The Knight Foundation Just Awarded Five Cutting-Edge Artists and Collectives $50,000 Each to Pursue Art and Technology Initiatives

The recipients will also be featured in a catalogue of essays on art and new media.

Rashaad Newsome, Ansista (2019). Installation view at Venue: Fort Mason Center For Art And Culture, San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy Rashaad Newsome Studio.
Rashaad Newsome, Ansista (2019). Installation view at Venue: Fort Mason Center For Art And Culture, San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy Rashaad Newsome Studio.

The Knight Foundation has announced the inaugural recipients of its new arts and tech fellowship, each of whom will be awarded $50,000 in unrestricted funds to pursue creative ventures in artificial intelligence, digital fabrication, software, coding, or immersive technologies.

The honorees are artists Rashaad Newsome, Rodolfo Peraza, Sondra Perry, Stephanie Dinkins, and the Philadelphia-based Black Quantum Futurism collective, founded by Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips.

The winners were selected by a panel of experts including Josette Melchor of Google; Ari Melenciano, the founder of the futurist group Afrotectopia; and Stephanie Pereira, the director of New Inc., the New York-based art and technology hub. The $50,000 grant will be administered by United States Artists.

As part of the grant, the award winners will be featured in a catalogue on art and new media that includes articles by critics including Legacy Russell, curator and the author of Glitch Feminism, and writers Nora Khan and Taja Cheek, which will be available March 24 through the online publication Shift Space.

Clockwise from top right: Sondra Perry; Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips of Black Quantum Futurism, Photo: Hannah Place, courtesy of The Wire; Rashaad Newsome, photo: Charlie Rubin; Stephanie Dinkins, photo: Jay Adams; and Rodolfo Peraza.

Clockwise from top right: Sondra Perry; Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips of Black Quantum Futurism, Photo: Hannah Place, courtesy of The Wire; Rashaad Newsome, photo: Charlie Rubin; Stephanie Dinkins, photo: Jay Adams; and Rodolfo Peraza.

“For decades, artists have found novel ways to leverage technology in their art,” Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at the Knight Foundation, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to champion the work of these five gifted artists, whose practices experiment with new ways to bring to light and address today’s issues.”

One of the most pressing topics within the realm of emerging technology is how it affects marginalized communities. Speaking to the New York Times in 2018, Stephanie Dinkins wrote candidly about the obstacles facing the industry.

“What happens when an insular subset of society encodes governing systems intended for use by the majority of the planet? What happens when those writing the rules—in this case, we will call it code—might not know, care about, or deliberately consider the needs, desires, or traditions of people their work impacts?”


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