France / Germany 2023
Multi-channel video installation (17:00 minutes)
It all started with a curious coincidence. In 2018, German car manufacturers, taken aback by the advent of Google and of Tesla, invested a lot of money in research on autonomous vehicles. They gathered an immense amount of data from car sensors that needed to be processed. In that same year, Venezuela was hit by a terrible economic crisis. Thousands of workers lost their jobs, and many of them turned to online micro-working platforms. They ended up annotating the thousands of images being generated from German car manufacturers.
This multi-channel video installation explores the daily reality of online microworkers from the Global South who annotate images for self-driving cars. The work investigates the power asymmetries and neocolonialist exploitation involved in the human labour necessary to train AI systems. Unknown Label reveals the hidden people that help shape how machines see the world.
This work was realised within the framework of a European Media Art Platform residency program at Werkleitz – Centre for Media Art with support from the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.
Nicolas Gourault― Artist
Nicolas Gourault is an artist and filmmaker based in Paris (FR) with a background in visual arts and visual studies. He has worked with Forensic Architecture before graduating from Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts.
His work is imbued with this double training, navigating between online open-source investigations and the critical use of new media as documentary tools. His films and video installations explore the power relationships embedded in technologies and tries to build counter-narratives through the use of situated testimony and experimental image-making.
His artworks have been exhibited in contemporary art venues such as Centre Pompidou (FR), the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (DE), Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) (DE), Ars Electronica (AT), la Cité internationale des arts (FR), LOOP Barcelona video art fair (ES) and le musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (FR), but also in film festivals such as Cinéma du Réel (FR), Hot Docs (CA), Sheffield Doc|Fest (UK), Festival Nouveaux Cinéma (CA), Festival dei Popoli (IT), IndieLisboa (PT), E Tudo Verdade (BR), Punto de Vista (ESP).