Makȟóčheowápi Akézaptaŋ (Fifteen Maps), 2021, Kite. Monitor, PC, Speakers, Printout.
Kite’s work examines how artificial intelligence often reproduces the logics of coloniality: inheriting the structure of colonial knowledge systems, AI can flatten land, people, and lifeworlds into objects of knowledge — data points to be extracted. Kite intervenes in that structure by imagining possibilities for Indigenous epistemologies of AI. In one essay, Kite asks what it would mean to build a computing device according to the Lakota model of the Good Way transmitted by her family members: in “consultation with a committee of knowledge keepers,” toward algorithms, code, and software that combine to work for the good of Seven Generations into the future. For the interactive installation “Makȟóčheowápi Akézaptaŋ (Fifteen Maps),” LIDAR remote sensing is used to detect the distance of the visitor’s body from the screen, triggering changes in the video and audio content displayed. Its content draws from Kite’s ongoing research into Cruger Island, a site along the Hudson River. The island was “purchased” in the 19th century by John Cruger, who used it as a backdrop for stolen Mayan ruins he transported as casts from Honduras. By the 1960s, Cruger Island had become a place for archaeological excavations that displaced Indigenous artifacts and remains, which would be transferred to the New York State Museum.
Invoking Kite’s earlier “Lecture on Two Locations,” this piece considers how cartography, archaeology, excavation, and the scientific disciplines are all implicated in the legacies of colonial violence. Each develops classificatory schema for parsing sites and peoples in order to subsequently claim ownership of them. Confronting those histories, Kite’s installation “turns an Indigenous gaze back on” these knowledge systems and explores how AI might function as a conduit for alternative ways of nonhuman knowing.
“Encoding Futures: Critical Imaginaries of AI,” OxyArts on York, September 16 – November 19, 2021, Los Angeles, CA.