A list of recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.
Events, Exhibitions, Open Calls, Festivals and Conferences
News From Where We Are: The Furtherfield Podcast | First broadcast Friday 10th April 2020 | We may be confined to our homes by the Coronavirus emergency but we still have access to thriving networked cultures from around the world. ‘News From Where We Are’ is the Furtherfield podcast hosted by co-founder and co-artistic director Marc Garrett, a conversation with many voices from the ground | Coming soon in April | Join us and send 90-second audio updates | Interviews with Cassie Thornton, Cade Diem & Joseph DeLappe. Contributions from Jaya Klara Brekke, Régine DeBatty, Jeremy Height, and more. More info at https://buff.ly/33C3kYG | Every 2nd Friday, on Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/furtherfield
Upcoming: Art & Animals in the Age of AI and Bio-Engineering | Next month, Regine DeBatty will be giving online classes on the theme of Art & Animals in the Age of AI and Bio-Engineering with the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe | How do artists, designers and activists use artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, synthetic biology, the blockchain or gaming to probe and communicate techno-scientific developments? To investigate the shifting paradigms of the living, thinking world? To make us accept that time has come to co-evolve in a more sympathetic and mutually beneficial way with other living entities, whether “natural”, lab-grown or hybrid? | Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 7:00 PM – Mon, May 4, 2020, 9:00 PM CEST – https://tinyurl.com/w9y6d2v
Distant Movement(s) | A series of performances experimenting with online togetherness and the possibility to experience dance in front of a screen, while we close our eyes. Exploring, being attentive and dancing together are the key concepts of this artistic experience. The project originated in 2018 from a combination of two different approaches, both anchored in exploring bodily sensation. Daniel Pinheiro and Annie Abrahams are interested in the limits and possibilities of online collaboration and communication and use telematic performance as a tool to understand more about it – https://distantmovements.tumblr.com/dm
Peoples Bank of Govanhill | Join us for remote exchange and collective imagining | Drawing Workshop | Monday 13th April 3pm | Join artists Raman Mundair and Ailie Rutherford to collectively imagine a post-capitalist future DRAWING WORKSHOP | This moment of global crisis and the Covid pandemic is likely to transform capitalism as we know it. While this is a difficult time for all of us, times of crisis can also open up space for new possibilities to emerge. It is in these times that large collective shifts in consciousness are possible and major shifts in political and economic structures can happen. We are already seeing lower pollution levels, reduced consumption and new mutual care networks. What else do we imagine happening that didn’t seem possibly before? https://tinyurl.com/wzua7vu
OPEN CALL FOR ART! In response to COVID-19 | Amplifier is launching an emergency open call for artwork around the themes of Public Health & Safety or Mental Health & Well-being. Throughout the month of April, 30 artists will be selected to receive $1k awards, starting next week! I’ll be one of the guest curators for this project, alongside Nancy Spector and Hank Willis Thomas. You can submit and vote on artwork here: bit.ly/globalopencall. These symbols will stand long after the virus is gone as a testament to our resilience, join Amplifier in this historic moment by submitting! – https://tinyurl.com/yx3v3nmb
Michael Szpakowski | Visit his latest phtographs on Flicker. An artist, composer & writer. His music has been performed all over the UK, in Russia & the USA. He has exhibited work in galleries in the UK, mainland Europe & the USA. His short films have been shown throughout the world. He is a joint editor of the online video resource DVblog – https://www.flickr.com/photos/szpako/
#Covid Creatives Toolkit: Mutual aid for digital spaces | Set up by Kat Braybrooke | A set of carefully-curated mutual aid resources, ideas and pathways for creative practitioners (including artists, makers, curators, designers, hackers, educators, facilitators, etc) who find themselves needing to migrate their practice onto digital spaces and places. The kit’s 7 sections are intended to support different aspects of this journey, from digital gathering to digital well-being – https://tinyurl.com/reakdoz
Books, Papers & Publications
Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization in the Digital Age | Brian Jefferson | Brian Jefferson explores the history of digital computing and criminal justice, revealing how big tech, computer scientists, university researchers, and state actors have digitized carceral governance over the past forty years. He shows how digital technology has expanded the wars on crime and drugs, enabling our current state of mass incarceration and further entrenching the nation’s racialized policing and punishment. Brian Jefferson is associate professor of geography and geographic information science at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign | University of Minnesota Press – https://tinyurl.com/ugkj2dq
Museums Inside Out: Artist Collaborations and New Exhibition Ecologies | Mark W. Rectanus | Rectanus investigates how museums are blurring the boundaries between their gallery walls and public spaces. He examines how artists are challenging and changing museums, taking readers deep into new experiments in exhibition making while also offering insights about how museums currently exemplify the fusion of the creative and digital economies. Museums Inside Out introduces a new vocabulary to understand the place of artists in redefining and contesting the museum in the context of globalization and the creative economy | University of Minnesota Press – https://tinyurl.com/tbwmgmq
Embodied Computing: Wearables, Implantables, Embeddables, Ingestibles | Edited by Isabel Pedersen and Andrew Iliadis | Practitioners and scholars explore ethical, social, and conceptual issues arising in relation to such devices as fitness monitors, neural implants, and a toe-controlled computer mouse. The contributors examine technologies that range from fitness monitors to neural implants to a toe-controlled mouse. They discuss topics that include the policy implications of ingestibles; the invasive potential of body area networks, which transmit data from bodily devices to the internet; cyborg experiments, linking a human brain directly to a computer; the evolution of the ankle monitor and other intrusive electronic monitoring devices; fashion tech, which offers users an aura of “cool” in exchange for their data; and the “final frontier” of techno-supremacism: technologies that seek to read our minds | MIT Press – https://tinyurl.com/s6bjrt6
The filth and the fury: punk graphics – in pictures | Guardian | Andrew Krivine has been collecting punk memorabilia since 1977. His book Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die contains over 650 posters, flyers, record sleeves and adverts, charting a DIY ethos that changed graphic design for ever | The book is published on 2 April by Pavilion Books – https://tinyurl.com/ut4aqn4
Articles, Interviews, Blogs, Presentations, videos
Is Accelerationism a Gateway Aesthetic to Fascism? On the Rise of Taboo in Contemporary Art | By Dorian Batycka | What does cancel culture have to do with the rise of techno-futurism and accelerationist ideas in contemporary art? Art critic Dorian Batycka analyzes the recent uptick in accelerationist inspired artworks, examining their manifestation in exhibitions such as the 6th Athens Biennale and the 9th Berlin Biennale, asking to what extent ideas inspired by the accelerationist philosopher Nick Land, have led to proto-fascist ideas percolating within the realm of contemporary art. Download PDF – https://tinyurl.com/rxusqrk
Tales of a DisCO, Straight from the Dancefloor | By Timothy McKeon and Sara Escribano | Guerilla Translation | DisCOs are a commons-oriented, feminist, cooperative way for people to work together. A set of ideals and criteria for ensuring that patterns of oppression and violence that permeate our society are not replicated within intentional, cooperative spaces. DisCOs systematize fairness and the recognition of care work. They help to keep projects geared towards the common good, towards the Commons. DisCOs are essentially a system, but systems are best understood when implemented and that’s where Guerrilla Translation comes in. Our small translation collective is the first DisCO—the pilot project – https://t.co/foEgIV4C2I?amp=1
Excursion to an Alien World | Living with Plan B | Blog post by Aileen Deirig disussing life since living in a commune in Spain | “Calafou has been described as giving the impression of a post-apocalyptic scene, and post-capitalist is one of the self-descriptions. As I have been living in Calafou since the end of last August, this has become so normal that it can feel quite jarring to go to other places and find that they are still pre-apocalyptic and apparently haven’t got the memo yet that capitalism is dying. When I stepped out of a train last Monday evening and found myself in the midst of a brightly illuminated shopping mall, I felt I had landed uncomfortably on the wrong planet.” Read on – https://tinyurl.com/wxzozao
Mutual aid for those who have lost work | Pirate Care Network | pirate.care.syllabus ▒▒▒ 🐙 | Outlined forms of mutual aid to help those who are precarious and currently have no source of income, those who are being laid off, and in general those who have not enough money. It includes propositions where to start if you want to mutualise money, resources and labour — a solidarity fund, a common wallet, shared purchases, a library of things, common.coin, time bank and labour related legal and union support. All this assumes strikes at the point of production, circulation and care work, rent strikes, and demands for a universal sick pay and a quarantine universal basic income – https://tinyurl.com/vgehfbm
Ann Pettifor on Coronavirus Capitalism | Interview with author and campaigner Ann Pettifor, getting her take on the economic consequences of Coronavirus. I specifically ask Ann about the prospects of a debt write down, and whether we may be able to achieve lasting change from the embers of this crisis to capitalism. Hope & Action’s new Vodcasts, explore the need for urgent economic change. Join filmmakers Dan Edelstyn & Hilary Powell as they debate ideas of how to attack the financial crisis with leading thinkers | Youtube – https://tinyurl.com/roctuw4
Ideas to resist | CCCB Lab | Some inspiration to lift our mood during the days of confinement we’re experiencing in certain parts of the world. A couple of weeks before confinement started we asked some of our collaborators to send us inspiring texts to offset the wave of bad news about the current state of the world. We wanted to publish a plural post to inspire hope and optimism, with essential questions, bright ideas and simple solutions. This is the result, in the midst of the global pandemic with consequences and lessons that will define the near future | Víctor Recort Berta Gómez Santo Tomás Albert Lloreta João França Joana Moll Tania Adam Lucas Ramada Prieto Toni Navarro Míriam Hatibi – http://lab.cccb.org/en/ideas-to-resist/
This Is Not the Apocalypse You Were Looking For | Laurie Penny | Pop culture has been inundated with catastrophe porn for decades. None of it has prepared us for our new reality. For years, angry young idiots have fantasised about a shit-hits-the-fan collapse of civilisation scenario, where men would be real men again, and women would be grateful. But in this crisis, our heroes are not soldiers -they are healers and carers | Wired – https://tinyurl.com/uoswgws
Socialism in a time of pandemics | International Socialism | Joseph Choonara’s analysis of the Covid-19 crisis looks at the history of epidemics, the origins of the coronavirus in capitalist development and agriculture, what the outbreak means for the world economy and how the left can respond. “Above all, a pandemic on this scale intensifies the pre-existing fault lines of capitalism. At the most basic level it poses a choice: defend profits or save lives. The indications, thus far, are that the former has been the overriding priority for those presiding over the system. This article explores how pandemics enmesh with the logic of capital and offers some potential responses from the left | https://tinyurl.com/r6owqay
The Political Possibility of Sound. Interview with Salomé Voegelin | By Leandro Pisano | Digicult | What are the political potentials of listening? How does sound define the crossing of the territories of contemporaneity, of the differences in race, gender, social belonging? How can we, in the invisible depth of sound, define our belonging to the contemporary world, taking an active position in issues that concern ethics, subjectivity, the principles of collective and individual living? After attempting to define a series of possible philosophical and post-phenomenological approaches to sound art in the previous two books – Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art (Continuum, 2010), and Sonic Possible Worlds: Hearing the Continuum of Sound (Bloomsbury, 2014) – the Swiss writer and artist Salomé Voegelin continues her analysis on listening practices, in a new book entitled The Political Possibility of Sound: Fragments of Listening (Bloomsbury) whose themes juxtapose and which reflects on the encounter between political processes and the sounds we are constantly immersed in – https://tinyurl.com/t9xzszo
Pandemic Inequalities, Pandemic Demands | By weareplanc | We need to recognise that ‘staying at home’ doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. For some, homes are a sanctuary. For others, the home is another place of work, where cooking, cleaning and childcare take up the majority of their time and energy. There are many for whom the home is a place of danger, with time outside, if possible, being a respite from abuse. For people with mental or physical illness, for the elderly and disabled, the isolation they may face through being confined to the home can be deeply unhealthy, at times terrifying. Some people don’t have homes at all; being shunted from one sofa to another, sleeping in night shelters or out on the streets are dangerous “options” during this pandemic for those that have few already – https://bit.ly/2wJnynq
Is This a Dress Rehearsal? | Bruno Latour | The unforeseen coincidence between a general confinement and the period of Lent is still quite welcome for those who have been asked, out of solidarity, to do nothing and to remain at a distance from the battle front. This obligatory fast, this secular and republican Ramadan can be a good opportunity for them to reflect on what is important and what is derisory. . . . It is as though the intervention of the virus could serve as a dress rehearsal for the next crisis, the one in which the reorientation of living conditions is going to be posed as a challenge to all of us, as will all the details of daily existence that we will have to learn to sort out carefully. I am advancing the hypothesis, as have many others, that the health crisis prepares, induces, incites us to prepare for climate change. This hypothesis still needs to be tested – https://tinyurl.com/s2y9hcp
Image: An assemblage from an excellent collection of photographs taken by Michael Szpakowski. https://www.flickr.com/photos/szpako/
The FurtherList Archives
A cultural discussion podcast grounded in news from where we are
We may be confined to our homes by the Coronavirus emergency but we still have access to thriving networked cultures from around the world. ‘News From Where We Are’ is hosted by Furtherfield’s Marc Garrett, a conversation with many voices from the ground. The podcast explores how the collaborative-imaginative fieldwork of artists, techies and activists is informing how we organise, imagine and build solidarity, good health and post-capitalist realities. Working together and supporting others to do the same.
Each podcast includes your news from where you are, 3 interviews, a review, readings and announcements, to explore how people want to live in our globally-connected world now.
Send short audio recordings to email@example.com in the style of local news headlines (up to 90 seconds) including your name, where you are, and your news.
Also send your social media handles so that we can share the podcast with you.
Monthly on Soundcloud.
First broadcast April 2020
Interviews with Cassie Thornton, Cade Diem & Joseph DeLappe. Contributions from Jaya Klara Brekke, Régine DeBatty, Jeremy Height, and more…
Interview with Gretta Louw. Contributions from Annie Abrahams, Azure Carter, Mac Dunlop, Paul Hertz, Daniel Pinheiro, and Eryk Salvaggio,
Jennifer Seaman Cook, and more…
Illustration by Lina Theodorou, for ‘Bad Shibe‘ by Rob Myers
Published by Furtherfield and Torque editions, 2017
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
TransLocal Cooperation Exhibition | 13 March – 19 April | An exhibition of works born of cooperation and knowledge exchange between Turkish, Greek, Serbian and British artists seeking translocal solidarity in a hyper-connected world. As our world has become hyper-connected it has enabled us to simultaneously occupy or travel through numerous physical and virtual locations. A result of this is that we increasingly each identify with more than one place or culture. This social and cultural aspect of globalisation is often described in terms of ‘translocality’, where the events, conditions, and attachments of one location can rapidly influence and connect with another | Furtherfield Gallery | Finsbury Park, London | Opening Event | Thur, 12 Mar, 18:00 – 20:00 | Booking Essential – https://cutt.ly/ntwYrtw
Cassie Thornton presents The Hologram: Collective Health as a “Beautiful Art Work” | A series of talks from the Love Machines season | Artist Cassie Thornton, of the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), will discuss The Hologram, a mythoreal collective peer-to-peer health project currently incubating at Furtherfield Gallery in London. The Hologram, based on the understanding that all our crises are connected and everyone is a little sick, is a viral four-person health monitoring and diagnostic system practiced from couches all over the world. This health distribution system is based on the experimental care models developed in the Social Solidarity Clinics in Greece during the height of the financial and migration crisis. The result is the construction of a robust network of multi-dimensional health, collectively oriented social practices, and trust that can outlive racial capitalism as an act of resistance. Furtherfield Commons, Finsbury Park London, UK | 10 March 2020, Tues 18 March 2020, Weds 13:30 – 17:00 | Booking Required – https://cutt.ly/ntwYddK
Dawn of the Transhuman Era | Tuesday, 17 March 2020 | Transhumanism argues that we should preserve and extend the unique properties that make us human by radically altering ourselves and the environment around us. Recently transhumanist thinking has seen a resurgence thanks to new technological developments that point towards the possibility that many of its promises will be realised. This raises a number of challenging issues that aspiring transhumanists must soon face: from how they will choose to manipulate or upgrade their body; to how they will approach the taboo of death – especially if, in principle, you could live forever | Join transhumanist Prof. Steve Fuller and bioethics researcher Francesca Minerva for FUTURES Podcast LIVE, Hosted by The Truman Brewery, FUTURES Podcast, Schwabe Verlag, Experimental Thought Co, and Luke Robert Mason – Eventbrite – https://bit.ly/2TBEOT0
Deffffffficiency | Solo exhibition by Joana Moll | 18 March 2020 – 04 April 2020 | Panke gallery, Berlin | Joana Moll is a Barcelona/Berlin based artist and researcher. Her work critically explores the way post-capitalist narratives affect the alphabetization of machines, humans and ecosystems. Her main research topics include Internet materiality, surveillance, social profiling and interfaces – https://cutt.ly/ctekvX2
Workshop: Subvertising for the Right to Housing | Hosted by Disruption Network Lab | Thursday, 26 March 2020 | With Steal This Poster (Subvertising Collective IT/UK) and Kunstblock And Beyond (DE) | Subvertising is the combination between subvert and advertising. During this workshop we will work with Steal This Poster (Rome/London), and Kunstblock (Berlin) to learn tactics and techniques of subvertising related to aggressive corporations in the context of housing eviction.Part of the Disruption Network Lab 19th conference: “EVICTED BY GREED: Global finance, Housing & Resistance” (27-28 March, 2020, Studio 1, Kunstquartier Bethanien). Location: Supermarkt Berlin, Mehringplatz 9, 10969 Berlin – https://pretix.eu/disruptionlab/evicted/
The Festival of Alternative Art Education | Festival of Alternative Art Education, London | Sat 21st March | Fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education, the landscape of alternative art education features a multitude of diverse organisations that offer free or affordable art education. Bringing together alternative art schools, peer-support groups and collectives in a range of events, performances, discussions, installations, stalls and workshops on education, pedagogy, peer-support, co-operation, self-organisation, labour and precarity. Come along to participate, learn, play and meet representatives from the schools to find out what they do, how to get involved or how to start your own art school – https://bit.ly/3ai94ZF
Zanele Muholi | Tate Modern presents the first major mid-career survey of visual activist Muholi in the UK | 29 April – 18 October 2020 | Born in South Africa, Muholi came to prominence in the early 2000s with photographs that sought to envision black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex lives beyond deviance or victimhood. Muholi’s work challenges hetero-patriarchal ideologies and representations, presenting the participants in their photographs as confident and beautiful individuals bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance and, frequently, violence. Muholi’s striking portraits will be on display in their upcoming exhibition at Tate Modern – https://bit.ly/2VEU97B
Books, Open Calls, Papers & Publications
Call Out | Let’s Create An Artist in Every Community (and let’s create it now)… | Stephen Pritchard | This article sets out how we could easily and relatively cheaply employ artists in everyday community and how such a simple, yet radical system would create just the sort of transformative cultural change that is at the heart of Arts Council England’s new 10-year strategy, Let’s Create. Create a working group to develop this idea and hopefully trial it as a participatory action research project somewhere. So get in touch if you’re interested – https://cutt.ly/5twO1Uy
Control Shift | Call out open for artworks, workshops and provocations | Deadline 15th March | An exciting new arts programme coming to Bristol (UK) in June 2020 exploring creative and critical approaches to technology, rooted in embodiment and materiality. Control Shift asks how we can reframe and rethink our relationships with technology. How could we conceive of new possibilities beyond neoliberal versions of computing? What might happen if there was more space for poetic or tactile engagements with the digital? Can we reconsider our connections, responsibilities and embodied entanglements with technology? – https://www.control-shift.network/
Call Out: Piet Zwart Institute Experimental Publishing (XPUB) | A two-year master focussed on the acts of making things public and creating publics in the age of post-digital networks. Calling all AI hiding blockchain comics, adults screaming hyper-binary screensavers, governments designing multi-DIWO architectures, viruses disrupting top-down traditions, hobbyists sending non-industrial software, teachers seeing copyrighted blogs, whistleblowers spamming shared files, celebrities criticizing homemade synthesizers, judges demanding AI carpets, individuals showing inter-anarcho-capitalist corruption, more here – https://www.pzwart.nl/experimental-publishing/
Applications Deadlines: 06.03.2020: NON-EU + EU priority | 24.04.2020: Final EU deadline
The new Neural issue | (co-edited with Nicolas Maigret, Maria Roszkowska) is hot from the press. Subscribe now! Because only subscribers will get a free extra Post-Growth Toolkit by Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska. You can also subscribe to the magazine Digital Edition accessing all issues since #29. Or you can buy the magazine from the closest of the almost 300 stores stocking it. A back issues pack is available – http://neural.it/issues/neural-64-post-growth/
Mycelium Network Society | An open, living, organic network. Observing the concept of nature’s distributed network in self-expanding mode, we seek your participation as a node, a node that cultivates locally and connects globally. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges. To become a node join Mycelium Network Society – http://mns.stwst.at/
Open Call: Summer Sessions 2020 | V2_Lab for Unstable Media | The Summer Sessions are short-term international art and technology residencies for emerging artists and designers. A network of cultural organizations all over the world sponsors and hosts the residencies. Every summer we offer early-career artists and designers support so they can take part in production residencies abroad. If selected, you will gain an opportunity to work in a highly productive atmosphere with support, feedback and expert supervision. Each Summer Sessions residency lasts approximately eight weeks and takes place between June and September. During this period you will develop your project from concept to presentable work, ready to show – https://cutt.ly/1twSy99
A Course in: Feminist Art and Exhibitions: History and Challenges | Online Course by Node Center, Berlin | By Anja Foerschner | Duration: Apr 08 – Apr 29, 2020, Enroll before: Apr 4, 2020 | This course will look at how feminist thinking has influenced the arts since the 1960s, both in Western as well as selected non-Western contexts. It will present the foundational feminist theories that furthered the radicalization of female artists and trace their manifestation in the visual arts. Due to its strong political content and often taboo-breaking visuality, feminist art continues to present its own set of challenges to curators and museum professionals. The course will introduce students to the most important exhibitions of feminist art and discuss their strategies, premises, and criticism. In addition, the course will present curatorial practices and exhibition formats that follow feminist premises – https://nodecenter.net/course/feminist-art
A DAO of One’s Own? Feminist strategies for P2P Organisations | White paper by Denise Thwaites | On P2Pmodels | Experiments in building and deploying Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) have proliferated, marking a transition (in many cases) from software design and development towards alpha and beta testing stages. From a technical perspective this is a key moment in the evolution of such systems, as communities of users test and provide feedback on the functionality of these products. For those interested in the potential social impact of DAOs, the stakes of this moment are even higher: it is the period where community needs are defined beyond the theoretical user. It provides opportunities to challenge the form and functionality of these decentralized socio-technical infrastructures while they are still relatively plastic. For this reason, we must look closely at the composition of participants at this stage of DAO development, to consider whether their engagement can lay foundations for alternative social configurations, or further entrench existing social biases – https://cutt.ly/PtwYbcL
The Ghost In You by Jeremy Hight | On WTBC Radio | Is your life like a ghost… or is a ghost living in your life? Would either of you know it? In this novel, a teacher comes to grips with the emptiness of her life, while a ghost attempts to do the same. This novel explores the places where many of us live, inside and outside of our heads. Limited to 100 Print copies, with a translucent cover. Get yours today – https://cutt.ly/itri9Xs
Women Warriors: An Unexpected History | By Pamela D. Toler | Who says women don’t go to war? From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, these are the stories of women for whom battle was not a metaphor. The woman warrior is always cast as an anomaly—Joan of Arc, not GI Jane. But women, it turns out, have always gone to war. In this fascinating and lively world history, Pamela Toler not only introduces us to women who took up arms, she also shows why they did it and what happened when they stepped out of their traditional female roles to take on other identities | Published by Beacon Press – https://cutt.ly/2twwAqO
Articles, Interviews, Presentations, videos
Silvia Federici: The joyful militancy of feminism | By Julius Gavroche | Interview conducted by Victoria Furtado and Mariana Menéndez | While throughout the world the fourth feminist strike is being prepared in hundreds of meetings, activities and assemblies, listening to Silvia Federici is inspiring. In a stop in her travelling about the world, sharing keys of understanding and giving courage, Silvia met with us at her home in New York to discuss current feminist struggles, the popular revolts of recent months, the tensions of feminism with the left and the highlights of her latest book – https://cutt.ly/utwOPn5
B-hind. Celebrating the internet of anal things| Regine Debatty reviews the product launch performance of B-hind: intimate innovation by Dani Ploeger | V2_, the Lab for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, and In4Art, an organisation dedicated to “art-driven innovation”, challenged artists to select one of the works realised at V2_ over the course of its 40 year old history and to reimagine, reengineer and reenact it today. The first experiment in the series is by Dani Ploeger. The artist and cultural critic decided to revisit Stelarc’s Amplified Body, a performance that took place in 1994 and engaged with the relationship between humans, machines and the surrounding space and ultimately the role and functioning of the body – https://cutt.ly/EtwYJkz
Oceans between Sound | An album from intercultural tele-improvisation internet based music ensemble Ethernet Orchestra. A selection of live improvisations by the internet based music ensemble, Ethernet Orchestra. The album was recorded during located venue performances and online sessions between 2014-2019, featuring musicians from a diverse range of cultures, performing across international time-zones and physical locations in Brazil, the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia. The music was inspired by the ebb and flow of network data as a metaphor for the world’s oceans and waterways separating the members of the ensemble, and their geographically dispersed lives | Published on the Pueblo Nuevo Netlabel – https://cutt.ly/7tebPQ6
For sale: Sponsored Influenza Pandemic Evacuation Rehearsal booklet by Heath Bunting & Kayle Brandon 2005/6 | “A flu pandemic would inevitably take the Cube Microplex and other entertainment venues out of business. We intend to sow the seeds of rebirth by preserving the values and methods embodied within our workers by providing effective advice and procedures for their physical survival. This report is a developmental first step in this DIY health programme.” Price 200.00 eur (plus packaging and postage)
Artist signed booklet from 2005 Pandemic Evacuation Rehearsal. http://duo.irational.org/siper/report/siper_document01.pdf
Bus Regulation: The Musical | Ellie Harrison | Video of performance | Inspired by the 1980s hit musical ‘Starlight Express’, the new performance / event re-enacts the history of public transport provision in Greater Manchester from the post-war period to the present day… on roller skates!Staged at Manchester Art Gallery for the closing celebration of the Get Together & Get Things Done exhibition on Saturday 28 September 2019, Bus Regulation: The Musical is produced in collaboration with the Better Buses for Greater Manchester campaign, the Association of British Commuters and local roller skaters – https://www.ellieharrison.com/busregulation/
The Smithsonian Puts 2.8 Million High-Res Images Online and Into the Public Domain | Open Culture | The Smithsonian has released 2.8 million images into the public domain, making them searchable, shareable, and downloadable through the museum’s Open Access platform. This huge release of “high resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections,” notes Smithsonian Magazine, “is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting.” – https://cutt.ly/xtwY9Rm
Let’s Talk about Sex (and Race and Colonialism) | By Layla-Roxanne Hill | As Western societies continue to experience social, environmental and economic crises, our ideas and beliefs on what constitutes work and what kinds of work are valued are ever changing: whether it be the ways care and sexual labour are regarded, the role of exploitation and criminalisation, or imagining what a post-work terrain could look like. Combined with an ever-increasing awareness the impact automation technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will have on jobs, skills, and wages, the future of work continues to be one of the most debatable topics of 2019 – https://cutt.ly/ltwYNRX
Image: from Panke Gallery, Berlin, for Deffffffficiency. Solo exhibition by Joana Moll. 18 March 2020 – 04 April 2020.
