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FurtherList No.9 August 23rd 2019

A list of recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events, Exhibitions, Festivals and Conferences

THE ATMOSPHERICS 9 (A Blue Million Miles) | Jeremy Welsh & Trond Lossius,Aug 23 – Sept 29, 2019 | The Atmospherics is one of the ongoing collaborative projects of Trond Lossius and Jeremy Welsh. Through field recordings they capture unique qualities from different natural landscapes and urban areas. The recorded audio and video material is then filtered, edited, modified and mixed to highlight some characters or to mute others. The intention is not to document the sites, but rather to build a database of audiovisual material that is combined in different ways in their installations, where each assembly becomes a “temporary place”, constructed of impulses from different geographical areas. https://teks.no/event/atmospherics-9/

XEN – Assemblage #10 Technoshamanism | Hosted by XenoEntities Network, Aug 31st 2019 | Panel discussion about INDIGENOUS HEALTH / BRAZIL: “Mutirão Pataxó: Task Force for Health!” with Fabiane M. Borges & Rafael Frazão in conjunction with XEN presents: Anti-hijacking Dream Lab presented by XenoEntities Network in collaboration with Maria F. Scaroni | The invitation is extended to anyone interested in what is happening now to the indigenous population in Brazil | free entry – Uferstudios Für Zeitgenössischen Tanz, Studio 11 | Berlin, Germany | FB – Link – http://tiny.cc/9dlibz

The Old Waterworks Relaunch | Hosted by The Old Waterworks | Reopening our doors and kicking off with a relaunch event on Saturday 31 August, 12-6pm! “Throughout the day our new library is accessible to browse, a collaboration with GRRRL ZINE FAIR and The Agency of Visible Women. TOW’s risograph printer will be up and running for you to print your own poster, and a drop in zine making workshop will be running on the day too.” Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK | FB link – http://tiny.cc/smkibz

Sonic Electronics withTerritorial Gobbing / High Pit / LauraNetz | Hosted by Laura Netz and Theo Gowans | Sonic Electronics is an experimental event which happens 1st Wednesday monthly The Others – Stoke Newington. “We propose an anti-techno-capitalist approach to music genres like ambient, drone, techno, experimental, electronics, acousmatic, live coding, noise, vaporwave, glitch, …..” Sonic Electronics is an inclusive event to the LGBT community, female artists, no discrimination on gender, races, MH, disability | FB link – http://tiny.cc/6llibz

Jan Robert Leegte – Clear Obscure | 07.07–​01.09.2019 | Jan Robert Leegte’s ex­hi­bi­tion Clear Obscure fills the Ge­nieloods with draw­ings and per­for­mances. The draw­ings refer to the prac­tice of chiaroscuro from the Re­nais­sance pe­riod. The com­puter per­for­mances range from doc­u­ment per­for­mances and syn­thetic wilder­nesses to recita­tions from be­hind the wall of the black box. As ar­chi­tec­ture the in­stal­la­tion mir­rors the en­vi­ron­ment of Fort bij Vijfhuizen, cre­ating an im­mer­sive land­scape of mul­tiple per­spec­tives, frag­ments and times – http://tiny.cc/4ojibz

Opening: The Underlying by Ami Clarke | Exhibition hosted by arebyte gallery | The Underlying, a new body of work by London based artist Ami Clarke, including Derivative (Virtual Reality, 6 mins), Lag Lag Lag (video interface with live sentiment analysis), and The Prosthetics (prosthetic optics, blown glass). The contractual condition of both finance, and insurance, reveals the negative effects of capitalism on the environment, through a relationship with the past, that indicates that the future is coming up increasingly short. Thursday, 19 September 2019 | FB link – http://tiny.cc/ou8jbz

CITIZENS OF EVIDENCE: Independent Investigations for Change | Exploring the investigative impact of grassroots communities and citizens to expose injustice, corruption and power asymmetries. The Art of Exposing Injustice – Part 3. In the context of the debate about deliberate disinformation, fake news, and spreading of false facts, does it still make sense to speak about “evidence” as providing direct proof of the truth of facts? How can journalists, storytellers and activists provoke awareness by disclosing hidden information, when the boundary between the meaning of what is fake and what is real is becoming progressively blurred? Curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli. In cooperation with Transparency International |  #dnl17 #Citevidence · Berlin · september 20—21 · 2019 – http://tiny.cc/1a7jbz

RE: Infrastructures | Exploring the collective care and maintenance of alternative networking practices—new protocols, peer-to-peer connections, offline-first computing, and community-based governance. Our Networks is a conference about the past, present, and future of building our own network infrastructures. The event brings together enthusiasts, hardware and software hackers, researchers, organizers and more to collectively explore creative and critical engagements with the Internet and alternative infrastructures  September 20–22, 2019 Toronto Media Arts Centre, Toronto, Ontario – https://ournetworks.ca/

Books, Call for Papers & Publications

How to Make a Mask | By Pedro Barateiro | Edited by João Mourão and Luís Silva | How to Make a Mask borrows its title from a 2011 performance by the Portuguese artist Pedro Barateiro in which he reflects upon the role of the individual within the sociopolitical situations of the collective through references ranging from psychological tests to the history of theater. It is now apparent, after all these years, that such new forms of communication and interaction are easily manipulated, facilitating new forms of political control. Along with the artist’s own writings and visual material, this volume features new essays by Ana Teixeira Pinto and Anders Kreuger, an epilogue by Pieternel Vermoortel and Els Silvrants-Barclay, and an extended note by the editors João Mourão and Luís Silva | Sternberg Press – http://tiny.cc/6pnibz

Call for Papers! Reflecting Black: 400 Hundred Years of African American Life and History | Thursday, October 24, 2019 | The Symposium aims to promote cutting-edge research in Africana studies produced by scholars and emerging scholars. During the symposium, we will also discuss effective transdisciplinary pedagogical strategies and creative methods that faculty might employ to enrich the educational experiences of students of color, especially transfer and first-generation college students – http://tiny.cc/xtekbz

Peter Kennard: Visual Dissent | This fully illustrated anthology showcases key images from Peter Kennard’s work as Britain’s foremost political artist over the last fifty years. The book centres around Kennard’s images, photomontages and illustrations from protests, year by year, which provoked public outrage; including Israel/Palestine protests, anti-nuclear protests, responses to austerity, climate destruction, and more. Each image is accompanied by captions detailing not only the events in question, but Kennard’s approach to the work, including the genesis of the images and the techniques employed. Pluto Press – http://tiny.cc/l9lib

The Art of Direct Action: Social Sculpture and Beyond | Karen van den Berg, Cara M. Jordan, Philipp Kleinmichel (Eds.) | One of the most significant shifts in contemporary art during the past two decades concerns artists and collectives who have moved their artistic focus from representation to direct social action. This publication shows why this transition might change our understanding of artistic production at large and make us reconsider the role of art in society. The book gathers internationally recognized artists, scholars, and experts in the field of socially engaged art to reflect upon historical developments in this field and explore the role that German artist Joseph Beuys’s concept of social sculpture played in its evolution | SternbergPress – http://tiny.cc/ulpibz

Matter and Form, Self-Evidence and Surprise: On Jean-Luc Moulène’s Objects | By Alain Badiou | Foreword by Miguel Abreu | Translated by Robin Mackay | he eminent French philosopher “dialecticizes” five of the artist Jean-Luc Moulène’s objects with five conceptual formations from the history of Western philosophy. Badiou’s musings go on to pair a broken and repaired plastic chair with Victor Hugo; a terrible hand made of concrete with the Freudian unconscious; and a large-scale “red and blue monster” with rudimentary mechanisms of the Cartesian cogito, the famous “I think, therefore I am,” with unexpected inversions and variations – http://tiny.cc/e0nibz

Articles, Interviews & Presentations

UK’s first-ever permanent rainbow crossing unveiled in London | By Vic Parsons on Pink news | For the first time, a permanent rainbow crossing in solidarity with the LGBT+ community has been installed on a street in London. The crossing – which is actually four separate rainbow crossings, across four lanes of major roads – has been unveiled in Lambeth, a south London borough, and was officially opened on August 16 – http://tiny.cc/l4ekbz

India: Digital Platforms, Technologies and Data in the 2014 and 2019 Elections | When Tactical Tech’s Data and Politics research team began to investigate how personal and individual data was being utilised in modern, digitally-enhanced political campaigns, we were quickly struck by the unbalanced coverage, particularly in the media, of the methods and strategies of data acquisition, analysis and utilisation by political campaigns across countries and different political contexts – http://tiny.cc/zzekbz

A cycle of renewal, broken: How Big Tech and Big Media abuse copyright law to slay competition | Cory Doctorow | As long we’ve had electronic mass media, audiences and creators have benefited from periods of technological upheaval that force old gatekeepers to compete with brash newcomers with new ideas about what constitutes acceptable culture and art. Those newcomers eventually became gatekeepers themselves, who then faced their own crop of revolutionaries. But today, the cycle is broken: as media, telecoms, and tech have all grown concentrated, the markets have become winner-take-all clashes among titans who seek to dominate our culture, our discourse and our communications | Boing Boing – http://tiny.cc/t5iibz

I Am a Meme Now — and So Are You | By Timothy Kreider | Maybe wisdom is accepting that you don’t get to decide who you are | The culture of unabashed appropriation on the internet only makes more literal the loss of ownership to which any artist has to resign themselves. Any time you publish a piece of writing, or release a work of art into the world, you relinquish control over it. People get to interpret it however they want, projecting their experience and biases onto it, twisting it to fit their own history and issues, sometimes misunderstanding it entirely. Medium – https://humanparts.medium.com/i-am-a-meme-now-and-so-are-you-3bae8ecf9971

New evidence emerges of Russian role in Ukraine conflict | Forensic Architecture, a London-based research group, has collected and catalogued evidence of Russian military involvement in the battle of Ilovaysk in August 2014, including the presence of a model of tank used only by the Russian armed forces at that time. The evidence will be appended to a case to be ruled on by the European court of human rights (ECHR) and has been released on a publicly viewable online platform | Shaun Walker, Guardian – http://tiny.cc/1i4fbz

Market Forces video documentation | Film of the Market Forces event on Thursday 18th July 2019 hosted by Swap Market at Bike for Good, Govanhill, Glasgow | The event looked at the relationship of artists project to issues of gentrification and rent increase. With talks from Stepehen Pritchard, Raman Mundair, Peel Eezy, Living Rent and an introduction from artists in residence for Southside Central: Alex Wilde, Ailie Rutherford and Alaya Ang – https://vimeo.com/354722263

‘It’s an act of defiance’: the rise of all-female festival lineups | Sarah Marsh | Major music festivals such as Reading and Leeds continue to feature mostly male artists, but a number of events are fighting back by removing men from the billing altogether. This year, a number of festival organisers are attempting to redress the issue by having only women on stage. Those with all-female lineups include Native festival in Kent, Loud Women Fest in north London, and Boudica festival in Coventry | Guardian – http://tiny.cc/pziibz

Concrete Science Fiction Riot: Why Do We Ignore The 70s French Underground? | By Warren Hatter | English-speaking music fans don’t clumsily refer to “underground and progressive German music of the 70s”, because we have a handy shorthand: Krautrock. No such luck if you’re looking to refer collectively to a body of work that is just as challenging and impressive overall: the French avant-garde/progressive underground of the same period | The Quietus – http://tiny.cc/3j5fbz

Main image “Drawings” Jan Robert Leegte – Clear Obscure. Pastel on paper, 2019. Shown at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen 2019.

FurtherList No.8 August 16th 2019

A list of recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change

Events & Exhibitions

SCRATCH! George Barber | TACO! presents SCRATCH! | An exhibition of over 15 works made between 1983 and 2012 by the influential British Video artist George Barber. Though George Barber’s work is as varied and fluid as it is non conformist and irreverent, this exhibition focuses exclusively on a specific approach in his production oeuvre, – that of Barber’s use of appropriation. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of events including screenings, talks and experimental music | see — https://taco.org.uk/George-Barber-SCRATCH

Unpredictable Series presents AV Night | Wednesday, 21 August 2019 | Unpredictable Series presents AV Night dedicated to various audiovisual performances, combining digital and analogue approaches with improvisation in each set. The evening will feature: The first time trio: Matt Black, Blanca Regina and Reuben Sutherland | FB invite – http://tiny.cc/ryk6az

MTCD – A Visual Anthology of My Machine Life | A lecture performance, in which the artist Teresa Dillon walks through key machines that have marked her life – it begins with an incubator, which has significantly affected her life, but not just hers; for most machines in her life, almost all of us remember their first use: the internet, for example, an android robot, or a mobile phone. She talks about machines, but also about people and places and relationships – therefore, it is not a performance about machines, but rather about us | 2 dates · 25 Aug – 26 Aug 2019 – http://tiny.cc/v6k6az

Porn The Theory – Fantasy The Practice | By Stewart Home & Itziar Bilbao Urrutia — 30 August 2019, 7-10PM | Public · Hosted by Cable Depot and Darling Pearls & Co | The exhibition invites us to re-consider obsolete gender politics in the arts as well as in the sex industry. Porn The Theory (2019) – 06’42’’ – is a re-enactment of the butter scene from Last Tango In Paris (1972). In it Stewart Home plays the part originally assigned to the actress Maria Schneider (1952-2011) while Itziar Bilbao Urrutia plays composite of the male roles: Marlon Brando (1924-2006) and Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018) FB link – http://tiny.cc/b7l6az | Exhibition Continues : 31 August – 1 September 2019

Susan Hiller at Matt’s Gallery presents Ghost / TV | An exhibition of objects and video by Susan Hiller that continues her investigations into the numinous, the ephemeral, and the personal. At the time of her passing in January 2019, Hiller was due to start planning her fifth exhibition with Matt’s Gallery, following on from Work in Progress in 1980, An Entertainment in 1991, The Last Silent Movie in 2008, and Channels in 2013 – shows which introduced some of her most groundbreaking and iconic works. The exhibition had to be postponed, and Ghost / TV has been developed since then in close collaboration with Susan Hiller’s son, Gabriel Coxhead. 25 September–27 October 2019 | Private View: Sunday 22 September 2019 — http://tiny.cc/6kh8az

