How Tiffany Pollard Built the Internet: Simulacra, Virtuality, and Black Women and Femmes on the Internet and its Art

Friday, Nov 5, 2021
6:30pm EDT/3:30pm PDT

Workshop: 60 min

Open Call Session
Presenter: Qiaira Riley

By investigating representations of simulacra, virtuality, and black women and femmes in cyberspace, this workshop will explore how artists respond to the complexities of our digital era. Participants will explore how Black artists like Oroma Elewa and Martine Syms push up against the inherent colonization of the internet, while being introduced to the various ways these same creatives utilize the digital realm to present the experiences of their real world bodies, digital subconsciouses, and hopes for the future.

Here, Tiffany Pollard serves as a stand-in for generations of Black women and femmes who represent the internet’s potential for both oppression and liberation. Together, participants will unpack their experiences with oppression, technology, and internet culture, before collectively reimagining how to rebuild the internet, technology, and, maybe, our whole world in order to create more libertory space.


Qiaira Riley is a south-side Chicago raised Sagittarius, occasional theorist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia. She holds a dual B.A. from Lake Forest College in African American Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Socially Engaged Studio Art from Moore College of Art and Design. Her academic, curatorial, and creative work explores archiving, Black women's cooking phenomenology, ancestral veneration, internet art, and simulacra. Amongst other projects, Qiaira is currently working on Cornbread: A Black Ceramics Kitchen. This free, virtual ceramic workshop is inspired by Black food culture and its literature, and is exclusively open to Black femme and gender queer descendants of the Great Migration. Her zine, How Tiffany Pollard Built the Internet: Representations of Simulacra, Virtuality, and Black Women and Femmes on the Internet and its Art, will be released in the Fall 2021.