Kate Crawford’s residency at ANU was focused on completing her collaborative research-art project, Calculating Empires: A Geneology of Technology and Power with Vladan Joler.

The project opened in November 2023 at Fondazione Prada in Milan. It was next on display at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and is scheduled to tour across the world over the next few years.

Calculating Empires from the Prada installation in November 2023. Photo: Piercarlo Quecchia.
Calculating Empires from the Prada installation in November 2023. Photo: Piercarlo Quecchia.

Calculating Empires is a part of Knowing Machines, a multidisciplinary, international, research project tracing the histories, practices, and politics of how machine learning systems are trained to interpret the world. You can learn more about Calculating Empires on the Knowing Machines website and Podcast.

Kate’s earlier project with Vladan, Anatomy of an AI System, was featured in the School of Cybernetics exhibition Australian Cybernetic: A point through time (2022) and remained on display at ANU’s Birch Building for 18 months.

The large-scale map of this work (pictured below) accompanies a long-form essay and website, all working to investigate and make visible the human labour, data, and planetary resources that go into a singular Amazon Echo.

Click here to see the map in the full scale

The scale of this system is almost beyond human imagining. How can we begin to see it, to grasp its immensity and complexity as a connected form?

Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, 2018

Anatomy of an AI System has also been transformed by the School into a portable version utilized as a teaching tool for the university to address the extractive practices with non-renewable resources, data, and labour that drive AI. 

Kate Crawford is a leading scholar of the social and political implications of artificial intelligence and was an inaugural 2022-2023 Cybernetic Imagination Resident.

Visit Kate Crawford’s profile

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The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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