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2024 National YoungArts Week: Design, Photography & Visual Arts Exhibition Opening + Being (the Digital Griot) by Rashaad Newsome

Friday, January 12, 2024 | 7:30 pm EDT | Free | YoungArts Gallery

About the Event

Celebrate the final night of 2024 National YoungArts Week with an evening of discipline-spanning art on the YoungArts Campus. Featuring work by 2024 YoungArts winners in Design, Photography and Visual Arts, with a special artificial intelligence installation by Rashaad Newsome, Being (the Digital Griot), and an interdisciplinary performance with local musicians. 

7:30 PM YoungArts Gallery Opens
8:15 PM Being (the Digital Griot) interdisciplinary performance with local musicians on the YoungArts Plaza 
8:45 PM Meet the YoungArts winners in Design, Photography and Visual Arts  

Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served on the plaza. Complimentary valet available; rideshare and public transit encouraged. 


About Being (the Digital Griot) by Rashaad Newsome 

Being is a social humanoid artificial intelligence created by interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome. Using a combination of 3D animation, game engines, scripted responses, generative grammars, unique machine learning models and counterhegemonic algorithms, Being leads participatory workshops that teach decolonization through a combination of lecture, critical thinking, dance, storytelling, conversation and mindfulness meditation, guiding participants to think critically about their lives and find approaches for positive change. Being expresses themself creatively through their original poetry inspired by the work of Oakland-based Black Queer poet Dazié Rustin Grego-Sykes. These readings are accompanied by a diasporic ASMR soundscape composed by Rashaad and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. The soundscape is comprised of culturally specific sounds that were found to be calming in a 2020 survey of over 80 Black people that Newsome conducted during his three-year residency at The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. Being is a reinterpretation of non-Eurocentric archival and educational models such as the griot, a West African cultural figure who functions as a historian, library, performance artist and healer. This educational approach offers new opportunities for research, reflection, action, and a unique intellectual experience for all people. 

Rashaad describes Being as, “all about thought production and motivating us all to be the best version of ourselves. Working with YoungArts is an opportunity to collaborate with and inspire exceptionally talented young artists from around the nation.”