The FurtherList Archives
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
Data Dating | Exhibition Wednesday 15 January – Sunday 1 March 2020 | What does it mean to love in the Internet age? How are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships? What do new technologies imply for the future of the romantic sphere? How do screens affect our sexual intimacy? Are the new means of connection shifting the old paradigms of adult life? The advent of the Internet and smartphones has brought about a split in the romantic lives of millions of people, who now inhabit both the real world and their very own “phone world” | Artists: Addie Wagenknecht & Pablo Garcia, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Ashley Madison, Angels at Work in London, VR Hug, Tom Galle, Moises Sanabria, John Yuyi, Antoine Schmitt, Olga Fedorova, Adam Basanta, Jeroen Van Loon, Thomas Israel | Watermans Art Centre, London – https://bit.ly/2unO6ZX
Querying the Archive | Hosted by MayDay Rooms | Thursday, 13 February 2020 | London | An on-going series of workshops around our archival platform leftove.rs, which will look at the different ways we can open up this online collection material and the technical processes between it. We want to think through that kind of strategies, queries and categories will help us navigate something that is both an database and resource of radical history. The first session we will be learning about the platform and mapping the collection by pooling our knowledge of radical histories of dissent to help us think about how we search, input and categories this large collection of material. https://leftove.rs
The Habitat of Time | Curated by Julie Louise Bacon | Arts Catalyst | Thu 20 February 2020 – Sat 14 March 2020 | The project focuses on the way that time as a medium shapes our perception of life, the structure of societies, and the vastness of the physical world. The artworks featured in the exhibition propose a rescaling of human time and expose its deep interrelations with the diversity of the more-than-human realm, moving through the geological, technological, biological and cosmic. In the 21st century, the instability of globalisation, the speed of digital technologies, and the transformation of knowledge are generating rapid shifts in time | Featuring: Eva Nolan, Thomson & Craighead, Robert Andrew, Lucy Bleach, James Geurts, Josh Wodak – https://bit.ly/2uo2Sjv
Pre-histories and Futures of Machine Vision | Friday, 28 February 2020 | V&A, London | How do machines see? From autonomous vehicles to deep fakes, machine vision is changing contemporary life. Join curators, artists and scholars to discuss the impact of AI technologies on the past, present and future of art. Explore early moments in the development of computer art and machine vision, from the mid-1960s onwards in the home of the UK’s most important historic computer art collection. Join contemporary artists, designers and curators considering the aesthetic and political implications of contemporary computer vision and machine learning technologies. Speakers include digital scholars Zabet Patterson (Stony Brook) and Joel McKim (Birkbeck), V&A curators Douglas Dodds and Natalie Kane, and contemporary artists Anna Ridler and Alan Warburton | 10.30 – 17.00 | Hochhauser Auditorium, V&A South Kensington – https://bit.ly/371PYVM
QUANTUM: IN SEARCH OF THE INVISIBLE | From March 5 until May 31, 2020 | An international art exhibition exploring the world of quantum physics, through works created by artists resulting from their encounters with researchers at CERN, Geneva | Featuring ten commissioned artworks by internationally renowned artists, which rethink scientific research and facts to explore states of being and the very possibilities of reality. These works question how much we really know about the world around us, and how we may begin to discover new aspects by taking a different perspective | Brussels, Belgium – https://www.imal.org/en
Three Acres And A Cow | Hosted by Three Acres And A Cow and 3 others | ‘Three Acres And A Cow’ connects the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with current issues like Brexit, fracking, the housing crisis and food sovereignty movement via the Enclosures, English Civil War, Irish Land League and Industrial Revolution, drawing a compelling narrative through the radical people’s history of England in folk song, stories and poems. Part TED talk, part history lecture, part folk club sing-a-long, part poetry slam, part storytelling session… Come and share in these tales as they have been shared for generations. Featuring Robin Grey and Rachel Rose Reid | 12 March 2020 – http://threeacresandacow.co.uk
Workshop: Subvertising for the right to housing | March 26, 2020 @ SUPERMARKT BERLIN | With Steal This Poster (Subvertising Collective IT/UK) and others. These workshops show us how subvertising offers a creative way to rewrite the narrative about the housing market in the streets where gentrification operates. Outdoor advertising is the most emblematic form of consumerist propaganda. It privatises sections of public spaces with the purpose to conditioning mass behaviours imposing specific narratives. How can we untangle those narrations? And how can we take over those spaces subtracted from the public realm for private interests? | registrations open soon | sign up for the newsletter – https://bit.ly/2OqppD2
EVICTED BY GREED: Global Finance, Housing & Resistance | Uncovering how ghostly shell companies and real estate speculation evict real people from their homes – and what to do about it | Investigations on how how speculative finance drives the global and local housing crisis, and gathers experts & activists from around the world to share and find counter-strategies | The Conference, March 27-28, 2020, Studio 1, Kunstquartier Bethanien | Disruption Network Lab – https://bit.ly/2S2SEya
Books, Open Calls, Papers & Publications
Open Call – Science Gallery London | Inviting expressions of interest for projects to become part of the forthcoming AI & Ethics season. Whether your application is art, scientific inquiry, or a combination of these, we are looking to work with individuals and groups who are critically exploring ethical issues around the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly (though not exclusively) within the context of healthcare | Open from 31st January 2020 to 23rd February 2020 – https://bit.ly/2Ut377q
Open Call – URgh! zine #1 on Alternative Art Education | DEADLINE Friday, 21 Feb 2020 | Submissions are open for the first issue of URgh! We welcome contributions that explore and document alternative art education within self-organised, DIY, peer-led art schools and collectives, to extend the existing research and amplify the movement. A new zine on precarious labour dreaming up alternative economies at the coalface of the art educational creative industrial complex. The first issue will be launched on Saturday, 21 March 2020 at the Festival of Alternative Art Education 2020 at Conway Hall. https://videomole.tv/urgh-zine/
Art Meets Radical Openness 2020 – OPEN CALL: Of Whirlpools and Tornadoes | 20th – 23rd of May 2020 | Deadline: Monday 24.02.2020 | AMRO is a biennial community festival in Linz that explores and discusses new challenges between digital culture, art, everyday life, education, politics and activism. The 2020 edition of the AMRO festival is characterized by reflections upon the “centripetal” and “centrifugal” dynamics of acceleration visible in contemporary society and the ways artistic practice, activism and radical thinking can engage with it – http://radical-openness.org/en
Technological Sovereignty: Democratising Technology and Innovation Green Paper | Within DiEM25, by crowdsourcing collective knowledge have identified three key ways to achieve Technological Sovereignty. They try to define the issues, and provide short, medium and long term solutions, based on two processes: Regulation and Renewal. And we need to establish the conditions for social innovation and democratic societal transformation – https://internal.diem25.org/en/vote/205/public
Culture, Technology and the Image: Techniques of Engaging with Visual Culture | Edited by Jeremy Pilcher | Culture, Technology and the Image explores the technologies deployed when images are archived, accessed and distributed. The chapters discuss the ways in which habits and techniques used in learning and communicating knowledge about images are affected by technological developments. The volume discusses a wide range of issues, including access and participation; research, pedagogy and teaching; curation and documentation; circulation and re-use; and conservation and preservation | Intellectbooks – https://bit.ly/2v9CFoF
Hacking Diversity: The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures | By Christina Dunbar-Hester | Hacking, as a mode of technical and cultural production, is commonly celebrated for its extraordinary freedoms of creation and circulation. Yet surprisingly few women participate in it: rates of involvement by technologically skilled women are drastically lower in hacking communities than in industry and academia. Hacking Diversity investigates the activists engaged in free and open-source software to understand why, despite their efforts, they fail to achieve the diversity that their ideals support | Prince University Press – https://bit.ly/2SlvCBl
Call for Papers – Media Theory, Media Fiction, and Infrastructures Beyond the Earth | Today, established space agencies are struggling with national funding, and numerous countries are starting ambitious space programs, and private companies and individuals are building innovative space plans and technologies. The current socio-political configuration offers thinkers and practitioners new opportunities by which to intervene in how we envision and inhabit the cosmos. Media Theory, Media Fiction, and Infrastructures Beyond the Earth is a two-day workshop May 7-8, 2020 at University of Toronto, Mississauga that will investigate space exploration and inhabitation from the point of view of media studies | University of Toronto Mississauga, USA – https://bit.ly/383z623
Call for proposals – (Infra)Structures | 4 – 5 June 2020 | Centre for Postdigital Cultures annual conference | Coventry University, UK | Proposals for its 3rd annual conference on infrastructures | This conference takes interest in infrastructures as an invisible system of meaning-making and a mode of structuring people and knowledge, in the institutional contexts and conditions of this structuring, as well as in possible models of intervening in these very structures. By doing so, we hope to interrogate the potential of making infrastructure visible – remarkable – as a means of speaking to power. We are interested in exploring what new ways of understanding, developing, reconfiguring or hacking infrastructures might be possible if we focus on their radical potential – https://bit.ly/31rd1rC
Articles, Interviews, Presentations, videos
Poetry v. the Body Politic: writing a political movement | Excerpts from a dialogue on the relationship between poetry and politics in Iran today, between Poetry International Archives Iran editor Abol Froushan and Ali Abdolrezaei, a major Iranian poet and leader of a grassroots political movement that has been spreading in Iran since the uprising of January 2018, when the multimedia Colleges of Persian Poetry and of Fiction became a political movement. What incubated as a literary movement calling for democracy of the text and literary styles transformed into a movement for democracy and freedom from the Islamic Republic and its political and economic stranglehold on Iranians – https://bit.ly/2Sn6bPJ
Interview with Helen Knowles by Regine Debatty | Trickle Down, A New Vertical Sovereignty | A prison in Liverpool, an Ethereal Summit in New York city, a prestigious Russian art auction at Sotheby’s, a market in North Manchester. These places and the communities that spend time there have little in common. What is more, they sit at opposite ends of the spectrum of financial power. That’s exactly what appealed to Helen Knowles. Helen Knowles is currently exhibiting the result of this long research at Arebyte Gallery in London – https://bit.ly/2S16mkR
Rowland Atkinson reviews Thomas Piketty’s eagerly awaited new book Capital and ideology in the city | “In all nations and at all times societies require some system or series of defences of the disparities that exist within them. Different kinds of societies have achieved this in their own distinctive ways and in fact much of this more than 1,000 page work delves into the long history of such arrangements. Piketty calls these narratives and systems of thinking inequality regimes. There is power at work in the narratives, ideas and legitimising frameworks deployed by elites and which are shared more broadly within society as a whole.” https://bit.ly/2UtAE1j
OBIETTIVO BOLOGNA REPORTAGE BY ARIANNA FORTE | The itinerant tour of the project DATAPOIESIS runs into Bologna, historically one of the most active and aware Italian cities in urban policies. Datapoiesis in the city, took place from the 24 to 26 of January 2020, coordinated by Singlossa with local partner MaisonVentidue. Obiettivo, was the first datapoietic artwork, and trigger for reflecting on a new kind of processes capable of bringing awareness and social activation using public data in a conscious way and to face complex global phenomena such as poverty from different points of view – https://datapoiesis.com/home/?p=2348
Image from: Data Dating, Exhibition. Wednesday 15 January – Sunday 1 March 2020 at Watermans Art Centre, London.
The FurtherList Archives
Events, Exhibitions, Festivals and Conferences
Panel Discussion: My Mind, Your Weapon | Hosted by arebyte | Sat 11 Jan 2020 | Join artist Sarah Selby in a discussion around the impact of behavioural targeting on democracy, diversity and autonomy with panelists: Ves Popov, Laurie Love, Kadine James and Rod Dickenson. The panel will focus on fostering curiosity, facilitating discussion and provoking critical thinking around often inaccessible issues surrounding the processes and applications of big data – particularly with regards to data bias, the Internet of Things and Smart Cities – https://bit.ly/2tlGoyU
WILDBIYOO 2020 Artist Residency in the jungle, Goa, India | The tribe goa | 13 Jan 2020 – 2 Feb 2020 | Wildbiyoo is dedicating January 2020 to the arts to summon the world’s most progressive thinkers and creatives to join us in reckoning with the greatest existential crisis of our times. The mission of the month is to investigate how creatives can facilitate new dialogue, inspire social and political transformations and reimagine our relationship to nature in response to climate breakdown | More details on FB – https://bit.ly/2Qh4pA1
Afterall Journal Reading Group: Disobedient Video | Hosted by Arts Catalyst and Afterall | Wednesday, 22 January 2020 | Arts Catalyst hosts the second session in a new series of collaborative reading groups presented by Afterall, for which curator Lauren Houlton will lead a discussion of Afterall Journal article ‘Disobedient Video in France in the 1970s: Video Production by Women’s Collectives’. To mark each new issue of the journal, Afterall is inviting a UK-based reading group to identify a text from the current issue and pair it with external readings and films | FB link – http://tiny.cc/s3ghhz
Trickle Down, A New Vertical Sovereignty – Helen Knowles | Hosted by arebyte and FutureEverything | Thurs 23 Jan 2020, 18:00-21:00 | New Vertical Sovereignty, a new body of work by UK based artist Helen Knowles, is a tokenised four-screen video installation and generative soundscape attached to the blockchain, which explores value systems and wealth disparity. The artwork is composed of auction scenes, performances and choral interludes by different communities such as prisoners, blockchain technology employees, market sellers, and Sotheby’s auction bidders, looking to re-imagine our vertically stacked digital ecosystem to horizontally distribute wealth – https://bit.ly/2F7ThPt
Sonic Electronics with Fixateur Externe/Bubble People/Onin | Hosted by Laura Netz | Sat 25 Jan 2020 | Sonic Electronics is an experimental event | We propose an anti-techno-capitalist approach to music genres like ambient, drone, techno, experimental, electronics, acousmatic, live coding, noise, vaporwave, glitch, dark, new wave, postpunk,….. | Artists: Fixateur Externe / Bubble People (Per Jas) / Onin (James L Malone and Joe Wright) / Medial Ages (Laura Netz) | FB link – http://tiny.cc/n8ghhz
Soft Power 04: an exhibition in a spreadsheet | Hosted by Micheál O’Connell, Andrea Slater and Daniella Norton | Fri 31 Jan 2020, 18:30-23:59 | A fourth exhibition by the Soft Power people, this time in a spreadsheet. Look at it at home, or on your device, or wherever. Drink some wine and chat to friends about what you witness. The link will be supplied with those ‘GOING’ on the date (Thursday 31st October) at 7pm. “We will be limiting numbers Going to this (file) Opening event to a maximum of 60.” For updates sign up to Mocksim’s mailing list http://www.mocksim.org/contact.htm
Queer techno rave INFERNO take over the ICA’s Theatre, Bar and Cinema with an all-night programme of music, queer porn and performance art. Brought to you by performance artist and DJ Lewis G. Burton and producer and musician Sebastian Bartz under their DJ alter-ego Venice Calypso, INFERNO marries the camp with the underground, pop with techno, and the very good with the very bad | Fri, 31 Jan 2020 – https://bit.ly/2S0ntDT
Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication | Private view of the 2020 art exhibition from the Open Data Institute (ODI), Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication. The exhibition will be unveiled in the company’s Shoreditch offices on Tuesday 4 February 2020. Artists are Mr Gee, Alistair Gentry and Ben Neale, Edie Jo Murray & Harmeet Chagger-Khan
The evening kicks off with an in-conversation to celebrate the publication of Art Hack Practice: Critical Intersections of Art, Innovation and the Maker Movement, edited by Victoria Bradbury and Suzy O’Hara, which features a chapter on Data as Culture. The panel will be facilitated by Dr. Suzy O’ Hara. Participants are: Hannah Redler-Hawes (ODI), Marc Garett (Furtherfield), Inini Papadimitriou (FutureEverything) – https://bit.ly/39xkk4C
Books, Open Calls, Papers & Publications
Beyond Hashtags: Racial Politics and Black Digital Networks | Critical Cultural Communication | By Sarah Florini | Beyond Hashtags explores these everyday practices and their relationship to larger social issues through an in-depth analysis of a trans-platform network of black American digital and social media users and content creators. In the crucial years leading up to the emergence of the Movement for Black Lives, black Americans used digital networks not only to cope with day-to-day experiences of racism, but also as an incubator for the debates that have since exploded onto the national stage. Published by: NYU Press – https://bit.ly/2r1Bt5l
Networked Content Analysis: The Case of Climate Change | By Sabine Niederer | With a foreword by Klaus Krippendorff | Climate change is one of the key societal challenges of our times, and its debate takes place across scientific disciplines and into the public realm, traversing platforms, sources, and fields of study. The analysis of such mediated debates has a strong tradition, which started in communication science and has since then been applied across a wide range of academic disciplines | Published by the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2019 – https://bit.ly/2SIZyZT
“V[R]erses”: An XR Story Series | A V[R]erse is a microstory. Each story consists of a storybox that can be experienced in 3D via a WebVR enabled mobile device, desktop PC and in Virtual Reality. Each V[R]erse is created by different digital literature authors [text] and Mez Breeze [development + design, model + concept creation, audio]. Designed and Developed by Mez Breeze Design, Supported by Mezangelle. Includes authors/artists: Annie Abrahams, Davin Heckman, Jeremy Hight, Mark Marino, Scott Rettberg | Online – https://bit.ly/343fFDH
The Memory Police (Fiction) | By Yolo Ogawa | “An elegantly spare dystopian fable . . . Reading The Memory Police is like sinking into a snowdrift: lulling yet suspenseful, it tingles with dread and incipient numbness . . . Ogawa’s ruminant style captures the alienation of being alive as the world’s ecosystems, ice sheets, languages, animal species and possible futures vanish more quickly than any one mind can apprehend.” The New York Times Book Review | Penguin Random House USA – https://bit.ly/35k16wp
Museums Inside Out: Artist Collaborations and New Exhibition Ecologies | By Mark W. Rectanus | An ambitious study of what it means to be a museum in the twenty-first century | In Museums Inside Out, investigates how museums are blurring the boundaries between their gallery walls and public spaces. He examines how artists are challenging and changing museums, taking readers deep into new experiments in exhibition making while also offering insights about how museums currently exemplify the fusion of the creative and digital economies. Expected publication: February 1st 2020 by University of Minnesota Press – https://bit.ly/2QdrEee
The Red Years: Forbidden Poems from Inside North Korea | Bandi | Translated by Heinz Insu Fenkl | Authored by one of North Korea’s most acclaimed dissident writers, this is the first collection of Bandi’s poetry to be published in English | Though North Korea holds the attention of the world, it is still rare for us to hear North Korean voices, beyond those few who have escaped. Known only by his pen name, the poet and author ‘Bandi’ stands as one of the most distinctive and original dissident writers to emerge from the country | Zed Books – https://bit.ly/2SNr88i
Liberal Arts Perspectives on Globalism and Transnationalism | Unabridged, 1 Jan 2020 | By Hyun Wu Lee, Mark van de Logt | As international trade and economic activities expand, online technologies spread, and restless populations shift across national boundaries, reactionary movements have sprung up around the globe. These reactionary forces, which include nationalism and populism, have exposed many blind-spots of ongoing globalization projects. To understand the frictions between transnational enterprises and local resistance more fully, as well as analyze the human cost of immigration and the threats posed by online technologies, scholars from around the world gathered in Doha, Qatar, for the Sixth Annual Liberal Arts International Conference (2018) | Cambridge Scholars Publishing – https://bit.ly/368xdjH
Articles, Interviews, Presentations, videos
BEYOND THE “BLOKECHAIN”: THE CRYPTOFEMINIST AGENDA | Video | This session aims to open your mind. Andy Morales Coto tickles your imaginative bones by offering visual prompts to help us redesign the world’s economic future. Ruth Catlow explores the spaces of convergence between the Commons and P2P movements along with the world of cooperatives and the Social and Solidarity Economy. Denise Thwaites offers a feminist analysis of DAO cultures and the emergent affective economies they instate. And Ailie Rutherford shows how feminist economics can be put into practice on a daily basis by presenting her real and existing The People’s Bank of Govanhill | Speakers: Andy Morales Coto, Ruth Catlow, Denise Thwaites, Ailie Rutherford | Moderator: Rachel Falconer | Institute of Network Cultures | https://vimeo.com/376668856
Only 2% of global art auction spending is on work by women, study finds (2019) | A new study has found that despite perceived signs of progress, the art world remains overwhelmingly male-dominated | According to a report assembled by In Other Words & artnet News, the last 10 years has found a lack of growth for female representation in art with just 2% of global art auction spending on work by women. This figure is also unevenly distributed, with five artists making up 40.7% of this figure and Yayoi Kusama in particular accounting for 25% alone. A new report finds women’s work still underrepresented in the art world, with only 11% of art purchased by institutions female-made | Guardian – https://bit.ly/39wDJCQ
CRISPR Cheat Sheet: The Most Important Gene Editing Stories of 2019: Human trials, bird flu, gene editing in space, and more | By Emily Mullin | Medium | On May 4, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Among its cargo was an experiment involving the CRISPR gene-editing system, which astronauts aboard the ISS used to successfully edit DNA in space. They made targeted cuts to the yeast genome that mimicked genetic damage caused by cosmic radiation, one of the biggest health risks that long-term spaceflight poses to humans. They say the ISS experiment could yield clues about how cells repair their DNA in space – https://bit.ly/2ZHZY4v
Raul Vaneigem: Here we are! At the beginning of everything! | Dec 24, 2019 | The sudden attacks of freedom on the suffocating capitalist hydra, constantly make the epicenter of the seismic disturbances fluctuate. The territories of the whole world, affected by the system of private benefits are exposed to the outburst of insurrectional movements. Consciousness is forced to run after successive waves of events, reacting to constant, paradoxically predictable and unexpected shocks. Two realities struggle against each other in the face of the violence. One is the reality of lying. Taking advantage of technological progress, you try to manipulate public opinion for the benefit of established power. The other is the reality of daily life of the population – https://bit.ly/2QdnanP
I believe Google fired me for organising – but tech workers won’t give up the fight | By Kathryn Spiers | 20 December 2019 | Last week I was fired by Google for informing my colleagues of their rights. I created a pop-up that appeared when Google employees visited the website of the union-busting firm the company recently hired, telling them they had the right to organise. Hours later, I was suspended. Google’s decision to retaliate against its own workers isn’t just an issue for Googlers, but for the entire tech industry, including other large companies like Amazon and Facebook – https://bit.ly/2sridPu
Image: Bring Me My Firetruck, by Mr Gee. Part of the Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication, exhibition at the Open Data Institute, London, Feb 2020.
