Visualizing Systemic Housing Inequality (Fall 2021)


Long history of injustices spanning many generations into the past makes it difficult to see their effects and origins and even more difficult to correct them. Societies with deep histories of injustice will not be able to heal unless the inherent debt owed by those who benefit from past injustice can be visualized so that they can start to make amends. Those burdened by entrenched injustice cannot escape the effects so long as the structures embedded in society that maintain the status quo are invisible and unremedied.

Project Description

This project will use the tools of live performance and big data to visualize the debts and burdens of injustice. Team members will create and use models capable of real-time generation of individual injustice debt and burden based on data collected from a wide pool of sources. 

Tools on injustice like racial profilers and facial recognition systems will be used to rapidly classify participants in performances. Tools of the digital society will be used to just as rapidly compute each individual’s likely injustice debt or burden. Tools like biometric trackers will be used to map this debt and burden data onto individuals so that creative live performance can be used to visualize the debt and burden of individuals and those around them.

The team will create an interactive installation that will be sited in the Rubenstein Arts Center for two or more weeks. The installation will be animated by a live performance that incorporates the artists of SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology alongside team members in a series of events. The performance will include a “reparations playground” component where performance participants will visualize the impact various reparations might have to help audiences see the necessity of reparations for healing.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.

Anticipated Outputs

Interactive installation and live performances


Fall 2021 – Summer 2022

  • Fall 2021: Begin ideation process to formulate social and technical data collection pathways; start to collect data and experiment with performance modalities
  • Spring 2022: Construct software and hardware interfaces for reparations playground and injustice debt and burden visualization; choreograph for performances; perform some part of project at Choreolab 22 event
  • Summer 2022 (optional): Provide live performances for Duke community as part of Rubenstein Arts Center end-of-year and summer activities; possibly perform the work elsewhere

Team Outputs to Date

Visualizing Systemic Housing Inequality (exhibition and live performance, December 2-3, 2021, SLIPPAGE Lab, Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University)

Visualizing Housing Inequality (Video)


Team Leaders

  • Thomas F. DeFrantz, Arts & Sciences-African and African American Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Kate Guillen, Art and Art History-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Yvonne Bonsu
  • Allison Bunker, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Darcy Cook, Public Policy Studies (AB), Economics (BS2)
  • Courtney Dantzler, Interdepartmental Major
  • Kushagra Ghosh
  • Clara Harms
  • Arielle Hutchinson, Statistical Science (BS), Int Comparative Studies (AB2)
  • Gautam Iyer, Computer Science (BS), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
  • Gianni Lacey-Howard, Sociology (AB)
  • Yixuan Li
  • Alanna Miller, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Vaneesha Patel, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Aryan Poonacha
  • Joseph Rauch, Public Policy Studies (AB), Dance (AB2)
  • Jamael Smith
  • Maxwell Wyatt

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Martin Brooke, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Genna Miller, Arts & Sciences-Economics