In the settler colony, the mine work image of contemporary deregulation is an orthodox workerism. High salaried contractors negotiate new extractivist ‘having’ (Wark) via increasingly privatized, post-democratic licensing regimes in the context of exaggerated but low (and lowering) employment statistics, as economised citizenship gets hooked, or got, to a _chimera_ of the promise of mine labour (among others of course), in ways that fundamentally disturbed the figure-ground relations of an aspirationally regulated and redistributive citizenship through which the mine worker dialectically achieved its labourist value in the first place. We could say that mega-scaled ‘extractive capitalism,’ more consequentially than any other contemporary regime of capital accumulation, has relied quite precisely on a modernist legacy image of ‘labour in a single shot’ (Farocki) to install post-democratic social investment in the ‘production’ of zero-reproduction, and thanatic dependency on boom and growth normativity.
This excerpt of a longer talk looks at feminist experiments in film form (Sophie Bissonnette CA, Sandra Lahire UK, and Bonita Ely AUS) around the particular mode of primitive accumulation of the mining contract. Beyond what the films achieve in revaluing women’s own formidable unwaged ‘productionism,’ the works exhibit to later divestment movements radical feminisms’ im-proper and clinamen-like engendering of industrial and extractivist action, also in the making of ‘labour cinema.’ The talk mainframes the contemporary theoretical relevance of re/productive film theory in challenging the technology of the formally contradictory ‘contract’ (in the wage, in sex-gender, in race, in social provenance) in enclosing and reformatting governance regimes along genealogical and
When radical art and political theory can be hypercommodified – as the fetishistic facsimile of nearly forty pages of Das Kapital in this year’s Venice Biennale eightyfiveeuro catalogue amply demonstrates – direct action is one way to make clear the difference between politics and its mere form. The question of how one might effectively counter a corporate oligarchy is, however, more complex. It will be broached by comparing diverse forms of protest against the Guggenheim Foundation – by Gulf Labor, a coalition of artists, activists & academics which protests human rights abuses surrounding the construction of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, and by Checkpoint Helsinki, which started as a movement of art practitioners and citizens against the expropriation of government budgets for a new Guggenheim franchise in Helsinki. Can small/elite organizational structures be effective, and to what extent is protest neutralized and recuperated by an institution once it is accepted as part of the establishment? Are massmovement organizations democratically viable or even desirable? Or are new previously unfeasible institutions of mass democracy becoming “imaginable” on the premondial horizon?
Jevon’s Paradox states that when individuals, corporations, organisations or countries decrease their carbon emissions, they have a tendency to increase their consumption in line with what they assume they have saved, thus paradoxically, not saving anything. If applied to a cultural context, this paradox allows us to analyse how even the most ethical or political artistic practices could perform in a similar way, exacerbating rather than ameliorating the conditions they attempted to address.
Rabrab is a journal for political and formal inquiries in art edited by Sezgin Boynik and Gregoire Rousseau. The last issues will be presented by contributing authors and artists.
For Indignados and Occupy Wall Street to succeed, they need insight into how power works. Here the approach of Anti-Oedipus is much better than both J. Butler’s psyche-hinging one and Foucault’s descriptive analyses. From here, a geophilosophy of our condition from exile to an actively assumed deterritorialization — one surfing on the one resulting from the movements the capital. Shall we be capable of building such concepts so as to become deterritorialized toward a people to come? Nomadism is a departure from exile whereby one no longer belongs to a land from which to be exiled. We are exiles from the outset — can we be nomads? Provided our “untimely” is “a becoming-revolutionary”, is it by way of nomandism?
Contemporary sport, hypercompetitive, commercialized, institutionalized, politicized, is most often perceived uncritically, taken for granted in its most current and dominant form, especially as a mechanism of capitalist ideology in its capacity to globalize/normalize societies. If sport (as Art) can be considered as a laboratory/contested site, then it is potentially one of largest fields for social, cultural and political experimentation and innovation in contemporary societies. For this reason, I am interested in collecting personal experiences, anecdotes or engagements with sport and its norms by artists, designers and academics, who took part in this ever normalizing and normative system. This could include texts, media, publications or performances that relate to this tension and that capture duality of their commitment and discontent with/in sport.
My personal experiences will be presented in a series of short texts and visuals from experiences in the Netherlands around my JVE time, including: 1. a video of my play in a volleyball club, JOKERS Maastricht and T-shirt for winning the league; 2. a photo and protest letter to mayor of Rotterdam.
My performance/original interface “Voice and Infrared Sensor Shirt” (2004) was originally inspired in the idea of dance, text and gesture by Stéphane Mallarmé. This self-referential lecture/performance “Mallarmé, Derrida and Infrared” is a version of this performance. It explains the connection among gestures, voices and technology as a performance and also suggests how gestures and the invisible interface can destroy a collusion between phonocentrism and the performance itself. The original performance interface using infrared inserts a distance between writing text and reading text.
If there’s an agreement on the fact that pauses, interruptions, syncopes, unexpected diversions, accidents, and errors can be basic elements for a specific mode of expression, the risk is that their representation might prevent the flow and the meaning of the expression itself.