FurtherList Archives https://www.furtherfield.org/the-furtherlist-archives/
Permanent archive of all the FurtherLists.
FurtherList No.19 April 3rd 2020
FurtherList No.18 March 6th 2020
FurtherList No.17 February 7th 2020
FurtherList No.16 January 3rd 2020
FurtherList No.15 Nov 29th 2019
FurtherList No.14 Oct 26th 2019
FurtherList No.13 Sept 27th 2019
FurtherList No.12 Sep 20th 2019
FurtherList No.11 September 6th 2019
FurtherList No.10 August 30th 2019
FurtherList No.9 August 23rd 2019
FurtherList No.8 August 16th 2019
FurtherList No.7 Aug 9th 2019
FurtherList No.6 July 30th 2019
The FurtherList No.5 July 5th 2019
FurtherList No.4 June 21st 2019
FurtherList No.3 June 14th 2019
FurtherList No.2 June 7th 2019
FurtherList No.1 May 31st 2019
Main image: Bad Shibe. Story by Rob Myers and Illustrations by Lina Theodoru. Wall installation. NEW WORLD ORDER exhibition, at Furtherfield 20 May – 25 June 2017. Photo by Pau Ros. https://www.furtherfield.org/new-world-order/
Events, Exhibitions, Festivals and Conferences
The Big Four | Bob Bicknell-Knight and Rosa-Maria Nuutinen | Exhibition from 15th November – 14th December 2019 | Second Floor at Harlesden High Street, 60-72 Short’s Gardens, Holborn, London WC2H 9AH. The Big Four is an exhibition that considers the technological impact that humans have on the planet, considering the Big Four tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple) and how humans and new forms of technology continue to assist in major environmental change. The exhibition consists of new drawings, paintings and sculptural installations from Bob Bicknell-Knight and Rosa-Maria Nuutinen | FB page/link – https://bit.ly/2XWCQhA
Heath Bunting – Intimacy Encryption Workshop | ARTFUTURA 2019 – PROCESSING THE FUTURE – WORKSHOP (Festival of Digital Culture & Creativity) | Sun 1 Dec 2019 11:30 am – 1:30 pm | In a time of surveillance capitalism, privacy requires some radical methods. A workshop in how to communicate secretly over any media using nothing more than sharing some special time together. Used very effectively by former fluffy groups such as Irish Republican Army and Palestine Liberation Organization. Heath Bunting is a contemporary British artist and his work is based on creating open and democratic systems by modifying communications technologies and social systems. Location – IKLECTIK, Londond, SE1 7LG – https://bit.ly/2qUiJUI
Constitution for a co-operative art school | Tuesday 3rd December 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Come along to contribute your ideas to a draft constitution for a co-operative art school. Using a series of questions as guidelines, we will collectively generate, articulate, debate and decide the values, principles, processes and working methods of an art school that is organised, structured and governed along co-operative values of autonomy, democracy, equality and solidarity. https://bit.ly/37K3lv7
DISRUPT THE SYSTEM NOT THE CLIMATE: Surveillance, Climate Change & Global Conflict | Friday 6 December, 19:30 at ACUD MACHT NEU, Veteranenstr 21, 10119 Berlin (U8 Rosenthaler Platz) | DNL’s closing event of 2019, which wraps up the 2019 conference series ‘The Art of Exposing Injustice’, as well as the first year of the Activation community programme. The talks will address respectively counter-surveillance techniques and the right to privacy as well as how climate change is intertwined with political conflicts. After the talks, the privacy-electropunk band “Systemabsturz” will perform live! The programme of the evening is curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli & Lieke Ploeger. https://www.disruptionlab.org/meet-ups
Landscape Symposium 2019: Staying with the trouble: Critical and creative approaches to the climate and biodiversity crises | Friday 6 Dec 2019 | Our Symposium for 2019 will explore another of our Research Strategy themes, Critical and Creative Landscape Thinking. With a varied group of collaborators (see below), we will form a conversational space to apply this to the climate and biodiversity crises. The Symposium title is from Staying With the Trouble, Donna J. Haraway (c) 2016, Duke University Press – borrowed with very kind permission! – https://bit.ly/2Y47HZF
Opening: Raised by Google, by Sarah Selby | A new body of work by Bristol based artist Sarah Selby. Sarah was the final selected artist for hotel generation 2019, areyte Gallery’s annual young artist development programme. Raised by Google explores the impacts of current data practices on our seemingly autonomous lives, investigating to what degree our opportunities and experiences are influenced by the underlying systems of a data-driven society. Opening Thursday 5 December, 6-9pm | 6 Dec 2019 – 11 Jan 2020 | Part of arebyte’s 2019 programme home – https://bit.ly/34wYWcX
Surfing with: Dani Ploeger | Hosted by Art Claims Impulse (Berlin) | Monday, 9 December 2019 | ACI invites you to an exciting evening. Dani Ploeger, Media Performing Artist, who has set himself the goal of confronting the borders of high-tech consumption and their dynamics will accompany you for two hours into his “Internet world” *Also transmitted in livestream. Please check our website on 09.12.2019, 18:30h. https://bit.ly/2Dta3Yx
Paper Struggles & Public Library and the Property Form | Hosted by Post Office research group | AN EXHIBITION AND SEMINAR | EXHIBITION ‘PAPER STRUGGLES’ OPENING: Monday, 9 December, 18.30-21.00 | Continues: Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 December, 11.00-21.00 | SEMINAR ‘PUBLIC LIBRARY AND THE PROPERTY FORM’: Tuesday 10 December, 10.30-13.30, Guest speakers: Balász Bodó & Nanna Bonde Thylstrup | Seminar registration: http://tiny.cc/public_library **Post Office Research Group**, Centre for Postdigital Cultures | Coventry University | https://postoffice.media
Figurations: Persons In/Out of Data Conference | Panel Event 9.30am – 6pm, Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December, 2019 | We’re drowning in an ocean of data, or so the saying goes. Data’s “big”: there’s not only lots of it, but its volume has allowed for the development of new, large-scale processing techniques. Our relationship with governments, medical organisations, technology companies, the education sector, and so on are increasingly informed by the data we overtly or inadvertently provide when we use particular services. This conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers to explore how the person—or persons, plural—are figured in/out of data. Our proposition is that it can help us think and study our increasingly datified present. Professor Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths, University of London – https://bit.ly/2R5tr5V
Trans\/code: Jonathan Reus Maya Fridman Marije Baalman Miri Lee | This evening we will present the outcome of a short-term “flash residency” period for developing performative work that explores the potential for livecoding practice to overlap with other performative disciplines. The event brings together livecoding performers/researchers with accomplished performance practitioners to prototype a new performance concept over the course of two workdays and to perform this work during an experimental concert evening | 11th Dec 2019 | Hosted by iii, The Hague, Netherlands | FB link – https://bit.ly/35M2mJ7
Books, Open Calls, Papers & Publications
Art Hack Practice: Critical Intersections of Art, Innovation and the Maker Movement | Editors, Victoria Bradbury, Suzy O’Hara | Bridging art and innovation, this book invites readers into the processes of artists, curators, cultural producers and historians who are working within new contexts that run parallel to or against the phenomenon of ‘maker culture’. The book is a fascinating and compelling resource for those interested in critical and interdisciplinary modes of practice that combine arts, technology and making. It presents international case studies that interrogate perceived distinctions between sites of artistic and economic production by brokering new ways of working between them. It also discusses the synergies and dissonances between art and maker culture, analyses the social and collaborative impact of maker spaces and reflects upon the ethos of the hackathon within the fabric of a media lab’s working practices | Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc – https://bit.ly/33tLd5y
If I Only had a Heart: a DisCO Manifesto: Value Sovereignty, Care Work, Commons and Distributed Cooperative Organizations | The DisCO Manifesto is a deep dive into the world of Distributed Cooperative Organizations. Over its 80 colorful pages, you will read about how DisCOs are a P2P/Commons, cooperative and Feminist Economic alternative to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (or DAOs). The DisCO Manifesto also includes some background on topics like blockchain, AI, the commons, feminism, cooperatives, cyberpunk, and more | http://disco.coop/manifesto/
The Beautiful Warriors. Technofeminist Praxis in the Twenty-First Century | Edited by Cornelia Sollfrank | The book brings together seven current technofeminist positions from the fields of art and activism. In very different ways, they expand the theories and practices of 1990’s cyberfeminism and thus react to new forms of discrimination and exploitation. Gender politics are negotiated with reference to technology, and questions of technology are combined with questions of ecology and economy. The different positions around this new techno-eco-feminism understand their practice as an invitation to take up their social and aesthetic interventions, to join in, to continue, and never give up | Contributions from Christina Grammatikopoulou, Isabel de Sena, Femke Snelting, Cornelia Sollfrank, Spideralex, Sophie Toupin, hvale vale, Yvonne Volkart – http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=976
The Critical Makers Reader: (Un)learning Technology | Editors: Loes Bogers & Letizia Chiappini | Copy editor: Luke Munn | A decade ago many gushed at the possibilities of 3D printers and other DIY tech. Today makers are increasingly shaking off their initial blind enthusiasm to numerically control everything, rediscovering an interest in sociocultural histories and futures and waking up to the environmental and economic implications of digital machines that transform materials. An accumulation of critique has collectively registered that no tool, service, or software is good, bad, or neutral—or even free for that matter. We’ve arrived at a crossroads, where a reflective pause coincides with new critical initiatives emerging across disciplines | Published by the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2019 – https://bit.ly/2DryPZ7
The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World | By Linsey McGoey | An intriguing investigation, shattering the hackneyed notion that knowledge is power.Deliberate ignorance has been known as the ‘Ostrich Instruction’ in law courts since the 1860s. It illustrates a recurring pattern in history in which figureheads for major companies, political leaders and industry bigwigs plead ignorance to avoid culpability. So why do so many figures at the top still get away with it when disasters on their watch damage so many people’s lives? | Published by Zed books – https://bit.ly/2DsK2Zt
Vital Forms: Biological Art, Architecture, and the Dependencies of Life | Biological Art, Architecture, and the Dependencies of Life | By Jennifer Johung | Using numerous case studies, Jennifer Johung explores how art and architecture are reimagining life on cellular and subcellular levels. In the process, she maps the constantly evolving dependencies that exist between objects, bodies, and environments. From Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr’s Tissue Culture and Art Project, which developed “semi-living worry dolls,” to Patricia Piccinini’s imagined Still Life with Stem Cells, each chapter pairs a branch of contemporary biological inquiry with the artists who are revolutionizing it | Published Dec 2019, University of Minnesota Press – https://bit.ly/35JHEcJ
DIGITAL ART THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: New strategies for archiving, collecting and preserving in Digital Humanities | Oliver GRAU, Janina HOTH and Eveline WANDL-VOGT(eds.) | With contributions by: Frieder Nake, George Legrady, José R. Alcalá Mellado /Beatriz Escribano Belmar, Anne-Marie Duguet, Howard Besser, Giselle Beiguelman, Wendy Coones, Sarah Kenderdine, Marianne Ping-Huang, Raphael Lozano Hemmer, Annet Dekker, Janina Hoth, Laura Leuzzi, Diego Mellado, Oliver Grau, Goki Miyakita/Keiko Okawa, Sabine Himmelsbach, Francesca Franco, Patricia Falcão | | NEW PUBLICATION (free e-book download on Academia) – https://bit.ly/35Js2G9
Deadly Biocultures: The Ethics of Life-Making | By Nadine Ehlers and Shiloh Krupar | Deadly Biocultures examines the affirmation to hope, target, thrive, secure, and green in the respective biocultures of cancer, race-based health, fatness, aging, and the afterlife. Its chapters focus on specific practices, technologies, or techniques that ostensibly affirm life and suggest life’s inextricable links to capital but that also engender a politics of death and erasure. The authors ultimately ask: what alternative social forms and individual practices might be mapped onto or intersect with biomedicine for more equitable biofutures? | Published Dec 2019, University of Minnesota Press – https://bit.ly/2DuV9kF
Articles, Interviews & Presentations
Investigation into Amazon Echo devices wins 2019 Beazley Design of the Year award | Written by Jacopo Prisco, CNN | The award and accompanying exhibition is held each year at London’s Design Museum to showcase original and innovative new designs in various fields. The all-digital winning investigation, created by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, looks at the amount of human labor, data and resources required to support the lifespan of a single Echo product, visually illustrating the real-world impact of voice assistants. https://cnn.it/2rAnRxS
Was Humanity Simply Not Ready for the Internet? A 1990s cyber enthusiast considers whether he’s to blame for our digital woes | By Douglas Rushkoff | Steve Jobs as much as told us we were making a pact with the devil. He knew perfectly well what he was doing when he named his company Apple: He was giving people access to the forbidden fruit—the tree of knowledge—and fully disclosing that fact. Thanks to computers and, soon after, the internet, regular people everywhere would have access to everyone and everything – https://bit.ly/2OwYhCO
Rereading Debord | A look at today’s hyperconnected society of social media, cognitive capitalism and algorithms through the lens of the work of Guy Debord | By Ingrid Guardiola | This preference for images as part of commodity fetishism has become accentuated with social media in a world of virtual realities connected through mobile technology. The proxy or representative on the screen has ended up usurping the place of the original. It is no longer a question of managing images, rather we organise our own image using the filters and facial contouring offered by an endless array of apps to tune ourselves up. Even the bodies used as the benchmarks for cosmetic surgery have shifted from a universal look (that of the stars of the moment) to the virtual self; people want to look like the face offered to them by Snapchat or Facetune, they want to show the best version of themselves in a selfie, to mummify their virtual self – http://lab.cccb.org/en/rereading-debord/
Extinction Rebellion Is Creating a New Narrative of the Climate Crisis | By Charlotte Du Cann | In London, activists are taking to the streets to eschew hopelessness in favor of repair. The shape of their rebellion is not the orderly stream of protesters flowing down the streets with placards. It’s a wild, impromptu mix — of circus performers and a funeral procession, of 400 trees left outside Parliament for legislators to plant and 40 “rebel writers” reading in Trafalgar Square, of a mothers and babies “nurse-in” outside Google’s headquarters. It’s a marriage, a game of cricket and a ceilidh (a gathering with dancing and music) on Westminster Bridge, and a singer in a baroque band singing Henry Purcell’s “Remember Me” at the end of Downing Street – https://nyti.ms/2CFzVQy
Image by Kelsey. arcade fire performs at starlight theatre on april 26th, 2014. Also, was the main image for You Say Decentralized, I Say Potato: The DisCO Manifesto, by Stacco Troncoso.
Events, Exhibitions, Festivals and Conferences
Playmode | Exhibition at MAAT Lisbon, Sep 2019 – feb 2020 | Curated by Filipe Pais and Patricia Gouveia | It is said that play has saved entire peoples, who, in order not to succumb to hunger, resorted to playing games for hours at a time. While the Lydians, that distant people from Anatolia, invented games as a mode of surviving, play from the beginning has been an invention linked to a vital need — to stay alive and withstand the darkness, immobility and extinction.
The artists understood early on the transformative power of play and began integrating it into their works for various purposes – escaping reality, social construction and transformation, subversion or as a criticism of game and play mechanisms themselves – https://www.filipepais.com/playmode
The Long Term You Cannot Afford. On The Distribution of The Toxic | At SAVVY-Contemporary, Berlin, Germany | 19 Oct 2019 – 1 Dec 2019 | This mixed exhibition unpacks the kaleidoscopic meanings of the toxic, both as matter and as metaphor: In his paintings, Boris Anje captures the essence of the excessive and toxic consumerism of a small minority of the world’s population | The toxic trade-off inherent in exploitative and abusive processes of extraction, production, and disposal lie at the heart of the changing nature of the ecosystems to which we now belong – with millions of metric tons of synthetic materials, pesticides, heavy metals, and chemicals released and circulated every year. Structural inequalities on a global scale permit for some lives to remain relatively untouched by toxic proliferation through systems of “externalisation”  whilst many reside in high concentrations and lethal exposure on a daily basis out of mere necessity of survival. The new age of toxicity is “a condition that is shared, but unevenly so, and which divides us as much as it binds us.” – http://tiny.cc/y8ryez
Soft Power 04: an exhibition in a spreadsheet | Hosted by Micheál O’Connell, Andrea Slater and Daniella Norton | Thursday, 31 October 2019 | A fourth exhibition by the Soft Power people, this time in a spreadsheet. Look at it at home, or on your device, or wherever. Drink some wine and chat to friends about what you witness. The link will be supplied with those ‘GOING’ on the date (Thursday 31st October) at 7pm. For updates sign up to Mocksim’s mailing list http://www.mocksim.org/contact.htm
24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world | 31 Oct 2019 – 23 Feb 2020 | Somerset House |Embankment Galleries, South Wing | An essential exhibition for today, exploring the non-stop nature of modern life. Many of us feel we’re working more intensively, juggling too many things, blurring our public and private lives, pushing the limits of our natural rhythms of sleep and waking.
24/7 takes visitors on a multi-sensory journey from the cold light of the moon to the fading warmth of sunset through five themed zones and contains over 50 multi-disciplinary works that will provoke and entertain | Inspired by Jonathan Crary’s book of the same name, and curated by Sarah Cook, 24/7& holds up a mirror to our always-on culture and invites you to step outside of your day-to-day routine to engage, reflect and reset – http://tiny.cc/44f7ez
Launch event for Rabbrexit – A Game of Chance / editions tdwm | Hosted by Cecilia Wee and YiMiao Shih | Thursday, 31 October 2019 (London) | On the date of the Brexit deadline, we’re having a little launch party for “Rabbrexit – A Game of Chance” and the birth of editions tdwm. Editions tdwm is delighted to present its first project: a limited edition set of playing cards “Rabbrexit – A Game of Chance”, featuring illustrations by YiMiao Shih, designed with Arjun Harrison-Mann.
Rabbrexit – A Game of Chance reworks images from YiMiao Shih’s exhibition Rabbrexit Means Rabbrexit at the House of Illustration in London (2019), where YiMiao created a parallel universe in which the UK voted not for Brexit but ‘Rabbrexit’: the expulsion of rabbits from the country – http://tiny.cc/p3oyez
Become Ungovernable 2: a day of resistance skill sharing | The Antiuniversity, as part of a coalition of autonomous left groups, invites you to a day of practical and informative workshops, where we will learn from each other simple visual intervention methods that anyone can pick up, grow confidence to use a variety of tools and learn about ways to stay safe when organising on the streets and online. In preparation for the planned attack on our city and communities on 31 Oct (Brexit day), we planned a day of practical resistance skill sharing.
The far right, bolstered by a racist and xenophobic government, is growing in confidence. The response to Boris Johnson’s hard-right vision for society and threat to our basic rights must be equally confident. Some actions will take place through whatever is left of the parliamentary mechanism, others will take place on the streets. Hosted by Antiuniversity, Green Anti-Capitalist Front, Plan C, Feminist Anti-Fascist Assembly, and Women’s Strike Assembly | FB page – http://tiny.cc/1qoyez
NEoN Digital Arts Festival. Multiple Venues in Dundee City, Scotland. Nov 6 – 8 2019. An expanded 3-day symposium entitled, Re@ct: Social Change Art Technology. NEoN Re@ct involves over 30 international speakers over three days addressing a diversity of issues and practices engaging activist digital art. Many artists involved in digital arts have historically been prompted to react and respond to local, national, global, social and political crises (i.e. around issues of environmentalism, gender equality, exploitation, colonialism, militarism, emancipation). Re@ct will be a platform to critically examine the relevance and impact of past and present practices, theories and strategies – to engage an uncertain future through an exploration of the creative potential of digital art. Reigister free to the full symposium – http://tiny.cc/y5lyez
Citizens of Nowhere | Alicja Rogalska: 2019 Stuart Hall Library Artist-in-Residence | Hosted by Iniva | 6 November 2019 | Join 2019 Stuart Hall Library Artist-in-Residence Alicja Rogalska for a screening and discussion about her work developed during the residency alongside two other videos. The three works are concerned with issues of citizenship, immigration and identity, viewed through the lenses of classification methods and systems, legal fictions in immigration law and the lived experiences of statelessness. The screening will be followed by a discussion with invited guests and a Q&A.
The works screened will include: What If As If (2017), The Aliens Act (2019) and Citizens of Nowhere (2019). Total running time of the videos will be 40 mins | Evenbrite bookings here – http://tiny.cc/uiqyez
Books, Open Calls, Papers & Publications
Expanded Internet Art: Twenty-First-Century Artistic Practice and the Informational Milieu By Ceci Moss | Charting the rise of a multidisciplinary approach to online artistic practice in the past decade, the text discusses recent currents in contemporary artistic practice that parallel the explosion of the internet through advances such as social media, smart phones, and faster bandwidth. Internet art is no longer determined solely by its existence on the web; rather, contemporary artists are making more art about informational culture using various methods of both online and offline means. It asks how artists, such as Seth Price, Harm van den Dorpel, Kari Altmann, Artie Vierkant and Oliver Laric, create a critical language in response to the persuasive influence of informational capture on culture and expression, where the environment itself becomes reorganized to be more legible as information | Bloomsbury Academic – http://tiny.cc/ktg7ez
The Cyborg Matrix | Open call for artists, is now online at http://theCyborgMatrix.com !! Make an account and create your own profile. Or type in your name or nickname for a short visit. Doe you want to add you art to the space, go to http://cyarco.com/theCyborgMatrix/ or send us an email at cyborgMatrix@cyarco.com. see you in cyberspace!!
Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Labour Protection | Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2019 | A collection of articles on “Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Labour Protection” edited by Valerio De Stefano (KU Leuven). This collection gathers contributions from several labour lawyers and social scientists to provide an interdisciplinary overview of how new technologies, including smart robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and business practices such as People Analytics, management-by-algorithm, and the use of big data in workplaces, far from merely displacing jobs, profoundly affect the quality of work. The authors argue that these issues depend, and can be affected by, policy choices – since they are not just the “natural” result of technological innovations – and call for adequate regulation of these phenomena. Contributing authors are Antonio Aloisi, Ilaria Armaroli, Fernanda Bárcia de Mattos, Janine Berg, Miriam Cherry, Emanuele Dagnino, Valerio De Stefano, Elena Gramano, Matt Finkin, Marianne Furrer, Frank Hendrickx, Parminder Jeet Singh, David Kucera, Phoebe Moore, Jeremias Prassl, and Uma Rani. This article introduces this collection and gives an overview of the issues discussed by the authors – http://tiny.cc/s4zyez
Digital Sociology: The Reinvention of Social Research | By Noortje Marres (2017) | This provocative new introduction to the field of digital sociology offers a critical overview of interdisciplinary debates about new ways of knowing society that are emerging today at the interface of computing, media, social research and social life.
Digital Sociology introduces key concepts, methods and understandings that currently inform the development of specifically digital forms of social enquiry. Marres assesses the relevance and usefulness of digital methods, data and techniques for the study of sociological phenomena and evaluates the major claim that computation makes possible a new ‘science of society’. As Marres argues, the digital does much more than inspire innovation in social research: it forces us to engage anew with fundamental sociological questions. We must learn to appreciate that the digital has the capacity to throw into crisis existing knowledge frameworks and is likely to reconfigure wider relations | Polity press – http://tiny.cc/pqg7ez
Articles, Interviews & Presentations
Future Cities as a Network of Waterholes connected by Songlines | Medium | By Steven Liaros | “Irene Watson provides a detailed discussion of the indigenous worldview in Raw Law: Aboriginal Peoples, Colonialism and International Law (2015). Also referred to as relational philosophy, Watson compares and contrasts this with non-indigenous philosophy. This comparison is summarised in Table 1 in which I have included additional descriptions in brackets that express this contrast using other common terms.” – http://tiny.cc/rywyez
Brexit Culture | Feature article on ArtRabbit | By Sandy Di Yu | “Research has been conducted by the Arts Council about the economic and operational impacts of Brexit, but the content of culture has yet to be formally surveyed. While we can only speculate like everyone else what the full-fledged impact of Brexit on cultural production will be in the coming years, the era since the 2016 referendum has already seen a flurry of events that indicate growing precariousness in our time. Right-wing populism has gained more than a foothold in political discourse. Conspiracies run rampant about celebrity sex traffickers and their ties to the global elite. Anxiety over climate change, although leading to inspiring global movements, is still being met with dismissal by political leaders.” – http://tiny.cc/ujtyez
Can Musical Machines Be Expressive? Views from the Enlightenment and Today? by Steven Kemper and Rebecca Cypess | October 2019, Leonardo 52:5 release | How can music produced by automated technologies be expressive? Transitive theories of expression dominated eighteenth-century ideas of automated music, and many contemporary designers of robotic instruments adhere to these ideas, increasing sonic nuance to make their instruments seem more like expressive human performers. A listener-centered understanding of expression—an “intransitive” perspective—allows us to see automatic instruments as capable of expression despite the fact that no human performer is present – http://tiny.cc/m9nyez
Media Art History: Berlin, Cyber City (1989-91) VR – MR installation by Monika Fleischmann & Wolfgang Strauss | Berlin, Cyber City (1989-91) commemorates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 1989. VIDEO. The performative VR city simulation system “Berlin – Cyber City” was created as a reaction to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The intention was the staging of an interactive space for debate on the future of the city. To do this, the VR paradigm – the real-time movement in an immersive environment for a single user – should be extended into a communication space for several users. A participative Mixed Reality table combined with a 3D environment and Virtual Reality tools invites people to discuss the past and the future of the former divided city – http://tiny.cc/q2nyez
Neural 63, Surveillance Surveyed | Issue #63, Summer 2019 | interviews with Pip Thornton, Joana Moll, Mendi and Keith Obadike, Owen Mundy | articles, Surveying Surveillance Capitalism, Decode: Data Cooperatives, Our voices granted to machines, and much more – http://neural.it/2019/10/neural-63-surveillance-surveyed/
Image by: Brad Downey. House of Cards #3. Public Work. 2007, Berlin, Germany. Duration: 4 days. Anonymous installation. Material: paving stones – http://tiny.cc/vkf7ez | Currently featured in Playmode exhibition, Lisbon.