Live Code Summer School | European live coding summer school! Learn to quickly+easily make algorithmic patterns with Hydra (for visuals) or TidalCycles/FoxDot (for music). Hang out with other nice people in the fine city of Sheffield, one of the crucibles of electronic music, with the rugged Peak District national park a stone’s throw away. 30th Aug (around 5pm-7pm) & 31st Aug – 1st Sep (10am-5pm both days) – a two-day intensive course in TidalCycles or Hydra, from the ground up. Full info and registration: https://livecode-summerschool.github.io/

LYDIA LUNCH Presents: SO REAL IT HURTS | Lydia Lunch & special guests come together to mark the London launch of her most recent book, So Real It Hurts. An occasion for senseless celebration | “So Real It Hurts is the perfect title for this collection. It’s a mission statement. A few bleeding slices straight from the butcher shop. A sampler from an enormous archive of work that will, no doubt, be pored over by grad students, book lovers, film historians, music nerds and straight-up perverts a hundred years from now.” | At the Horse Hospital, London  Friday, 13 September 2019 7:30 pm 11:30 pm – http://tiny.cc/mvu6az

Books

Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency | By Finn Brunton | The incredible story of the pioneers of cryptocurrency takes us from autonomous zones on the high seas to the world’s most valuable dump, from bank runs to idea coupons, from time travelers in a San Francisco bar to the pattern securing every twenty-dollar bill, and from marketplaces for dangerous secrets to a tank of frozen heads awaiting revival in the far future. Along the way, Digital Cash explores the hard questions and challenges that these innovators faced: How do we learn to trust and use different kinds of money? What makes digital objects valuable and more – http://tiny.cc/3rn6az

ORGANIZE | By Timon Beyes, Lisa Conrad, and Reinhold Martin | A pioneering systematic inquiry into—and mapping of—the field of media and organization | The dialogical form of the essays in Organize provides a concise and path-breaking view on the recursive relation between technological media and social organization. Bringing together leading media thinkers and organization theorists, the book interrogates organization as an effect and condition of media, and establishes and maps “media and organization” as a highly relevant field of inquiry | University of Minnesota Press – http://tiny.cc/r2t6az

Josephine Berry – Art and (Bare) Life: A Biopolitical Inquiry | By Joesphine Berry | Art and (Bare) Life: A Biopolitical Inquiry analyzes modern and contemporary art’s drive to blur with life, and how this is connected to the democratic state’s biologized control of life. Art’s ambition to transform life intersects in striking ways with modern biopower’s aim to normalize, purify, judge, and transform life-rendering it bare – http://tiny.cc/mak6az

Guidebook for an Armchair Pilgrimage | Phil Smith & Tony Whitehead (text) ~ John Schott (photography) | In the 15th century, Felix Fabri combined the two, using his visits to Jerusalem to write a handbook for nuns wanting to make a pilgrimage in the imagination, whilst confined to their religious houses. The Guidebook followed Fabri’s example: first walking together over many weeks – not to reach a destination but simply to find one – then, in startling words and images, conjuring an armchair pilgrimage for the reader… along lanes and around hills, into caves and down to the coast. Triarchy Press – http://tiny.cc/0yw6az

Digital Sound Studies | Editor(s): Mary Caton Lingold, Darren Mueller, Whitney Trettien | The digital turn has created new opportunities for scholars across disciplines to use sound in their scholarship. This volume’s contributors provide a blueprint for making sound central to research, teaching, and dissemination. They show how digital sound studies has the potential to transform silent, text-centric cultures of communication in the humanities into rich, multisensory experiences that are more inclusive of diverse knowledges and abilities | Duke press – http://tiny.cc/n5o6az

Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (1995) | Editor(s): Carol J. Adams, Josephine Donovan | A collection of pioneering essays that explores the theoretical connections between feminism and animal defense. Offering a feminist perspective on the status of animals, this unique volume argues persuasively that both the social construction and oppressions of women are inextricably connected to the ways in which we comprehend and abuse other species. Furthermore, it demonstrates that such a focus does not distract from the struggle for women’s rights, but rather contributes to it | Duke press – http://tiny.cc/8ep6az

Articles & Interviews


Last Night A Distributed Cooperative Organization Saved My Life: A brief introduction to DisCOs |
By Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel | A set of organisational tools and practices for groups of people who want to work together in a cooperative, commons-oriented, and feminist economic form. DisCO is also an alternative to another form called the Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAO. By design, DAOs can earn their own money, and contract and pay for services — they can actually create and wield their own economic power, according to the interests of their programmers – http://tiny.cc/xnj6az

Murray Bookchin’s libertarian technics | The first in a series of critical introductions to thinkers and concepts that inform discussion of the climate crisis, looking at Murray Bookchin’s ideas about technology. For Bookchin, the profit motive constrains and limits human creativity to that which can be commodified – http://tiny.cc/yl1xaz

The Artistic Achievements of Native Americans Through the Ages | By Eric Vilas-Boas | The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s series of talks and tours on Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection helps visitors better contextualize artwork by Indigenous creators across the centuries. It was a big deal when the Metropolitan Museum of Art began displaying work by Indigenous artists in its American Wing in 2018. […] The acquisition and subsequent 2018 exhibition sought to correct that discrepancy in the Met, as well as locate work by Indigenous artists firmly within the context of “American art.” | Hyperallergic – http://tiny.cc/nqp6az

Peaches on her post-human sex toy art show: ‘It’s disturbing – but a lot of fun’ | Benoit Loiseau | The pop provocateur has created an artwork in which an army of ‘fleshies’, or masturbation devices, seek sexual liberation. She talks us through its deeper meanings | The work was one of 100 that appeared in Calle’s show Take Care of Yourself, which premiered at the Venice Biennale. Then in 2013, Yoko Ono invited Peaches to re-enact her seminal 1964 performance Cut Piece, letting audience members snip away at the singer’s clothes until they had entirely gone. Now, 20 years after unleashing her sex-positive signature song Fuck the Pain Away, Peaches finally has an exhibition of her own | Guardian – http://tiny.cc/2yq6az

Futures of Habermas’s Work | By Matthias Fritsch | THE 90TH BIRTHDAY of Germany’s most important living philosopher provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on the mark his work will have left. What legacy will his work leave for humanity? What aspects of his immense corpus will endure for future generations? I will single out three areas in response to these questions as we celebrate Habermas’s birthday – http://tiny.cc/9xa8az

Why Posting Selfies With Street Art Could Get You Sued | By Helen Holmes | Observer | We already know that copyright infringement and intellectual property law dictates that original artistic work may be used for another purpose only when permission is granted by the creator. When permission isn’t granted, things can get hairy. Apparently, a new precedent is being set: social media influencers with big followings are being sued for posting content where the influencer in question is posing in front of artwork, without having asked the artist first – http://tiny.cc/0or6az

Extra Squeezed extra stuff)


Metal Liverpool (UK) Are hiring new staff | Administrator &  Projects Manager | Visit here for more details – http://www.metalculture.com/vacancies/

Image: Susan Hiller: Ghost / TV | Matt’s Gallery 25 September–27 October 2019

The FurtherList No.6 July 30th 2019

A list of Furtherfield recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events & Exhibitions

Paloma Polo: The earth of the Revolution | Arts Catalyst | Thu 11 July 2019 – Sat 3 August 2019 | The second phase in the Towards the Planetary Commons exhibition programme will see artist Paloma Polo’s The earth of the Revolution (2019) premiered for the first time. Emerging from Polo’s research in the Philippines, cultivated over three years, and during which time the artist located herself at the heart of the ongoing democratic struggles in the region – a struggle in which marginalised countryside communities are actively fighting for democratic and progressive transformations, emancipation and the common good – this new work offers viewers a glimpse into the political practices that underlie the revolution – http://tiny.cc/gaofaz

Algorave | Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, UK| 16 August 2019 | Organised by Antonio Roberts | An evening of futuristic electronic rhythms, brought to you by some of the leading lights of the Algorave movement. Experience the exciting and unpredictable phenomenon of algorithms brought to life as music and visuals. Featuring Maria Witek, Innocent, Rosa Francesca and Carol Breen. Tickets only £5! Book here – http://tiny.cc/d2nfaz

Europa Endlos | In collaboration with CPH:DOX | 21 mar – 11 aug 2019 | In 2019 Kunsthal Charlottenborg puts Europe and the EU on the agenda with a group exhibition presented in collaboration with CPH:DOX, one of the world’s most important documentary film festivals | The exhibition presents installation, sculpture, film and photography by the international artists Monica Bonvicini (1965, Italy), Jeremy Deller (1966, Great Britain), Daniil Galkin (1985, Ukraine), Sara Jordenö (1974, Sweden), Šejla Kamerić (1976, Bosnia-Hercegovina), Bouchra Khalili (1975, Morocco), and some older exponents such as Jimmie Durham (1940, USA), the artist duo Fischli Weiss with Peter Fischli (1952, Switzerland) and David Weiss (1946 – 2012, Switzerland) as well as the pioneers Olafur Eliasson (1967, Iceland/Denmark) and Wolfgang Tillmans (1968, Germany). All the selected art works deal with current topics regarding Europe today and EU’s role in the future, some with an activist approach, others in a more documentary style – http://tiny.cc/q2kfaz

At the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the Danish-Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour presents Heirloom, an otherworldly rumination on memory, history and identity. Comprising of a two-channel science-fiction film, a sculptural installation and an architectural intervention, the exhibition invites the viewer into a dark universe. “The film, entitled ‘In Vitro’, is staged in the town of Bethlehem decades after an eco-disaster. The dying founder of a subterranean orchard is engaged in a dialogue with her young successor, who is born underground and has never seen the town she’s destined to replant and repopulate. Inherited trauma, exile and collective memory are central themes.” – https://www.danishpavilion.org/

Trying out divinatory strategies for Making | Hosted by Access Space, Heffield | 6-9.30, Friday 2nd August | Access Space Artist in Residence, Hestia Peppe, is holding a residency event and all are welcome. Hestia is a doctoral candidate at Sheffield Hallam University. Her research concerns divinatory methodologies for arts practice. Book on FB – http://tiny.cc/6gqfaz

Faith Ringgold exhibition at Serpentine Galleries | London, United Kingdom, 6 Jun 2019 – 8 Sep 2019 | Focusing on different series that she has created over the past 50 years, this Serpentine survey will include paintings, story quilts, tankas and political posters. It will be the first solo exhibition of Ringgold’s work in a European public institution – http://tiny.cc/9ckfaz

Books

This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against | By Peter Pomerantsev | ‘The world’s most powerful people are lying like never before, and no one understands the art of their lies like Peter Pomerantsev.’ Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World. As Pomerantsev seeks to make sense of the disinformation age, he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, ‘behavioural change’ salesmen, Jihadi fan-boys, Identitarians, truth cops, and much more. Forty years after his dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, he finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power. His research takes him back to Russia – but the answers he finds there are surprising – http://tiny.cc/lopfaz

Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World | by Joseph Menn | The shocking untold story of the elite secret society of hackers fighting to protect our privacy, our freedom — even democracy itself Cult of the Dead Cow is the tale of the oldest, most respected, and most famous American hacking group of all time. Though until now it has remained mostly anonymous, its members invented the concept of hacktivism, released the top tool for testing password security […] Today, the group and its followers are battling electoral misinformation, making personal data safer, and battling to keep technology a force for good instead of for surveillance and oppression. Cult of the Dead Cow shows how governments, corporations, and criminals came to hold immense power over individuals and how we can fight back against them – http://tiny.cc/07ofaz

Nationalism on the Internet: Critical Theory and Ideology in the Age of Social Media and Fake News | By Christian Fuchs | In this timely book, critical theorist Christian Fuchs asks: What is nationalism and what is the role of social media in the communication of nationalist ideology? Advancing an applied Marxist theory of nationalism, Fuchs explores nationalist discourse in the world of contemporary digital capitalism that is shaped by social media, big data, fake news, targeted advertising, bots, algorithmic politics, and a high-speed online attention economy – http://tiny.cc/dujfaz

Articles & Interviews

Nonument symposium part 2: How artists deal with old monuments that polarize opinions | By Regine Debatty | Second part of an overview of the Nonument Symposium dedicated to hidden, abandoned and forgotten monuments of the 20th century which took place last June at CAMP, Prague’s Centre for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning. http://tiny.cc/zyhfaz

Digital design and time on device; how aesthetic experience can help to illuminate the psychological impact of living in a digital culture | By Vanessa Bartlett | Aesthetic techniques are increasingly used by marketeers to create enticing digital products. In this paper, I work with the aesthetic experiences of one audience group to consider the psychological impact of living in a culture where digital devices are deliberately designed to influence behaviour. I argue that aesthetic encounters can help with understanding the impact of the interplay between visual stimulus, affect and digital culture, in ways that may support situated understandings of mental distress in a digital age. I show how audiences respond to the artist-led research project (and exhibition) Are We All Addicts Now? – http://tiny.cc/9gjfaz

Downloads preparations for two talks on PDF | By artist Annie, Abraham’s | The first #PEAE (Participatif Ethology in Artificial Environments) is about her relation to electronic literature and struggles defining artworks. In the second Diffractive Reading in the Reading Club, Abraham’s describes how she became to consider the Reading Club as an example of a diffractive reading practice – https://aabrahams.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/elocork/

“Inter Alia: Aliens and AI” 2019 | By Rita Raley and Russell Samolsky. The premise of this paper is that the disquieting sense that AI possesses, or is possessed of, an external intelligence, one that operates autonomously, unpredictably, and, in our deepest fears, mutinously, is projectively displaced onto extra-planetary aliens. Our paper offers an analysis of Trevor Paglen’s satellite work, The Last Pictures, as well as Eduardo Kac’s Inner Telescope and Lagoogleglyph series. We conclude with a speculative imagining of an AI-archaeologist encountering in the distant future the orbital ring of dead satellites, one of which contains Paglen’s curated image archive. Free PDF Download here – https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8453532n

Daniel Rourke via Twitter, offers three decolonising reading lists, made by others, he has saved over the years (big thanks to Daniel):

Human, Social, and Political Sciences Tripos (2018-2019) at Cambridge | What follows is a general list of important decolonial texts, a brief history of decolonization of HSPS at Cambridge, some advice on how to tackle the course, and most importantly, a set of decolonial reading lists for POL1, POL2, SOC1, and SAN1 based on the 2018-2019 reading lists. Compiled by recent graduates and current students, the lists aim to provide a set of critical perspectives with which incoming first year students can re-situate the canonical (“set”) – http://tiny.cc/9hifaz

Decolonizing technology: A reading list | By Beatrice Martini | Western culture has long been defining how the world came to existence, its history, and how it works from a perspective which is centred on a Western and white point of view. While this specific paradigm has been the dominant position of power, others have been hegemonized by it, their cultures and experiences dismissed and excluded – http://tiny.cc/trifaz

Decolonising Science Reading List: It’s The End of Science As You Know It | By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | You’ll find texts that range from personal testimony to Indigenous cosmology to anthropology, to history to sociology to education research. All are key to the process of decolonising science, which is a pedagogical, cultural, and intellectual set of interlocking structures, ideas, and practices. This reading list functions on the premise that there is value in considering the ways in which science and society co-construct. It is stuff that I have read all or part of and saw some value in sharing with others – http://tiny.cc/q4ifaz

Extra Squeezed (Jobs other opportunities & extra stuff)

Art+Feminism has recently become a 501(c)3 non-profit, and is hiring an Executive Director to help further the vision we’ve developed over the past six years. FT, with salary range 60-75k. Job description below. Application review will begin immediately. Apply by the August 13th deadline for full consideration. Please post widely and forward the description onto anyone you think would be interested in the role: http://www.artandfeminism.org/executive-director/

Main image from – Daniil Galkin, Tourniqet, 2013. Šejla Kamerić, EU / Others, 2000. Installation view, Europa Endlos, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, 2019. Photo by Anders Sune Berg.

