Conversations · Exhibition-Related

Digital Self-Defense and Empowerment Workshops, Pt. I

Handmade Computers with Taeyoon Choi

Cover Image:

A handemade computer by Taeyoon Choi, 2015

What is computer, really? Computer is an idea that’s evolved over time. The sleek machines we use day-to-day are made from elements extracted from the earth, and every bit of data is actually something, somewhere. And underneath the operating systems, there’s a history that needs to be examined. Let’s build a computer, from its most fundamental elements: Adder, Clock, and Memory. By handmaking a computer, soldering electronic components, we may find an elegance in the abstraction and repetition of computational logic that can only be described as “poetic.” The 1-Bit Computer Kit is an open-source tool and curriculum for making computing more accessible. By learning how computers work on a fundamental level, participants can gain agency and imagine a reciprocal relationship with technology. We can make technology more approachable by giving access to tools and ideas and demystifying computer science.

Registration for this event is currently full.

In conjunction with “Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half-Truths,” this afternoon of workshops extends the exhibition’s inquiry into the complexities of determining identity and truth to the online sphere. Addressing increasing vulnerability and participation in surveillance, artists and activists will offer tools to learn about how data is mined and fed back to us, as well as strategies for self-protection, particularly for members of vulnerable communities. Workshops will support the demystification of hidden processes through both tactile, hands-on experiences and analytic software. Workshops are presented in collaboration with Equality Labs and NEW INC residents DATA X and Taeyoon Choi.

“Digital Self-Defense and Empowerment Workshops” are organized on the occasion of the exhibition and residency “Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half-Truths,” part of the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s annual Summer R&D Season: SOCIAL JUSTICE.

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator, and activist based in New York and Seoul. His art practice involves performance, electronics, drawings, and installations that often form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. He has published artists’ books including Urban Programming 101 (2011) and Anti-Manifesto (2012), and has presented collaborative performances at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, and NEW INC. Choi also cofounded the School for Poetic Computation, where he continues to organize sessions and teach. Recently, he has been focused on unlearning the wall between disability and normalcy, and enhancing accessibility and inclusion within art and technology.


“Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half-Truths” is made possible through support provided by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.

Additional support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

We gratefully acknowledge the New Museum Council for Artists’
Research and Residencies: Alexandra Bowes, Gregory R. Miller and Michael Wiener,
and Laurie Wolfert, Co-Chairs; Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons,
Emily Bingham and Stephen Reily, Terry Gamble Boyer and Peter Boyer,
Isolde Brielmaier, Jenny Choo, Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt, Julia Gruen, Ruben Levi,
and the Mimi Saltzman Foundation.​

Further exhibition support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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