TFMS - Computational Grammars: Face, Race, and “Difference”

When and Where

Friday, November 19, 2021 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm


Ramon Amaro (University College London)
Zach Blas (University of Toronto)
Ezekiel Dixon-Román (University of Pennsylvania)
Conveners: Professor Kass Banning (University of Toronto) and Aaron Tucker (York University)


The growing ubiquity of facial recognition technologies and their widespread management, from predictive policing to parasitic governance to border security and beyond demands intervening knowledge and countertactics.  Please join Ramon Amaro (University College, London, UK), Zach Blas (University of Toronto, Canada), and Ezekiel Dixon-Román (University of Pennsylvania, U.S.) for a discussion of their generative research on normative ocular regimes, algorithmic architectures, and biometric framing analytics that conjoin “difference” and the face.

RVSP required through Eventbrite

19 Friday November 2021 • 4:00 EST • Social to follow 5:30 EST

Conveners: Professor Kass Banning (University of Toronto) and Aaron Tucker (York University)

Dr. Ramon Amaro, Ph.D. is a Lecturer (Assistant Prof., equiv.) in Art and Visual Cultures of the Global South at UCL (University College London) Department of History of Art. Dr. Amaro’s writing, artistic practice, and research investigate the role of race and racism in computer vision and machine perception. His forthcoming book, The Black Technical Object: On Machine Learning and the Aspiration of Black Being (Sternberg / MIT, 2022) is a contemplation on the abstruse nature of machine learning, mathematics, and the deep incursion of racial hierarchy.

Zach Blas is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. He is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose practice spans moving image, computation, theory, performance, and science fiction. Blas engages the materiality of digital technologies while also drawing out the philosophies and imaginaries lurking in artificial intelligence, biometric recognition, predictive policing, airport security, the internet, and biological warfare.

Ezekiel Dixon-Román is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. His research seeks to make cultural and critical theoretical interventions toward rethinking and reconceptualizing the technologies and practices of quantification as mediums and agencies of systems of sociopolitical relations whereby race and other assemblages of difference are by-products. He is the author of Inheriting Possibility: Social Reproduction & Quantification in Education (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

TFMS partners include:

Brock University, OCAD University, Queens University, Ryerson University, Sheridan College, TIFF Higher Learning, University of Guelph, University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University, York University