The FurtherList No.5 July 5th 2019

A list of Furtherfield recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Exhibitions, Events & Conferences

Kiss My Genders | A group exhibition at the Hayward Gallery celebrating more than 30 international artists whose work explores and engages with gender fluidity, as well as non-binary, trans and intersex identities | features works from the late 1960s and early 1970s through to the present moment, and focuses on artists who draw on their own experiences to create content and forms that challenge accepted or stable definitions of gender | 12 Jun 2019 – 8 Sep 2019 – https://tinyurl.com/y3txhcl7

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Atmospheric Memory opens this Saturday for its World Premiere at MIF19, 6-21 July | An array of ‘Atmospheric Machines’ mine the air for turbulence caused by speech, then transform it into trails of vapour, ripples on water, epic 360-degree projections. These artworks are presented alongside a section of a Babbage Analytical Engine, a rare object in the prehistory of computing from the Science Museum Group’s collection – https://tinyurl.com/yxt2kk6c

Event Two | An exhibition by the Computer Arts Society and FLUX Events in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts conference (EVA), Interact Digital Arts and Lumen Art Projects. Featuring talks by Lumen Art Projects and FLUX Events. 12th – 17th July 2019 Royal College of Art, Kensington Campus, London – https://tinyurl.com/yxd379g9

Peripheries: Electronic literature and new media art | A week-long exhibition of cutting-edge expression in electronic literature and media art as part of University College Cork’s hosting of the internationalElectronic Literature Organization conference and festival in Cork. Featuring artists: Betül Aksu, Graham Allen, John F. Barber & Greg Philbrook, Natasha Boškić / Mohamad Kebbewar / Mary McDonald, Mez Breeze & Andy Campbell, Richard A. Carter, John Cayley & Joanna Howard, Qianxun Chen, Hilda Daniel, Tina Escaja, Brenda Grell, Chris Hales, Brian James, Alinta Krauth, Paul O’Neill, Sabrina Rubakovic, Anastasia Salter, Colm Scully, Lyle Skains, Joel Swanson, Daniel Temkin, Pip Thornton, Theadora Walsh, Marcelina Wellmer | 11 – 17 July 2019 – https://tinyurl.com/yyvd8trc

Birth Rites Collection Summer School | A unique 5-day programme of lectures, workshops and exchange. It is generated through engaging directly with the artworks in the collection which are installed across the historic Guy’s campus, King’s College London, and hosted by the Department of Midwifery. If you are a midwife, academic, artist, medic, health professional, art historian or policy advisor, you will arrive on the course with your skill set and leave with a bespoke multi-media pack of visual, textual, auditory and filmic material, to be used thereafter in your own future work | 15-19th July 2019 Guy’s Campus, Kings College London, UK – https://tinyurl.com/y32cfbkq

A Strange Weave of Time and Space | Exhibition at Site Gallery | Sheffield UK, 12 Jul 2019 – 28 Jul 2019 | An exhibition and research project exploring notions of aura and authenticity in the post-digital context | The works selected circle the complex relations between the auratic, (Walter Benjamin’s term for the authentic, original artefact, singular in space and time) and the technologically reproduced, dispersed and viewed art object prevalent in the current post-digital period.  Including moving image, sculpture, drawing, audio and 3D printed objects. Curated by Jeanine Griffin. https://tinyurl.com/y5cnncfv

Vector Festival 2019 Toronto, July 11-14, 2019 | InterAccess is thrilled to announce the theme of Vector Festival 2019, Speculative Ecologies: Media Art at the Anthropocenic Precipice. Curated by Katie Micak and Martin Zeilinger, this year’s festival explores the ways in which contemporary media art reflects—and reflects on—mass-scale environmental shifts. The 2019 festival program will include works by over 30 local and international artists in more than 8 locations across Toronto and online – http://vectorfestival.org/

Radical Networks Deadline Extended | A conference that celebrates a free and open internet, with hands-on workshops, speakers, and a gallery exhibiting artworks centered around radio and networking technology. What: We invite anyone interested in presenting a workshop, lunchtime meetup, talk, panel, performance or film screening, tour / field trips or artwork to be exhibited | The deadline for submitting your proposal is now July 9, 2019 – https://radicalnetworks.org/

Symposium: “The sculptural in the (post-) digital age” | 1 July 2020 (Central Institute for Art History, Munich) | Submission deadline: 21 July 2019 | A number of theoretical approaches discuss the implications of so-called ‘Aesthetics of the Digital’, referring above all to screen-based phenomena. Art history, however, continues to pay little attention to sculptural works that are conceived and ‘materialized’ using digital technologies – https://tinyurl.com/yyomlbxa

UFO-Urban Flying Opera Swarms of Painting Drones | Following the success of write&erase robot Scribit, CRA unveils the world’s first crowdsourced graffiti, designed by thousands of people and painted by a swarm of drones in the city of Torino, Italy. The UFO-Urban Flying Opera project is promoted by Compagnia di San Paolo, ideated and curated by CRA, and coordinated and produced by Fondazione LINKS, in collaboration with Tsuru Robotics | Visited Youtube Video – https://tinyurl.com/y6y7almm

Digital Conversations: Celebrating Ten Years of the New Media Writing Prize | As part of their Digital Conversations series and the season of events accompanying the Library’s Writing: Making Your Mark exhibition, in partnership with Bournemouth University, if:book uk, and sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library; they are celebrating ten years of the New Media Writing Prize, by hosting a panel consisting of writers, Christine Wilks, Kayt Lackie and Amira Hanafi, on Thursday 18 July in the British Library Knowledge Centre – https://tinyurl.com/y574l5a5

Books

Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All | By Robert Elliott Smith | Having worked in the field of artificial intelligence for over 30 years, Smith reveals the mounting evidence that the mechanical actors in our lives do indeed have, or at least express, morals: they’re just not the morals of the progressive modern society that we imagined we were moving towards. Instead, as we are just beginning to see – in the US elections and Brexit to name but a few – there are increasing incidences of machine bigotry, greed and the crass manipulation of our basest instincts – Bloomsbury Business (27 Jun. 2019) – https://tinyurl.com/y5oct3xg

Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent | By Priyamvada Gopal | Insurgent Empire shows how Britain’s enslaved and colonial subjects were not merely victims of empire and subsequent beneficiaries of its crises of conscience but also agents whose resistance both contributed to their own liberation and shaped British ideas about freedom and who could be free. This book examines dissent over the question of empire in Britain and shows how it was influenced by rebellions and resistance in the colonies from the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India. It also shows how a pivotal role in fomenting dissent was played by anti-colonial campaigners based in London at the heart of the empire. Publisher: Verso Books 2019 – https://tinyurl.com/y579t24y

Vital Forms: Biological Art, Architecture, and the Dependencies of Life | By Jennifer Johung | Shows how the intersection of biotech, art, and architecture are transforming the world we live in. Examining cutting-edge developments in biotechnological research—including tissue-engineering, stem cell science, regenerative medicine, and more—Vital Forms brings biological art and architecture into critical dialogue | The University of Minnesota Press 2019 – https://bit.ly/2KK5nCl

Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection | A comprehensive look at the prolific and dynamic career of this international feminist conceptual artist. The book, which accompanies the first retrospective exhibition of her work at the Weisman Art Museum in 2020, features poetry and prose contributions by significant writers, artists, and curators who have been influenced by her art. Laura Wertheim Joseph, Editor. Foreword by Lyndel King 2019 | University of Minnesota Press – https://tinyurl.com/y4edoy7q

Articles & Interviews

Ledger – Human Centric Values Technology Enterprises, Youtube video | LedgerProject VentureBuilder | The Builder Programme LEDGER chose the 16 most human-centric and innovative projects among a pool of 291 applicants. LEDGER, a European Commission funded project looking for people working on decentralized technologies to give back citizens control over their data, held its Jury Day on Tuesday 28 May in Amsterdam | A must watch for those who to build better relations with technology, community & the climate – https://tinyurl.com/y6eduxbf

Situationism Now – Understanding Guy Debord in a Contemporary Political Context | by Caitríona Devery, 2017 Should we still be reading Guy Debord or encouraging others to read him politically for the first time in a contemporary context?  In popular culture parlance, Debord’s name will always be associated with the political moment of May ’68, the general strike and the student riots which spread from the campus of Nanterre (led by philosophy and sociology lecturers Jean Francois Lyotard and Henri Lefebvre) – http://politicalscience.ie/?p=1065

Rec, Barcelona’s social currency – Description / Objectives | Barcelona Digital City | Economic resource to create a citizen exchange system that is complementary or equal to the euro | This social currency acts as a complementary form of payment, but does not replace the national currency. It gives us the opportunity to measure the impact of consumption on the city. It is estimated that 5,000 people are now using one of the 70 social currencies in Spain – https://tinyurl.com/y2y8oh8t

Freshly Squeezed (extra News…)

Augmented Reality Art Commission, NEoN Digital Arts Festival: REACT | Deadline for submissions: 31 July 2019, For exhibition beginning: 4 November 2019 | Artist Fee £2000 (inclusive of research and production costs and any licensing fees) From 4 – 10 November 2019 the NEoN Digital Arts Festival in Dundee, Scotland will be focused on the theme “REACT”, exploring how artists use digital systems to effect change within our social and political realities. We are now seeking proposals for a commissioned project utilising AR and mobile technologies inspired by NEoN’s theme – https://tinyurl.com/y5n6kote

Image by John.F.Barber and Greg Philbrook, Sound Spheres, still 2018 web based interactive installation. Exhibited at Peripheries: Electronic literature and new media art 2019.S

The FurtherList No.4 June 21st 2019

A list of Furtherfield recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events & Exhibitions

POSTCENTRAL | Group show | NOME is pleased to present POSTCENTRAL, a group show curated by Navine G. Khan-Dossos, featuring works by Zach Blas, Jesse Darling, Marjolijn Dijkman, Antye Guenther, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Kirsten Stolle, Addie Wagenknecht, and Xiyadie | The work of the artists assembled in POSTCENTRAL touches on the question of where “the body” can be found and where it might be heading, with a focus on non-naturalist ideas of women’s and queer bodies as spaces of futurity and potential. As Donna Haraway foretold in 1985, the exhibition stands “for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction | June 22 – July 26, 2019 – https://bit.ly/2Iu7r01

Satellite Devotion, a new installation by Tabita Rezaire | Hosted by arebyte 2 July – 24 August 2019 | The Center for Moon Studies and Practices is an ever-evolving anchor for Moon knowledge to understand and experience the vastness of her influence and nourish our relationship with the Earth’s sole* natural satellite. In a quest to share Moon wisdoms across time and space, a 12 video-channel dome presents a constellation of Moon teachings from astrophysics to cosmology, astrology, agriculture, healing, history, magic, meditation, theology and spatial politics – https://bit.ly/2Zom8Y2

Toggler | A new website feature allowing commissioned artists to explore, demonstrate and celebrate the potential of creativity in website design. As websites become increasingly standardised to ensure familiarity and ease of use for online visitors, Toggler allows artists to champion the role of curiosity and creativity in exploring other possibilities for presenting content online. The first artists commissioned are Luke Harby, Violet Forest, Sam Francis Read, Antonio Roberts and Tobias Zehntner – https://bit.ly/2KWzTJB

New Writings: Re-Enter the Dragon with Stewart Home | The artist and cult author discusses his new book, with a look at the cinematic copy-cats of Bruce Lee and the Sleazy Joys of Lowbrow Cinema. Brucesploitation films riff on tropes associated with Bruce Lee, sometimes using actors who copy and clone the phenomenally successful kung-fu master’s name or look. Home will talk through the finer points of this sprawling sub-genre as he joins BFI curator William Fowler in conversation | Reuben Library at Bfi Southbank, SE1 8 London, UK – https://bit.ly/2ZxVmMM

AI TRAPS Meetup: Reshape the future – Revealing & transforming algorithmic inequality | Part of the DNL Activation programme | Following up on their upcoming Disruption Network Lab conference ‘AI Traps: Automating Discrimination’, with a closer look at how AI & algorithms reinforce prejudices and biases of its human creators and societies, in this meetup we focus on possible strategies for exposing and transforming algorithmic inequality | Wednesday 26 June, 19:00 at  STATE Studio, Hauptstr 3, 10827 Berlin (U7 Kleistpark) – Entrance is free – https://bit.ly/2KpgOjB

High Weirdness: with Erik Davis, Jeremy Gilbert and Debra Shaw | Hosted by Culture, Power, Politics and 2 others | Since the 1990s, Erik Davis has been charting the multiple interfaces between consciousness-expansion, technological trickery, drug cultures and social change | Erik’s  new book High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica and Visionary Experience in the Seventies is a study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson. High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s – https://bit.ly/2ZDTORD

