Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories


Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories
Byron Peters
April 29, 2017, 3 pm
Centre A

At the Annual Conservative Party Conference in 1987, Margaret Thatcher declared: “Children who need to count and multiply are being taught anti-racist mathematics, whatever that may be.”

Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories is a presentation of tales from the history of mathematics, global power and communication technologies. From the notion of a ‘science of revolt’ declared by Brad Werner and contextualized by Donna Haraway, the history of the algorithm from al-Khw?rizm?, Karl Marx’s mathematical manuscripts, to IBM’s present-day algorithm that is cited to distinguish refugees from terrorists, this talk will speculate on the make-up of technical languages and what they could become.

We would like to acknowledge that this talk takes place on the unceded territories of the Squamish, the Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueam Peoples.

Byron Peters is an artist and writer of Chinese-Canadian and European descent. His practice critically engages labour and materiality in the context of emerging technologies; economic imaginaries; prison education; and the effects of gentrification and displacement. A participant in Centre A’s Centre B Studio Residency in 2016, his recent research investigates the shifting geographies in Vancouver in relation to social histories of exodus and succession, and speculative notions of ‘the crowd.’ Peters’ works take the forms of sound, video, sculpture, and writing, and have been presented at Oi, Hong Kong; ICA Miami; The Southbank Centre, London; The White Building, London; The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York.

Image: Math homework at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Georgia, USA. Credit: WSB-TV