neta bomani is a learner and educator who is interested in understanding the practice of reading and parsing information as a collaborative process between human and non-human computers...


Memory for a stateless person (M4SP)

Image description: A standing desk shot from above shows the project spread out on top.

Memory for a stateless person (M4SP), 2018. Mixed media (paper, cardboard, wire), axial lead resistors, arduino, python, processing. Photos via Filip Wolak.

On Dec. 12 and 13, I along with 12 other students in the Fall 2018 cohort at the School for Poetic Computation exhibited projects in our final showcase to reflect on what we learned during the program. Using resistors, arduino, python, and mixed media, I created a circuit titled “memory for a stateless person” (M4SP).

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Published in 1788, the Brookes slave ship model was designed to stow a maximum of 454 slaves. By its second journey, the ship carried at least 744 black people across the middle passage. M4SP is an installation which interrogates the prototypical nature of dark matter objects, a term I made up in reference to the book Dark Matters by Simone Browne which served as one of the primary works cited.

Image description: A black person's hand interacts with the circuit.

A black person’s hand interacts with the circuit. Photo via Filip Wolak.

In its first iteration, M4SP is a described in short as a dark matter object which holds memory. As an installation, M4SP is also circuit based off Brookes, comprised of 394 axial lead resistors to represent the black people on a single deck of the ship who were subjected to the atrocities including, but not limited to racialized surveillance and captivity.

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By touching a wire to the metal on the resistors, people interacting with the circuit can trigger a projection of archival media pertaining to the movement for Black lives scraped from the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive and a personally curated archive.

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Memory for a stateless person exhibited at the Fall 2018 showcase at the School for Poetic Computation. Photo by Minü Han.

The work is currently still in progress.