Platform Parasite: A Personal Voyage by Cosmos Carl | Hosted by Banner Repeater and Cosmos Carl – Platform Parasite | Platform Parasite: A Personal Voyage is a pilot episode of a new series by Cosmos Carl commissioned by Banner Repeater. Platform Parasite: A Personal Voyage includes contributions from Snorri Ásmundsson, Gnax Type, Art+Feminism, Alex Frost, Kate Mackeson, Angels Miralda, Joseph Ridgeon, Jorik Amit Galama, Emilia Bergmark, NX Panther, Harry Meadley, Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson, Laura Yuile featured on the parasitical online art platform Cosmos Carl. Opening: 26th April 6.30-9pm, exh: 26th April – 29th June – https://www.bannerrepeater.org/

Books

Vital Forms: Biological Art, Architecture, and the Dependencies of Life | By Jennifer Johung | Shows how the intersection of biotech, art, and architecture are transforming the world we live in. Examining cutting-edge developments in biotechnological research—including tissue-engineering, stem cell science, regenerative medicine, and more—Vital Forms brings biological art and architecture into critical dialogue | The University of Minnesota Press 2019 – https://bit.ly/2KK5nCl

Articles & interviews

The Bank of Facebook | By Rachel O’ Dwyer | A response to Facebook’s announcement that it’s releasing a digital currency and wallet | Marshall McLuhan argued that money is communication. This rings particularly true at a time when so many platforms are entering the payments space | Institute of Network Cultures Wed, 19 Jun 2019 – https://bit.ly/2x6KKs0

Regine Debatty reviews Digital Cash. The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency, by Finn Brunton, assistant professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Brunton reveals how technological utopians & political radicals created experimental money to bring about their visions of the future: protecting privacy or bringing down governments, preparing for apocalypse or immortality – https://bit.ly/2MSqC7I

An AI Completes an Unfinished Composition 115 Years After Composers Death | By Suchi Rudra | It’s never too late to finish what you’ve started, even if AI does the job for you | This November, the Prague Philharmonic will perform the third and final movement of “From the Future World,” an AI-completed composition based on an unfinished piano piece by the famous composer Antonín Dvořák, 115 years after his death. Emmanuel Villaume will conduct – https://bit.ly/2XWnTva

How Ethical Is Facial Recognition Technology? By Yaroslav Kuflinski | In this article, we’ll explore the issues that surround facial recognition in depth and look at how these technologies can be made safer for everyone. Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash The Potential of Facial Recognition Technology – https://bit.ly/2MNQAsX

What Happens When a US Border Protection Contractor Gets Hacked? The government wants all the data it can get from you at the border. But what happens when a hacker shows they can’t store it safely? A hacker known as “Boris the bullet dodger” hacked a license plate reader company called Perceptics. Now, less than a month later, CBP issued a statement confirming a data breach at one of its contractors – https://bit.ly/2Fhu1Xs

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds | By Juliette Garside and Jonathan Watts | Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting | Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study – https://bit.ly/2IOWMMa

Extra Squeezed

Superflux are looking for a freelance visual / graphic designer (print + digital) to come on board and work with them on a 🔥 worldbuilding project. Drop them a line with portfolios👇🏼⚡️📢 || Designers and strategic thinkers, researchers and artists; exploring, imagining and prototyping different possible futures – hello@superflux.in

Two Fully Funded PhD Scholarships to Study the Geographies of Homelessness, Veganism, Unschooling, or Heavy Metal Music at the University of Newcastle, in Australia. Two Domestic (Australia) or one International PhD scholarships will be awarded to study at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies under the direction of Professor Simon Springer in the Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies – https://bit.ly/2In3ZnK

Image from Satellite Devotion, a new installation by Tabita Rezaire at arebyte gallery | Opening Tuesday 2 July – 24 August 2019.


The Weekly FurtherList No.3 June 14th 2019

A weekly list of Furtherfield recommendations that we are sharing with others. It reflects the expansive and dynamic culture we enjoy, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events & Exhibitions

Solo show H4ppy D33p W3b (Happy Deep Web) by Systaime aka Michael Borras, at Watermans Arts centre, London. Systaime is the creator of The French Trash Touch movement, which mixes low and high culture and pop culture with internet folklore, like memes, emojis or GIFs. He offers an explosive mashup of internet aesthetics, where information, images and comments are remixed in an audiovisual spectacle that exposes the language of the internet | 12 June – 28 July 2019 – https://bit.ly/2KfGQWy

Antiuniversity Festival is back 15 Jun – 22 Jun 2019, for the fifth time with events across the UK and internationally. This year’s programme is absolutely bursting with radical education, militant feminism, anarchist tendencies, autonomous organising, shit hot politics, critical analysis and progressive discussions about care and culture and gender and class | Full programme – http://www.antiuniversity.org/

Aaron Bastani in conversation with Dr. Richard Barbrook on his new book ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto‘ 2019. This event is hosted by Newspeak House, the London College of Political Technologists. Tue, 25 June 2019 | Virtual Futures partners with Verso Books | Book here – https://bit.ly/31p7Xnv

Take the Money and Run: Power, Money and Counter-Power | Wednesday 19 June, 19.00 – 21.00 | The light recently shone on the sources of money that supports arts organisations – from fossil fuels to deadly pharmaceuticals – has illuminated some corners of the ‘hidden abode of production” (Marx) to valuable effect. Live Art Development Agency (LADA), London | Book here – https://bit.ly/2WBGkUk

West Den Haag – Summer School 2019 Spinoza: Passionate Action | Human Being is a Measure | With: Ewa Majewska (PL), Florence Freitag (DE) , Baruch Gottlieb (CA) and Cassie Thornton (US). In order to keep the discussions and experiences substantive and immersive, this Summer School is limited to 30 participants. There is a fee of € 175 per participant, which includes lunches as well as a reader. The program will be held in English. To apply, please e-mail theo@westdenhaag.nl before 26 June 2018 with a short introduction and a 100-word motivation. If successful, you will receive a confirmation of registration and instructions for payment within the week – https://bit.ly/2IHDg4l

About all things languages of all sorts | lingagens an online ReadingClub ***** session. Duration 20 min | Lai-TzeFan, Abdulmohsen Alonayq, Sören Pold and Andréa Catrópa will rearite a text originally written by Erika Fülöp. June 20, 8:15pm (UTC+01:00) – https://bit.ly/2WktGsM

Books

Vital Forms: Biological Art, Architecture, and the Dependencies of Life | By Jennifer Johung | Shows how the intersection of biotech, art, and architecture are transforming the world we live in. Examining cutting-edge developments in biotechnological research—including tissue-engineering, stem cell science, regenerative medicine, and more—Vital Forms brings biological art and architecture into critical dialogue | The University of Minnesota Press 2019 – https://bit.ly/2KK5nCl

Archives | Authors – Andrew Lison, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Rick Prelinger, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Götz Bachmann, Mercedes Bunz, and Timon Beyes | How digital networks and services bring the issues of archives out of the realm of institutions and into the lives of everyday users. Archives have become a nexus in the wake of the digital turn—electronic files, search engines, video sites, and media player libraries make the concepts of “archival” and “retrieval” practically synonymous with the experience of interconnected computing –  The University of Minnesota Press, 2019 – https://bit.ly/2WBWjli

Fucking Law: The search for her sexual ethics | By Victoria Brooks | An urgent call for everyone, not just academics and researchers, to find inventive ways to question the ethics of sexuality. Since a sex life is full of so many diverse moments of joy and suffering, for each and everybody, the book attempts to bridge a gap between philosophical and non-philosophical questioning | Zero Books, 2019 – https://bit.ly/31CMxDs

Articles & interviews

Gadgets, Power and the New Modes of Political Consciousness | By Joss Hands | What impact does our relentless fixation on gadgets have on the struggle for new kinds of solidarity, political articulation and intelligence? Joss Hands, author of Gadget Consciousness: Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media, explores the new political and social forces that are emerging in the age of social media – https://bit.ly/2KJp4Kx

Physical Tactics for Digital Colonialism | Video documentation of artist Morehshin Allahyari and her performance-lecture from February 28th 2019. Commissioned and co-presented by New Museum affiliate Rhizome, presenting her concept of digital colonialism in relation to the technologies of 3-D scanning and 3-D printing. https://vimeo.com/337394969

Allahyari also talks to Hrag Vartanian via Hyperallergic on the subjects of ownership of data, forgotten stories, issues surrounding digital colonialism and her scifi project on a podcast – https://bit.ly/2ZnBJa3

The Data Sublime | Giles Lane, writes about his experience at Act Otherwise as a participant at Blast Theory’s annual two day seminar, ‘Act Otherwise – The Invisible Hand: On Profiling and Personalisation.’ He dscusses issues around the generation and use of “Big Data” in artworks and by artists as well as more generally in culture and society – https://bit.ly/2IbjTS3

Forgiven Not Forgotten? A long and detailed challenge to the modern cult of memory | Book review by Christopher Hale on History Today, of ‘Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice’ by Mary Fulbrook, recent winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2019, Oxford University press – https://bit.ly/2wOgulR

Doctored video of sinister Mark Zuckerberg puts Facebook to the test | Last month Facebook declined to remove a manipulated video of Nancy Pelosi even after it was viewed millions of times, and now a doctored video of Mark Zuckerberg delivering a foreboding speech has been posted to Instagram, in a stunt that put Facebook’s content moderation policies to the test | Guardian – https://bit.ly/2F72doC

The Past, Present, and Future of AI Art | AI art has a long history that is often overlooked | By Fabian Offert & Andrey Kurenkov | “AI art”, or more precisely art created with neural networks, has recently started to receive broad media coverage in newspapers (New York Times), magazines (The Atlantic), and countless blogs. It has also led to the popularization of an ever-growing list of philosophical questions surrounding the use of computers for the creation of art – https://bit.ly/2wKD7Y3

Waves to Waveforms: Performing the Thresholds of Sensors and Sense-Making in the Anthropocene | By Richard Carter | This paper details the technical and conceptual background for the developing art project Waveform, a creative-critical meditation on the role of digital sensors in monitoring and representing environmental change. It explores the origins and functioning of the global sensory architectures used to detect and assess these changes, deconstructing the connotations of omniscience, abstraction, and control associated with the ‘top-down’, data-driven mappings they generate – https://bit.ly/2MHs8K4

Extra Squeezed

Looking for a MoneyLab intern | The Institute of Network Cultures is looking for an intern with production and research skills for the organisation of MoneyLab #7: Feminist Finance and overall project management support of the MoneyLab project, NL | Internship period: September 1 until December 15 2019 – https://bit.ly/2WJhKWv

transmediale | Work with us! For the preparations of #transmediale2020 we are looking for interns who would like to gain experience in the administration, communication, and production of the festival. https://bit.ly/2MpGv5k

Main image by Michael Borras aka Systaime | NETICONES 2019.

The Weekly FurtherList No.2 June 7th 2019

A weekly list of Furtherfield recommendations that we are sharing with others. It reflects the expansive and dynamic culture we enjoy, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events  & Exhibitions

Larry Achiampong & David Blandy: The Grid | Copperfield: Exhibition opens 5 June, 6 – 9pm / Runs until 20 July & Seventeen: Exhibition opens: 27 June, 6 – 9pm/ Runs until 3 August. The Grid is a single exhibition over two sites in London simultaneously; Copperfield and Seventeen – http://bit.do/eTVUX

About all things languages of all sorts | lingagens an online ReadingClub ***** session. Duration 20 min | Lai-TzeFan, Abdulmohsen Alonayq, Sören Pold and Andréa Catrópa will rearite a text originally written by Erika Fülöp. June 20, 8:15pm (UTC+01:00) – https://bit.ly/2WktGsM

I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker | The first UK exhibition dedicated to the American writer Kathy Acker (1947–1997), and her written, spoken and performed work. ICA 1 May – 4 August 2019 – https://bit.ly/2UGEqpv

End of the World Trade: On the Speculative Economies of Art and Extraction | Mute contributors Josephine Berry and Marina Vishmidt are organising and/or presenting at the following conference: End of the World Trade: On the Speculative Economies of Art and Extraction, 21 Jun 2019 – 22 Jun 2019 – https://bit.ly/2wF9Vle

Upcoming Sessions – Culture, Power and Politics — Spring / Summer 2019 Series | All Seminars 18:30 -20:30 (These are all Tuesdays except June 19th, which is a Wednesday) | Ridley Road Market Bar, 49 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP | All free, all welcome, no advance booking – http://bit.do/eTVTX

Plastic-Free Hackney will be talking all things waste-reduction at the Council’s Zero Waste event (times tbc). Please come and meet us with your questions and ideas as to how we can help cut the dependence on single-use plastics in the borough. http://bit.do/eTVVL

Books

Energies in the Arts | Edited by Douglas Kahn | Investigating the concepts and material realities of energy coursing through the arts: a foundational text | (MIT Press) – http://bit.do/eTLh8

Gadget Consciousness : Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media | By Joss Hands | What impact does our relentless fixation on gadgets have on the struggle for new kinds of solidarity, political articulation and intelligence? In this groundbreaking study, Joss Hands explores the new political and social forces that are emerging in the age of social media – https://bit.ly/2wAtDi4

Entry Points | Resonating Punk, Performance, and Art | Stevphen Shukaitis (Contributor); Penny Rimbaud (Contributor); Dharma (Contributor); Awk Wah (Contributor) | An Art-media project exploring resonances between punk and performance in the UK and Southeast Asia. Apr 2, 2019 – https://bit.ly/2WGkYte

Articles & interviews

To Exist is to Resist | Exploring Black feminist politics beyond national boundaries | By Lynsey May | New essay collection reveals the particularities of experiences and understandings of Black feminism in Europe – https://bit.ly/2ERvtzK

What do we do when everything online is fake? | James Ball on the threat posed by the generation of fake news through artificial intelligence and how it risks undermining our trust in everything – https://bit.ly/2W9rt3x

Making Public | Memes as Means | By Sepp Eckenhaussen | Institute of Network Cultures | What kind of meaning is implied in means-being of memes? How meaningful is it to decipher their ever-changing meanings and to partake in the land-grabbing of symbols? – http://bit.do/eTVWE

Towards an anti-fascist AI | By Dan McQuillan | We already know the destructive consequences on the individual and collective psyche of poverty, racism and systemic neglect. We don’t need AI as targeting but as something that helps raise up whole populations. https://bit.ly/2WrSILv

Unraveling the JPEG | By Omar Shehata | “JPEG images are everywhere in our digital lives, but behind the veil of familiarity lie algorithms that remove details that are imperceptible to the human eye. This produces the highest visual quality with the smallest file size—but what does that look like? Let’s see what our eyes can’t see!” – https://parametric.press/issue-01/unraveling-the-jpeg/

Uneven Distribution: An Interview with Ned Rossiter | On logistics and mediated environments | Ned Rossiter and Kenneth Tay — May 31, 2019 | This conversation with Ned Rossiter marks the second in a series of dialogues on the subject of logistics. – https://bit.ly/2HRYAE

The anarchic arts and politics magazine for prisoners and homeless people | Life & Culture Q+A on dazed & Confused | DOPE is now four issues in, with contributions from anarchist writers including Cindy Milstein and Lisa McKenzie, a piece by writer and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, as well as work by British Iraqi rapper and activist Lowkey and Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson – https://bit.ly/2QHW3zZ

The European Far Right’s Environmental Turn | By Kate Aronoff ▪ May 31, 2019 | As climate change becomes a central concern for voters across the continent, right-wing parties are beginning to incorporate green politics into their ethno-nationalist vision – https://bit.ly/2Mo7Ipb

Extra Squeezed

transmediale, Work with us! | For the preparations of #transmediale2020 we are looking for interns who would like to gain experience in the administration, communication, and production of the festival. https://bit.ly/2MpGv5k

Main Image: Finding Fanon Part 3, 2016-17, 4K UHD Single Channel Video Colour With Stereo Sound. Photo by Claire Barrett.

