MacDowell Colony | Cover Art: A Woman with the Technology
Vol 48, No 2, Winter-Spring 2020, March 2020

Interdisciplinary artist Ziyang Wu, who was in residence this past summer, worked on a multimedia installation involving 3D animation, three-channel video, and a certain amount of artificial intelligence called A Woman with the Technology that is currently at the Artron Art Center in Shenzhen, China. The project examines how an individual’s online experience becomes personalized by the Internet algorithm to create what German media philosopher Roberto Simanowski calls the “filter bubble.” The bubble comes about when the Internet user encounters only information and opinions that conform to and reinforce their own beliefs. Wu began by recording his daily social media practice over a period of three months using specific keywords including “censorship,” “surveillance,” “trade war,” “Asian experience,” “identity,” and many others, and created an archive. He then created imagery from the data and frequency changes of the keywords in the form of sketches, diagrams, and spreadsheets. The installation uses three-channel video showing all the clips that mention the top 50 keywords and/or sentences that include the keywords using the image detection technology to visually present how the Internet algorithm “sees” these videos to create the “filter bubbles.” Finally, Wu created video animations using his collected data to “train” his own algorithm to create the captions and subtitles. In this way, He says, “I was able to cover all the aspects of the information I collected (both textual and visual).” For more about the project, and to view videos and images, you can connect to Wu’s web site from his MacDowell page.