Counting Craters on the Moon | Solo exhibition by Kyriaki Goni | Curated by Daphne Dragona | Aksioma | Project Space Komenskega 18, Ljubljana | 2–25 October 2019 | As a result of advances in machine learning, our understanding of today’s world is ever more mediated by machines. What challenges does deep learning bring to human-based knowledge? What do machines see and do differently than humans? How can artificial intelligence enhance new forms of experience and understanding? To address these questions, in Counting Craters on the Moon, Kyriaki Goni purposely turns her gaze to a distant and uncanny territory: the Moon and its surface. The Moon, according to the artist, constitutes a fascinating example and offers an interesting analogy. Lacking an atmosphere, it operates as a data center which stores in its body the memory of our solar system and allows predictions for the future – http://tiny.cc/cgabdz
Acts of Quiet Resistance | 5 October 2019 | Hosted by Foodhall / Sheffield and outsidefilm | Acts Of Quiet Resistance (Ian Nesbitt + Michael Ransley / 2019 / 70 mins) is a documentary steeped in the slow cinema tradition. Five years in the making, it continues a thread in Ian’s work of collaboratively made films, blurring the line between subject and filmmaker. “For fans of Shirley Collins, Richard Linklater, campfires and Robert Bresson, but this film is so beautifully sideways it sweeps away comparisons really.” Chiz Williams, Cube Microplex | FB link – http://tiny.cc/de5adz
Arts Lab Northampton and Liverpool Arts Lab team up to present ‘Howl’ | Northampton’s Alistair Fruish has taken on Allen Ginsberg’s classic poem, once subject to an obscenity trial, to address the major obscenity of our time; the destruction of the ecological systems that sustain our planet. Visceral, confrontational and very timely, ‘Howl’ was brought to life by the design work of Liverpool’s Slim Smith. Printed on A4 280gm textured cream card. http://tiny.cc/3sk9cz All proceeds will go to the Regenerative Agroforestry Impact Network – http://tiny.cc/77abdz
New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival | 5 Oct 2019 | Barbican, London | A bookfair and day of talks, workshops and screenings, exploring contemporary feminism and technology. ‘For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’ – Audre Lorde | Inviting audiences to explore new and continuing debates in feminist approaches to technology. This year’s festival takes inspiration from science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, which subverts the dominant narrative of technologically driven ‘progress’.
The day will include workshops, talks and screenings exploring technofeminism, storytelling, sonic ritual, gender identity, reproductive justice and indigenous knowledge with writers, artists, mystics, poets and academics. In the spirit of the 1980s international feminist bookfairs, there will also be over thirty stalls to explore across Level G, and selected events for free – http://tiny.cc/d86adz
Genetic Automata, Larry Achiampong and David Blandy | 15th oct 2019 | Hosted by Site Gallery (Sheffield) and Arts Catalyst | Genetic Automata forms the first part of an ambitious new body of film-based works that attempt to address this complex history of classification and segregation. Referencing the history of the theory of evolution, and the relationship between Darwin and his taxidermy teacher John Edmonstone, a freed slave, the work takes the form of a video installation combining animation, spoken word and text interspersed with microscopic topographies of varied shades of skin, digital renditions of skin from video games, and film footage of taxidermied bird life from Darwin’s bird skin collection at the Natural History Museum – http://tiny.cc/m45adz
Open Call: Rot | In the midst of this hubris of humans becoming humus, we might find tools for living in a rotten age. Across the world, artists, activists, and academics are busy learning to give voice to the sympoetic; bat populations translate into flickering shadows, music composed for moth’s ears, an opera of 176 golden snails, a butoh dance about shrimp deranged by antidepressant medication overflowed into oceans. This is a genre of creative work interested in finding new ways to interrogate the underbelly of today’s ‘wicked problems.
Rot invites artists, scientists, activists, and writers with poorly disciplined curiosities to submit work that digs into this compost heap. We are especially interested in supporting dialogue around works in process; field notes, half-completed projects, the tangled, in-between moments where cross-contaminations and co-creations occur. We would especially like to hear from people who are underrepresented in the fields of art and arts publishing – in particular people who identify as BAME, disabled, LGBT, or low income – http://tiny.cc/5p3cdz
New Myths: Recordings from the Missing Channel, curated by Canan Batur | Conceived as a series of soundscapes/sonic think tanks to assess, develop and propose new social languages and methods to understand, and create unlikely relationships between; the systems of representation, the emancipatory aspect of sound and the social constructs of identity. It takes its foundation from the idea that music is a myth, and myths’ ability to suggest – with primal narrative power- the conflicting forces and ideas that lie at the foundation of society.
Over the course of five months, New Myths will upload contributions by Tarek Lakhrissi, markiscrycrycry, James Massiah, Momtaza Mehri, Harun Morrison, Precious Okoyomon, Claudia Pages, Hannah Perry, Tabita Rezaire and Rowdy SS to 1.1 Basel’s online platform and SoundCloud with the purpose of delving into the multitude of voices, the rhythm of erosion and emergence, and the collusion and contradiction – http://www.1-1.digital/show/new-myths/
Conflictual Aesthetics: Artistic Activism and the Public Sphere | Editor Oliver Marchart | A new wave of artistic activism has emerged in recent years in response to the ever-increasing dominance of authoritarian neoliberalism. Activist practices in the art field, however, have been around much longer. As Oliver Marchart claims, there has always been an activist undercurrent in art. In this book he traces trajectories of artistic activism in theater, dance, performance, and public art, and investigates the political potential of urbanism, curating, and “biennials of resistance.” What emerges is a conflictual aesthetics that does not conform with traditional approaches to the field and that activates the political potential of artistic practice | Sternberg Press 2019 – http://tiny.cc/z5bbdz
Call for Papers: Special Issue on Sound, Image and Interaction | EAI Endorsed Transactions on Creative Technologies | For the last two decades, there has been a growing interest in the study of sound from a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) perspective. This coincides with the shift to a third wave of HCI towards applications in broader cultural contexts. Researchers have paid special attention to the integration of other sensory modalities with sound. This Special Issue “Sound, Image and Interaction”, aims to address emerging issues in research related to the creation of interactive sonic experiences, particularly focusing on the role that image plays in these scenarios. We are interested in submissions related to connections between sound, image and/or interaction, and the topics of interest listed – https://escripts.eai.eu/publication/257
Climate Machines, Fascist Drives, and Truth | By William E. Connolly | Duke University Press Books (23 Aug. 2019) | In this new installation of his work, William E. Connolly examines entanglements between volatile earth processes and emerging cultural practices, highlighting relays among extractive capitalism, self-amplifying climate processes, migrations, democratic aspirations, and fascist dangers. In three interwoven essays, Connolly takes up thinkers in the “minor tradition” of European thought who, unlike Cartesians and Kantians, cross divisions between nature and culture. He first offers readings of Sophocles and Mary Shelley, asking whether close attention to the Anthropocene could perhaps have arrived earlier had subsequent humanists absorbed their lessons – http://tiny.cc/3t0cdz
Harness the Power of a Fluid Identity with 3 Simple Strategies | By Marloes de Valk September | Institute of Network Cultures | Why aren’t there stronger regulations protecting our privacy, our democracy? Seemingly off topic but very similar: why aren’t there stricter regulations protecting us from anthropogenic climate change? In an attempt to find answers to these questions, I’ve been looking into strategies used by different industries to delay regulation: democratic intervention in the private market in order to protect citizens and the world on which their lives rely – http://tiny.cc/o4rfdz
Feminism and the Social Solidarity Economy: a Short Call to Action | The following text is a translation of Marian Díez‘s impassioned closing speech at the recent convergence meeting of the World Social Forum for Transformative Economies. The closing event was filled with strong presentations, but we chose Marian’s for its overview of the sheer scope and variety of the Social Solidarity Economy in Spain and, secondly, to highlight the need for intersectional complementarity among post-capitalist movements. This article is also closely linked to our translation of A Charter for the Social Solidarity Economy – http://tiny.cc/gm4adz
David Olusoga: Blackness, Britishness + the Windrush Generation | 8 Oct 2019 | Hosted by Firstsite, Colchester, UK | To coincide with the opening of Super Black, an exhibition co-curated with members of Colchester’s Black African and Caribbean communities, David Olusoga OBE, a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster, film-maker and award-winning author, is coming to Firstsite to give a unique talk about the history of British African-Caribbean people, and what it means to be black in Britain today.
Every ticket sold raises money to show free exhibitions of award winning artists, and helps Firstsite fund local creative community projects – including free lunches and activities for families during the school holidays. https://firstsite.uk/whats-on/david-olusoga-talk/
Video Doc: The Sex Pistols Riotous 1978 Tour Through the U.S. South: Watch/Hear Concerts in Dallas, Memphis, Tulsa & More | Open Culture | The Sex Pistols “started out as an elaborate Situationist-inspired performance art piece dreamed up by megalomaniac manager Malcolm McLaren,” wrote Jonathan Crow in a post here at Open Culture about one of the band’s storied, disastrous final shows in Dallas of 1978. After beginning as the creation of McLaren and partner Vivienne Westwood, however, they “evolved beyond just being a stunt.” The statement is objectively true by music history standards. The band’s earliest gigs were directly responsible for almost every major band that took British punk in subsequent post-punk, goth, new wave, dub, etc. directions, including the Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Joy Division, Wire, and too many others to list – http://tiny.cc/rb8adz
Complexity, uncertainty & scalability: How Assemble’s Granby 4 Streets won 2015 Turner Prize | By Stephen Pritchard (originally written in 2016) | “Did Assemble really play such a big part in Granby 4 Streets? How ‘community-led’ was the project? What was the role of the Community Land Trust? How did Assemble come to win the Turner Prize 2015? Who were the private social investors and what did they do to help make the project happen? The intention here is to blow open the façade behind Granby 4 Streets, Assemble and the Turner Prize 2015 win. Pritchard argues that the media and art world picture of Assemble is overly simplistic and masks a far more complex and uncertain set of events that, ultimately, relied on ‘mystery’ private social investors to force local government to act in support of the project and to lever money from national grant funders.” http://tiny.cc/dqq4cz
Publishing and Administrative Assistant job at Ognota books | We are hiring for a Publishing and Administrative Assistant. Abilities to divine the future, travel in the astral plane and to write funding applications are a major advantage. We particularly welcome applicants with strong earth placements – http://tiny.cc/5potcz
Image credit: Leila Nadir and Cary Adams, from the series Microbial Selfie (2017)
EMBODIMENT / Capture Performance Focus (CPF): IRELAND | Until – 31 Oct 2019 | curated by Helen Carey and Michaela Stock | Young Irish artists of the Fire Station Artists’ Studios to Vienna in collaboration with Austrian artists. The exhibition highlights an inter-cultural dialogue. The central enquiry of the exhibition is around being in the world, and the different ways people inhabit space both conceptual and temporal, manifesting cultural differences and similarities. Ideas explored include how contemporary art explores the shifting of what might be stable ideas for nationality, for gender and how history and experience makes meaning fluid – http://tiny.cc/hwetcz
The Art of Activism Exhibition Launch | Hosted by Friends of the Earth and the print space | You’re invited to join The Art of Activism at our launch night on 19 September, for a first look at the exhibition. You’ll find artworks from the activist & creative community inspired by the whimsical, darkly humorous placards that people make for demonstrations alongside artists including Jeremy Deller and Katharine Hamnett plus more to be announced. The evening is free of charge, but please register for a ticket to avoid disappointment.
Other events in relation to the Launch.
Thursday 26 September | The Art of Activism. Exploring how activism and art intersect.
Wednesday 2 October | 1000 Days of Protest. Celebrating 1000 days of fighting Fracking in Lancashire.
Thursday 10 October | Climate – what next? Following on from the global climate strike, what does the next stage of the fight look like? http://tiny.cc/vsctcz
Republic of Learning | By MAKE @Story Garden, Central Saint Martins | Friday 20th September 2019 – 10.30am to 1pm | A monthly event bringing together the local community to discuss and explore issues surrounding climate change. Republic of Learning is a monthly event bringing together the local community to discuss and explore issues surrounding climate change. Through creativity, science and conversation we hope to better understand both the global and local impact of climate change, generating an open forum for experts and non-experts to share knowledge, experiences and ask questions of each other.
Our first event will coincide with the Global Climate Strike, an international strike ahead of the UN emergency climate summit, in which young people around the world ask as many people as possible to join them on the streets to protest the government’s lack of action on the Climate Crisis – http://tiny.cc/m9rtcz
YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (Pieces from ‘Grapefruit’ and other works) | Opening: 26 Sep 2019 | 19 Sep 2019 – 1 Nov 2019 | Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, UK | Showcasing Yoko Ono’s work in the city of Cambridge for the first time ever, the exhibition YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… will evolve throughout the year 2019, featuring installations, interventions, performances, film screenings and a symposium, taking place at various venues and public sites – http://tiny.cc/c6etcz
Confessions of a Digital Gun for Hire | Hosted by Open Rights G. | September 23, 2019 | Hear a digital marketing expert blow the whistle on deceitful tactics used by digital advertisers and show us how we can “opt out” of the corporate surveillance economy. We’ll also receive an update about Open Rights Group’s AdTech complaint against Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. This event is a great way to learn easy and practical ways to protect yourself online from companies that aggressively target and track you across the Internet. Bring your laptops and mobile phones so you can use what you learn immediately – http://tiny.cc/m3htcz
Mr Processor, do you understand life? | Hosted by Aksioma and Cirkulacija2 (Slovenia) | 24 September 2019 | New improvements in machine learning have yet again turned artificial intelligence (AI) into a hot topic. Contextually, the old myth of the Technological Singularity, which first emerged with the early cybernetic thinking and science fiction, has been revived, making us scared about a possible, ever closer, future in which the development of an upgradable intelligent agent could lead to a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would far surpass all human intelligence – bringing humanity to an end. Is this the only possible outcome of the development of self-awareness in machines? Couldn’t these machines, as often humans do, employ its self-awareness to indulge in stupidity and bad behaviours? Laying claim to art’s freedom to imagine, rather than predict, Slovenian artist Boštjan Čadež’s work Mr Processor, do you understand life? explores this scenario, sardonically commenting on our current, pathological relationship with machines – http://tiny.cc/qigtcz
The Victorian Pleasure Garden | Hosted by London Fortean Society | Wednesday, 25 September 2019 | Historian Lee Jackson, author of Palaces of Pleasure, recounts the history of London’s 19th-century pleasure gardens, from the faltering last days of Vauxhall to Chelsea’s infamous Cremorne Gardens, Highbury Barn and the Eagle Tavern (of “Pop Goes the Weasel” fame). The rise and fall of the Victorian pleasure garden tells us a good deal about the growth of commercial mass entertainment in the industrial age. It’s a story packed with dramatic spectacle, from fake icebergs to burning men, tightrope walkers and human frogs, prostitution and the Polka, parachuting monkeys, and the power of money – FB link – http://tiny.cc/48atcz
Homo Sensorium at DDW Brainwave Wedding Lab | By Baltan Laboratories | Eindhoven, Netherlands | Dates: 19, 20, 25, 26 Oct 2019 | The Wedding lab is a temporary testing ground where love and technology converge. This High Tech wedding experience developed by Baltan Laboratories together with artists Lancel/Maat, investigates future forms of marriage in a technological society. The lab launches a new wedding ritual for a sustainable social future.
When kissing, the wedding couples’ brain activity is measured with EEG sensors. The two patterns of the wedding kiss are materialized and 3d printed in two unique (wedding) rings. The rings encapsulate a code, representing their marriage contract, stored in a Blockchain system, no longer determined by restrictive social mores and local legislation – http://tiny.cc/1cctcz
FutureFest Late: The future of storytelling | Hosted by FutureFest | Thursday, 24 October 2019 | Join us at the Barbican conservatory for an evening of talks, installations and an interactive performance. We’ll be discussing the ingredients of storytelling with writer and critic Olivia Laing, exploring how stories might be told in the future through installations from the Royal College of Art, and immersing ourselves in an animal love story with performance artist David Finnigan. Your FutureFest Late ticket will include a talk, a pop-up installation, an immersive performance and a complimentary drink and canapés – http://tiny.cc/8zbtcz
The Horrors of the Atomic Age Through Artists’ Eyes | Clayton Schuster reviews Gabrielle Decamous’s book Invisible Colors: The Arts of the Atomic Age | How art makes visible what had been invisible—the effects of radiation, the lives of atomic bomb survivors, and the politics of the atomic age. The effects of radiation are invisible, but art can make it and its effects visible. Artwork created in response to the events of the nuclear era allow us to see them in a different way. In Invisible Colors, Gabrielle Decamous explores the atomic age from the perspective of the arts, investigating atomic-related art inspired by the work of Marie Curie, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the disaster at Fukushima, and other episodes in nuclear history – http://tiny.cc/zqhtcz
Entreprecariat (Onomatopee) out soon! | By Silvio Lorusso | Entrepreneur or precarious worker? These are the terms of a cognitive dissonance that turns everyone’s life into a shaky project in perennial start-up phase. Silvio Lorusso guides us through the entreprecariat, a world where change is natural and healthy, whatever it may bring. A world populated by motivational posters, productivity tools, mobile offices and self-help techniques. A world in which a mix of entrepreneurial ideology and widespread precarity is what regulates professional social media, online marketplaces for self-employment and crowdfunding platforms for personal needs. The result? A life in permanent beta, with sometimes tragic implications – http://tiny.cc/dfitcz
PODCAST: ‘Radicals in Conversation’ | Art the Arms Fair with Peter Kennard | by Pluto Press | On 10th September one of the world’s largest arms fairs returns to London. The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) will feature hundreds of exhibitors, including many of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers – BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and many more besides. Also attending, at the invitation of the UK government, will be countless national delegations, including those from authoritarian regimes, countries in conflict and countries identified as having major human rights concerns – http://tiny.cc/najtcz
What about Activism? | Steven Henry Madoff (Ed.) | With the global rise of a politics of shock driven by authoritarian regimes that subvert the rule of law and civil liberties, what paths to resistance, sanctuary, and change can cultural institutions offer? What about activism in curatorial practice? In this book, more than twenty leading curators and thinkers about contemporary art present powerful case studies, historical analyses, and theoretical perspectives that address the dynamics of activism, protest, and advocacy. What unfolds in these pages is a vast range of ideas—a tool kit for cultural producers everywhere to engage audiences and face the fierce political challenges of today and tomorrow – http://tiny.cc/uvjtcz
From Surveillance Capitalism to Glitch Capitalism | Interview with DISNOVATION.ORG — 2019 | Schloss Post | The work of DISNOVATION.ORG is characterized by producing critical works about the cult of technological innovation and disseminating radical counter-narratives. For the web residencies by Solitude & ZKM on the topic »Rigged Systems« curated by Jonas Lund, the working group developed the project Profiling the Profilers as a response to information asymmetry in digital profiles. The work seizes the means of data analytics to create a series of psychological, cultural and political profiles of the most data-extractivist Big Tech companies of our time. In our interview with DISNOVATION.ORG, we spoke about their working processes and their thoughts on the role of copy culture, free access, and media piracy – http://tiny.cc/shdtcz
Ingrid LaFleur – There Are Black People In The Future | Interview by Ruth Catlow | Transcribed by Anna Monkman | Ingrid LaFleur is on a mission to ensure “equal distribution of the future”. The curator of Manifest Destiny in Detroit, she also recently stood for mayor with an Afrofuturist manifesto. Detroit has long played a critical role in the history of ‘domestic and global labor struggles.’
And now its quest for social justice has an avant-entrepreneurial dynamic, working across art, politics and technology. Activists respond to the city’s (often highly racialized) political failures to provide basic utilities with impressive social innovation. The recent boot-strapping community mesh networks for instance, was a response to the fact that 40 percent of Detroit residents have no access to the Internet at all. The alliances and networks formed in this project are now providing the social grounding for peer-to-peer technical education and experimentation with emerging decentralisation technologies. DACTROIT (an EOS project) is now exploring how payment for this infrastructure might be made through a community token.
Catlow, first interviewed LaFleur in July shortly before Detroit Art Week and the opening of Manifest Destiny at Library Street Collective Gallery – http://tiny.cc/6uqtcz
The Art of Being Black in White Spaces – Lesson #1: “You black (and that’s a problem).” | By Ruth Terry | Learning the Art of being black in white spaces is a lifelong process that begins with a single lesson: “You black (and that’s a problem).” I got lesson number one out of the way in kindergarten when Daniel, the other black kid in my class, informed me, “You black!” I went home sobbing. “But Mom, I’m brown! I’m brown!”. White spaces can be defined as having an “overwhelming presence of white people and… absence of black people,” writes sociologist Elijah Anderson, though most are no longer explicitly anti-black. They are, however, fluid. Everything from desegregation and civil rights to upward social mobility and media portrayals of black people have recast the borders of white spaces and, in doing so, defined new ways that blackness is unacceptable within them – https://bit.ly/2micBDB
A Swiss house built by robots promises to revolutionize the construction industry | By Anne Quito | Switerland September 12, 2019 | “Erecting a new building ranks among the most inefficient, polluting activities humans undertake,” reports Qz. “The construction sector is responsible for nearly 40% of the world’s total energy consumption and CO2 emissions, according to a UN global survey. A consortium of Swiss researchers has one answer to the problem: working with robots.” Over four years, 30 different industry partners joined a team of experts at ETH Zurich university for a cutting-edge “digital fabrication” project: building the DFAB House. Timber beams were assembled by robots on site, it used 60% less cement, and it features some amazing ceilings printed with a large-scale 3D sand printer – http://tiny.cc/go7scz
Transgenic Male Mosquito Experiment Failed in the Worst Way | “What seemed like a very straight forward and safe genetic modification to male mosquito, mixing in genes that would end up creating non-viable offspring, seems to have gone wrong as indicated in a paper published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal (an open access journal). It was expected that most offspring would die quickly, but instead, the few that survived managed to mate with the native population and transfer the mixed in genes. After an initial reduction of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, they have bounced back and now have genes from the two other mosquito species used to create the original GM males.” (Sourced from Slashdot.org) The article/abstract – http://tiny.cc/d87scz
Big Brother at the border | By Rachael Jolley | Index on Censorship | Jolley argues that travel restrictions and snooping into your social media at the frontier are new ways of suppressing ideas. Travelling to the USA this summer, journalist James Dyer, who writes for Empire magazine, says he was not allowed in until he had been questioned by an immigration official about whether he wrote for those “fake news” outlets. Also this year, David Mack, deputy director of breaking news at Buzzfeed News, was challenged about the way his organisation covered a story at the US border by an official – http://tiny.cc/czdtcz
Publishing and Administrative Assistant job at Ognota books | Publishing and Administrative Assistant | We are hiring for a Publishing and Administrative Assistant. Abilities to divine the future, travel in the astral plane and to write funding applications are a major advantage. We particularly welcome applicants with strong earth placements – http://tiny.cc/5potcz
Main image: Bubble up in Blue, 2012, by Amanda Coogan. Part of EMBODIMENT / Capture Performance Focus (CPF): IRELAND, 2019.