The Weekly FurtherList No.1 May 31st 2019

A weekly list of Furtherfield recommendations that reflects the expansive and dynamic culture we enjoy, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.

Events & Exhibitions

Towards the Planetary Commons | A new exhibition investigating agency and autonomy in the face of global ecological crises | Arts Catalyst | Free entry! Thu 23 May 2019 – 6.00pm, Sat 3 August 2019 – http://bit.do/eTLtx

Call out | NEoN Digital Arts Festival – REACT 2019 in Dundee, Scotland, exploring how artists use digital systems to effect change within our social and political realities – http://bit.do/eTLqy

Symposium | Digital Ecologies 2: Fiction Machines | The Centre for Media Research at Bath Spa University is proud to host the second Digital Ecologies symposium: Fiction Machines and it will take place on Tuesday July 16th 2019 – http://bit.do/eTLkv

Books

Energies in the Arts | Edited by Douglas Kahn | Investigating the concepts and material realities of energy coursing through the arts: a foundational text | (MIT Press) – http://bit.do/eTLh8

Virtual Menageries: Animals as Mediators in Network Cultures | By Jody Berland | The close interdependency of animal emissaries and new media from early European colonial encounters with the exotic to today’s proliferation of animals in digital networks – http://bit.do/eTLiz

To Exist is to Resist: Exploring Black feminist politics beyond national boundaries | By Lynsey May | New essay collection reveals the particularities of experiences and understandings of Black feminism in Europe – http://bit.do/eTLjz

Articles

What is Ethereum? By Ethan Sidelsky | Created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin to empower users to build their own applications on the blockchain. It is now both the second most well known cryptocurrency and the second most valuable, behind Bitcoin – http://bit.do/eTLfT

Automatic insect identification for better grasp on biodiversity by Eelke Jongejans, Radboud University. One hundred camera traps, developed specifically for the automatic counting and recognition of insects, will be placed throughout the Netherlands this summer – http://bit.do/eTLfy

Network-ing Does Not Equal Network WEAVING | By Christine Capra | Those of us who work with change networks could sometimes do a better job of clarifying the distinction between ‘networking’ and ‘network weaving’ – http://bit.do/eTLgq

Sell Your Data. Earn Passive Income. What Could Go Wrong? | By Garrett Hazelwood | Your data is not property. It’s a piece of who you are – http://bit.do/eTLgT

Extra Squeezed

The LSD Archive at The Institute of Illegal Images “It kept me from eating it if it was framed on the wall” – Mark Mcloud on his amazing collection of LSD Blotters – http://bit.do/eTLKx

Main Image – Marwa Arsanios: Still from ‘Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part I’ (2017), courtesy the artist. At Arts Catalyst exhibition, Towards the Planetary Commons.

Editorial – Border Disruptions: Playbour & Transnationalisms

Our times are characterized by the accelerating collapse and redrawing of multiple borders: between nation states, personal identities, and the responsibilities we have for each other. Also between the old distinctions, work and pleasure.

Some leaders as part of the new world order, tell us through their political actions and their fashion accessories, that they “Just Don’t Care”. This “political art-form”1 of not caring permits an insidious spread of hatred online and on the ground. In recent times, the digital condition has lent it’s networks and platforms to this poisonous, rhetorical hyperbole, turning against immigrants, and others who do not fit into the framework of a western world, oligarch orientated vision. Mass extraction and manipulation of social data has facilitated the circulation of fake news and the production of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Together these fuel the machine of structural violence adding to the already challenging conditions created by Austerity policies, growing debt and poverty.

In the face of these outlandish difficulties our digital tools and networks – taken up with a spirit of cultural comradeship. More inspiring narratives are emerging from across disciplines and backgrounds, to experiment with new solidarity-generating approaches that critique and build platforms, infrastructures and networks, offering new possibilities for reassessing and re-forming citizenship and rights.

The exhibition and labs for Playbour – Work, Pleasure, Survival, have created new contexts for collaboration. Artists (from the local area and internationally), game designers and architects, come together with researchers from psychology and neuroscience addressing the data driven gamification of life and everything.

“What a day planning games! Flesh and feelings, revenge engineering, ARG in trees, disability bots, and a “fake” toilet idea that’s hard to translate in a tweet! Head exploding. @furtherfield

In her interview, the curator Dani Admiss discusses how they reassess the power relationships of the gallery, park users and the local authorities, asking who owns the cultural infrastructure and public amenities – and so create a polemic to open up questions of public value. The exhibition is open every weekend through 14 July to 19 August 2018.

The artists featured in Transnationalisms exhibition curated by James Bridle address the effect on our bodies, our environment, and our political practices of unstable borders.

“They register shifts in geography as disturbances in the blood and the electromagnetic spectrum. They draw new maps and propose new hybrid forms of expression and identity.”2

We Help Each Other Grow, 2017 from They Are Here.
We Help Each Other Grow, 2017 from They Are Here.

“Thiru Seelan, a Tamil refugee who arrived in the UK in 2010 following detention in Sri Lanka during which he was tortured for his political affiliations, dances on an East London rooftop. His movements are recorded by a heat sensitive camera more conventionally often used to monitor borders and crossing points, where bodies are identified through their thermal signature.”3

The show opens at Furtherfield from September 14th to October 26th 2018, touring as part of State Machines the EU cooperation which investigates the new relationships between states, citizens and the stateless made possible by emerging technologies.

We have another interview with artist and activist Cassie Thornton, where we discuss her current project Hologram, which examines health in the age of financialization, and works to reveal the connection between the body and capitalism. Her interview focuses on a series of experiments that actively counter the effects of indebtedness through somatic – or body – work including her focus on the way in which institutions produce or take away from the health of the artists and workers they “support”.

“In my work for the past decade, I have been developing practices that attempt to collectively discover what debt is and how it affects the imagination of all of us: the wealthy, the poor, the indebted, financial workers, babies, and anyone in-between.” Thornton

          Feminist Economics Yoga (FEY) (Cassie Thornton, The Feminist Economics Department (FED))

Finally I interview Tatiana Bazzichelli, artistic director and curator of the Disruption Network Lab, in Berlin, questions about art as Investigation of political misconducts and Wrongdoing. Since 2015, the Disruption Network Lab has cultivated a stage and a sanctuary for otherwise unheard and stigmatised voices to delve into and explore the urgent political realities of their existence at a time when the media establishment has no investment in truth telling for public interest.

“When the speakers are with us and open their minds to our topics, I feel that we are receiving a gift from them. I come from a tradition in which communities, networks and the sharing of experience were the most important values, the artwork by themselves.” Bazzichelli.

The programme creates a conceptual and practical space in which whistleblowers, human right advocates, artists, hackers, journalists, lawyers and activists are able to present their experience, their research and their actions – with the objective of strengthening human rights and freedom of speech, as well as exposing the misconduct and wrongdoing of the powerful.

To conclude, all one needs to say is…

“Whether in the variety of human, backgrounds and perspectives, biodiversity or diversity of technologies, coding languages, devices, or technological cultures. Diversity is Proof of Life.” Ruth Catlow, 2018.

Disruption Network Lab: Art as Investigating Misconduct & Wrongdoing

In this interview with Tatiana Bazzichelli, artistic director and curator of the Disruption Network Lab, in Berlin, we discuss questions about art as a process for investigating political misconduct and wrongdoing.

Disruption Network Lab is an ongoing platform of events and research focused on art, digital rights, hacktivism and disruption. So far, they have hosted twelve conference events in Berlin and one in London. The programme creates a conceptual and practical space in which whistleblowers, human right advocates, artists, hackers, journalists, lawyers and activists are able to present their experience, their research and their actions – with the objective of strengthening human rights and freedom of speech, as well as exposing the misconduct and wrongdoing of the powerful. The programme has been covering topics such as the drone war, whistleblowing, counter-surveillance, ISIS media propaganda, hate speech, and artistic and activist strategies in times of increased geopolitical control (see: disruptionlab.org).

Interview

Marc Garrett: Why do we need the Disruption Network Lab now?

Tatiana Bazzichelli: The goal of the Disruption Network Lab is to present and to generate new possible routes of social and political action within the framework of hacktivism, digital culture and information technology, focusing on the disruptive potential of artistic practices. We aim to investigate projects that disrupt the field of information technology in unexpected ways, shedding light on interventions that provoke political and social change from within closed systems. The curatorial strategy aims to connect and to bring into dialogue experts that unfold inner structures of political, economical and technological systems, therefore promoting an in-depth understanding of digital culture in everyday life and society.

I believe that the Disruption Network Lab is necessary because we create a dialogue among people and practices that not necessarily meet often. For example, we connect whistleblowers and artists, policy makers and hackers, investigative journalists and activists. Most of the time, these people are acting within specific scenes, without having occasions of exchange. The curatorial methodology is based on a montage of practices, as well as of fieldwork, to create a conceptual network of multiple points of view.

Each event starts with an in-depth investigation of a subject that is pressing and urgent, and that sometimes needs to be revealed or exposed to the general public. It is not only about organising events, but also to research on what is important to cover according to what is happening in politics, culture and society at a specific moment.

TERROR FEED conference, Keynote: RISE OF THE CALIPHATE: How ISIS Became a Global Threat with Sue Turton and Charlie Winter. Moderated by Mauro Mondello. 24 – 25 November 2017, Berlin. Photo by Maria Silvano


MG: 
An aspect I find really interesting about DNL is its investigative approach. It deals with those current issues usually tackled by journalism, but manages to go much deeper through the lab and conference formats. It also bridges other political, economical and technological systems, and digital culture. I’m wondering why you’ve chosen an investigative approach?

TB: Our aim is not only to comment on subjects of analysis, but to invite people that experience such subjects themselves, often at a high personal risk, and are able to offer to the public concrete advice and countermeasures that go beyond theoretical speculation. Our objective is to provoke change: change of opinion, practical change in our everyday life, and change in political and cultural terms.

At the core of my curatorial and research analysis is the reflection on practices that work from the inside of social, political and technological systems, questioning such systems themselves. This research path follows my theoretical investigation initiated with my PhD research “Networked Disruption: Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking” (published in 2013 by the Digital Aesthetic Research Centre of Aarhus University in Denmark, and followed by a traveling exhibition in various European venues: aksioma.org/networked.disruption).

Video Image: Networked Disruption — guided tour through the exhibition by curator Tatiana Bazzichelli. Škuc gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia. 12 March 2015. https://vimeo.com/122888080

Since the first conference in April 2015, the Disruption Network Lab has been investigating the concept of whistleblowing, bringing attention to abuses of governments and large corporations, involving speakers such as Laura Poitras, Brandon Bryant, John Kiriakou, Annie Machon, Cian Westmoreland, Mustafa Al-Bassam, Abdalaziz Alhamza, Trevor Paglen, Henrik Moltke, a.o.

I come from a practical and theoretical background that combined art, hacking and political activism, but since 2014 my attention has been oriented to art as a act of investigation, thanks also to the work of Laura Poitras that deeply inspired me. I am progressively getting interested in artistic practices and investigations that provoke concrete outcomes, that are even difficult to be defined as “art”. Hacker art was my field of interest since the emergence of hacker culture in the 1990s, but thanks to the Disruption Network Lab activity I got even more concrete, and I started being passionate about the field of investigative journalism.

My intent is to combine the culture of investigation with artistic practice, or even operate a conceptual shift, by starting to define investigative journalism and whistleblowing as art.

Photo: Laura Poitras in her studio with objects exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art. Damon Winter / New York Times. Laura Poitras: Astro Noise May 27, 2016. socialistaction.org – https://tinylink.net/wCkKs

In the act of whistleblowing is embedded a deep change of perspective, where the unexpected emerges. This search for a radical change of point of views, which results in a deep disruption of individual life is something extremely valuable not only in political and cultural terms, but also on an artistic level. It is the contemporary Avant-garde, the search for a profound unexpected gesture that interferes with society and politics at a global level.

The investigative approach is necessary not only in the realm of journalism and whistleblowing, but also in the art context. It is thanks to an artistic approach that many discoveries can be done because artists are able to see reality as a challenge, and in a sense there is an important thread that connects them with whistleblowers. When I brought together these expertise during the Disruption Network Lab conferences, I could really see how it was possible to combine such methodologies and how whistleblowers and artists were intellectually benefiting from each other.

MG: To what degree does your investigative approach stem from what in the media art world has been termed as Tactical Media or Post-Tactical Media?

