My work aims to document and reflect on the lived experience (l’expérience vécue) of being an Asian female in a technology-driven world.
Each wave of technological innovation comes with social change, and along with it, our perception of reality. When photography was invented, artistic value shifted from representation to artistic expression . When color theory and impressionism emerged, artists strive to represent the fleeting and transient moment and the impression that reality gives us. With Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Dadaism, we deviate more and more from reality.
If I were to come up with a term that describes our current situation though, it might be dataism. Of course, bright minds like David Brooks and Yuval Noah Harari beat me to it. In my eyes, humans are reduced to data points, features, groups, and principal components. And these features are consumed by different opaque algorithms to make decisions, small or big, to decide our lived experience.
I was inspired greatly by the curation of the exhibit the New Woman Behind the Camera. The curators followed the role of photography in different chapters, including: (1) self portrait (2) studio (3) street and city (4) experimental techniques (5) ethnography (6) fashion (7) reportage / social documentary (8) body and modern dance. For those women, crucially, camera became “a means of independence and self-determination” and allowed women “to create images from their own perspective and also allowed them to create a source of income to support themselves financially”.
For me, I hope in a few decades, I could be part of a show with a focus on The New New Woman Behind Data and Algorithms. I think data, code, algorithms, technology will shape a generation of females as well if I am hopeful. For me, and many other women, coding became a means of independence. It is through coding that I am able to support myself, from the comfort of the environment of my choosing. It is an immensely powerful feeling, yet the tech world is filled with all kinds of inequalities.
Although there is discourse on women in tech [5, 6, 7], I would like to come in from a different angle, less corporate and more artistic. I want to come in from a point of view of expressing these experiences in a visceral way, to pose questions, to invite people to reflect and ponder. I want people to pause for just a second, and tilt their head, and think about our experiences.
- The Photographs that Women Took. New Yorker.
- The New Woman Behind the Camera. The Met.
- How Photography Pioneered a New Understanding of Art - By Eva Silva, BA Languages, Literature and Culture
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Book by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg
- Take Back Your Power: 10 New Rules for Women at Work, Book by Deborah Liu
- The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You, Book by Julie Zhuo