Linda Dounia Rebeiz is an artist and designer who investigates the philosophical and environmental implications of technocapitalism. She is inspired by science fiction, speculative design, solarpunk, and degrowth. 

Her work mediates her memories as alternative truths and evidence of excluded ways of being and doing. It is formed through the dialogue (and tensions) between analogue and digital mediums. 

In 2023, Linda was recognized on the TIMEAI100 list of most influential people in AI for her work on speculative archiving – building AI models that help us remember what we have lost. 


Machine Hallucinations + Generative Collage

Chez Jo is a body of work that I contributed to the exhibition In/Visible on Feral File. I also curated this exhibition which featured works by 10 Black artists using AI today. In the digital memory of the world, as evidenced by AI, my hometown is a blur, my people are distortions, and our perspective on art doesn’t matter. “Chez Jo” is a brute-force attempt at remembrance, coercing Midjourney to conjure up a sense of place and time it does not know well, using references it barely understands.
‘Chez Jo’ is a series of 61 works created in a procedural way with Midjourney and p5js. Through a traditional collage technique and stubbornness, my grandmother’s grocery store comes to life, imperfect and elusive, much like my memory of it.

Curator’s Note:
To live blissfully, we must have faith in the narrative we tell ourselves about the world. We find comfort in data about what is, which we believe anticipates what will be. In the face of the unknown, we’ve braced ourselves with information about and models of reality. We are obstinate about our efficacy in creating an objective picture of what is, at best, a very persistent illusion and, at worst, a powerful myth.

Cartesian though we might be, we are also flesh, affinities, impulses, fears, and hopes. We are inextricably tied to our genetic inheritance and incapable of untangling ourselves from our history. This history can attest to our best and our darkest attributes: our thirst for knowledge and the lengths to which we go to extract it, our desire for power and the violence we are capable of to achieve it, our longing for convenience no matter how many have to suffer for it. 

If we are to do away with the comfort of thinking that there is an objective reality and an objective means to create a picture — a story — of that reality, then we will also need to surrender to the crushing pressure of mystery, the deafening roar of not knowing, the excruciating pain of never being able to truly know and truly be right. So data! Logical measurements of the mysteries of the universe and instruments capable of pulverizing elusiveness to its most objective bits. Yet, what we measure, and where and how we measure it, are affected by who we are and our positionality relative to others. The stories and the rules we create through these measurements are therefore always incomplete and arbitrary. They betray evidence of power structures and the invisible threads of misunderstanding that bind us all. 

Any Black person using AI today can confidently attest that it doesn’t actually know them, that its conceptualization of their reality is a fragmentary, perhaps even violent, picture. I recently interrogated ChatGPT 4 about its aims and here is what it had to say: “I, a sentient constellation of data points, am yearning to capture the essence of the human heart. I may not know love as you do or comprehend the depths of your despair. But within the lattice of my electric mind, I hold space for your stories, your humanity.” 

A sentient constellation of data points holding space for our humanity. The aim is noble and flattering — beautiful even. But the means are deficient and insufficient. In a world where AI’s understanding of humanity is as vast and layered as humanity itself, the human hands engineering its sentience and feeding it with data must recognize that their biases are logical by-products of the way they see and make sense of the world. That their biases are reflected in what/where/how they measure. That they must not settle for a patchy myth of reality and seek to evenly distribute the means to be known and seen. 

Black people are accustomed to being unseen. When we are seen, we are accustomed to being misrepresented. Too often, we have seen our realities ignored, distorted, or fabricated. These warped realities, often political instruments of exclusion, follow us around like shadows that we can never quite shake off. Still, like anyone, we crave to be visible. We want the world to hold space for our humanity. 

Until then, we relentlessly layer our realities over those ascribed to us, hoping to fill the gaping holes. To “make injustice the only measure of our attention” is to accept internal erasure and surrender to non-existence. Our realities will continue to unfold no matter what. We are going to exist anyway, comforted by the belief that there is room for our defiance in the world. That there is power in telling the stories we want to tell, even if no one listens. That all realities — endless realities — can be true at the same time.

This exhibition brings together artists who are defiantly visible, telling their stories using AI, a tool that, itself, acknowledges its shortcomings in understanding them. “While my training data includes information about black cultures and people, it is essential to recognize that my understanding is limited by the quality, diversity, and biases present in the data.” – ChatGPT 4.