TB: There is for sure a connection with the tradition of tactical media strategies, and the discourse of post-digital interventions. The idea is to go beyond the digital per se, to focus on the impact of technology on the everyday life, culture, society and politics. However, I like to involve people that do not necessarily theorise on the methods, but that are coming from concrete fields of investigation and would never define themselves as “artists”. It is my conceptual “pleasure” to define them as such, but I know that for them it is not really necessary to present their practices via such definition.

A whistleblower wants to provoke real change, she/he/they is a person that was part of a specific institution or organisation and often is a person that believes in systemic structures. It is perhaps because this person believes so much in them that gets frustrated and decides to disrupt an entire life to reveal a wrongdoing. I find this gesture something impressive, it is a work of art by itself. My question would be how much many established artists would be able to risk to provoke changes. Is actually contemporary art able to provoke concrete changes? For sure the meaning of artistic practice is making us reflect on the concept of change, but I feel that nowadays we need more than that. Power is becoming stronger and more pervasive, my opinion is that art needs to have a stronger and more pervasive impact, beyond distribution of ephemeral privileges.

Just to say something about this curatorial approach: it is absolutely not easy. I see the difficulties when I am looking for funds for the Disruption Network Lab. Cultural funders have difficulty to understand how investigative journalism might be considered useful in the realm of art; alongside, political funders don’t like us to use the word art because they want to give money to something that appears more impactful on society. I like to connect dots, and to be in between, because it is thanks to this liminal zone that change can really emerge and that we can provoke it. Therefore I am choosing the most difficult path, but luckily until now we managed…

“Keep Fighting” by Chelsea Manning Network, at Disruption Network Lab, STUNTS, 12 December 2015, Berlin. Photo by Nadine Nelken.


MG: 
What values are you trying to communicate through this way of working with others?

TB: We want to provide challenging debates within local and international communities, developing a context of critical reflection and analysis beyond what is usually communicated by mainstream media. The format of two-days events with a keynote and a panel each day encourages a very strong community sharing, which works on two levels: first, between the participants altogether, as they often know each other’s work, allowing them to meet for the first time in person and engage in actual discussions about their research; second, among the audience, that is usually formed by real experts working on the topics under analysis, as well as by people interested in getting a deep insight.

This unique combination of expertise creates a solid space for critical questions and discussions during the collective moments of sharing, as well as during breaks and dinners, which add to the Lab’s credibility to handle and discuss sensitive topics in a safe context.

Since each of our events requires a deep content research before the finalisation of the programme, it is extremely important to us to feel supported by organisations that we can trust and allow our research becoming concrete. The challenge of being independent while also looking for funding is very hard, and often some team members have to handle parallel jobs and sustainability struggles. Considering that we work with whistleblowers and people at risk, as it happened in the November 2017 event “TERROR FEEDS”, in which we needed to hire private security, having precarious finances is a severe challenge to the realisation of the project. This is the reason why we try to sensitise our network to sustainability issues in culture production.

FRACTURED LANDS: Confronting the Islamic State. Keynote at TERROR FEEDS, with Abdalaziz Alhamza, Aaron Y. Zelin, and Heba Y. Amin, Disruption Network Lab, 25 November 2017, Berlin. Photo by Maria Silvano.

Since 2014 I have been working with wonderful and competent women in my team: Daniela Silvestrin, Kim Voss and Nada Bakr (Project Managers), Claudia Dorfmüller and Rahel Währer (Project Managers and Administration Officers), and with Jonas Frankki that has been shaping the visual identity of the conference programme since the start.

The Disruption Network Lab project was founded in 2014, and since 2016 it is a registered non-profit association in Germany (Disruption Network Lab e.V. – gemeinnütziger eingetragener Verein). The Disruption Network Lab e.V. produces the Disruption Network Lab programme.

The founding of the association was a solid step towards presenting and promoting the topic of digital culture in Berlin and internationally. We evolved from a single, private initiative, to an organisation devoted to digital culture and its applications on politics, technology, and society, locally and internationally. The grounding of the association was supported in 2016 by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) with a structural funding. For the organisation of the events, however, the association has been dependent on external private and (mostly) public funding. The first series of events in 2015 started thanks to the support of the Capital Cultural Funds of Berlin.

I want to be open on these details because they are really important for the way we shape our work. Often organisations in our field do not speak about the “making of”, but to be transparent it is part of our values. In our organisation we unfortunately do not benefit regularly of structural grants, and we have to search for grants event after event. During the production of our conferences, we have to undertake fundraising activities and this makes our lives very precarious.

The Cleaners (DE, 2018). Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block (Filmmakers, DE). HATE NEWS: Manipulators, Trolls & Influencers. Disruption Network Lab. 26 May 2018.

While in 2015, 2016 and 2018 we got funding support from the City of Berlin, this did not happen in 2017. This pushed us to look for international funds, which was a very complex task while being busy with production – thing that almost compromised the whole conference series. This search opened us toward international foundations that are working with human rights, social justice and investigative journalism, such as the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Bertha Foundation and the Mozilla Advocacy Fund, which supported us in 2017 (and in the case of the Reva and David Logan Foundation, also afterward). This pushed me to research more extensively the field of investigative journalism, because I understood that there was a concrete need for such practices and approaches in the cultural production scenario, and at an international level.

MG: Could you give us an idea of what the composition of the audiences at the DNL conferences

TB: The audience of our conferences is formed by activists, artists, journalists, computer experts, cultural producers, human right and whistleblower advocates, students and researchers. Entrance ticket is very accessible, only 5 Euro per day. After the conference, we provide a video documentation of the events to reach a broader international audience (youtube.com/c/DisruptionNetworkLab).

We have been collecting a lots of video material in the past four years. At the moment I am researching possible grants to see if we will be able to support the activity of archiving such contents in a systematic way, providing additional references and creating useful infographic. This would be something really important to offer to our public in the future.

MG: I was fortunate enough to be asked to chair two different DNL conferences. The one which affected me most, was “DRONES: Eyes from a Distance” which took place in April 2015, at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin. The keynote speaker Brandon Bryant, was whistleblower and former drone-operator. It all felt very intense. The space was full, and the audience were very inquisitive, they wanted to know more. The length of the panels and discussions are longer than usual panel discussions. Yet, strangely, they go very quickly.

Video Image: DNL #1 DRONES – Q&A with Tonje Hessen Schei and Brandon Bryant. Disruption Network Lab. Published on May 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndql21nBAX0

Could you expand on how and why you choose this way of presenting a cultural forum as a platform?

TB: Since 2015 the Disruption Network Lab e.V. produced thirteen conference events (in Germany, UK and Austria). The conference “DRONES” with keynote Brandon Bryant was the first of the series. After that we kept investigating on related subjects, such as activist and resistance strategies after the Snowden-Leaks (“SAMIZDATA”: keynotes Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum); whistleblowing (“TRUTH-TELLERS”: keynotes Grace North and Mustafa Al-Bassam; “PRISONERS OF DISSENT”: keynote John Kiriakou), the ISIS media propaganda (“TERROR FEEDS”: keynotes Charlie Winter, Sue Turton, and Abdalaziz Alhamza): hate speech and political misinformation (“HATE NEWS”: keynotes Nanjala Nyabola and Andrea Noel).

Currently we are working on developing a new conference on the subjects of populism, right-wing extremism, and alt-right, and the effects of such phenomena in art, media, politics and society, under the title of INFILTRATION: Challenging Supremacism (September 7-9 in Berlin at Kunstquartier Bethanien).

Each conference requires a previous research, and an analysis of the topics that are important at the moment. This allows us to be exactly on time for the investigation of current phenomena. It was the case of the last conference, HATE NEWS, which was the result of a funding application done in December 2017, but since the production started later in 2018, I could focus on the “hot news” of the Cambridge Analytica debate, and be really fortunate to have with us David Carroll and Nanjala Nyabola.

Sometimes the topics are also the result of a common sharing within my own community (which actually crosses many communities). It was the case for the first conference event “DRONES” in April 2015. During some months I was sharing ideas with my friends and colleagues Chantal Meloni (criminal lawyer at the ECCHR in Berlin) and Laura Lucchini (freelance journalist) about the topic of the consequences both on military networks and civil society of an increasing automatism of conflicts. Chantal Meloni suggested me to contact former drone operator Brandon Bryant, that at the moment was not well-known as today – she saw him speaking at the ECCHR during an event related to human rights and the drone war. I reached out to him and we decided together how to shape his Keynote – you saw the results. Brandon Bryant was really important for the start of the Disruption Network Lab, his gesture of coming to us was really brave, generous and impactful. In a sense, it was the beginning that shaped the future of our activity.

MG: What responses have you received from your audiences in respect of this way of presenting and the content being explored?

TB: Our audience is usually really committed. I am always impressed when after four hours of discussions, at the Q&A in the late evening, I see people asking very deep, incredibly detailed and specific questions. I have to say that this has been my deep surprise in Berlin since I moved here 15 years ago, to experience that people are so committed, critical and well-informed during events. But of course at the Disruption Network Lab the feedback it brings a more intense value, because I have the feeling that people are enjoying the unexpected connections that I put together after hard work. And the most fulfilling result is when they got them!

However, it is not always easy to keep the public interested in such deep topics, especially because in Berlin the competition with openings, clubs, and parties during the weekend is tough. In the past 4 years we have been shaping our community of passionate people that are regularly coming and following us, even from abroad. The challenge for me now it is to open up more, and to reach new people that are constantly flowing in the city. The support of our close community is important also for this scope, we need to support each other to keep doing what we do.

MG: Since starting DNL what highlights do you remember that have made you feel you are part of something special?

TB: The work before each conference is hard, we are only five people, and in the past we were just three. So at a production level, there is a lots of work which implies fundraising, press and communication, the whole organisation of the logistic and speakers presence. Plus of course, the curatorial work and the research beforhead. We often arrive to the conference very excited but also really tired. However, every time, it is thanks to the speakers and the audience that we get our energy back. In the past conferences we had really unique and wonderful speakers that shared with us their stories, many of them really difficult, heartbreaking and a real challenge to be communicated. This was the case of (among others) Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland, John Kiriakou, Laura Poitras, Jake Appelbaum, Annie Machon, Andrea Noel, Grace North, Mustafa Al-Bassam, Abdalaziz Alhamza, and the constant very important presence of the Chelsea Manning Initiative before Chelsea Manning was released.

I felt that all these people were trusting us and our public by sharing their stories with us. Each conference has been offering an important context at a human level, a moment of reflection, revelation, and also the sensation to belong to a community. With some people I am still in contact, other entered in contact with each other and are still working together on other projects. This is for me the most important result, to see that the Disruption Network Lab is useful not only to inform, but also to make people feel part of something in common.

Tatiana Bazzichelli, at Disruption Network Lab, STUNTS, 12 December 2015, Berlin. Photo by Maria Silvano.

When the speakers are with us and open their minds to our topics, I feel that we are receiving a gift from them. I come from a tradition in which communities, networks and the sharing of experience were the most important values, the artwork by themselves. By combining all these expertise, I feel the responsibility of creating each time the context for a collective artwork, And this is something special, especially nowadays in which the discourse of networking has been completely commercialised. I feel to thank all these people, not only the ones that worked with me and supported us, but also all the people that shared their experiences and the ones that came to listen to them. I am sure that this path will go on, either with us, or among the people that found themselves related thanks to our conferences.

Notes

Tatiana Bazzichelli (1974, Rome) is artistic director and curator of the Disruption Network Lab, a program of conference events at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin. She is currently visiting lecturer at the Fachhochschule Potsdam at the Department of Applied Culture. She has been based in Berlin since 2003. Bazzichelli received a Ph.D. in Information and Media Studies (2011) at Aarhus University in Denmark. In 2012–2014 she was postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University of Lüneburg. She founded the networking project Activism-Hacking-Artivism in Rome in 2001 and managed the aha@ecn.org mailing list on art activism. She was program curator at transmediale festival, where she developed the year-round initiative reSource transmedial culture berlin and curated several conference events, workshops and installations (2011–2014). Bazzichelli wrote the books Networking (2006), Networked Disruption (2013), and co-edited Disrupting Business (2013). She curated exhibitions such as Hack.it.art (2005), HACK.Fem.EAST (2008), Networked Disruption (2015), and SAMIZDATA (2015).

The next Disruption Network Lab conference event is INFILTRATION: Challenging Supremacism, as part of the 2018 thematic series “Misinformation Ecosystems”, scheduled on September 7-8, 2018, at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin.

The conference wants to reflect on the practice of political, investigative and activist infiltration as a form of betterunderstanding aims, lifestyles and methods of right-wing extremist groups. What is the reason for people to join extremist groups? How can we analyse their dynamics from the inside? What are the reasons of fascination among young generations of right-wing propaganda and supremacist outrage?

Among the confirmed speakers are Daryl Davis (Musician & Author, USA) famous for being a black American befriending members of the KKK since the 1990s and making possible to convert around 200 of them (the film “Accidental Courtesy:Daryl Davis, Race & America” will be screened at the DNL event on September 9). Other participants are Patrik Hermansson (Anti-racist Activist, “Hope Not Hate” Researcher, SE/UK), Julia Ebner (Terrorism and Extremism Researcher and Author, DE/UK), Stewart Home (Artist and Author, UK), Florian Cramer (Research Professor in New Media at Hogeschool Rotterdam, DE/NL), Janez Jansa (artist, SI), and others. Stay tuned at: disruptionlab.org/newsletter/

Main Image: Brandon Bryant, Former US-Drone Operator speaks at Disruption Network Lab, DRONES, April 17 2015, Berlin. Photo by Nadine Nelken.

Bio

Tatiana Bazzichelli is the artistic director and founder of the Disruption Network Lab. Former programme curator at transmediale festival in Berlin from 2011 to 2014, she developed the year-round ‘reSource transmedial culture berlin’ project and curated several conference events. She was visiting lecturer at the Fachhochschule Potsdam at the
Department of Applied Culture in 2016 and 2017, where she taught classes about art, hacktivism and whistleblowing. You can read more about her here.