Expanded Realities Exhibition | Sep 5 — Sep 10 2019 | At Festival Hub Studio | The Expanded Realities programme seeks to find new pathways for storytelling at the intersection of art and technology. With the digital increasingly ever-present and algorithmic living becoming the norm, artists and filmmakers are grasping the opportunity to challenge our understanding of “reality” and offer audiences a space to enhance, expand and re-evaluate their experience of the world around them. The exhibition includes a number of interactive installations as well as a 360 Cinema showcasing a selection of virtual reality films. This year’s installations all seek to push the boundaries of our understanding of interaction, connection and space within the digital landscape – http://tiny.cc/b718bz
The DRHA 2019 Conference – Radical Immersions: Navigating between virtual/physical environments and information bubbles | 8 – 10 September & The group exhibition runs 6-20 September | The exhibition http://tiny.cc/nu18bz engages critically with ideas, practices and beliefs of immersion in relation to digital culture and new media. It will run in parallel with this year’s Digital Research in the Humanities & Arts (DRHA) conference, which will address the same theme and take place in the conference. Keynote Speakers: Prof Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths University of London) Dr Maria Chatzichristodoulou (aka Maria X; London Southbank University). Radical Immersions is convened by Dr Dani Ploeger and Dr Elena Papadaki. The conference will take place at Watermans Arts Centre in West London and is hosted by The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London – http://www.2019.drha.uk/
Last chance to apply! Call for participants: Collective Conditions | From 1 July to 10 September | Collective Conditions is a worksession which experiments with the generative potential of codes of conduct, complaints procedures, bug reports and copyleft licenses. We understand these socio-technical protocols as artistic and activist media and are curious about the role they can play in the (different) imagination of complex collectivities. By ’complex collectivity’ we mean, for example, non-normative human constellations, or collectives where participants with radically different needs, backgrounds and agencies come together. ’Complex collectivity’ can be self-chosen, or be the result of structural forces such as laws, racism, technology, wars, austerity, queerphobia and ecological conditions – http://tiny.cc/g218bz
Citizens of Evidence: Independent Investigations for Change | The Art of Exposing Injustice – Part 3 | Hosted by Disruption Network Lab and Supermarkt | Sept 20—21 2019 | Berlin | Workshop at Supermarkt & Tempelhofer Feld · Sept 22 | Exploring the investigative power of grassroots communities and citizens to expose injustice, corruption and power asymmetries. 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 – http://tiny.cc/m748bz
Book Launch of ‘Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons’ | Mon, 16 September 2019 | By UCL Institute for Global Prosperity | The Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL is delighted to host the launch of ‘Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons’, a book by David Bollierand Silke Helfrich. The event will be introduced by Ruth Catlow, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Furtherfield and DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab, followed by presentations from authors David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, and finishing with a response from Dr Feja Lesniewska, Senior Teaching Fellow on Climate Change and Energy Law and Policy at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, SOAS, and Research Fellow at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy department at UCL – http://tiny.cc/k208bz
Control voltage 6: Fiend/Masal/Justin Paton/The Spermaceti Organ | Thursday, 12 September 2019 | Westcliff, Essex, UK | Four Great Electronic acts join us for another night of audio visual delight. Best PA in town and a brand new projector bring you a full sensory experience. FIEND – Brendan O’Hares one man Post Rock masterclass – what more can you wish for. Masal – Ozlem Simsek & Alien Music UK – just for this performance Masal are ditching the computer and presenting two long-form improvised pieces one nice and one nasty. THE SPERMACETI ORGAN – Southend scene stalwart Steve O’Malley has finally crossed the Rubicon and has stepped up as a performer, improvised electronics to kick off the night. Justin Paton – Brings us some live acid – a real treat for the feet. FB link – http://tiny.cc/em48bz
STATISTA Presentation Week | 12–16 September 19 | Opening: 11 September 19, 7 pm | Venue: Haus der Statistik, Karl-Marx-Allee 1, 10178 Berlin | The complete program of events will be available at www.allesandersplatz.berlin. Within the vast empty spaces of the Haus der Statistik near Alexanderplatz, STATISTA is testing whether working in the spirit of the Commons is an option even within today’s context of city development. With the aid of ten distinct playing fields, STATISTA generates artistic prototypes for a civil society built on collective principles. Including neighbourhood initiatives, a cryptocurrency reflecting the wellbeing of bees, a facade design built for ecological inclusivity, and an international conference. Temporary usage, in this case, does not lead to gentrification, but to a form of urban renewal that is to the benefit of all – https://www.kw-berlin.de/en/statista-presentation-week/
OPEN SCORES. How to program the Commons | Curated by Creating Commons (Shusha Niederberger, Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder) | For the exhibition, artists have developed a SCORE relating to their practice. A SCORE can have different meanings: It can be a general instruction, a working instruction, a performance instruction or an operating instruction. In any case, it is meant to lead to a realization of an intended action and as such is an interface between a human actor and an object/material/machine. And a SCORE can also be linked to a technical HOWTO document, in that it contains information on how to perform a specific task. Within the exhibition, the newly developed SCORES add an aesthetic layer while pointing to the socio/political impact of the presented projects. The exhibition features interviews conducted as part of the research project as well as a temporary library on the subject of digital commons. Furthermore, there will be a program of talks, screenings, and workshops.
21 September 2019 – 12 October 2019 | Wed. til Sat 15:00 ~ 19:00 and for special events | VERNISSAGE : Saturday, September 21st 2019 20:00 TEMPLATES, Music Performance, Johannes Kreidler 21:00 Let’s make a salad. Homage to Alison Knowles 22:00 DJ Gigsta 23:30 DJ ROLUX-FOX – https://www.panke.gallery/exhibition/open-scores/
Exhibition – Rewriting The Future | Sophia Al Maria, Sonya Dyer, Ursula Mayer, Victoria Sin | 27 Sep 2019 – 26 Jan 2020 | Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK | Feminist artists and writers have long been presenting new angles on gender, power, ecology and community and this exhibition explores some of those narratives. In an age where wealth controls our systems of power and the world is ruled by patriarchal societies, feminist speculative perspectives can offer new insights, predictions and even possible alternatives. The exhibition will be accompanied by a digital publication compiling new speculative fiction writing from some brilliant feminist minds. Curated by Angelica Sule – http://tiny.cc/vu28bz
The Controversial Archive: Negotiating Horror Images in Syria | by Enrico De Angelis | ‘The Controversial Archive: Negotiating Horror Images in Syria’ is part of the upcoming INC Theory on Demand book titled ‘The ArabArchive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows” edited by Donatella Della Ratta, Kay Dickinson, and Sune Haugbolle – http://tiny.cc/tcg9bz
The Authoritarian Personality | Verso Books | By Theodor Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford With Betty Aron, Maria Hertz Levinson, and William Morrow Introduction by Peter E. Gordon | What makes a fascist? Are there character traits that make someone more likely to vote for the far right? The Authoritarian Personality is not only one of the most significant works of social psychology ever written, it also marks a milestone in the development of Adorno’s thought, showing him grappling with the problem of fascism and the reasons for Europe’s turn to reaction. Over half a century later and with the rise of right-wing populism and the reemergence of the far-right in recent years, this hugely influential study remains as insightful and relevant as ever – http://tiny.cc/krg9bz
Post-Platform Desires: Build 1, 2, 3 New | By Geert Lovink | The text is written as an introduction to a week-long discussion on the empyre email list in which I participate, with the topic STAY UNFINISHED, YOURS SINCERELY, moderated by Shulea Cheang. The debate happens in conjunction with STAY UNFINISHED, the 5th edition of Stadtwerkstatt‘s 48 hour showcase extravanganza held in association with Ars Electronica (Linz), curated by Tanja Brandmayr, Shu Lea Cheang and Franz Xaver – http://tiny.cc/54f9bz
The Vernacular of Space Through Images of the Moon | By Jonathan Atkins on Hyperallergic | The Met’s exhibition shows us that our cosmos is divided between the pictured, and the real, and that the character of the pictorial asserts a powerful influence over our conception of the actual. “The images were beguiling and beautiful less often for the visual experience — the landscapes of Mars or Venus are in these pictures stubbornly ordinary — than for the knowledge I vested in them, or perhaps for the color they brought to my knowledge. These were places, actual locales, from which no compass could point you home.” – http://tiny.cc/46e9bz
Margaret Atwood Expands the World of “The Handmaid’s Tale” | Review by Jia Tolentino | In the New Yoker | In “The Testaments,” the novelist examines the kinds of complicity that are required for constructing such a frightening future. Women wore this uniform to the protest in Texas, and they have since worn it to protests in England, Ireland, Argentina, Croatia, and elsewhere. When “The Handmaid’s Tale” was published, in 1985, some reviewers found Atwood’s dystopia to be poetically rich but implausible. Three decades later, the book is most often described with reference to its timeliness – http://tiny.cc/rah9bz
How Porn Performers Fall Victim to Twitter Impersonators | By Lux Alptraum | Medium | Adult entertainment workers count on social media to connect with fans, but the platform’s opaque rules leave them vulnerable to impersonators | “A few weeks ago, a porn performer friend of mine tweeted out a seemingly simple request. Someone had created a Twitter account impersonating her, one that not merely used her name and image, but copied her bio verbatim, creating a page that could easily be mistaken for the real thing at first glance. She wanted her friends and followers to report it.” – https://tinyurl.com/y2rpqsk5
Wire Formation: eerie images of Dhaka’s appetite for electricity | Guardian | Photographer Sounak Das walks the city’s streets at night, which are devoid of the people whose demands for electricity create tangled, sculptural structures – http://tiny.cc/vkh9bz
Main image: Predictive Art Bot by disnovation.org – Installation, 2017 | Recently exhibited at Radical Immersions exhibition at Watermans Arts Centre 2019.
Events, Exhibitions, Festivals and Conferences
Through Other Eyes | Events hosted at NeMe Gallery (Cyprus) | Curated by James Bridle | 6 Sep – 2 Oct | Throughout the Twentieth Century, the ability to see the world became ever more separate from human vision; in the Twenty-First, the ability to think and understand the world will follow. While they began by seeing the world, cameras are now starting to process and analyse what they see; to make decisions about the world they share with us – http://www.neme.org/blog/through-other-eyes-press
The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe | At Gallery 46 | 6 to 28 September 2019, Tuesday to Saturday, 1-6pm | British artist, painter and feminist Kelly-Anne Davitt has teamed up with Whitechapel’s Gallery 46 to curate an empowering, punk, pop show to celebrate contemporary female artists. The exhibition will feature work from the likes of Nina Mae Fowler, Sara Pope, Salena Godden, Bex Massey, Clancy Gebler Davies, Hanne J Kemfor, Kelly-Anne Davitt and Nancy Fouts, who sadly passed away before the exhibition came together | Whitechapel, London – http://tiny.cc/4c1ybz
Garden of Earthly Delights | On until 1 Dec 2019 | In this large-scale group exhibition, the artists interpret the motif of the garden as a metaphor for the state of the world and as a poetic expression to explore the complexities of our increasingly precarious world. Their artworks open up a wider discourse on social, political and ecological phenomena, such as migration, gentrification and gender politics. In addition to common understanding of the garden as a place of yearning full of meditative, spiritual and philosophical possibilities, the exhibition will tread the line between reality and fantasy, harmony and chaos, beauty and exile. At Gropius Bau, Berlin – http://tiny.cc/og1ybz
D’EST | A Multi-Curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the Former ‘East’ and ‘West’ – Berlin | Until 31 Dec 2020 | Initiated by cultural studies scholar Ulrike Gerhardt, the curatorial research summit will kicked off in April (2018) through an open-access framework. Between June and November 2018, the online platform will publish a total of six screening chapters reflecting post-socialist transformation. Their thematic focal points delineate post-socialism along post-geographic, horizontal, and gender-critical perspectives. In collaboration with fifteen curators, fifty artists, and other cultural experts, D’EST maps out artistic forms of historiography, especially from the perspective of female and collective production. www.district-berlin.com
Being Human exhibition, Wellcome Collection | Opens 5 September 2019, London | The gallery aims to explore four areas of, what it means to be alive in these uncertain times. The new space will be divided into themes examining genetics, minds and bodies, infection and climate breakdown with around 50 artworks from a diverse selection of artists. The section on genetics will include a project by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg in which she extracted DNA from cigarette butts, hair and chewing gum found on the streets of New York. The genetic information was then analysed and used to build speculative, but extremely convincing, portraits with a 3D printer – http://tiny.cc/2j1ybz
Currents New Media Festival 2020 – Open Call For Artists | With 10 years of new media production, display, and support in its wheelhouse, CURRENTS New Media has become known as one of the leading emerging media arts festival in the States. Bringing together the work of established and emerging new media artists from the USA and around the world, the CURRENTS team is excited to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our next festival: #CURRENTS2020. We invite artists across all mediums of electronic art and new media to apply | Submission Deadline: November 5, 2019 – https://currentsnewmedia.org/
Books, Call for Papers & Publications
Marx at the Arcade: Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle | By Jamie Woodcock | In Marx at the Arcade, acclaimed researcher Jamie Woodcock delves into the hidden abode of the gaming industry. In an account that will appeal to hardcore gamers, digital skeptics, and the joystick-curious, Woodcock unravels the vast networks of artists, software developers, and factory and logistics workers whose seen and unseen labor flows into the products we consume on a gargantuan scale. Along the way, he analyzes the increasingly important role the gaming industry plays in contemporary capitalism and the broader transformations of work and the economy that it embodies | Haymarket Books – http://tiny.cc/8n1ybz
Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination | Black holes, dark matter, gravity, time, motion—these phenomena fascinate physicists and artists alike. Both strive to discover how they shape our world. The connection between art and science is gaining increasing significance in contemporary art. This ground-breaking publication also contains interviews with the artists and physicists who share their different ways of seeing. Featuring interviews with and works of art by Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière, Sou Fujumoto, Iris van Herpen, Ryoji Ikeda, William Kentridge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Goshka Macuga, Davide Quayola, Solveig Settemsdal, Sarah Sze, Keith Tyson, Jorinde Voigt, and Carey Young | Published by Hatje Cantz – http://tiny.cc/wq1ybz
Making and Being: Embodiment, Collaboration, & Circulation in the Visual Arts | Making and Being draws upon the lived experience of Susan Jahoda and Caroline Woolard, visual arts educators who have developed a framework for teaching art with the collective BFAMFAPhD that emphasizes contemplation, collaboration, and political economy. The authors share ideas and pedagogical strategies that they have adapted to spaces of learning which range widely, from self-organized workshops for professional artists to Foundations BFA and MFA thesis classes. This hands-on guide includes activities, worksheets, and assignments and is a critical resource for artists and art educators today. Making and Being is a book, a series of videos, a deck of cards, and an interactive website with freely downloadable content | PIONEER WORKS PRESS – http://tiny.cc/2s1ybz
Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation | By Grace Blakeley | A must-read polemic about why the ‘recovery’ from the 2007-08 crash mostly benefited the 1%, and how democratic socialism can save us from a new crash and climate catastrophe. For decades, it has been easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Stolen is a history of finance-led growth and a guide as to how we might escape it. We’ve sat back as financial capitalism has stolen our economies, our environment and even the future itself. Now, we have an opportunity to change course. What happens next is up to us | Publisher: Repeater books – http://tiny.cc/lv1ybz
Articles, Interviews & Presentations
Notting Hill 2019: ‘Carnival should be taken as seriously as Glastonbury’ | By Aamna Mohdin | Guardian | London’s first carnival was held in 1959 in response to a series of racist attacks and rioting that spread from Nottingham to west London, where white youths went out targeting black people. The carnival was put together to celebrate the culture of the local community because, according to a brochure handed out during the time: “A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom.” – http://tiny.cc/z01ybz
Deal or no deal: Scottish arts survey looks at impact of Brexit | By Chris Sharratt | The Scottish Contemporary Art Network and Federation of Scottish Theatre is asking those working in the arts in Scotland to share their views on impact in a newly issued survey. More than half (57%) said that Brexit has already had a negative impact on their work. Nine out of 10 said they expected Brexit to have a negative impact on the arts sector in Scotland in the future. It also found that 26% of the respondents were considering or planning to leave Scotland and the UK after Brexit | AN Newsletter – http://tiny.cc/b41ybz
Tackling Gentrification and Other Injustices Through Landscape Painting | By Julia Friedman | Eddie Arroyo decidedly updates the genre of American landscape painting, recording real-estate developments and gentrification and capturing the flux of contemporary urban landscapes. Picturesque charm and political energy characterize Eddie Arroyo’s paintings. Arroyo often portrays political action, including protests at the Whitney Museum and The New Museum, and in Miami’s Little Haiti, as well as activist ephemera, including posters and buttons. One of the eight artists to request (on July 20) their work be withdrawn from the Whitney Biennial in protest of Warren B. Kanders’s seat on the museum’s Board of Trustees, he thoughtfully intertwines his activism with his art | Hypperallergic – http://tiny.cc/061ybz
The Power of Face Filters as Augmented Reality Art for the Masses | By Jessica Herrington | Augmented reality (AR) is here. Rapid developments in smartphone technology mean AR is now available to many. AR ‘face filters’ — a mask-like augmented reality that adds virtual objects to an individual’s face, are becoming hugely popular. However, little attention has been given to face filters as AR art. Often seen as non-serious play, AR face filters can instead provide an engaging and personal art experience | Medium – http://tiny.cc/u81ybz
Image credit: video still from Brent Watanabe, San Andreas Deer Cam, 2016, with the artist’s permission.
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 with Territorial 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/6n9obzh
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 | The 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.
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
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
This week’s list of Furtherfield recommendations is a special list to coincide with Future Fair taking place in London tomorrow (Sat 10 Aug). It features highlights of stall-holder’s other works and collaborators, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.
Calls for Participation
Collective Conditions Worksession
Collective Conditions is a worksession which experiments with the generative potential of codes of conduct, complaints procedures, bug reports and copyleft licenses. The worksession is inspired by trans*feminist collective practices, anti-harassment and allyship-work, non-violent communication, score-making, decolonial and intersectional activism, but also by ways of doing developed within Free Culture and Free, Libre and Open Source software. Collective Conditions focuses on a-polarizing methods, affirmative habits that can stretch and reorient frameworks, that represent new vocabulary, gestures and forms of expression.
Collective Conditions. Constant, Brussels from 8 to 16 November 2019
Deadline: 10 September 2019 https://bit.ly/31hUfSc
Femke Snelting, from Constant is at Future Fair with the Trans*Feminist Rendering Programme
A one-day workshop, to wonder together about the potential queer analytics of microbial, animal, plant, mineral, cosmological technoscience. Pondering the possibilities and limitation of informatics; and taking seriously the affective forces of nonhuman animals and machines. We ask how might we extend queer theories that concern personal injury into more- than- human ensembles in order to consider the damages shared by humans and nonhumans? How can we generate ways that take us beyond reparative narratives or benevolent utopianism towards more-than-human life?
With Helen Pritchard, Jara Rocha and Laura Benítez in the framework of the Biennal del Pensament. Hosted by Hangar, Barcelona
Deadline: 10 October 2019 https://bit.ly/31rz4NT
Helen Pritchard and Jara Rocha are at Future Fair with the Trans*Feminist Rendering Programme
Artworks, hacks and exhibitions
Data Union Fork: Tools for a Data Strike!
Artisan, educator and feminist hacker Larisa Blazic is exploring ways to reclaim individual data rights and establish collective ownership over data. She is devising and running a series of discursive workshops to explore and address wider accessibility by visualising process through “example mapping”. Workshop participants were invited to explore collective bargaining in labour union tradition and its possible hybridisation with DECODE project concepts. The video is directed and produced by Ilze Black. Watch the Data Union Fork Video https://bit.ly/2OJlPql
Lara Blazic is at Future Fair with Reading Minutes in the Park
F’xa (Feminist Alexa) is a chatbot designed to provide the general public with a playful guide to AI bias. F’xa takes you through conversations about bias in search engines, recruitment algorithms and voice technology, and gives tips on how to tackle the problems. It was designed using the Feminist Internet’s Personal Intelligent Assistant standards, and Josie Young’s Feminist Chatbot Design Process. These ethical guidelines help designers ensure they don’t knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate gender inequality when building chatbots. https://f-xa.co/
The Feminist Internet is at Future Fair with Prototyping a People’s Park
Possible Bodies inventory
Femke Snelting and Jara Rocha are artists who carry out collaborative research on the very concrete and at the same time complex and fictional entities that “bodies” are, asking what matter-cultural conditions of possibility render them volumetrically present. This becomes especially urgent in contact with the technologies, infrastructures and techniques of 3D tracking, modelling and scanning. Intersecting issues of race, gender, class, species, age and ability resurface through these performative as well as representational practices. The research is concerned with genealogies of how bodies and technologies have been mutually constituted. It invites the generation of concepts and experimental renderings, wild combinations and digital and non-digital prototypes for different embodiments. https://bit.ly/2R610VL
Femke Snelting and Jara Rocha are at Future Fair with the Trans*Feminist Rendering Programme
Wealth Beyond Big Brother
A monetary system designed within the cultural context of George Orwell’s’ ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ by Austin Houlsworth. Beyond the paternalistic control of big brother and between the super states of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, lie the disputed territories. Due to the continual change of ruler over these areas, no trusted financial institution has ever been established. Rather the people living within these areas have developed a payment system, which serves as both personal protection and a medium of exchange. This payment method embodies two ideas of value; on the one hand wealth and on the other life. The trader’s greed for gold is often tempered by the penultimate meaning of loss. https://bit.ly/2yIlf17 Austin Houldsworth also is the Co-founder and Curator of the Future of Money Design Awards http://futuremoneyaward.com/
Meet Austin Houldsworth with Martin Zeilinger on the Planet Cashless 2029 stall at Future Fair
We Need Us
We Need Us by artist Julie Freeman is a living artwork, powered by people, and influenced by data. It is a live, online, animated artwork that explores both ‘life data’ and the life of data. The work concentrates on metadata – data about data – which it draws from the activities of citizen science project, Zooniverse, to create sounds and animation. Unlike traditional data-visualisation which helps us understand and make sense of information held in large data sets, ‘We Need Us’ investigates the unique properties of the data itself. It asks: if the data had lives of their own, how would they be revealed? http://weneedus.org/
Julie Freeman and Hannah Redler Hawes at ODI commissioned Alisdair Gentry to create DoxBox Trustbot which will be featured at Future Fair
In these meme-fuelled, statistically ‘mythological’ times, data, and the algorithms that thrive on it, are often presented as a privacy-obliterating risk-based menace. But there are always two sides to a story: with so much potential to benefit our lives data can also be a force for good, as well as game for a laugh. https://bit.ly/2YF2ydt LMAO Is an ODI Exhibition curated in 2018 (and well worth revisiting) by Julie Freeman and Hannah Redler Hawes. They also commissioned Alisdair Gentry to create DoxBox Trustbot which will be featured at Future Fair
Possible Bodies XYZ http://www.fictional-journal.com/xyz/
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
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.
A list of Furtherfield recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.
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
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
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
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
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/
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
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
This year’s festival of “Mine, yours, ours”(Moje, tvoje, naše) puts emphasis on people who are behind the work performance of machines, literally as well as metaphorically, and without whom the machines cannot perform their work.
Automatization, computerization, robotization, mechanization. Recent studies point out that by 2030 as many as 800 million workers throughout the world will lose their jobs to robots. Predictions that already in six years time robots with artificial intelligence will have replaced more than half of the human workforce, and thereby leave 75 million people unemployed, and that the number of robots that perform work of which humans are capable would double from the current 29%, have flooded web portals.
Questioning the status of work conditioned by the relation between man and machines, and observed from the perspective of contemporary artists, was chosen as the theme of the festival “Mine, yours, ours” carried out by Drugo More, held from the 14th to the 16th of February at the building of Filodrammatica in Rijeka. The international festival “Mine, yours, ours” has for fourteen years in a row by the means of art questioned the topics related to the exchange of goods and knowledge, an exchange that today is conditioned by capital and consequently bereft of all the aspects of a gift economy. Exchange via gifts has been replaced by mechanical work whereby the worker is distanced from the very purpose of the work and thereby doomed to a feeling of purposelessness, while the final product and service remain dehumanized. In a world that is mongering fear about robots taking over human jobs, the curator of the exhibition and moderator of the symposium, Silvio Lorusso, decided to give a new perspective on the topic putting emphasis on the people behind the work of the machines, literally and metaphorically, without whom the machines cannot – work.
Like robots that perform work mechanically and lacking intrinsic motivation, people play the roles of robots through various forms of work. The sequence of actions that we observe on the internet are attributed to the work of machines, ignorant of the fact that human work, hidden on purpose, is behind all the exposed data. A human, according to research by artist Sebastian Schmieg, writes the descriptions of the photos that we find on the internet and we are deceiving ourselves thinking that the descriptions are the product of an automatized system. A group of crowd workers creates the database for recognition of pictures, while the neural network of artificial intelligence is shaped with the help of manual work by a collective of people who choose what the machines will see, and what is to remain unrecognized. The role of human work is crucial to the processes that enable self-driving cars. Researcher and designer Florian Alexander-Schmidt explained how the detailed localization of an object is possible exclusively due to a human workforce, not robots. Digital platforms tend to locate vehicles at a precision rate of 99% and this cannot be achieved by an algorithmic system. Alexander-Schmidt points out that the cheapest workers are employed at servicing the digital platforms, such as those from Venezuela, whose work is hidden behind the magical acronym “AI”.
