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton Humanities Council, and Center for Digital Humanities.