Nora Al-Badri (Berlin/Germany) is a multi-disciplinary and conceptual media artist with a German-Iraqi background. Her works are research-based as well as paradisciplinary and as much postcolonial as post-digital. She lives and works in Berlin. She graduated in political sciences at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main and is currently the first artist-inresidence at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) and its Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+). Her practice focuses on the politics and the emancipatory potential of new technologies such as machine intelligence or data sculpting, non-human agency and transcendence. Al-Badri’s artistic material is a speculative archaeology from fossils to artefacts or performative interventions in museums and other public spaces, that respond to the inherent power structures.
In Nora Al-Badri’s Neuronal Ancestral Sculpture Series, a pre-trained neural network generates the so called techno-heritage. This speculative approach to archaeology is based on the algorithmic recombination of images of Mesopotamia, Neo-Sumerian and Assyrian artefacts. These have been collected through web crawling and scraping digital collections of five major museums. What emerges are AI-driven object visions that act as the subconscious of a collective memory. The violent colonial patina surrounding much of the cultural loss in the regions of today’s Iraq is thereby countered with a fictive, generative and future-oriented knowledge production. One that is not stable and fixed but constantly in the process of becoming.
The Berlin-based multidisciplinary artists Nora Al-Badri and Nikolai Nelles have worked together since 2009. Their artistic practice encompasses visual art, documentary filmmaking and cultural activism. Their work addresses hegemonic and neo-colonial power structures and representations of the Global North and South, reflecting on the absurdity of the human condition. The pair stage interventions to challenge social infrastructures and institutions through civil disobedience, and pursue a critical re-evaluation of the cultural commons.