Artificial intelligence operates thanks to the strength and precision of human intelligence, and workers are the slaves of a system that functions like a computer game, demanding that employees score more and thereby perpetuate a game in which, no matter how high they score, they lose. They lose because a cheap labor force, qualified via automatized training, secretly performs the work that consumers consider a product of automatization, and they remain at insecure workplaces whose existence persists due to risky capital and results in constant change of workplaces – virtual migrations. The market of the internet diminishes the global geography of honorary work, while humans play machines performing jobs exclusively for a salary, turning into an invisible, undefined (robotized) mass employed at unstable workplaces and conditioned by risky capital.
The work performed by humans is considered a product of the work of machines, while machines are often replaced by humans. Entering a relationship, developing a sense of connection, characteristic for the human species, is becoming one of the fields in which robots are developing. Chatrooms and platforms for looking for a partner more and more often include programmed robot profiles that engage in communication and emotional bonding with those who sign up, as reported by the artist Elisa Giardina Papa. Robots replace humans, but this change of identity isn’t recognized by the other human – instead, they see a potential partner. In that sense we can speak about a justified presentiment not only of a loss of workplaces and the current modus operandi of the labor market, but of changes in the way emotional relationships are built as well.
Changes in the development of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), robotics, quantum computers, the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the car industry improve some aspects of human life, but place humanity before social, economic and geopolitical challenges. Sustainability of the internet is entirely dependent on humans since the spare time that humans are ready to use for posting content conditions the survival of web portals, video and music channels and social networks. Giardina Papa explained how the spare time of humans has become the time of unpaid work for the internet. Activities that spare time offers – relaxing, self-realization, healthy spontaneous sleep, have been replaced with the production of content for others and posting it on the internet. Creativity, productivity, self-realization are falling into oblivion. Creative work has been replaced by plain performance and we identify more and more often with the byword which the artist Giardina Papa brought up as an example and are becoming “doers, not dreamers”.
Such an approach to life and work affects everybody, and is consciously looked on as a problem by artists in their attempts at a good-quality creative life. The average artists spend their days trapped doing jobs of stocking up shelves in stores, taking in orders, working for telecommunications operators and only at night devote themselves to acting, dancing, painting. Constant financial instability, insecure and temporary jobs, low income, unregistered work and an absence of pension are the conditions of life that the contemporary artist faces. A few European countries are an exception from this. Denmark awards 275 artists an annual scholarship that amounts to between 15000 and 149000 Danish krones. France made sure that every region secures a certain amount of financial support for artists and therefore in for example the region of Ile-de-France are recipients of up to 7628,47 euros for the organization of their workshops. Unfortunately, in most countries artists without rich parents or benefactors can only survive by performing daily work. While spare time is subordinate to work, work is becoming more and more precarious, per hour, without contracts, while full day work time is becoming the lifestyle of the millenium. A way of life where spare time is spent working, subordinated to a mechanical execution of tasks that don’t foster the self-development of the worker, makes man function in a way characteristic of machines.
The individual aspect exposes it’s intimacy in front of a collective audience and thereby diminishes it’s own independence. Simultaneously, via the intrusion of the private into the public, the collective character of the public now becomes more individualized, more personal and strives to be unique. Faced with changes artists are trying out new ways of expressing themselves as a means of enjoying their work. The joy in their work and their artworks stems from the recognition that their activities are actually creative and not plain performance, that is, mass-producing content for others and suitable to others, and such an approach seldom comes to anyone’s (robotized/artistic) mind anymore. Artists are the ones who in times of computerization of work tend to enjoy their work and work in a way to develop oneself.
We are witnessing processes where work is developing via control of people (crowdsourcing), it is transforming and making people similar to machines, and machines to people and making people’s work the work of machines and vice versa. Man is faced with new challenges at the workplace, and with the focus on securing existential necessities as well as necessities conditioned by the contemporary approach to existence, there is no spare time to devote to questioning the position to which he brought himself to. Artists, equally affected by the changes, succumb to them, but also analyze them, deautomatize them and actively do research on them. The international guests to the festival “Mine, yours, ours” have through their works pulled back the curtain to make the supposedly automatized work transparent for people to see that a well hidden group of humans is behind this work. While explaining the results of their research, preceding the artistic exhibition, at a two-day symposium, they gave the public new perspectives on the theme, but also further corroborated the existing view. Where does the robot begin and where does man end and who or what is to whom or to what a robot, and who or what to whom or to what a human are the questions that, concerning the labor market, pave the way for – a new set of sub-questions.
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.  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.” 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. 
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.
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.”
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?
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.
Mark Hancock discusses the politics and artistry of Janez Janša’s identity interventions in the context of their recent challenge at the Parliamentary Elections in Slovenia, in June 3rd 2018.
Ideas firmly deduced, tested against all variables and tentatively sent out into the world for appraisal by others, soon betray us as they bend to the whims of anyone they encounter. But that’s the nature of the malleable, post-digital world we live in. Ideas have to adapt and change to suit the warp and weft of the society if they are to survive in some form. How do we lock down our ideas into their final form? And what level of commitment can we expect from our ideas even if we apply intellectual property rights and that centuries-old mark of authenticity, the signature? The art world is particularly vulnerable to the conceit of signed authenticity. A signature often being the only guarantee that you’ll see any return (financial, reputational or otherwise) on your investment. If you really want to play with systems of power and bureaucracy, try altering artist names.
Davide Grassi, Emil Hrvatin and Žiga Kariž all changed their names to Janez Janša in 2007, joining the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) at the same time, to explore the bureaucratic and political systems of their home country, Slovenia. The foundation of their actions ever since has been the question: what power exists in a name? And not just the art power system, but what political forces come into play when that name also belongs to the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, Janez Janša, (Prime Minister 2004 to 2008 and then again in 2012 to 2013). Incidentally, or perhaps not, Janez Janša, the politician was born Ivan Janša. The renaming of the three artists becomes a sort of double bluff when you also start to ask who the ‘real’ Janez Janša is.
It would be easy to assume that the work of Janez Janša is simply another playful, flaccid baiting of the art world and right-wing political hegemonies. All too often work that challenges the political system might as well be challenging the rules of the Italian Football League, for all the difference in the world it makes beyond the enclosed loop of the art community. There’s only so far that insulting the work of Damien Hirst with another work of art can get you. But the Janez Janša artists have chosen to pierce through the membrane of the art world and make a social difference.
In the Slovenian Parliamentary Elections on the 3rd June 2018, one of them ran as a member of the opposition party, Levica (The Left) in Grosuplje the home district of the ex-Prime Minister, Janez Janša. In a press release, Janez Janša (the artist) said: “Running for parliament is a logical consequence of the view I have towards society. I care about what is happening. I react to things. I want to change them. (…) Society must be organized in such a way that the state begins to serve its citizens, as opposed to serving capital. Capital has no interest either for society or for art or for the individual.”
There is something inherently political in multiple authors using a single name, at least if you cast an eye over recent history. Reference points include Wu Ming, the Italian author collective that produced a number of literary works (they published a best-selling novel, Q, in 1999). They evolved from the Luther Blissett collective, whose playful, socially engaged activities defy the concept of the singular creative voice. This concept seems so alien to much of the mainstream media, particularly in Wu Ming’s home country of Italy, where they have been accused of everything from cybercrime to the less savoury aspects of rave culture. It’s this uncertainty about ownership that seems to bring a nervous lump to the throat of media and political gatekeepers. Perhaps this revolves around two questions so central to capitalism: If you’re doing nothing wrong, why hide behind a nom de plume or a collective? And, who do I send the check to, if I want to buy an Art?
On top of this, copyright issues become complex when the roster of names increases as well. Because we still want ideas to be owned, even when they are expanded through homages and pastiches. Copyright, as the attorney representing the Janez Janšas points out, is a legal construct, protecting, “original artistic (and scientific) creations, which are expressed in any way. A work is protected by copyright only if it was created by a human being (an author) and bears a stamp of author’s personality.” With work by Luther Blissett and Wu Ming, at least the authors can be understood as ‘artists’, even anonymously. Janez Janša, Janez Janša and, last but not least, Janez Janša have layered this authorship of their artwork with another layer of copyright/ownership complexity.
They refer to this work as collateral art, a phrase resonant with the phrase collateral damage, used to describe the acceptable casualties of battles. Collateral art is the acceptable damage on their ideas and projects from engagement with companies and institutions: ID cards, membership cards, the whole panoply of detritus that comes with the work. The artists want this collateral art, often customised by companies on request, to question the relationship between artworks and functional objects, “exploring post-Fordist means of production.” Any art historians still trying to shoehorn the belief of the gifted singular genius crafting his (note the gender pronoun: now discuss) solo masterpiece, probably hasn’t been paying close enough attention. The individual work of art often only becomes such with the signature of the artist attached as providence. When the work of art carries the signature of a non-artist though, can it still be brought into the art world as a valid comment on… anything? Paperwork sent to institutions by Janez Janša, and signed by an official becomes art. But whose art?
The answer, of course, is that it is their art. Whatever bureaucratic grindstone the works have been milled under, they ultimately belong back with the artists. It is they who return the work back to the art world through the exhibition. The exhibition co-produced by Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM) and Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, and curated by independent curator Domenico Quaranta, in 2017, was a chance to display and reflect back on ten years of work by the artists. Called the Janez Janša® exhibition, on display were works including Signatures (2007 – ongoing) which explored interventions of the Janez Janša name into public spaces, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Signature, 2007), or Signature (Copacabana), in Rio de Janeiro, 2008. Playfully appearing in numerous locations around the world. Or Mount Triglav on Mount Triglav, an action performed in August 2007. This action commemorated “the 80th anniversary of the death of Jakob Aljaž; the 33rd anniversary of the Footpath from Vrhnika to Mount Triglav; the 5th anniversary of the Footpath from the Wörthersee Lake across Mount Triglav to the Bohinj Lake; the 25th anniversary of the publication of Nova Revija magazine and the 20th anniversary of the 57th issue of Nova Revija, the premiere publication of the SLOVENIAN SPRING; this was a re-enactment of Gora Triglav (Mount Triglav), by the OHO group in 1968 and the latest in a chain of re-enactments, as it was also performed by in 2004 by the Irwin Group.
The conference in the same year, Proper and Improper Names: Identity in the Information Society conference, hosted by Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, and curated by Marco Deseriis in 2017, invited speakers including Natalie Bookchin, Marco Deseriis, Kristin Sue Lucas, Gerald Raunig, Ryan Trecartin, Wu Ming. The subjects under discussion arose from Marco Deseriis’ book Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous. Deseriis, as keynote speaker, talked about the genealogy of the improper name. This is Deseriis’s term for the use of pseudonyms by artist collectives, including Wu Ming (who presented a talk at the conference) and Ned Ludd, the fictional leader of the English Luddites.
Releasing your ideas out in the wild doesn’t always guarantee they will come back to you unscathed or even return at all. The works of the Janez Janša collective are sent out to corporate systems, being adapted and altered, and returned. Or at the very least offering a challenge to accepted forms of ideological structures. In the Slovenian elections on 3rd June, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) won with 25% of the votes. Levica won 9.0%. The SDS is a far-right, anti-immigration party, reflecting the increasing rise of right-wing parties across Europe right now. The leader of the SDS, Janez Janša, now has the opportunity to form a right-wing government. If this happens, and by the time you read this, it may well have, it would continue the shift in European Councils members towards the right.
There’s nothing new in declaring that everything is in flux. That’s the nature of our hyper-accelerated world. But right now there is a creeping sense that The Other is also to be viewed as The Enemy. The social, political value of art has to change to mean something in what is little short of a battle for a better society for ourselves and others across the globe if it is to have any value whatsoever. Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša’s work reflect this evolution by being part of the society around them. Being part of the electoral system reflected this challenge and desire to be part of the real world and to make art mean something more than gallery space and conference papers. If art wants to survive and continue to belong to everyone, then it needs to be part of the world we are living in right now. No one work of art ever changed the world, but it helps us unravel and see through the propaganda of systems. We all need to become Janez Janša®.
The final outcome of the recent Slovenian Elections remains uncertain as Social Democratic Party’s Janez Janša attempts to form a coalition government.
This is a long read by one of the inhabitants of the Zad, about the the fortnight rollercoaster of rural riots that has just taken place to evict the liberated territory of the Zad. It’s been incredibly intense and hard to find a moment to write, but we did our best. This is simply one viewpoint, there are over 1000 people on the zone at the moment and every one of them could tell a different story. Thank you for all the friends and comrades who helped by sharing their stories, rebel spirits and lemon juice against the tear gas.
“We must bring into being the world we want to defend. These cracks where people find each other to build a beautiful future are important. This is how the zad is a model.” Naomi Klein
“What is happening at Notre-Dame-des-Landes illustrates a conflict that concerns the whole world” Raoul Vaneigem
The police helicopter hovers above, its bone rattling clattering never seems to stop. At night its long godlike finger of light penetrates our cabins and farm houses. It has been so hard to sleep this last week. Even dreaming, it seems, is a crime on the Zad. And that’s the point: these 4000 acres of autonomous territory, this zone to defend (Zad), has existed despite the state and capitalism for nearly a decade and no government can allow such a place to flourish. All territories that are inhabited by people who bridge the gap between dream and action have to be crushed before their hope begins to spread. This is why France’s biggest police operation since May 1968, at a cost of 400,000 euros a day, has been trying to evict us with its 2500 gendarmes, armoured vehicles (APCs), bulldozers, rubber bullets, drones, 200 cameras and 11,000 tear gas and stun grenades fired since the operation began at 3.20am on the morning of the 9th of April.
The state said that these would be “targeted evictions”, claiming that there were up to 80 ‘radical’ Zadists that would be hunted down, and that the rest, the ‘good’ Zadists, would have to legalise or face the same fate. The good zadist was a caricature of the gentle ‘neo rural farmer’ returning to the land, the bad, an ultra violent revolutionary, just there to make trouble. Of course this was a fantasy vision to feed the state’s primary strategy, to divide this diverse popular movement that has managed to defeat 3 different French governments and win France’s biggest political victory of a generation.
The zad was initially set up as a protest against the building of a new airport for the city of Nantes, following a letter by residents distributed during a climate camp in 2009, which invited people to squat the land and buildings: ‘because’ as they wrote ‘only an inhabited territory can be defended’. Over the years this territory earmarked for a mega infrastructure project, evolved into Europe’s largest laboratory of commoning. Before the French state started to bulldoze our homes, there were 70 different living spaces and 300 inhabitants nestled into this checkerboard landscape of forest, fields and wetlands. Alternative ways of living with each other, fellow species and the world are experimented with 24/7. From making our own bread to running a pirate radio station, planting herbal medicine gardens to making rebel camembert, a rap recording studio to a pasta production workshop, an artisanal brewery to two blacksmiths forges, a communal justice system to a library and even a full scale working lighthouse – the zad has become a new commune for the 21st century. Messy and bemusing, this beautifully imperfect utopia in resistance against an airport and its world has been supported by a radically diverse popular movement, bringing together tens of thousands of anarchists and farmers, unionists and naturalists, environmentalists and students, locals and revolutionaries of every flavour. But everything changed on the 17th of January 2018, when the French prime minister appeared on TV to cancel the airport project and in the same breath say that the zad, the ‘outlaw zone’ would be evicted and law and order returned.
I am starting to write 8 days into the attack, it’s Tuesday the 17th of April my diary tells me, but days, dates even hours of the day seem to merge into a muddled bath of adrenaline socked intensity, so hard to capture with words. We are so tired, bruised and many badly injured. Medics have counted 270 injuries so far. Lots due to the impact of rubber bullets, but most from the sharp metal and plastic shrapnel shot from the stun and concussion grenades whose explosions punctuate the spring symphony of birdsong. Similar grenades killed 21 year old ecological activist Remi Fraise during protests against an agro industrial damn in 2014.
The zad’s welcome and information centre, still dominated by a huge hand painted map of the zone, has been transformed into a field hospital. Local doctors have come in solidarity working with action medic crews, volunteer acupuncturists and healers of all sorts and the comrades ambulance is parked outside. The police have even delayed ambulances leaving the zone with injured people in them, and when its the gendarmerie that evacuates seriously injured protesters from the area sometimes they have been abandoning them in the street far from the hospital or in one case in front of a psychiatric clinic.
The thousands of acts of solidarity have been a life line for us, including sabotaged French consulate parkings in Munich to local pensioners bringing chocolate bars, musicians sending in songs they composed to demonstrations by Zapatistas in Chiapas, banners in front of French embassies everywhere – from Dehli to New York, a giant message carved in the sand of a New Zealand beach and even scuba divers with an underwater banner. Here on the zone three activist field kitchens have come to feed us, architects have written a column deploring the destruction of unique forms of habitat signed by 50,000 people and locals have been offering storage for the safe keeping of our belongings. A true culture of resistance has evolved in parallel with the zad over the years. Not many people are psychologically or physically prepared to fight on the barricades, but thousands are ready to give material support in all its forms and this is the foundation of any struggle that wants to win. It means opening up to those who might be different, those that might not have the same revolutionary analysis as us, those who some put in their box named ‘reformist’, but this is what building a composition is all about, it is how we weave a true ecology of resistance. As a banner reads on one of the squatted farmhouses here, Pas de barricadieres sans cuisiniers “There are no (female) barricaders without (male) cooks.”
Today has been one of the calmest since the start of the operation, and it felt like the springtime was really flowering, so we opened all the doors and windows of house letting the spring air push away the toxic fumes of tear gas that still linger on our clothes. It feels like there is a momentary lull. For the first time since the evictions, our collective all ate together, sitting in the sun at a long table surrounded by two dozen friends from across the world come to support us. I hear the buzzing of a bee trying to find nectar and look up into the sky, its not a bee at all, but the police drone, come to film us sharing food, it hovers for hours. In the end this is the greatest crime we have committed on the zad, that of building the commons, sharing worlds together and deserting the pathology of individualism.
Two years before the abandonment of the airport project the movement declared in a text entitled The Six Points for the Zad: Because there will be no Airport, that we would, via an entity that emerged from the movement , collectively look after these lands that we were saving from certain death by concrete. A few months before the abandonment the form that this entity took was the Assembly of Usages. Soon after thethe airport was cancelled, we entered into negotiations with the state (via the prefet. Nicole Klein, who represents the state in the department) following a complicated week of pre-negotiations, where we were forced to open up one of the roads which had had cabins built on it since the attempted evictions of 2012. It seemed that the flow of traffic through the zone was the state’s way of telling the public that law and order had returned on the zone. (see the text Zad Will Survive for a view of this complicated period).
A united delegation of 11 people made up from the NGOs, farmers, naturalists and occupiers of the zone attended the negotiations and did not flinch from the demand to set up a collective legal land structure, rather than return these lands to private property and agro-business as usual. In the 1980s a similar legal structure was put in place following the victory of a mass movement against the expansion of a military base on the plateau of the Larzac in Southern France. With this precedent in mind we provided a legally solid document for a global land contract, but it was ignored, no legal grounds were given, the refusal was entirely political. Three days later the evictions began.
The battle lines were made clear, it was not about bringing ‘law and order’ back to the zone, but a battle between private property, and those who share worlds of capitalism against the commons. The battle of the Zad is a battle for the future, one that we cannot loose.
The telephone rings, it’s 3.20am, it’s still dark outside, a breathless voice says two simple words, “It’s begun !” and hangs up. Everyone knows what to do, some run to offices filled with computers, others to the barricades, some to the pirate radio (Radio Klaxon, which happens to squat the airwaves of Vinci motorway radio, 107,7, the construction company that was going to build and run the airport) others start their medics shift. Hundreds of police vans are taking over the two main roads that pass through the zone.
Fighting on one of the lanes manages to stop the cops moving further west. But elsewhere the bulldozers smash their way through some of the most beautiful cabins made of adobe and the wastes of the world that rose out of the the mud in the east of the zone, they destroy the Lama Sacrée with its stunning wooden watch tower, permaculture gardens and green houses are flattened and they rip gashes in the forest. A large mobile anti riot wall is erected by the police in the lane that stretches east to west, a technique that works in cities but in rural riots it’s useless and people spend all morning hassling them from every angle. Despite gas and stun grenades we hold our ground. Journalists are blocked for a while from entering, the police stating that they will provide their own footage (free of copyrights!). The “press group” gives them directions so that they manage to cross the fields and the pictures dominate the morning news.
There are over a dozen of us are facing a line of hundreds of robocops at the other end of the field. One of us, masked up and dressed in regulation black kway is holding a golf club. He kneels down and places a golf T in the wet grass. He pulls a golf ball out of a big supermarket bag and serenely places it in the T. He takes a swipe, the ball bounces off the riot shields. He takes out another ball and another and another.
In the afternoon the cops and bailiffs arrive at the 100 noms, an off grid small holding with sheep, chickens, veg plots, and beautiful housing including a cabin built by a young deserting architect which resembles a giant knights helmet made with geodesic plates of steel. The occupiers, who have built this place up from nothing over 5 years are given 10 minutes to leave by the bailiff. Several hundred people turn up to resist, many from ‘the camp of the white haired ones’ which hasbrought together the pensioners and elders, who have called it a camp for “the youth of all ages” and have been one of the backbonesof this long struggle. There must be nearly 200 of us, at the 100 noms, this time no one is masked up. A massive block of robocops is coming up the path, some of us climb on the roof of the newly built sheep barn, others form a line of bodies pressed hard against the riot shields, we are peasants and activists, occupiers and visitors, young and old and they beat us, burn our skin with their pepper spray and push us out of the fields.
We reply with a joyful hail of mud that covers their visors and shields. The people on the roof are brought down by the specialists climbers and the bulldozer does its job. A few minutes later a one of their huge demolition machines gets stuck in the mud, a friend shouts ironically to the crowd: “come on let’s go and give it hand and push it out!”, Hundreds approach, trails of gas take over the blue sky, dozens of canisters rain down on the wetlands, many falling into the ponds which begin to bubble with their toxic heat. I try to console Manu whose home, a tall skinny wooden cabin with a climbing wall on its side, has just been flattened, my hugs cannot stop his sobs. Our eyes are red with tears of grief and gas.
In the logic of the state, the 100 Noms ticked many of their fantasy boxes of those want to be legalised, ‘the good Zadists’. It was a well functioning small holding, producing meat and vegetables and where the sheep were more legal than its inhabitants. It was a project that had the support of many of the locals. Its destruction lit a spark that brought many of those in the movement who had felt a bit more distant from the zad recently back into the fold of the resistance. Of course its no less disgusting than the flattening of all the other homes and cabins, but the battle here is as much on the symbolic terrain as in the bocage and it is seems to be a strategic blunder to destroy the 100 Noms.
The live twitter videos from the attack are watched by tens of thousands, news of the evictions spreads and a shock wave ripples through France. Actions begin to erupt in over 100 places, some town halls are occupied, the huge Millau bridge over 1000 km away is blockaded as is the weapon factory that makes the grenades in Western Brittanny.
The demolition continues till late, but the barricades grow faster at night, and we count the wounded.
It all begins again before sun rise, the communication system on the zone with its hundreds of walkie talkies, old style truck drivers cb’s and pirate radio station calls us to go and defend the Vraie Rouge collective, which is next to the the zad’s largest vegetable garden and medicinal herb project. We arrive through the fields to find one of the armoured cars pushed up against the barricade, we stand firm the barricade between us and the APC. We prepare paint bombs to try and cover the APC’s windows with. Then the tear gas begins to rain amongst the salad and spinach plants. A friend finds a terrified journalist cowering in one of the cabins, she writes for the right wing Figaro newspaper and is a bit out of place with her red handbag. “What’s that noise??” she asks, trembling, “the stun grenades” he replies. “But why aren’t you counter attacking?” she says, “where are your pétanque balls covered in razor blades?” Our friend laughs despite the gas poisoning his lungs, “we never had such things, it was a right wing media invention, and it’s impossible anyway, no one can weld razor blades onto a pétanque ball! ”
There is so much gas, we can no longer see beyond our stinging running noses. The police are being pressurised simultaneously from the other side of the road by a large militant crowd with gas masks, make shift shields, stones, slingshots and tennis rackets to return the grenades. They are playing hide and seek from behind the trees. The armoured car begins to push the barricade, some of us climb onto the roof of the two story wooden cabin, others try to retreat without crushing the beautiful vegetable plot. Its over, the end of another collective living space on the zone. Then we hear a roar from the other side of the barricade. Dozens of figures emerge from the forest, molotov cocktails fly, one hits the APC, flames rise from the amour and the wild roar transforms itself into a cry of pure joy. The APC begins to back off as do the police. The Vraie Rouge will live one more day it seems, thanks to diversity of tactics.
In 2012 when we managed to stop the first eviction attempts of the zone, this was what gave us an advantage. Over the 50 years that the movement against the airport lasted, it used everything from petitions to hunger strikes, legal challenges to sabotage, riots to citizens ecological inventories of the zone, defensive tree houses to flying rocks, tractor blockades to clown armies. Its secret weapon was the respect we had for each others’ tactics and an incredible ability to try and not condemn each other. Pacifist Pensioners and black bloc worked together in a way that I had never seen before, which made criminalising the movement much more complicated for the government. Movements win when they have the richest most colourful palette of tactics at their disposition and they are ready to use everyone of them at the right time and place.
