Always-already desiring machines

December 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
BAM Fisher

Workshop organized by Amanda Parmer
with Kerry Downey, Nikita Gale, Melanie Hoff and Dorothy R. Howard
Sat, Dec 9

Capacity: 20 Participants

Wendy’s Subway Reading Room
BAM Fisher Lower Lobby
321 Ashland Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217

How do we, as desiring machines, desire to be machines? We are using this discursive workshop to examine the question of reproductive labor in a digital age. We aren’t talking about reproduction in the sense of procreation but rather how we reproduce and recharge our cultural, affective and material needs. More simply put, how do we reproduce one another and ourselves differently as we spend increasing amounts of time in dialog with and through digital interfaces? How are the erotic feedback loops that direct us and co-construct our desires moving from interpersonal responses to exchanges between people and objects.

Kerry Downey, Nikita Gale, Melanie Hoff and Dorothy R. Howard each bring a distinct perspective and praxis that relates to these questions. In conversation with the group attending we’ll stake out four clear yet interrelated positions that together oppose an oversimplifying answer to how machines are forming us. The workshop aims to re-invigorate the stakes of this question to imagine how our digital interfaces offer new forms of recognition that excite, rather than flatten culture and they may or may not have the capacity to help us resist objectification.

Participants in the workshop will engage in a collective project to document the event as a webzine and distributed through


Kerry Downey (b.1979, Ft. Lauderdale) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York City. Downey recently had a solo show at CAVE in Detroit and a two-person shows at Knockdown Center and 20|20 Gallery in New York City. They have also exhibited at the Queens Museum, the Hessel Museum at Bard College, and Taylor Macklin in Zurich. In 2015, Downey was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. Artist-in-residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, SHIFT at the EFA Project Space, the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, Real Time and Space in Oakland, CA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Downey participated in the Queer/Art/Mentorship program in 2013. They are currently in residence at Triangle Arts Association in Brooklyn. Downey holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College.

Nikita Gale is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She has a BA in Anthropology from Yale University and completed an MFA in New Genres from UCLA in 2016. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and internationally in London and Paris. Gale’s work has been featured and reviewed in various publications including Artforum, Art Papers, Art21 Magazine, and The New York Times. In 2016, she was awarded UCLA’s Toby Devan Lewis Award, and in 2017, she was a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant. Her work is currently on view at The Studio Museum in Harlem’s latest group exhibition Fictions through January 7th, 2018.

Melanie Hoff is an artist and researcher who uses computation to play with systems that organize society as they scale from interpersonal exchange to state governance. Her work investigates social conventions, political rhetoric, and the ways in which economies of behavior reveal distributions of power. She believes in engaging technological objects as cultural artifacts and installation that moves away from art contexts and towards the processes of everyday life. Hoff has worked as a machinist, artist, and is presently an adjunct professor of interaction design at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Dorothy R. Howard (b. 1991, Yakima, WA) is a writer, and current PhD student at UC San Diego, where she is part of the Feminist Labor Lab. She holds a BA in History from Reed College. Her primary fields of inquiry include: knowledge production, digital labor, human-computer interaction, feminist epistemologies, syndicalism, and archival theory. Dorothy has participated in talks, panels, and workshops Rutgers University, Columbia University, UCLA School of Design Media Arts, The Piet Zwart Institute, Wikimania London, Wikimania Mexico, Theorizing the Web, and the Northwest Film Forum. Dorothy is the founding editor of the Arachne webzine [] in collaboration with André Ferracci.The central question the Arachne webzine takes up is the relationship of mythology to the internet, using the myth of the spider as a starting point.

Parmer is a curatorial platform for exhibiting, programming and writing based in New York that focuses on queer and feminist strategies and post-colonial analysis. The program has been hosted by Sunview Luncheonette, Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 2015 and at a private residence in Bedford Stuyvesant in 2014. Participants and collaborators include: Park McArthur, Nikita Gale, Tom Ackers and Melanie Gilligan, Malin Arnell and Pablo Zuleta Zahr, Jessica Segall, Jeanine Oleson, Chelsea Knight, Amy Balkin, Marisa Williamson, João Enxuto and Erica Love, Silvia Federici, Premilla Nadasen, Aliza Shvartz, Arlen Austin, Dorothy Howard, Sara Eliassen, Meredyth Sparks, Thomas Love, Cassandra Guan, Liz Linden and Jen Kennedy amongst others.

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