Rindon Johnson (US)

Away with You, 2017

VR Film (also available as installation), 9.50mins (tbc)


Rindon Johnson is a poet and artist. Johnson’s work spans a range of media from sculpture to video, publications and VR. His practice examines race, racial identity and politics.

Away with You is a virtual reality autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) and guided meditation, which looks at the insufficiency of portraiture, both conceptually and technologically. Rindon offers a visualisation of the NBA 2K16 video game’s facial software’s inability to “read and output a black male face”. In doing so the artist exposes bias (whether conscious or unconscious) within the design and coding of computer software and games. The creation of the work entailed Johnson scanning his own face “to see what sort of man I could become”. All faces in NBA 2K16 are malleable.

Johnson juxtaposes the games’ failed attempt at outputting the image of a black male face with a soothing meditative audio track. By combing the visualisation with ASMR guided meditation Johnson considers malleability and invisibility. Johnson sums up the work in one sentence: “NBA 2K16’s facial recognition software cannot accurately read and output a black male face, now let’s try to relax”.


Courtesy of the artist.