The original computers were women. Did you know that? Yeah, Ada Lovelace is wildly considered to be the first person to write an algorithm intended for computer programming in the mid-19th century. Today, that algorithm has grown and been modified immensely and used for a variety of things, sometimes sinister but sometimes good.
Deep Lab is a collective of cyberfeminist artists, coders, researchers, engineers, and activists bent on exploring themes of privacy, data security, surveillance, and censorship and how they relate to our daily lives. Created by artist Addie Wagenknecht, Deep Lab “take tools like hacking, which are deeply stigmatized as something typically negative, and turn them into tools for self-defense and empowerment,” she says. It’s not hacking in the sense you and I are probably familiar with, but hacking in a way to expose the underbelly of technology and ultimately how we can reclaim our control over it.
“So much of Deep Lab is about people realizing they don’t need permission to do or be or occupy a space,” Wagenknecht adds. Deep Lab’s members are at the forefront of the revolution and scattered across many areas and disciplines, each bringing their unique skills and perspectives to the table to help foster a safer, digital world. Sarah M. Aoun, pictured above, is one of the newest members of the international collective. Her experience with human rights activism and data visualization add a rich political and worldly perspective to the global group’s dynamic. Like LUNA, Aoun and Deep Lab believe in digital equality for all and that equal representation across all industries fosters a stronger, more connected, and empathetic world. Whether it’s a small collective brainstorm or a massive exhibition at the New Museum, each step Deep Lab takes brings us closer to a more inclusive world.
We caught up with Aoun to get the scoop on her experience with Deep Lab, how technology and liberation are connected, and what words of wisdom she can offer to any aspiring tech disrupter.