Salome Asega

RATs (2022)

Risk Assessment Tools (RATs) are spreading rapidly and impacting many layers of decision-making, including bail and prison sentencing, welfare eligibility, medical benefits, and housing services. In all cases, it means that life-altering decisions are determined by an artificial intelligence – based on biased data. The installation inside the museum includes Asega’s specially designed wallpaper, a 3D-printed model and recordings of her interviews with researchers, activists and artists about the implications of RATs in society.  Combining the acronym RAT with monster trucks – a feature of her Las Vegas childhood – Asega packages serious social issues in a playful form, with sinister undertones. Outside the museum, a rat-shaped monster truck can be viewed via Augmented Reality (AR).

NB: Scan the QR code on the glass sides of Oda’s bridge to see the full-size AR) version of the truck via your phone.

A commission for The Machine is Us

Salome Asega (b. 1989 USA, based in Brooklyn, USA) is an artist and design researcher whose work explores the social and cultural impacts of emerging technology. She is currently director of NEW INC at the New Museum in New York, and was previously a Technology Fellow in the Ford Foundation's Creativity and Free Expression programme. Asega is a co-founder of POWRPLNT, a digital art lab in Brooklyn and she teaches speculative design courses at The New School.

Contributors to the soundtrack: Virginia Eubanks, political scientist working on technology and social justice; Ruha Benjamin, sociologist focusing on the intersection of race, justice and technology; and Rashida Richardson, legal expert on technology policy, civil rights and algorithmic bias.