Johann Diedrick: Dark Matters – Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center

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Johann Diedrick: Dark Matters

June 18, 2021September 10, 2021

Opening Friday, June 18, 2021 at Squeaky Wheel’s window gallery. On view through September 10, 2021.

Click here to access the public beta of the web experience. It is best experienced on desktop computers. Click here to provide feedback for the works development.

Squeaky Wheel is excited to present a public beta of Johann Diedrick’s Dark Matters, an interactive web experience, exhibition in Squeaky Wheel’s window gallery, and series of events

Dark Matters exposes the absence of Black speech in the datasets used to train voice interface systems in consumer artificial intelligence products such as Alexa and Siri. Utilizing 3D modeling, sound, and storytelling, the project challenges our communities to grapple with racism and inequity through speech and the spoken word, and how AI systems underserve Black communities.

A video installation version of Dark Matters will be on view 24/7 for free at Squeaky Wheel’s window gallery in downtown Buffalo. An iterative online version will be available on our website June 18–September 10, 2021, which the artist intends to present as a way to receive feedback from the public on the work’s development. An outdoor soft opening will take place at Squeaky Wheel’s storefront space on Friday, June 18, between 4–6 pm, with in-person remarks by Curator Ekrem Serdar at 5 pm, and a virtual artist talk and public Q&A with the artist at 7 pm ET. An American Sign Language interpreter will be present for the virtual artist talk. More information about the exhibition, including virtual public programs led by Just Buffalo Literary Center beginning June 15, can be seen below.

Public programs

June 15 and 22, 4:30 pm-6:00 pm ET:
Virtual creative writing workshop for youth, led by Richmond Wills at Just Buffalo. Free and open to ages 12–18. Email to register. See more information here.

POSTPONED: June 18, 4–6 pm ET:
Outdoor soft opening at Squeaky Wheel, with curatorial remarks at 5 pm, 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203. Free and open to the public.

June 18, 7 pm ET:
Virtual artist Talk with Johann Diedrick. ASL interpretation provided. Free and open to the public. You can view the artist talk here.

About the artist

Johann Diedrick is a Caribbean-American artist, engineer, and musician who makes installations, performances, and sculptures for encountering our world through your ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software. He is the founder of A Quiet Life, a sonic engineering and research studio that designs and builds audio-related software and hardware products for delightfully encountering our environment and each other. He is a 2021 Mozilla Creative Media Award recipient, a member of NEW INC, and an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP program. His work has been featured in Wire Magazine, Musicworks Magazine, and presented at MoMA PS1 (Queens, NY), Somerset House (London, UK), Social Kitchen (Kyoto, Japan), Common Ground (Berlin, Germany), Recess (Brooklyn, NY), Knockdown Center (Queens, NY), and Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY).

About Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Civil Writes Project

Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Civil Writes Project CELEBRATES the legacy of prominent Black writers who have called Buffalo home, whose voices shape history, inspire radical change, and influence current and future generations of poets and writers; DRAWS INSPIRATION from Buffalo’s history as a gateway to freedom along the Underground Railroad; and CHALLENGES our community to grapple with racism and inequities through literature, to find pathways toward justice in the power of the written word, and to open hearts & minds as we confront our shared past and present in order to shape a more equitable future. See more information here.


Image: Johann Diedrick, Dark Matters (2021). Web Development by Xuan Ye. Narrative written by Alex Smith.


June 18, 2021
September 10, 2021
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Squeaky Wheel
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Squeaky Wheel
2495 Main Street, Suite 310
Buffalo, NY 14214 United States
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