Data & Democracy: Francesca Bria and Hito Steyerl

MAY 03, 2021 | 12:00 PM



May 03, 2021: 12:00 PM




Art Science Connect



Imagine a “data commons” where accumulated personal statistics are structured from the bottom-up, as opposed to state and corporate top-down jurisdiction. A commons in which individual citizens determine their habits, and understand the sharing of biometric information as a personal and free act of volition. Imagine, and see: there is no digital revolution without a democratic revolution.

Italian IT innovator Francesca Bria and German media artist and theorist Hito Steyerl will discuss the visionary and practical application of encryption technology and blockchain distribution to ensure citizen sovereignty over their own data profile, while still providing communities and municipalities with essential information needed for improving real-world social and cultural conditions from monitoring indoor air quality to constructing a cooperative sphere of artistic production and participation.


Hito Steyerl is a Berlin-based filmmaker, moving image artist, writer, and innovator of the essay documentary. Her principal topics of interest are media, technology, and the global circulation of images. Steyerl’s recent retrospective “I will survive,” is currently on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Born in Munich, she studied at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image and holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Francesca Bria is the President of the Italian National Innovation Fund. She is an Italian information technologist who lectures at various universities and is a consultant to the United Nations and the European Commission. Bria is Honorary Professor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL in London. Forbes Magazine lists her as among the top 50 women in technology for 2018. She holds Ph.D. in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbec.

Gregory Sholette (Moderator) is a New York-based artist, writer, and activist whose latest book, The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art is forthcoming from Lund Humphries. Together with ChloĆ« Bass he co-directs the new,  Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Social Practice initiative SPCUNY at the Center for Humanities, The Graduate Center. Sholette holds a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam.