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Title frame of Dirty Computer, a 2018 film by Janelle Monae

My doctoral dissertation, “Dirty Computer Data: Womanist Data Ethics,” is at the intersection of black queer/womanist literature and media and emergent information technology studies, combining black speculative thought and radical UI/UX design.

Original cover of Zami, A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

In reading the anti-data state politics of artist Janelle Monáe’s 2018 emotion picture Dirty Computer through poet Audre Lorde’s Zami theory of self-and community formation, the project explores what happens when black women attempt to subvert the data surveillance structures placed upon them, extrapolating radical possibilities for ethical data app design. I then build these apps in my research, presenting black women’s somatic and energetic data with these ethics in mind.

Many of my creative code projects consider black speculative thought as a metaphor to explore the relationship between black bodies and data, but my current research and teaching explicitly examines how black women have experienced information technology in order to change how we all interact with it every day.