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16th Contemporary Art Day | Art, Labor, and Artificial Intelligence



16th Contemporary Art Day | Art, Labor, and Artificial Intelligence

Art, Labor, and Artificial Intelligence
A conversation between Italian artist Elisa Giardina Papa and curator Valentino Catricalà 

In this webinar presentation, Elena Giardina Papa will present her most recent trilogy of work dedicated to the topic of labor, care and artificial Intelligence. Technologies of Care (2016), the first work of the series, documents the ways in which affective labor is being outsourced via internet platforms and visualizes the massive invisible workforce of online caregivers. Among the stories collected in the video installation are those of a social media fan for hire, an ASMR artist, an online dating coach, and a human-powered chatbot—an app, named Invisible Boyfriend, which employs anonymous freelance writers as surrogates for a conversational algorithm. Cleaning Emotional Data (2020) extends this research on the new invisible forms of precarious labor emerging within AI economies by focusing on the global infrastructure of microworkers who “clean” data to train emotion-recognition algorithms. In the winter of 2019, Elisa Giardina Papa worked remotely for several “human-in-the-loop” companies who provide “clean” datasets to train AI algorithms to detect emotions. Among the tasks she performed were the taxonomisation of emotions, the annotation of facial expressions and the recording of her own image to animate three-dimensional characters. Cleaning Emotional Data documents these microtasks while simultaneously tracing a history of emotions that questions the methods and psychological theories underpinning facial expression mapping. Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? (2017) completes the trilogy of works by examining the status of sleep within the tempo of present-day capitalism. The video installation, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, critically engages with the rhetoric of technologically supported self-optimization.



Elisa Giardina Papa is an Italian artist whose work investigates gender, sexuality, care and labor in relation to neoliberal capitalism and the borders of the Global South. Her work has been exhibited and screened at MoMA (New York), Whitney Museum [Sunrise/Sunset Commission], Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, Unofficial Internet Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennial, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, [Download Commission], The Flaherty NYC, Institute for Contemporary Art, Milano (ICA Milano), among others. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and a BA from Politecnico of Milan, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in film and media studies at the University of California Berkeley. She lives and works in New York and Sant’Ignazio (Sicily). Giardina Papa is a founding member of the artist collective Radha May.

Valentino Catricalà (Ph.D) is a scholar and contemporary art curator specialised in the analysis of the relationship of artists with new technologies and media. He is currently the curator of SODA Gallery in Manchester and lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also the director of the Art Section of the Maker Faire-The European Edition, the biggest Faire on creativity and innovation in Europe and Art Consultant at Paris Sony CS Lab. Valentino has been the founder and the artistic director of the Rome Media Art Festival (MAXXI Museum), Art Project coordinator at Fondazione Mondo Digitale.

Valentino has curated exhibitions in important museum and private Galleries such as Hermitage (San Petersburg), Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco), New York Media Center, Stelline (Milano), MAXXI Museum (Rome), Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome), Ca’ Foscari (Venice), New Dheli Italian Cultural Institute (India), among others.

He is the author of several essays (see and books such as Media Art. Prospettive delle arti verso il XXI secolo. Storie, teorie, preservazione (Mimesis, 2016) and the book The Artist as Inventor (Rowman & Littlefiled, 2021).

Contemporary Art Day is an annual event promoted by the AMACI – Association of Italian Museums of Contemporary Art, focusing on the art of our times and its public.


Date: Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Time: At 11:00 am

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura SF

Entrance : Free