Of art
and technology
9—19 May '24
Braga, Portugal

Unknown Label 

Nicolas Gourault 

gnration (Galeria um)

Free admission

Unknown Label reveals the hidden people who help shape how machines see the world. It all started with a curious coincidence: in 2018, German car manufacturers, taken aback by the advent of Google and Tesla, invested a lot of money in researching autonomous vehicles. They collected an immense amount of images from car sensors, which they then had to process.

That same year, Venezuela was hit by a terrible economic crisis that put thousands of workers out of work. Many of them turned to online micro-work platforms, where they joined people from Kenya and the Philippines to annotate images that were arriving by the thousands from Germany and the US.

Unknown Label explores the everyday realities of micro-workers from the Global South who annotate images that will be used for self-driving cars. It examines the power asymmetries and neo-colonialist exploitation involved in the human labour required to train AI systems.

This work was developed in 2023 as part of a European Media Art Platform (EMAP) residency at Werkleitz – Centre for Media Art, Berlin (Germany).

Nicolas Gourault
Nicolas Gourault is an artist and filmmaker based in Paris with a background in visual arts and visual studies. He has worked with Forensic Architecture before graduating from Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts. Imbued with this double training, Gourault navigates between online open-source investigations and the critical use of new media as documentary tools.

Gourault’s films and video installations explore the power relations embedded in technologies and try to construct counter-narratives through the use of situated testimony and experimental image-making.

His work has been exhibited in venues such as the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (Karlsruhe, Germany), gnration (Braga, Portugal) and Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), as well as at film festivals such as Cinéma du Réel (Paris, France), Festival dei Popoli (Florence, Italy) ou IndieLisboa (Portugal).

Unknown Label 

EMAP – European Media Art Platform is a project co-funded by the european union through the Creative Europe Programme. 


This work is supported by IF Export 2024 from the Institut Français, Paris, and the Mais França program from the Institut Français of Portugal.