Next Disruption Network Lab event

INFILTRATION: Challenging Supremacism
September 7-8 · Studio 1
Kunstquartier Bethanien · Mariannenplatz 2 · Berlin
Partner Event @ Spektrum · September 9
More info: disruptionlab.org/infiltration

Discussing ‘Playbour – Work, Pleasure, Survival’ with Dani Admiss

Way back in 1995, the artist collective Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), said “What your data body says about you is more real than what you say about yourself. The data body is the body by which you are judged in society, and the body which dictates your status in the world.” These words now haunt us, and take their place alongside numerous other ignored warnings about global threats to the wellbeing of our societies and the planet.

In this interview with curator Dani Admiss, we discuss how the data-driven gamification of life and everything has shaped the development of Playbour – Work, Pleasure, Survival at Furtherfield and why the Gallery is currently being transformed into a psychological environment.

Gallery visitors are presented with a series of game-like installations, which are the result of the shared and collective cognitive labour of artists, curators and gallery staff. First the artists, and then the public (as players) are invited to test the processes and experiences offered by new mechanisms of play and labour. Each ‘game’ simulates an experience of how some techniques and technologies of gamification, automation, and surveillance, are at work in our everyday lives, in order to capture all forms of existence.

Interview

Marc Garrett: Before the exhibition, you initiated an open call for a Lab. You invited participants to join a three-day art and research lab at Furtherfield Commons, Finsbury Park, London. Could you elaborate why you did this and how it informed the exhibition?

Dani Admiss: A couple of months before the exhibition, I ran a 3 day co-research lab that brought together artists, designers, activists, and researchers. I like to refer to it as a performative, temporary exhibition in the form of a lab. There were discussions, performances, interventions, games, and exercises. We had discussion with Jamie Woodcock on gaming and digital labour, he walked us through an interview session with gamers on the Twitch platform. Steven Levon Ounanian held a performative experiment where we thought about how we might render the suffering online in the real world, Itai Palti worked with us to think about design principles and neuroscience. FUN! The idea was that we would collectively explore, discuss and define key issues that we thought were important to then take forward to develop into games and experiences to share with the public. The aim was to play off each other in a live context to generate new perspectives and ideas.

Building on this, I decided to hold an open call for participants. In my most idealistic moment, I’d say I wanted to try and find ways to expand who gets to produce, stage and display, how we define what these issues actually are for wider audiences. Can this lead to new stories about art, tech, society? Like any project it is never exactly as you imagined it, but I think the majority of people got a lot out of working like this. I did. Working with people that aren’t always the people you expect to be attached to a project always throws up unexpected experiences. Everyone brought their best themselves with them. Open. Interested. Warm. Prepared. Ready to listen, and for fun!

I’d make the lab longer next time, so it wasn’t as intense, and I’d try to have more people join the open call.

MG: The open-curation process you have developed is core to the realisation of the Playbour lab and exhibition. It resonates strongly with Furtherfield’s DIWO ethos. It turns on its head, the traditional approach to curating thematic group shows. Please can you tell us about the process and say why this new approach is important at this time?

Lunch time. 3 day co-research lab that brought together artists, designers, activists, and researchers.

DA: DIWO definitely informed Playbour! I think the spirit of co-creative discovery is a powerful tool that curators should use more. I refer to it as co-research, which is ultimately a way to research-with others. What separates it from more traditional approaches to curating is the unclear distinction between author/researcher and subject/participant. The aim is to achieve closer equality between the participant and subject area, in the form of valuing a person’s idea’s and lived-experience as much as other ‘expert’ forms of knowledge. Historically, it has roots in a highly specific context of the radical Left in post-war Italy with Operaismo. This is where the seeds of debate on post-immaterial labour emerged, arising from Hardt, Negri, Bifo, Terranova, etc, and why I originally was interested in working in this way because of the subject matter of the project, however, it became something so much more.

Photo of Steven Levon Ounanian’s workshop session “The Group Limb” as part of Playbour – Work, Pleasure, Survival Lab, May, 2018

For me, as a curator, creating projects about complex subject areas that bring together embodied and embedded social relations with technical worlds, is something that needs to be done with people rather than to them. I think the most interesting works of art being produced today are treated less like things and instead draw into the very making of the ways in which we get to know what we know. You can see this in works from Cassie Thornton’s project Collective Psychic Architecture (an exploration of “bad support” in Sick Times) 2018, where she extends the responsibilities of the gallery or institution through performative means, or in the high-profile modeling and mapping practices coming out of the Forensic Architecture network. How can curating exist in a wider space than before? I’m trying to work in much more extended and expanded ways with the primary intention to include more end users into the areas we are looking at.

Adopting a co-research model (in the lab, in the show, in the publication, in the micro-commissions) meant that the aim of the exhibition shifts, it becomes less about what the topic is and how it works and more about how it came to be. Brian Holmes once wrote that making an image remakes the world. Yes, but it also distances us from it. Playbour asks people to consider how the world organises us by facilitating moments where people can identify with particular phenomena. I feel this is more fitting and has more potential to create moments of personal learning and change than trying to represent it through curatorial practice. Why do we need this in an age of information? My thinking is that knowledge-projects are not simply objective processes but deeply subjective ones that are enacted through and with others. Finding ways for people to identify in more meaningful ways with the subject will hopefully lead to greater chance that people will gain greater perspective and agency over their own worlds.

Cassie Thornton’s “bloackaid” part of Collective Psychic Architecture (an exploration of “bad support” in Sick Times) 2018. Photo Credit Colin Conces.


MG:
The term Playbour brings attention to critiques of gamification and to the extraction of value via social media platforms. But your subtitle then opens up a whole other world of reflection. What are you discovering about the relationship between “work, pleasure and survival”?

DA: The project is exploring the role of the worker in the age of data technologies, but this looks less at the “future of work” and chooses instead to focus on the shifting roles and blurred boundaries of work, play and well-being – how do we place value on these areas, how do we work with and against them?

Quite often when we talk about opaque terms like immaterial labour and cognitive capitalism we fail to grasp the production processes of these phenomena. Immaterial labour depends on the self and our social relations. We are asked to ‘post’, ‘share’, ‘network’, ‘emote’, ‘communicate’, ‘know’. Not so much ‘understand’. These acts inform the control and creation of our subjectivity. At the same time, very little discussion is happening about the fact that so much exploitation -physical, ecological, economical- sits behind the new commons we are all talking about.

Opening the project out to think about work, pleasure, survival, is a provocation. On one level, it is a nod to the fact that this conversation is for a privileged few. Many choose what they do and this ‘choice’ is supposed to operate as an expression of one’s personality. On the other, it’s human nature to get swept up in what is considered the norm, so it’s also a challenge to think about what are your own limits, returning to the idea of inviting people to find moments of identification with these broader issues to their own lived experience.

MG: Why is it important that the work being prepared for Furtherfield gallery is conceived of more, as a series of game experiences, than a display of discrete art objects, or a didactic exhibition on the topic of Play and Labour? Has the gallery’s location in a public park influenced your thinking at all?

DA: Well, first off, it has been a collective process and so I wanted to show that process to people. Secondly, you have to invest part of yourself in play. The more I research the areas of digital and immaterial labour the more I’m keen to work with others to understand the not yet completed transformations of body, society, and world, into a global capitalist system. These are suffuse and pervasive and nudge our behaviours all of the time. Organising the exhibition as experiences is a way for us all to live-out (at least temporarily and in a safe, playful space) the tentacular effects of immaterial labour and economies of knowledge and information. This is not to say let’s walk away from a highly networked society, it’s an invitation back into perspectival agency.

MG: You’ve chosen to put together three themes for the exhibition, ranging across work, pleasure, and survival. Why was it important to choose these three themes in particular?

DA: I’m fascinated by how we are involved in the making of worlds we are then conditioned by. From the learnings in the lab, my own research and collaborations leading up to Playbour, I think gamification, automation, and surveillance are three key areas that scaffold a lot of the debate on digital and immaterial labour.

1) SURVEILLANCE. How we are measured and how we measure ourselves? Traditionally, government control used to come from top-down surveillance techniques, such as the type Michael Straeubig’s Hostile Environment Facility Training (HEFT) is looking at. However, I think we should be talking about how forms of control are exercised through our own self-monitoring processes – self-improvement culture is a perfect example of this. Cassie Thornton’s Feminist Economics Yoga (FEY), is a wonderful remedy for this.

2) AUTOMATION. How technology is removing decision-making from us in the pursuit of a frictionless universe. In Harrison-Mann’s Public Toilet he is talking about how automation is used to address the need of social issues. The starting point is the lack of public services offered in Finsbury Park and how that is altering how we use and experience the public space of the park. He is interested in making a connection between this and how metrics can often end up being exercised in controversial and even arbitrary ways inhibiting people getting what they need, such as disability benefits in the UK.

3) GAMIFICATION. How are rewards and competition embedded into our online interactions and interfaces? Jamie Woodcock has this excellent term that describes gamification-from-above and gamification-from-below. Like the Situationist socialism-from-below. How we might use gamification for our own positive manipulations, diversions and distractions? I think a lot of media and new media practice has long been engaged in gamification-from-below. Marija Bozinovska Jones’ piece Treebour (201) plays on this, transferring manipulation of social relations levelled at online interactions to the “natural” networking of trees.

MG: After visitors have experienced the exhibition, what emotions, thoughts and understandings, would you like them to leave with?

I think you introduced the show in an interesting way in your opening text with the notion of the data body and the extension of our bodies into new spaces with unknown consequences. These happen inside the screen, at the edges of the world, in transit, at the end of the supply chains. At the same time, they also operate on semi-conscious refrains, in our behaviours, actions, thoughts and emotions about the world. Taking part, thinking-with, making-with, are strategies to find ways to open up discussions about how we are all involved in making and unmaking our worlds via different actions. Something like digital and immaterial labour is not a discrete issue reservable for experts who work in this area, the connections and consequences weave in and out of our lives and impact us all. We are constantly reacting to thing around us, taking in these cues and pushing them back out into the world.

In terms of emotions, I don’t want to spread fear and despair, I’m hoping that some visitors will identify with some of the ideas in the show and relate them to something in their life that perhaps they’d not thought of in that way before.

Notes: Main top image by Marija Bozinovska Jones, Treebour 2018.

DIWO – Do It With Others: Resource
archive.furtherfield.org/projects/diwo-do-it-others-resource

Art, Debt, Health, and Care: Interview with Cassie Thornton

Since the financial crash 10 years ago, we’ve learned that it tends to be everyday people, on the ground, who pick up the pieces and not governments. Millions have been dragged into poverty while those who caused the “crisis”, after creating dangerously high levels of private debt, remain unscathed. [1] The UK Conservative government’s response was an Austerity policy, driven by a political desire to reduce the size of the welfare state. Amadeo Kimberly says, “austerity measures tend to worsen debt […] because they reduce economic growth.”[2] The effect has been devastating, creating all together, more homelessness, precarious working conditions and thus pushing working communities, deeper into debt. In the UK, the NHS is being privatized as we speak. According to a CNBC report, medical bills were the biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S in 2013, with 2 million people adversely affected. [3]

The work of artist and activist, Cassie Thornton is included in the upcoming Playbour– Work, Pleasure, Survival exhibition at Furtherfield, curated by Dani Admiss. In this interview I wanted to explore the following questions as revealed in her current Hologram project:

Cassie Thornton is an artist and activist from the U.S., currently living in Canada. Thornton is currently the co-director of the Reimagining Value Action Lab in Thunder Bay, an art and social center at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada.

Thornton describes herself as feminist economist. Drawing on social science research methods develops alternative social technologies and infrastructures that might produce health and life in a future society without reproducing oppression — like those of our current money, police, or prison systems.

Interview

Marc Garrett: Since before the 2008 financial collapse, you have focused on researching and revealing the complex nature of debt through socially engaged art. Your recent work examines health in the age of financialization and works to reveal the connection between the body and capitalism. It turns towards institutions once again to ask how they produce or take away from the health of the artists and workers they “support”. This important turn towards health in your work has birthed a series of experiments that actively counter the effects of indebtedness through somatic work, including the Hologram project.

The social consequences of indebtedness, include the formatting of one’s relationship to society as a series of strategies to (competitively) survive economically, alone, to pay the obligations that you has been forced into. It takes so much work to survive and pay that we don’t have time to see that no one is thriving. Those whom most feel the harsh realities of the continual onslaught of extreme capitalism, tend to feel guilty, and/or like a failure. One of your current art ventures  is the Hologram, a feminist social health-care project, in which you ask individuals to join and provide accountability, attention, and solidarity as a source of long term care.

Could you elaborate on the context of the project is, as well as the practices, and techniques, you’ve developed?

CT: Many studies show that the experience of debt contributes to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Debt disables us from getting the care we need and leads us away from recognizing ourselves as part of a cooperative species: it is clear that debt makes us sick. In my work for the past decade, I have been developing practices that attempt to collectively discover what debt is and how it affects the imagination of all of us: the wealthy, the poor, the indebted, financial workers, babies, and anyone in-between. Under the banner of “art” I have developed rogue anthropological techniques like debt visualization or auxiliary credit reporting to see how others ‘see’ debt as an object or a space, and how they have been forced to feel like failures in an economy that makes it hard for anyone (especially racialized, indigenous, disabled, gender non-binary, or ‘immigrant’) to secure the basic needs (housing, healthcare, food and education) they need to survive, because it is made to enrich the already wealthy and privileged.

“The rise of mental health problems such as depression cannot be understood in narrowly medical terms, but needs to be understood in its political economic context. An economy driven by debt (and prone to problem debt at the level of households) will have a predisposition towards rising rates of depression.”[4]

After years of watching the pain and denial around debt grow for individuals and entire societies, I was so excited to fall into a ‘social practice project’ that has the capacity to discuss and heal some of this capital-induced sickness through mending broken trust and finding lost solidarity. This project is called the hologram.

MG: What kind of people were involved?

CT: The entire time I lived in the Bay Area I was precarious and indebted. I only survived, and thrived, because of the networks of solidarity and mutual aid I participated in. As the city gentrified beyond the imagination, I was forced to leave. I didn’t want to let those networks die. So, at first, the people who were involved were like me– people really trying to have a stake in a place that didn’t know how to value people over real estate and capital

The hologram project developed when, as I was leaving the city, I had invited a group of precariously employed, transient activists and artists to get together in the Bay Area for a week of working together. We aimed to figure out ways to share responsibility for our mutual economic and social needs. This project was called the “Intentional Community in Exile (ICE)” [the ICE pun was always there, now an ever more intense reference in the public eye] and it grew out of an opportunity offered by Heavy Breathing to choreograph an event at The Berkeley Art Museum. They allowed me to go above and beyond my budget to invite a group of 8 women together from across the US to choreograph methods of mutual aid: sharing resources, discussing common problems and developing methods for cooperating to co-develop an economic and social infrastructure that would allow us to thrive together, interdependently. What would it mean for our work as activists and artists to feel that we had roots within an intentional community, even if we didn’t have the experience of property that makes most people feel at home?

