Cassandra Gemmell (Cass) (She/Her/They/Them)

Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories, OCAD University.

I have just completed my second year as a graduate student at OCAD University in the Contemporary Art,Design, New Media Art Histories and in the second year of my program. In my master’s research I explored the historical precedents of new media such as Artificial Intelligence with a focus on the intersection of aesthetics and science as well as technology, myth and folklore. Central to my research was approaching the body as a text and as a site of social mapping in which myths of technology and science, narratives of citizenship and subjectivity as well as cultural conceptions of health, deviance and disease are formed. I argued that - from the photographic archive and cartographic practices of the Victorian era to the contemporary development of neural networks which seek to track COVID-19 outbreaks - there exists a genealogy of visual-spatial rendering of identity and nation and oppressive systems of classification. I demonstrated this visual history of mapping pathology and how it is located within and reconfigures the social and material body. I tracked the development of a visual archive consisting of medical illustration, anthropometric photography, poverty and medical maps of the nineteenth century, biometric facial recognition and Pandemic maps constructed by neural networks with data visualization methods that involve the mining of public/private data.