In a woodland dip to the east of the zone, the Cheverie, is still resisting. A huge high cabin made from different types of swirling coloured clay – brown, grey, ochre and white – punctuated by mosaics and carved spiders, constructed by hundreds of hands, is about to be crushed. Hundreds of gendarmes surround it, one of them seems to have a machine gun strapped to his back. From the roof someone uses a traffic cone as a megaphone: “we are defending life and the living.” When the cabin is finally brought down a minor miracle occurs, none of the dozens of windows is broken, which will make it much easier to rebuild.
At the Fosses Noires, the brewery has been turned into a canteen, but the tear gas is falling on the pots, pans and piles of donated of vegetables. After lunch, a second press conference takes place, yesterday the first one had brought dozens of TV cameras and microphones from radios across the country, 8 people from all the composition of the movement faced the cameras, their dignified anger was so powerful, so palpable, many of us shed tears listening.
Today there are 30 inhabitants are in front of the cameras, it is those that have an agricultural and craft projects running on the zone, the tanner is there as is the cheese maker, the potter and market gardeners, cow herders and leather workers. They explain how over the last weeks of negotiations with the state, they handed over documents to develop a collective project within a legal non profit association that had been set up. They show that on this bocage to think ecologically is to realise that all the projects are interdependent, rotating the fields between folk, sharing tools and and everyone helping out on each others projects when needed. To divide the zad into individual separate units makes no sense.
But the words are not as strong as the striking image of Sarah, our young shepherdess who like a modern day madonna holds a dead black lamb on here lap. She explains how her flock was legalised already and that this one died from stress when it was moved from the 100 Noms farm to avoid the evictions. Her grey eyes pierce the camera lenses, “they chose violence, they chose to destroy what we build, they chose to break off the dialogue with us.” Whilem a young farmer, whose milk herd squats fields to the west, raises his trembling voice, “ If there is no collective agriculture then you get what’s already happening in the countryside – individualism: eat up your neighbours farm land, be more and more alone with a bigger and bigger farm,” he takes a deep breath, “the isolation is pushing farmers to commit suicide, we are more and more alone on our farms faced with increasing difficulties. On the zad we hold a vision of farming for all, not just for us.”
The zad makes a call for a mass picnic the following day. Vincent one of the supporting farmers from the region, a member of COPAIN 44, a network of rebel farmers whose tractors have become one of our most iconic and useful tools of resistance, sighs, “the government has broken any possibility of dialogue now, they have forced us to respond with a struggle for power.”
Between the tall poles that hold the breweries’ hop plants a long banner is raised, “Nicole Klein radicalised me.”
We are woken as normal by the explosions of gendarmes grenades, fighting continues near the D281 road. A small group is trying to stop the police lining up in a field, there aren’t many of us, it feels hopeless, then out of the morning mist comes a tractor, its driver wears a balaclava, in the front bucket – a tonne of stones. He drops them in a pile just where we are standing, puts the tractor in reverse and disappears back into the mist.
In the next door field a towering guy wearing a balaclava and dressed in a full monks habit throws a bucket of water over a handful of robocops – “I baptise you in the name of the zad”, he bellows. A cloud of pepper spray engulfs him, but one the gendarmes slips in the mud and drop his truncheon, at the speed of light the monk grabs it and runs off, wielding his rebel relic in the air. The police megaphone calls out “You must return the state’s property. Return it now!”
The picnic before it was gassed.
At lunch time, over a thousand people turn up to share a picnic in the fields. Over thirty tractors have come, some from far, despite the fact that its one of the busiest seasons for the farmers, they encircle the large Rouge et Noir collective vegetable garden, now littered with hundreds of toxic plastic tear gas canisters. “The state crossed the red line when they destroyed the 100 Noms” one of them says.
The crowd of all ages walk through the barricades and debris of yesterday’s battle that litter the country lanes. The atmosphere is festive, a samba band with pink masks leads us into the field beside the Lama Sacrée. A long line of black clad police stretches across the spring green pasture. The samba band approach, then all hell lets loose: gas canisters shower down, dozens of stun grenades are thrown into the peaceful crowd, panic ensues, people retreat across the hedgerows.
The houses of la Boite Noire, Dalle à Caca, Jesse James and la Gaité fall in the east. Simultaneously they attack la Grée, the large rambling grafitti covered farm at the centre of the zone that has an unconditional welcome policy. There is a car repair workshop, climbing wall and the rap studio and many folk escaping the misery of street life and addictions end up living there together. Farmers’ tractors are surrounding the building, a barricade made from the carcasses of cars, is set alight. But the tear gas is too strong and the tractors are forced to back off.
Out of the mist of gas come black lumbering troops, they charge across the fields. The whole zone is split in two by a seemingly endless lines of robocops stretching east to west. The crowd is dispersed, people are coughing up their lungs, they are furious. It began as a picnic, now it’s a war zone again. The gas clouds cling to the pasture, frightened cows huddle together in a corner of a tiny field. The medic post at the Fosses Noires has to move away to the Gourbi, but then the gas catches up with it there too and it moves to La Rolandière just in time before the police arrive to smash one of the zone’s most symbolic sites, the Gourbi.
In the very centre of the zad the Gourbi is where the weekly assembly of occupiers is held and Friday’s No-market, a place where excess produce is distributed with no fixed price but by donation only. Initially there was a stone farm house there, inhabited by an old couple who were evicted in 2012 and their home destroyed for the airport project. Then a wooden hut was built in its place, but its ramshackle pallet sides soon needed restoring and so a brand new state of the art cabin like meeting house was built over 2015. But one night someone sneaked into this beautiful meeting house and set it alight.
But Gourbi was to rise from the ashes, and as an ironic response to the governments 2016 local consultation about the airport project, we held an all night building party whilst the results came through (55% for building the new airport). To the sound of a wild one man accordion band doing kitsch covers of Queen and other trashy pop songs, hundreds of people stuffed the clay of the wetlands into a huge geodesic metal dome structure to build our new round meeting house. It was made of steel and mud to resist arson, but today the bulldozer crushed it with a single swipe of its blade. Worlds away in the metropolis, the Minister of Interior, Gérard Collomb, tells parliament “We want to avoid all violence in this country, this is what we are doing at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.”
By sunset the government claims to have evicted 13 more living spaces, bringing the total to 29 since Monday. The prime minister refuses to pause the operations, and the medic team share horrific photos of some of the 60 injuries since Monday, including 3 journalists. Meanwhile the cops release their figures: 32 injuries, but it turns out most are from the mis use of their own weapons. Solidarity actions pour in from thousands, including squatters in Iceland, farmers in Lebanon and eco builders in Columbia. In Paris, sex workers send in kinky zad themed S and M photos and students occupy the EHSS elite social science school in solidarity. That afternoon electricity is cut across a large part of the zone and many of our neighbors homes outside of the zad. It is a tactic reminiscent of collective punishment used during military occupations , At night the gentle lulling croak of mating frogs in the marches mixes with the hum of back up electric generators. Four hundred of us meet at the Wardine, in the old concrete cow shed covered in bright murals, we share stories, dogs bark, tempers fray.
The day begins with some good news on radio klaxon. An affinity group action just shut down the motorway that passes near the zad. Emerging from the bushes they flowed down onto the tarmac armed with tyres, fluorescent jackets and lighters. Within seconds a burning wall blocked the flow of commuters to Nantes. The group disappeared just as quickly as they materialised, melting back into the hedgerows. The more we fight for this land, the more we become the bocage and the harder it is to find us. Every day more and more people converge here, many for the first time in their lives.The art of the barricade continues across the zone, including one topped with an old red boat. Some of our most useful barricades are mobile, in the form of tractors, dozens of COPAIN 44’s machines take over the main cross roads of the zone.
Following an attempt by friendly lawyers to prove that the eviction of the 100 noms was illegal, the prefect is forced to appear in court in Nantes, but the case is adjourned. The indefatigable zad press group sends out a new communique entitled, After 3 days of evictions are they ready to kill because they don’t want a collective ? Clashes continues across the bocage as Macron take to the TV screens for a national statement about his policies. A social movement is rising against him, with university occupations, supermarket, rail workers and Air France on strike – he has to respond. The mise-en-scène is bizarre, he sits in a primary school class room. He speaks about the zad for a little over a minute, “republican order must be returned” he says, and “everything that was to be evacuated has already been evacuated”.
As he speaks a hundred and fifty concussion grenades are launched in less than half an hour in the Lama Sacrée field, the explosions echo across the bocage, bursting the ear drums of those nearby and raising the anxiety levels of those within hearing distance, which on this flat landscape of the zad, is all of us. The league of Human Rights demands that all parties come back to the table. A call is sent for people to converge on the Zone on Sunday: “ The time has come to find ourselves together, to say that the zad must live, to dress our wounds and re build ourselves..” …
We walk home to la Rolandière, with its ship shaped library attached to the lighthouse, built where they wanted to build the airport control tower. The sun is setting, 20m high up on the lighthouse’s balcony a lone figure is playing a trumpet, fluid sumptous jazz floats across the forest. It is one of those moments when you remember why you live here.
That night under a clear constellation filled sky, the Assembly of Usages meets. We sit on wooden hand made bleechers under Le hangar de l’avenir (The Barn of the future). This cathedral like barn was built by over 80 traditional carpenters in 2016 using mostly hand tools, it is ornamented with snakes and salamanders carved into the oak beams. There are several hundred of us at the assembly, one of the peasants whose tractor is blocking the crossroads reads out a series of texts messages he has received from the préfete who is trying to negotiate with COPAIN 44. “Yesterday the Prime minister said it was war, today the president says its peace, therefore it’s all over.” It’s clear that she’s feeling that the situation has become much more complicated than predicted. A deal is made, move your tractors she writes, and I promise that by 10pm I will announce to Ouest France, the regional news paper, that it is the end of operations by the Gendarmes.
The meeting continues, we wait for the article to appear on the newspaper’s web site. I reload my phone endlessly waiting for the site to update. Suddenly it does, but it’s just a story about rock legend Johnny Hallyday, was it all a bluff ? Then it arrives, half an hour late. A cheer rises from the tired voices. At home we try to party a little, at least we might get a lie in tomorrow morning, it seems that it’s over for the time being?
I’m half awake, there is a rumble of vehicles on the road… At first I think it’s tractors, then I see the lights, blue and flashing, van after van of cops passing. We leap out of bed and run to the top of the lighthouse, the entire road is filled with vans as far as the eye can see. The huge barricade at the crossroads, which the tractors left last night following the préfete’s announcement, is on fire, a plume of black smoke frames the the orange dawn. The familiar pop of tear gas canisters being fired is accompanied by the crunching sounds of barricades being pushed by the APC. Radio Klaxon says they have kettled la Grée and are searching it, the Wardine camping is also encircled and a hundred and fifty cops are heading towards the Rosier. The Lascar barricade, made of several burnt cars, with a huge metal doorway and a trench that is several meters wide, is being defended by a nearly 100 of us. The forest is wrapped in toxic mist, ghostly rebel silhouette run from tree to tree, stones are aimed at the robocops with catapults that were made by Andre, an 83 year old who set up a production line for us during the eviction threats of 2016, his team churned out 1000. The cops throw stun grenades blindly from the fields into the forest, one explodes just above my head, caught in the tree it rips the bark into smithereens. Is this what they call the end of operations ?
A communiqué from the gendarmerie explains that they are clearing the roads and are not doing any expulsions or knocking down any squats, but that they are looking to arrest people who fired a distress rocket at their helicopter. At la Grée they take away two people but not for that charge. The gas pushes everyone back from the Lascar’s barricade and the grinders come out to cut the metal gateway into pieces. Despite the rising clouds of tear gas, people on the roof of the brand new Ambazada, a building that will host folk from intergalactic struggles, manage to sing some of our re purposed folk songs, recount the history of the struggle of the zad.
Then a moment of joy, one of the armoured cars attacking the Lascar tips into a ditch and has to be pulled out by the other one. The mud of this wetlands has always been our ally, its wetness our friend. When they retreat a banner is put up, “Cheap APC driving license available here.” Our other accomplice is humour of course, even in what feels like a war zone, with tarmac scorched, broken glass and rubble everywhere, being able to laugh feeds our rage. The police retreat again and the barricade grows back out of its ruins, bigger and stronger than ever. We notice that where the APC fell into the ditch is now a huge deep hole at exactly the place where the drain for the Ambazada was going to be dug, no need for digging, just put the plants in it to make our grey water reed bed. That’s what you call radical permaculture, least effort for maximum gain.
At midday the préfete begins her Press conference in Nantes. She confirms last nights message – evictions are over – and in a dramatic gesture, flourishes a page of A4 paper towards the cameras. “It’s a simplified form” she tells the press, “so that those who wish can declare their projects as quickly as possible…The deadline is the 23rd of April” she continues “ all we are asking is that they declare their names, what agricultural project they wish to develop and to tell us what plot of land they wish to work on, so that the state can process them.” She also confirms that it was Macron who was running the operation not the prime minister or interior minister, it was he who decided to stop the expulsions. “I am holding out my hand” she says, and asks for negotiations to re start on Monday, “I am giving the zadists a last chance.” Sitting next to her General Lizurey in charge of the Gendarme’s operations says that the number of zadists on the zone has increased from 250 to 700.
I walk through the Rohanne forest to The Barn of the Future, I breathe in the forest air, the sweet pine, the musty damp smell of mushrooms. The barn has returned to its normal use as a saw mill and carpentry workshop for the zad. It is the base of the Abracadabois collective that looks after the forests and hedgerows, harvesting fire wood and building timber and setting up skill shares to learn carpentry, forest biology, wood carving, chain saw use and learning about other ways of inhabiting forests inspired by indigenous practices from past and present. The saw mill is planking the logs, twenty carpenters are busy preparing frames for a new building, a new assembly and no-market hall for the Gourbi, that we aim to put up on Sunday during the mass action.
This morning I was enveloped in tear gas and now I’m watching some of the same barricaders without their gas masks making a barn using the techniques that have been used for millennia. It is somehow healing to watch the attentive work. It is this capacity to fight and build, to block capitalism and to construct other forms of life which gives the zad its strength. It is also another reason the state wants to destroy us, they can deal with nice clean alternative eco projects, easy to buy off and recuperate into new forms of green capitalism. But when those who have a systemic critique are also providing material examples of other ways of being, it becomes dangerous. The resistance and creativity, the no and the yes, are the twin strands of DNA of this territory, split one from the other and the zad dies. It becomes another ecovillage or Transition Town, alternatives without teeth.
Yet a second helicopter is flying above the barn, this time with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the minister of interior inside, they are getting a private birds eye tour of the zad. They have come to congratulate the troops for their hard work. As he shakes hands with the gendarmes Phillippe tells the press that “the state will not accept any reconstruction or reoccupation.” He is referring to the action planned on Sunday, “Any place that tries such an action will exclude itself from any possible regularisation…. and will thus put themselves under judicial proceedings.” Once again the threat of sorting the good zadists from the bad. The carpenters work late into the night.
Bang, another wake up call, the APCs and dozens of vans pass by at the speed of a TGV train, bulldoze the barricades away on the D81 road again, and continue South, probably to Nantes where striking workers are holding a demonstration followed by one against the eviction of the Zad.
Barricades are cleared at the Lama Fachée at the same time, and a strange new gas is spotted, dark yellow. It makes people throw up, sows mental confusion and a loss of all spatial and temporal senses. Behind one of the barricades, a trio of action medics are keeping an eye on the adjoining woodland where grenades are exploding, “ It’s been war wounds here,” they explain “skin and nerves hit by shrapnel, open gashes, eardrums damaged, necrosis and bone fractures.” Some folk have over 70 pieces of shrapnel in their limbs, it takes hours every day to pull them out and clean them, some have gone 3cms deep into the skin. Many of the new comers on the zone throw themselves into picking up the thousands of gas canisters that litter the fields, placing them in big bags for everyone to see in the “camp of the white haired ones.” Each canister costs 110 euros.
The demonstration in Nantes is big, 10,000 people. The 1000 riot police on duty attack it and gas people drinking on the café terraces.
The sun set is dark red this evening. The wood working tools and machines are cleared aside, the Barn of the Future becomes a meeting hall again for the Assembly of Usages. The fresh smell of saw dust perfumes the discussions about whether we should go to back to the negotiations on Monday. The response is no, not yet.
It’s the big day, thousands of people from all over the country are converging on the zone for the day of mass action. The troops have cut off a third of the zad, they line the lanes for kilometers, cutting off access to any of the part of the zone where homes had been destroyed last week. This includes the Gourbi where we hoped to bring the new building too. All road access to the zad are blocked off by the gendarmes, they tell people to go home because they won’t be able to reach the demonstration. But more than ten thousand of them disobey, park their cars and coaches in the nearby villages and trek for over an hour across the bocage. The details of the new building are still being finished, as the crowds arrive, such as a large ‘fuck you’ finger and the face of a fox that are being carved.
Through the pirate radio, text messages and word of mouth, we tell people to converge on Bellevue, the big farm in the west and wait for a decision about what we will do. 50 of us meet in a field in an emergency meeting, the farmers don’t want to risk their tractors, we don’t want to have a gesture that feels too symbolic, once again the collective intelligence comes to the fore and we come up with a plan B. The building will be erected as close to the front as possible without forcing the police line, there are too many families here to risk being gased.
Simultaneously we will ask people to unearth the staffs and sticks that had been planted in the ground in October 2016 when the government told us they were coming to evict. It was a ritual disguised as a demonstration, 40,000 people answered the call, planted their stick into the ground and made a pledge to return to get them if the government came back to evict the zone for the airport. The ritual magic worked, that time the government stood down. But now they were back with a vengence and the moment has come.
Whilst people pulled the deeply charged sticks out of the clay, others on lane behind carried the huge wooden frames, planks and beams of the new building to the field between between the Wardine and the Ambazada. It takes a few hours to put the carpentry back together and raise the structure up, meanwhile thousands of people push their sticks back into the ground creating a huge circular pallisade around it. In the next door field the police start to tear gas and stun grenaded hundreds of people, some had been reading poems to the cops many held their hands in the air in a gesture of peace. Families hold their ground next to masked up barricaders.
Meanwhile, a handful of people decide as a kind of game, to take the campanille, the tower like addition of the new building, through the forest to the east. A crowd of hundreds follows, we cross the road next to the cops who charge but are forced back by the mass of bodies, we try to get as near to the Gourbi as possible. The wind is on our side and blows the teargas back into the cops lines. But the playful act of defiance ends when its clear that we can’t get anywhere near the Gourbi, the police lines are too thick. However, the pleasure of running through forests and fields carrying part of a wooden building is clearly addictive. A few hours later, once the sun has gone down and the cops have left, a new plot is hatched. Why don’t we move the whole building, one and a half tonnes of it, 3kms across the fields, in the dark – to the Gourbi !
Despite the general state of tiredness that fills our bodies, we manage a huge heave, 150 of us lift up the structure. A mass of rubber booted feet walk in unison, it feels like a strange chimera shuffling across the bocage, half human half millipede. One of the carpenters directs the operation via megaphone, “a bit to the left ! slow down ! watch that tree branch !” Lit by the beams of dozens of head torches the building seems to float above the prairies, we are plunged into a space between fabulous dream and a scene from an epic film. Someone sits on the very top of the building pushing up the electricity and phone cables so we can pass under them. This is what we call the magic of the zad, the belief that anything is possible when we do it together.
We half expect to see the police helicopter, to feel its spot light pierce the night, but nothing. The closer we get to the Gourbi the louder the chants: “on est plus chaud, plus chaud, plus chaud que le lumbago” (we are much hotter, much hotter than lumbago). When we arrive, fireworks shoot up into the darkness, a bright red distress flare illuminates the scene. We set the building next to the pilled up ruins of the dome. We light a bonfire, Gourbi has risen again.
Whilst we were moving our house, Macron was being interviewed live on TV, sitting in a black and gold marble hall the Eiffel tower as monumental backdrop. He declares that airport had been abandoned as part of the “ecological priorities of the government” and that therefore our anger is no longer legitimate. Rather than an alternative society, the zad was “a project of chaos… illegally occupying public lands” he tells the nation.
“We have restored republican order” he declares, at least four times. We must sign individual forms before the 23rd of April or “everything that should be evicted will be evicted” he says. Macron ends with a ridiculous analogy: the zad is as if someone came into your living room to propose an alternative and squated your sofa. Ridiculous and wrong, none of the land here belongs to private individuals, it all still belongs to multinational airport builders Vinci and the state. But his statement was a new ultimatum, a declaration of total war against all collective forms of life. We return home to the news, but it cannot blunt the memories of this improbable night.
There are a half a dozen bodies perched like birds on the rafters of the new Gourbi, one plays a drum, a couple kiss, the green prairies below burst with yellow dandelions. We hear the rumble of APCs, it’s obvious they are coming straight here. The glint of riot visors shimmer in the sunlight, a column is moving towards us. A few flash bangs later and those on the roof are brought down by police climbers. The pillars of the building are cut by a chainsaw and the APC drives into it. Like the skeleton of a dying beast it crumbles to the ground. The police leave under a hail of stones, people sort out the broken beams. “Bastards !” a friend points to a stump of cut timber, “they sawed off the big fuck you finger and took it back to the barracks as a trophy !”
The Gendarmerie release their drone footage of the destruction on social networks. They need to show some success in their operation, they too are getting tired of this infernal cycle of destruction and reconstruction. A communication from a group called “Gendarmes and Citizens” denounces the fact that they are feeling “bogged down” and feel like “cannon fodder” faced with “rural guerrillas”. They deplore the “political paralysis” of the government who are on the one hand communicating with a “warlike tone” but are not following it up with effective orders on the ground. “Why are we not being given orders to arrest everyone in the squats ?” they complain. So far there have been suprisingly few arrests, we wonder if they will just come back later, raid our homes, pick us off one by one, when things are quieter ?
There is a new moon above tonight’s Assembly of Usages. Unsurprisingly the debates are heated, we have to decide to re start negotiations or not. The question has never been negotiate or fight, we always knew that we had to do both, but after so many days of attacks it’s not easy to accept to go back to the table. In the end we decide that we can meet the préfete, not to negotiate the base issues, but make demands for the continuation of talks, one of which is take the troops off the zone. “You don’t negotiate with a gun to your head”, one of the locals says, but we known that if we refuse to meet, Macron’s machine could return and destroy everything that is left, risking lives and in the end depriving us of this territory where we found each other.
An older friend of mine, someone who experienced the uprisings of ’68, writes to me. His letter just says, “the zad will never end, it will simply change shape.” And he is right. This attachment we have to this territory where we have been able shake our dependence to the economy and the state, is something that brings us together, however disparate our political perspectives. Our love for this huge play ground which inspires us to organise together, this deep desire for the wetlands that lubricates our imaginings, these are not abstractions but feelings that are deeply anchored to our experience of this bocage and all our experiments that emerge from it. It is a place that compels us to recompose, to renew, to have the courage to put our political ideas into question, to always push ourselves further than what we thought was possible, to open ourselves up beyond a radical ghetto or walled off utopia. Despite our barricades and the diversity of disobedience, if the state really wants to eradicate the whole of the zad, they can. Everyone would have lost their homes, workshops, fields, tools and we would probably find ourselves banned from returning to the region (a common judicial punishment in France). Scattered across the country without a place that enables us to grow roots together, we would loose all our strength. We know that changing shape is painful, but like a cameleon changes colours, we need to find a way protect this laboratory and camouflage its revolutionary potentialities from the eyes of the state. If we want to stay we need to find a compromise whilst refusing to let go our the commons.
It’s a week later. Over breakfast, Paul tells me about last night’s adventures. “It felt like we were robbing a bank. So organised, dressed in black, head lamps, maps, scouts etc. Except all we were doing was evacuating the bee hives from the destroyed homes and gardens, getting them off site.” he smiles “we had to carry them full of bees across the hedgerows behind police lines.”
The days have calmed down. Less cops on the zone, more bird song than explosions. The cycle of barricade growing and then being smashed slows down, partly because on the main roads the police bring in huge skips to take the materials away. In the smaller lanes barricades remain.
The restart of the negotiations on Wednesday went badly, nothing shifted, despite the presence of ex TV personality Nicolas Hulot, now Minister of Ecological Transition, in charge of the zad case since Marcron’s election. He is flown in specially to Nantes in the presidential jet. Following the meeting with us, he gives a press conference in the palatial hall of the Prefecture. The government’s hard line is held, the rights of property and the market reign, there will be no global or collective contract for the land, we have to give individual names and land plots by the 23rd or face evictions. In a rhetorical floury he ends, “ecology is not anarchy.”