Miki Foster closing the ICE ritual called “dying in the eyes of the state”.
Members of ICE: Tara Spalty, Yasmin Golan, Miki Foster, Tori Abernathy, & Aurora Crispin.
Members of ICE: Tara Spalty, Yasmin Golan, Miki Foster, Tori Abernathy, & Aurora Crispin.

Facebook event: “In departing from the idea of a long term home, family, property, or ownership, ICE models a mutual aid society to sustain creative and political practices within a hostile economic system. This project is about finding ways to exit economic precarity by building human relationships instead of accumulating capital– or to make exile warm. After a one week convergence of a small group of collaborators, ICE presents a discussion and performance of life practices as well as frameworks for material and immaterial mutual support.”

The Hologram was one of many ideas that developed as part of this project. One of the group members, Tara Spalty, founder of Slowpoke Acupuncture, (and one of the two acupuncturists you will see at SF protests or homeless encampments) and I fell into this idea when combining our knowledge about the solidarity clinics in Greece, our growing indebtedness and lack of medical records, and the community acupuncture movement. Then the group brainstormed about what the process would be like to produce a viral network of peer support.

MG: What inspired you to do this project? (particularly interested in the Greek influences here and what this means to you)

CT: My practice of looking at debt became boring to me by 2015 as it became more and more clear that individual financial debt was a signal of a larger problem that was not being addressed. The hyper individualism produced by indebtedness allows us to look away from a much bigger deeper story of our collective debts, financial and otherwise. We don’t know what to do with these much bigger debts, which include sovereign debts, municipal debts, debts to our ancestors and grandchildren, debts to the planet, debts to those wronged by colonialism and racism and more. We find it so much easier to ignore them.

When visiting austerity-wracked Greece after living in Oakland, I noticed that Oakland appeared to have far more homeless people on the street. It made me realize that, while we label some places “in crisis,” the same crisis exists elsewhere, ultimately created and manipulated by the same financial oligarchs. The hedge funds that profit off of the bankruptcy in Puerto Rico are flipping houses in Oakland and profiting off of the debt of Greece. We’re all a part of the same global economic systems. The “crisis” in Greece is also the crisis Oakland and the crisis in London. For this reason, I have been interested in what we can all learn from activists, organizers and others in crisis zones, who see the conditions without illusions.

This led me to an interest in the the Greek Solidarity Clinic movement, which since “the crisis” there has mobilized nurses, doctors, dentists, other health professionals and the public at large to offer autonomous access to basic health care. I went to go visit some of these clinics with Tori Abernathy, radical health researcher. Another project using this social technology is called the Accountability Model, by the anonymous collective Power Makes Us Sick. These solidarity clinics are run by participant assembly and are very much tied in to radical struggles against austerity. But they have also been a platform for rethinking what health and care might mean, and how they fit together. The most inspiring example for me was in at a solidarity clinic in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. The “Group for a Different Medicine” emerged with the idea that they didn’t want to just give away free medicine, but to rethink the way that medicine happens beyond conventional models, including specifically things like gender dynamics, unfair treatment based on race and nationality and patient-doctor hierarchies. This group opened a workers’ clinic inside of an occupied factory called vio.me as place offer an experimental “healed” version of free medicine.

When new patients came to the clinic for their initial visit they would meet for 90 minutes with a team: a medical doctor, a psychotherapist and a social worker. They’d ask questions like: Who is your mother? What do you eat? Where do you work? Can you afford your rent? Where are the financial hardships in your family?

The team would get a very broad and complex picture of this person, and building on the initial interview they’d work with that person to make a one-year plan for how they could be supported to access and take care of the things they need to be healthy. I imagine a conversation: “Your job is making you really anxious. What can we do to help you with that? You need surgery. We’ll sneak you in. You are lonely. Would you like to be in a social movement?” It was about making a plan that was truly holistic and based around the relationship between health, community and struggles to transform society and the economy from the bottom-up . And when I heard about it, I was like: obviously!

So the Hologram project is an attempt by me and my collaborators in the US and abroad to take inspiration from this model and create a kind of viral network of non-experts who organize into these trio/triage teams to help care for one another in a complex way. The name comes from a conversation I had with Frosso, one of the members of the Group for a Different Medicine, who explained that they wanted to move away from seeing a person as just a “patient”, a body or a number and instead see them as a complex, three dimensional social being, to create a kind of hologram of them.

MG: Could you explain how the viral holographic care system works?

CT: Based on the shape above, we can see that we have three people attending to one person, and each person represents a different quality of concern. In this new model, these three people are not experts or authorities, but people willing to lend attention and to do co-research, to be a scribe, or a living record for the person in the center, the Hologram. We call these three attendees ‘patience’. Our aim is to translate the Workers’ Clinic project to a peer to peer project where the Hologram receives attention, curiosity and long term commitment from the patience looking after her, who are not professionals. Another project using this social technology is called the Accountability Model, by the anonymous collective Power Makes Us Sick.

So the beginning of the process, like that of the Workers’ Clinic, is to perform an initial intake where the three patience ask the Hologram questions which are provided in an online form, about the basic things that help or hurt her social, physical and emotional/mental health. When this (rather extended) process is complete, the Hologram will meet as a group every season to do a general check in. The goal of this process is to build a social and a physical holistic health record, as well as to continue to grow the patience understanding of the Hologram’s integrated patterns.

Ultimately, over time we hope to build trust and a sense of interdependence, so that if the Hologram meets a situation where she has to make a big health decision (health always in an expansive sense) about a medical procedure, a job, a move, she will have three people who can support her to see her lived patterns, to help her ask the right questions, and to support peer research so that the Hologram is not making big decisions unsupported.

But, in order for the Hologram to receive this care without charge and guilt free, she needs to know that her patience are taken care of as she is. I think this is one part of the project that acknowledges and makes a practice built from the work of feminists and social reproductive theorists – you can’t build something new using the labor of people without acknowledging the work of keeping those people alive; reproducing the energy and care we need to overturn capitalism needs a lot of support. Getting support from someone feels so different if you know they are being, well taken care of. This is also how we begin to unbuild the hierarchical and authoritarian structures we have become accustomed to – with empty hands and empty pockets.

And then, the last important structural aspect of the Hologram project is the real kicker, and touches on the mystery of what it means to be human outside of Clientelist Capitalism – that the real ‘healing’ (if we even want to say it!) comes when the person who is at the center of care, turns outward to care for someone else. This, the secret sauce, the goal and the desired byproduct of every holographic meeting– to allow people to feel that they are not broken, and that their healing is bound up in the health and liberation of others.

The viral structure, is built into this system and there is a reversal of the standard way of seeing the doctor and patient relationship. In this structure it is essential that we see the work of the Hologram as the work of a teacher or explicator, delivering a case that will ultimately allow the patience to learn things they didn’t previously know. This is the most important, (though totally devalued by money) potent and immediately applicable, form of learning we can do, and it is what the medical system has made into a commodity, at the same time as it is seen as ‘women’s work’ or completely useless.

MG: Could you take us through the processes of engagement. For instance, you say a group of four people meet and select one person who will become a Hologram, and that this means they and their health will become ‘dimensional’ to the group. Could you elaborate how this happens and why it’s important for those involved?

CT: We are about to experiment, this fall, with what it means for these groups to form in different ways. We will start with four test cases, where an invited, self-selected person will become a Hologram. She will be supported to select three Patience in a way that suits her, based on an interview and survey. The selection of Patience is a part of the process that we have not had a chance to refine. It is not simple for any individual to understand what support looks like for them, or who they want support from, if they’ve never really had it.

The experiments we will work through this fall will attempt to understand what changes in the experience of the whole Hologram when the Hologram is supported by Patience who are trusted friends and family, acquaintances or highly recommended strangers. An ‘objective’ perspective from an outside participant also adds a layer of formality to the project, because, instead of a casual gathering of friends, an unfamiliar person signals to the other members of the hologram to be on time, and make the meetings more structured than a regular friend to friend chat.

The onboarding process for the Hologram and the Patience includes a set of conversations and a training ritual, which are still quite bumpy. The two roles every participant is involved in, requires a different set of skills, and so they both involve a special kind of “training” that one can do in a group or independently. This “training” is a structured personal ritual that allows participants to witness and adapt their own communication habits so that they feel prepared to participate and set up trust, curiosity and solidarity for the group in the opening intake conversations.

At the completion of the intake process, the Hologram (1) transitions to become a Patience. At this time, the Hologram (1) begins a short training to transition to the other role, and she is supported by her Patience to do this work. At the conclusion of the Hologram’s (1) transition to Patience, and the completion of the new Hologram’s (2) intake process, the original Hologram’s (1) Patience become Holograms (3,4,5).

MG: The Hologram project was first trialed as part of an exhibition called Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time at the Elizabeth Foundation Project Space in New York City, March 31-May 13, 2017. What have you learnt in more recent undertakings of The Hologram project?

CT: Since the original trial one year ago, which lasted for 3 months, the research has shifted to looking at building skills and answering acute questions that will accumulate to support and build the larger project. Starting in the Spring of 2017, I began to offer the Hologram project as a workshop, where participants could test the communication model that is implicit in the Hologram format. The method for offering it is, as a performance artist and rogue architect, creating a situation in a space where people go through a difficult psycho social physical experience together. In the reflective conversations that follow, I ask the groups to use the personal pronoun ‘we’ for the entire duration of the conversation. The idea is that one person’s experience can be shared by the group, and even as temporary Patience we can take a leap and share their experience with them for a duration of time, allowing a Hologram to feel as if their experience is “our” experience. And this feeling that one is not alone in an experience, if carried into other parts of life, has the potential to break a lot of the assumptions and habits that we have inherited from living and adapting to a debt driven hellscape.

SUPERPOWER! Ling Tan on Young Women & Wearable Technology

Artist and designer Ling Tan talks about the SUPERPOWER! workshop that explored ways to empower young women through a creative exploration of wearable technology in public space.

Last summer, artist and designer Ling Tan worked with young peer leaders from All Change Arts, and the Furtherfield team to devise a project called SUPERPOWER! Finsbury Park. It brought together young women from different walks of life to discuss their relationship with the city. The project explored the ability for technology to bring about female empowerment, and question the participant’s role as female in regards to decision making about our city.

Three common themes by the participants were collectively identified, and linked to a place in Finsbury Park. Using the themes to co-create a series of wearable devices that enabled them to record their subjective perceptions of the city using gesture sensing technology. These were:  Cultural diversity and inclusivity in our community; Safety of individuals in the London Borough of Islington and; Wheelchair accessibility around Finsbury Park area

It was all co-scripted and used for an exploration walk, involving the team walking around a specific area of Finsbury Park, performing and recording their subjective experiences using the wearable devices that catalogued their gestures. During the workshop, participants designed body gestures using the wearable technology which track their body gestures and communicate remotely with each other through haptic/audio sensors.

Marc Garrett: Where did the idea for the workshops come from and how did the concept of superpower shape what participants did with your wearable technology.

Ling Tan: In SUPERPOWER! Finsbury Park, the participants were young women aged 15-25 years old and almost all of them have no prior knowledge of electronics and coding. Instead of the workshop being about coding and making, I wanted it to focus on empowerment, challenging them to go beyond their comfort zones. Hence the term “superpower” became a powerful concept to get them to think about technology as a form of superpower that extends their perception into the environment. The idea for the workshop built upon a couple of projects I was doing over the past few years; WearAQ and Fakugesi Social Wearables. The projects use wearable technology to enable different communities to actively record and map out their relationship with their cities through individual subjective perception in the form of body gestures. For example, perception of air quality in London, UK and perception of safety on the streets in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the workshop, participants discussed about their relationship with Finsbury Park, designed experiments and body gestures to map out their own relationship through the use of an existing set of wearable devices, went out into public space and run with experiments with strangers, park users. For me, learning about what they want to do with technology is more important than picking up skills like coding or fabrication.

MG: We were surprised to hear how much the young women had appreciated being taught in depth about how the wearable technologies worked as part of this workshop. Do you think this informal workshop format offers a different way of supporting learning about and working with technology? What most surprised you about the way that the young women responded?

LT: I wanted to steer away from a conventional technology workshop where participants would focus on coding and fabrication, than design, because these are skills that they can pick up themselves through on-line documentation and support. For me, what is more important is to figure out what their own interests are with technology, by learning it through hands on design activities with ready made wearable technology. That way, it makes them feel comfortable with tackling complex technology and it also gives them the opportunity to learn about issues that might occur when technology is tested in the real world, checking it out when it does not work and why.

I was most astonished by their speed of learning and how well they picked up the tech knowledge. For example, one part of the workshops involved learning about the body gesture and what the wearables can detect through decoding “1” and “0” read via the body gesture sensors. I was very surprised that they were able to quickly translate that into their own body gesture design.

MG: Your workshop addressed questions of value in technology innovation, in the particular context of working in the public space of the park. Please tell us about how you approached these questions and why this is important to you.

LT: I think its is important to demystify technology especially given that we are living in an era where technology is so embedded into our everyday life that we take it for granted and do not notice its impact. It is important for the younger generation to learn about ethics of technology, to be curious about who and why companies are designing specific types of technology, and most importantly, to learn that technology does not always work, that technology cannot solve all our problems. They need to learn to be proactive and have a sense of agency in tackling issues concerning their own environment. For example, issues such as safety on the streets cannot be solved entirely by technology, it also needs other input such as citizen vigilance, policy and law changes.

SUPERPOWER! Finsbury Park was a part of the B Creative Summer School, a programme of arts projects created by young women for young women aged 16 – 25 in Islington.

Special thanks to:
All the participants involved in the project
Peer leaders from All Change
Ella Medley Whitfield
Commissioned and supported by: Furtherfield and All Change

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.