Not surprising for a man whose ‘ecology’ involves owning six cars, signing permits for oil exploration and supporting the nuclear dump at Bure. Hulot is simply the ‘eco’ mask for Macron’s “make the planet great again” form of authoritarian neoliberal green capitalism. But his statement shows Hulot’s absolute ignorance of the history of both ecological and anarchist thought. Many of the first theoreticians of ecological thinking, were anarchists. Élisée Reclus, world famous geographer and poet, whose beautiful idea that humans are simply “nature becoming aware of herself,” fought on the barricades of the 1871 Paris Commune. 19th century geographer Peter Kropotkin, spent many years in jail and exile for his politics, but was renowned in scientific circles as an early champion of the idea that evolution is not all a competitive war of “red tooth and claw” but instead involves a cooperation, what he termed Mutual Aid. From the 1950s onwards, US political philosopher Murray Bookchin (now best known for the influence he has on the Kurds to build a stateless form of Municipal Confederalism, taking place in the autonomous territory of Rojova – Northern Syria) brought ecology and anarchy together.
At the heart of his Social Ecology is the idea that humans dominate and destroy nature because we dominate ourselves. To avert ecological collapse we had to get rid of all hierarchies – man over woman, old over young, white over black, rich over poor. According to Bookchin, our greatest lesson to gain from the natural world was that we had let go of the idea of difference, and reclaim the concept held by many small scale organic societies, of unity in diversity. Diversity being the basic force of all bio-systems. He envisioned a world that would be neither communist nor capitalist, but what he called “Communalist”. “The effort to restore the ecological principle of unity in diversity,” he wrote, “has become a social effort in its own right – a revolutionary effort that must rearrange sensibility in order to rearrange the real world.” For him the question of society, to reframe Rosa Luxembourg’s: “Socialism or barbarism” – was: “Anarchism or extinction.”
When we truly inhabit an eco system it becomes obvious that life has no control centre, no heirachy, no chiefs or bosses, no governments or presidents. Every form of life is a self organising form of commons – deeply connected and interdependent, always changing, always embedded and entangled – from the cells in your fingers to worms in your the garden, from the trees in the forest of Rohanne to the bacteria in your gut. As biologist and cultural theorist Andreas Weber says, all life forms “are continuously mediating relationships among each other – relationships that have a material side, but also always embody meaning, a sense of living and the notion of belonging to a place.” The more we observe the living world in all its complexity the more we are able to understand how to become commoners, how to truly inhabit a place and see that the separation between the individual and the whole is a fiction.
“In the ecological commons” writes Weber “a multitude of different individuals and diverse species stand in various relationships to one another – competition and cooperation, partnership and predatory hostility, productivity and destruction. All those relations, however, follow one higher principle: Only behaviour that allows for the productivity of the whole ecosystem over the long term and that does not interrupt its capacities of self-production, will survive and expand. The individual is able to realise itself only if the whole can realise itself. Ecological freedom obeys this basic necessity.”
And so to be really free is not to be an individual able to operate free from constraints, but to be tied to beneficial relationships with people and habitats, relationships that feed you materially and psychologically. Without a tie to your food – you starve, without the tie to lovers – you sadden. We are free because we are linked. Freedom is not breaking our chains but turning them into living roots and veins that connect, share, flow together and enable us to change and evolve in common.
Since the abandonment of the Airport, changing together on the zad has been a very a painful process. On the zad often it is a fight between those of us who try to read the terrain and invent something new that is messy and hybrid yet fits the situation we are in and those of us who want to keep a pure radical position, more based on uprooted ideas and ideology than the complexity of the present moment, the here and now, the forces we hold and don’t. In 1968 Bookchin asked“When will we begin to learn from what is being born instead of what is dying?” It is a question still just as relevant today on the zad.
Things have been moving so fast. After Hulot’s ultimatum, a ministerial announcement suggests that the Prime minster and minister of interior are on a war footing, they are prepared to go for it, evict the whole zone on Monday’s deadline, the 23rd.
During the re start of negotiations on Wednesday a technical meeting between our delegation and the bureaucrats, who look at the case from a purely land and agriculture question, had been set for two days later, Friday 20th . Once again we are on a knife edge, this could be the last moment of negotiation before a full scale attack, an attack that most of us who live on the zone know we can’t win against, how ever big our barricades.
The Assembly of Usages makes a huge strategic gamble, its a paradigm shift in tactics. We decide to hand in the forms at the Friday meeting, but in a modified way, to show that yes we can fit the state’s square boxes of individual projects if they want, but that on the bocage nothing can be separated out, everything is interdependent. Whilst at the same time making a call out for people to come and be ready to defend on the territory from Monday onwards if the state attack. Its the logic of hacking, take what’s there, re purpose it, change its use.
Then one of the most unexpected types of zad magic takes place, an office of form filing is set up in the Zad’s library, and for 24 hours the building becomes a disturbed ants nest, dozens and dozens of people are running around carrying white pages of paper, writing on computers, having meetings together, looking at maps of the zone, making phone calls. Comrades with great legal and administrative knowledge help out and and by Friday afternoon, just as the meeting at the Prefecture begins a huge black bound file of 40 different projects is produced, each with a name and plots of lands earmarked, but no single name attached to a single plot. A colourful cartography of the commons of the zad is attached to further illustrate the interdependent and cooperative nature of the projects, be they a school of shepherding or the library, orchards or the sports group, mechanics garage or a snail farm, sunflower oil production or bringing up children together. Of the 70 living spaces on the zone, 63 are covered by the forms, only 7 decide not to take this bet of a barricade of paper. Of course paper barricades are not half as fun as ones on the streets, but this time they just might be the ones that save zad from becoming just another orgasm of history, another free commune which shined briefly but ended in bloodshed, another martyred experiment in freedom sacrificed for the sake of a pure revolution. The zad always tried to go beyond the idea of a TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone), in favour of a building a PAP ( Permanent Autonmous Zone), this desire is embeded in the solid buildings, the long term agricultural plans, the vineyards planted for win in 5 years time. We can’ just let go of all the ties we built here, with the locals, surrounding farmers, pensioners, workers in the city, wanderers of all sorts, Nantes students and the youth, the owls, the black squirming salamanders, the knarly oaks trees, the mud. We must hold onto all these deep friendships and networks of struggle that we have shared with such intensity over the last decade.
The state bureaucrats were confused, some enchanted, the préfete seemed relieved. Leaving the meeting our delegation tells the press that “we have responded to the injunctions of the state because we want to stop the escalation of tension and at last find the time for dialogue and construction,” warning that “ if we take away one element of the collective, it cannot work. It’s up to the state now to negotiate.”
As I finally finish this text, the helicopter returns, anxiety rises again in my chest. It spends a long time swooping over the zone, observing this rebel bocage that it wants to reclaim back. Perhaps it is preparing for a final revenge against the commons, who knows, all we know is that during this last fortnight we have fought with every weapon we thought possible including the unexpected. Now we wait to see if the bet worked out…
On the 26th of April three days after we posted this blog, the Prime Minister made a statement about the Zad: announcing a truce in evictions until at least the 14th of May, to allow time for the regularisation of the occupants who filed forms. According to the Minister of the Interior, “Everything moves calmly and in serenity, as always,” that hasn’t stopped them piling in with the tear gas this morning to clear barricades. The bet seems to have given us some breathing space, even though they remain with the logic of sorting the ‘good’ who have chosen the ‘right path’ and the bad ‘illegals’, something we continue to reject.
A recent report on digital attitudes shows that while 50% of people in the UK say that the Internet has a positive impact on their lives, only 12% believe it has a positive impact on society. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent failure to give a straight answer to questions about misuse of Facebook’s user data, illustrates a major problem.
Much has been made of the democratising effect of social media platforms. However, while more of us are encouraged to “have our say”, we have less influence over the important decisions that most affect our lives, our localities, and the ways in which our societies are organised. The owners of digital platforms from Facebook to Uber, answer to shareholders in private, rather than to citizens in public. It should therefore not surprise us when they manipulate, monetize and exploit users’ interactions, attitudes and behaviours for their own commercial and political interests.
This problem of privately owned social space is not one that can be resolved by consumer and state regulation alone. It is a wider societal issue that further reinforces to us at Furtherfield, the immense value of park spaces in which neighbours come together each day, renegotiating in public, the spirit of the place through a diverse mingling of purposes.
Over the last six years more than 50,000 people have encountered over 75 digital artworks that Furtherfield has brought to the park, working with international artists who reveal the invisible forces at play in machine and digital infrastructures. This summer Furtherfield extends its programmes beyond the Gallery and Commons venues into public green space of the park as we announce the first exhibitions, workshops and labs as part of Platforming Finsbury Park.
We are inviting park users to collaborate with us to transform the park into a public platform for cultural adventures, social inventions and reflections; to work with artists, hackers and academics from all backgrounds to rethink the social impact of technology and its flows on public spaces; and to bring local needs to the forefront in the context of planetary-scale techno-social advancements.
Currently showing at Furtherfield Gallery in the heart of Finsbury Park is the exhibition Poetry for Animals, Machines and Aliens: the Art of Eduardo Kac which is free and open to the public every day through May. The exhibition includes Lagoogleglyph, the third in a series of images as part of a global, networked artwork that takes the form of a pixelated bunny painted (in this instance) onto a field in the park, to be enjoyed by people on the ground and seen from Google Earth. In his essay Andrew Prescott, curator of the exhibition and Professor of Digital Humanities at Glasgow University revisits historic antagonisms between culture and technology prompted by reflections on the invention and imagination at play in Kac’s digital poetry.
Meanwhile families are joining artist Michael Szpakowski to use the very same satellite infrastructure to create GPS bunny drawings in his workshop series Let’s Fill the Park With Rabbits!
We hope that Platforming Finsbury Park will also start to flip some assumptions about who and what both art and technology are for. Over 180 languages are spoken in Finsbury Park. We want to make space for conversations and experiments with people from different backgrounds. Alongside the exhibition Andrew Prescott is also leading a series of public workshops on the theme of Digital Transformations promoting dialogue between and across diverse cultures.
In late May, we host Playbour – Work, Pleasure, Survival, a 3 day lab for artists, scientists and technologists dedicated to “the worker in an age of data and neurotechnologies”. From these will flow art commissions and collaborations towards our next exhibition in July.
Here you can read an interview with designer Ling Tan about the SUPERPOWER wearable technology workshops at Furtherfield Commons last summer in Finsbury Park. Ling tells us about how a group of young women from All Change Arts worked with her to devise activities and to learn about creating and interpreting data to themselves shape attitudes and behaviours. Dani Admis, curator of Playbour, continues this work later in the summer, exploring with local young women how they might effect change on their own terms, using the conceptual power tools of neuroscience.
Finally a provocation to Furtherfield from Simon Poulter, artist, technologist and producer of NetPark, the digital art park at Metal in Southend, who is working in partnership with us. He celebrates our commitment to the commons “as a real thing, worth our energy and stewardship, the point at which people do touch each other and listen.” He also issues a call to action…“It is time to invent another future, lest we will become the disrupted and not the disruptors.”
As Manuel Castells famously put it ‘The flows of power generate the power of flows, whose material reality imposes itself as a natural phenomenon that cannot be controlled or predicted… People live in places, power rules through flows’.  And in network society these flows often have the power to wash clean away communities’ ties, extracting value and flowing it to the private interests of absent and distant persons and bodies.
So our future mission grounds us in Finsbury Park, while maintaining our global reach. We are passionate and committed to multiple points of entry, bringing in consenting and diverging voices, to channel and circulate flows locally to generate the power to enact this public place together with verve.
Valuing people is a core property of wealth creation, wealth creation can be positively bound into communities. We can’t afford not to be involved in digital creativity because it explores areas of social space that are entwined with intrinsic cultural and economic value.
The point of entry has become ubiquitous, we are everywhere, they are everywhere – I am over there and here too. Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian media theorist gave us ‘emotional extension in electronic space’ before we came up with the clumsy and often misunderstood paradigm of ‘post-digital’ – a way to describe a circularity and return to being human that accepts the intersubjectivity and convergence we feel with other people and technology.
It is this corporeal and algorithmic unification and association that Furtherfield grasps; sometimes like harsh high summer nettles on uncovered hands, gathered as ingredients for a convivial soup. Not afraid to be stung or to make the soup, even though after 22 years of foraging you are not now the only voice or flag raised at the intersections of art, technology and social change. The mission is always different and always the same. This then is my provocation to you.
The case for digital creativity has grown. Why is that? Because there is deep unrest and even malevolence in electronic spaces and at their corporeal nodes. “The creative adult is the child who has survived,” says Ursula K. Le Guin.
As creative people engaged in the field we are with agency and in turn create agency; we gladly pick up refurbished laptops, remixed maps and fragmented tweets. Our fieldwork means we are in the river, standing watching by the shore, and holding up a mirror in the lobby of the hotel. We facilitate others, not just ourselves, we do it with others. Artistic people are children and not confined or restrained by common sense orders from the immaterial elite – some are pointed, focused and ready to enter the field, others are yet to claim their agency, and even more have yet to experience due North and due South. We can provide the co-ordinates, the beginning of the map and the line of sight. Artists in the future will become agents of change and observers of truth in a familiar return to base. And so we are not given to the idea, in the field, of carrying out instrumental command and we caution ourselves against suggesting this to others.
In a hotel in Sweden we listened as the French Philosopher, Bernard Stiegler brought attention to our attention. In clipped and someway jarred English, he opened up the vast chasm and problem of attention as the fundamental commodity of our age (emotionally extended, post-digital etc). His references to ‘techne’ willfully conjured up derivations from Greek – craftsmanship, craft and art. We are crafting the digital to draw attention to ourselves and our products. We are becoming products, through a process of digital reification. Lukács describes reification ‘as a relation between people that has taken on the character of a thing’. So, while humans and machines merge evermore, we understand that the end-point of creative processes is not to make attention-seeking people become products and things, it is to diversify our subjectivities and illuminate the way forward for all.
The agency of artists has been a key factor in the development of the Furtherfield’s mission in its first two decades. This agency broadly disseminates to artists networks, activism, societal change, environmentalism, localism, global affairs and more recently emerging technologies such as blockchains. Within an unfolding world political landscape, these areas of interest show greater convergence and potential as moments of reflection become more important in the reified world of products. Our role is to be that reflective space for 360 degree scanning and to hold digital time up in the chain.
Our future mission grounds us on our locus in order to do this, while maintaining our global reach. We are passionate and committed to multiple points of entry, bringing in consenting and diverging voices. The ‘commons’ to us is a real thing, worth our energy and stewardship the point at which people do touch each other and listen.
We know that technology will not save us and furthermore we propose that this is not the right question. In working in partnership with academics, businesses and other institutions we are always asking ourselves where progressive change can come from, in a series of open dialectical spaces. Finsbury Park offers us a node in which to conduct business and make new wealth – cultural, social and economic capital. The predication of wealth creation on technology alone is too simplistic when a multitude of tools are needed. Our approach to the idea of the ‘commons’ is to use old and new tools and ways of getting things done together..
As McLuhan says: “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.” (from Understanding Media, 1964.)
We are not isolated from the huge pressures of the global economy, when advancements outstrip the ethics and the algorithms that come to define new normative patterns and processes. The role of digital creativity and artists is now fully emerging as one that reconnects them and us back into the critical space that Goya, Galas and others occupied. So, we can hold up time and re-enter it at a different point. Yes, Furtherfield offers time travel!
The disruptive power of technology is evident in its ability to unhinge and even eliminate existing businesses, local centres and distribution methods. This is not new, just as McLuhan defined electronic extension in the 1960s, Clayton Christensen defined ‘Disruptive Innovation’ in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma in 1997. However, digitally disruptive business models such as Uber are now mainstreamed and fast-tracked into our everyday experiences. With the advance in real time data and algorithms these disruptions can have a dramatic effect in social and economic terms. We are faced with a shift in the language from the progressive and anti-establishment power of Punk and music culture; into the realms of digitally distributed start-ups, iterative technologies and remix culture.
It is time to invent another future, lest we will become the disrupted and not the disruptors.
Image credit: Museum of Contemporary Commodities by Paula Crutchlow at Furtherfield 2016
Keep calm and carry on monitoring the media: a review of Monitorial Citizen
NeMe (Cyprus), 9th December 2017, part of the State Machines programme
One couldn’t have wished for a more grounding response to contemporary media anxieties than this event. I don’t mean that the conference was all rainbows and lolkittens. I mean that it collected and tackled serious issues about the contemporary media landscape, its decentralization and its paranoias. It brought together perspectives on monitorial citizenship, citizen participation and citizen journalism –increasingly discussed in journalism and citizenship studies as new, post-modern, or alternative forms of civic engagement that also involve new, post-modern or alternative practices of media participation– and how this phenomenon can reinforce democratic ideals, and counteract forces or fears for their dissolution.
By all means, there seems to be a lot for us to worry about, a condition which the conference takes as its starting place. As moderator Corina Demetriou mentioned during her introduction, there’s the increasing fragmentation and polarization of our world where the success of populist rhetoric and the degradation of political discourse raises concern about our democratic institutions. Then there’s the proliferation of fake news, the dominance of media-scepticism, of conspiracy theory and of justifiably alarmist parental control discourse. And further yet, there’s the democratic failures of contemporary mass media, the corporate nature of social media, and concerns about the failures of media-education. All these in the face of increased surveillance and online censorship instituted with the excuse of / in order to battle all sorts of nightmarish villains.
The conference had the intended side-effect of facing and disarming most of the above, not least by providing historical context and balancing fears with contemporary research, following up criticisms with constructive questions, and offering numerous examples of citizen monitoring at work to an inspiring effect. NeMe gathered its speakers around the urgent premise of the potential for political change that is contained in networked citizen journalism (after Michael Schudson 1998) or citizen witnessing (after Stuart Allan, 2013). This was done in relation to what NeMe frames as a growing demand for political and corporate clarity that brings citizens immediate access and grants crucial issues a kind of evanescence: a transparency that is double-edged, both in terms of exposure, but also a tendency to fade or be drowned out in a sea of information.
It helps to think of the conference in four parts. First, it provided an introduction to the discursive context and the development of the notion of citizen witnessing (Stuart Allan). Second, it moved on to crucial debates in media education (Joke Hermes) and children’s rights of access to information (Cynthia Carter). Third, it introduced a discussion of the politics of democratic citizen participation in theory and online (Nico Carpentier) and the transformative potential of grassroots media monitoring practices towards conflict transformation (Nicos Trimikliniotis). And it concluded, with satisfying momentum, with a discussion of monitorial practice from an artist perspective (James Bridle).
In the first presentation, the conference defined the field and what is at stake in terms of the media establishment’s clash with the simultaneous need to subsume new developments in citizen journalism: Stuart Allan set-up the context for this through a discussion of the idea that “somebody should be telling this because journalists aren’t.” His overview reached from the Kennedy assassination, to the definition of the Arab Spring as the Twitter revolution, to #blacklivesmatter, and the WITNESS human rights initiative. Allan also reflected on negative reactions from the world of professional journalism where citizen reporting is cast as “ghoulish voyeurism enabled by contemporary technology.” He most interestingly, juxtaposed professional “helicopter” or “parashoot” reporting, done according to editorial directives, with an emergent form of reporting from within. A form that is embedded and unsanitised, and comes in the form of unapologetically subjective documentation, where the amateur camera approaches truth or reality with an immediacy that trumps formal news, and demonstrates how purposeful citizen witnessing can bring about positive social change.
Then came two complementary discussions of sensitive issues around the failures and alarms of contemporary media-education (Joke Hermes) and children’s access to information, with emphasis to their online participation and their potential for political contribution (Cynthia Carter). Both speakers have been working towards the deconstruction of the stereotypic fear that it is a dangerous online world for young people, and they’ve been doing this in different ways and from different angles. Hermes discussed how a quarter century of media education has succeeded in breeding fear and mistrust rather than ways to corroborate and cross-reference. She made the very convincing argument that we need a plan for long-term engagement rather than immediate survival. That we must work towards the strategic teaching of the difference between downright holistic mistrust and meaningful engagement. That we may construct a perspective for cultural citizenship that makes “learning how to listen” (to disengaged sceptics) a priority: part of a new set of conditions for citizenship, where “irony, satire, and playing games” are understood as survival mechanisms, and “ways of blocking screening and fooling one’s parents are understood as useful tools for children to survive in all this, without giving in to conspiracy theories.” Following up from Hermes, Cynthia Carter explored arguments around parental control and its misunderstandings, with a discussion of how research on news media remains incomplete by failing to include the voices of children. She argued against perspectives that cast children as “passive recipients of information that is going to socialise them.” She emphasised how children’s civic rights are undermined by the mistaken perception that, primarily, rather than engaged, they need to be protected. She offered examples where interventions by children exercising monitorial citizenship, have the potential to change perceptions about children’s political interests and their capacity for meaningful, world-changing participation.
Nico Carpentier connected issues of online participation with broader debates and definitions centering on participation as integrated with democratic ideas. He discussed the development of participation-related discourse online and offline, and the posturing contained in such theoretical or practical endeavours vs. their democracy-reinforcing capacity. He highlighted a serious problem with the idealisation of the democratic capacity of online participation: that, for example, “we still haven’t looked at the radical right form of online participation where neo-nazis are participatorily deciding whether they should kill somebody.” Carpentier argued for the need to further “democratise democracy” across fields like the arts and the media, and “do more than pay lip service to the logics of participation.”
Next, Nicos Trimikliniotis introduced debates around participation and citizen journalism in relation to Cyprus, and to argue for the need to compare struggles and national contexts, particularly in relation to peace journalism and the potential for overcoming austerity and chauvinist citizenship models. He emphasised the role of the media in conflict transformation, in defining the nature of conflict and division: its contextualisation and relativisation, and transference towards social and other issues. For him, the creation of third spaces that defy the long-embedded interests of mainstream media is a crucially valuable new element. He identified such a critically valuable third space in the practice of the monitorial citizen. He used the example of the Cyprus-based collaborative online journalism collective Δέφτερη Ανάγνωση (trans. Second Reading), to argue that it indeed possible to undercut colluding media, and transform the reporting, the investigation, and the very nature of professional journalism, with the help and participation of monitorial citizens, intellectuals and artists.
Finally, James Bridle introduced a multilayered example of his own monitorial artistic research practice, an exercise of monitorial citizenship that actually researched issues of citizenship, migration, and asylum. He focused on a particular project where he worked to cross-reference details left out of a story in the UK press about Theresa May putting asylum seeker and hunger striker Isa Muazu on a private jet for deportation (2013). Bridle tried different methods in order to find out where this jet landed and to investigate the systemic, legal and spatial conditions for this kind of deportation. He spoke about the value of collectively maintained online tools that pool information through crowdsourcing, such as tools designed by the flight-spotting community, in this case making public the capacity to track flights. Bridle’s investigation led to a detention centre next to Heathrow, and then to the architectural mapping of this facility, where secret deportation trials seem to be taking place. He proposed this as a way of using the ability to research and cross-reference information through new tech, to make visible something that wasn’t visible before, and thus draw a picture of the system that produces a particular kind of story. In this case a story of deportation, also connected to the debate about global surveillance, by performing a kind of reverse surveillance.
Most interesting, and as a conclusion to the conference, Bridle made transparent his own questions about this instinct of monitorial citizenship: the issue that bringing things to view could be a solution to injustice. He pointed out that his own investigative whistleblowing and NSA surveillance, have in fact, the same logic behind them. Both top down centralised government surveillance, and bottom up citizen-driven monitoring or reverse surveillance are based on the logic that there’s something secret and if we bring it to view, then something will be radically transformed. Except according to Bridle this is not fully accurate. There is a danger here that we may make the invisible visible but remain blind to the systemic forces that brought it to be in the first place.
The discussion following the presentations focused on the potential of citizen monitoring given local Cypriot peculiarities, returning to the example of Δέφτερη Ανάγνωση, with members of the audience introducing the consideration that the structure of coordinated efforts of citizen monitoring (whether flat, or hierarchical, or anonymous, and so on) can play a role in its potential to set-up democratic resistance. The formal discussion transformed into after-conference mingling over drinks and finger food that was good enough to keep people processing in small groups for over an hour. My own conversations pushed onwards from James Bridle’s point about our unwitting complicity with surveillance logics: do we try to resist such logics? (The answer may be that we can try to temper them). This included a conversation with Joke Hermes, making the connection with a recent article by James Bridle documenting weird and often disturbing algorithmically generated youtube videos targeting children (Bridle, 2017), and putting the question of where to draw the line between parental concern and parental panic. (The answer seems to be gently, by avoiding random overexposure at the preverbal stage, not attempting totalitarian control, and focusing on being there and paying attention).
There’s a lot to pick up on in conclusion, aside from my insolent and possibly unjust isolation of one-liners in bold, for which I must ask the speakers’ forgiveness. I am most interested in two elements that seem especially innovative contributions to what is already a very rich and intensely investigated intersection of scholarly work on journalism and citizenship. This conference went the extra step to further bridge this growing field with other sides of media theory: First, in connection with peace scholarship and local issues around media collusion and their effect on conflict transformation through the work of Nicos Trimikliniotis. And secondly the connection made with educational theory and cultural studies through the work of Joke Hermes and Cynthia Carter, a beautifully resonating combination with a feminist focus on understanding, rather than fear or control.R
Photographs and videos by Sakari Laurila
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.