For this series of lectures, all visual clues provided by the speaker’s facial and bodily expressions are to remain hidden. In so doing, the dialectical confrontation between abstract and sensorial information is underscored, confronting us with an unexpected school of decision: that of listening. For the occasion, scholar and musician Ernesto Estrella will present some of the conceptual and voice explorations of narrative frames that he is currently developing in his ongoing series The Insider.
This installation rises as the minimal condensation of the resistances and the reactions necessaries to give shape to a work of destruction, meant in the first place as a questioning of the identification of artwork with an object remaining in time.
(mp3 file + letter)
The work has as object of investigation, the score, understood as a structure of loss and lose, thus the dance as a form of art that in order to exist needs to go through auto-combustion and dispersion. Dance becomes powerful only if lavish, like a Potlach. The installation is the result of a research in which two choreographic scores have been created with the purpose to be forgotten and dispersed through memory and other media. They manifest themselves partially, dislocated and transformed in several ways. The project has seen two actors (Ippolita Baldini and Yusuke Yamasaki) as protagonists with whom I created three choreographies. Once learned, I asked them to track only the breaths and to leave the rest to the oblivion: to never rehearse anymore the choreography in order to exercise the full decomposition process and to discover its latency afterwards. From the breaths’ score (recorded and composed with Francesco Cavaliere) has born a vinyls series. The 2010 choreographies are still in decomposition at Ippolita as well at Yusuke.
(Installation, various materials)
A supposed conversation takes place in between some actors on stage. Statements on speculation by authors from the Middle Ages to the present join to a formless dialog. The original text fragments outline different attitudes and disciplines. The film Layers consists of several layers of speech and commentary and a form of argumentation to which a technique called layering is a conceptual reference. Known as a manipulation technique in high-frequency trading, layering is an expression for a brokerage firm that makes and then cancels orders they never intended to carry out.
(screening, 20 min)
“I’m interested in redoing and producing a new notion of the social where feeling is not opposed to thought, where feeling is not immediately or essentially connected to authenticity, where subjectivity is understood as collectively produced, where emotions are understood as being collectively produced.” — Gregg Bordowitz
Reading a text is not only a process of understanding but includes a moment of repossessing affectively one’s own subjectivity and its historicity. This means that any knowledge gained includes an underlying layer of references and affections that influence how knowledge is actually gained. Theoretical knowledge is never impersonal, objective or neutral, it is in a constant mode of appropriation. What happens however when we start reading collectively, when knowledge is constructed within the process of talking about a text? When the voice is speaking instead of a letter? What is the bodily aspect of reading? Following Walter Benjamin’s concept of a “magical language of things,” I am interested in how collective forms of reading can bring alive a new “collective body“ with the potential of a different “collective knowledge.” The starting point for this reading performance will be ideas of protagonists of the early Russian cosmism-movement who theorized collective bodies and the dissolution of the subject within a collective.
We will present a text performance in (re)construction, where we combine physicality and materiality of architectural reconstruction work that was going on in a residency we attended last summer. The occupied space used to be a living room which was temporarily transformed in an exhibition space. We, then, looked for a way to tell the space’s story, which would never be the same as it once was. The text performance plays and will play with the ideas of reading in silence and of material equality of body, space and words while constructing a story and fiction which ultimately turns into
‘No. No. No. Yes. No.’ known coded character sets of communication persist, the direct juxtaposition of the respective virtual and nonvirtual environment however lead to a semantic clash. What arises is a Schrödingerlike concurrent state of you and me, here and there, today and yesterday.*
Departing from an unfinished sentence, I will describe what happens at the moment of aposiopesis – becoming silent – and how from within it all possible dialogues may emerge. While being constituted, the voices are still encapsulated within the writer’s own voice. At this point, they are still interchangeable between the “bodies-to be”. Because the voices are not yet assigned to bodies, the emerging dialogues need not follow a reasonable stream. When written down, uttered, the voices will gradually become distinct but until then it remains unknown whether the words will ever be said.
A movement, a journey, a pen that glides across the page, leaving behind the trace of a living body. In a brief performative lecture I would like to try and follow that trace of the writing hand across different places and times.
This event considers the link between language and the human body. The increasing importance of language to the visual arts since the 1960s has been closely tied to the shift away from a ‘perceptual’ or sensory understanding of art towards one that gives primacy to concepts, meanings and ideas. And yet, language is inextricably linked to the body. When we read and write, our cricoarytenoid and cricothyroid muscles stretch and contract the vocal chords; our hands turn pages, and eyes move quickly about the page. Some texts through time have made explicit an experience of language that is visceral, physical and embodied. In Ancient Greece, a ‘boustrophedon’ was a bidirectional text that alternated the direction of sentences, like an ox turning while ploughing a field. Today, we stroke the screen of a smart phone or iPad as we read and write, adjusting our bodies and our employment of language to a new, technological age.
The paper discusses the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat in philosophical and psychoanalytic framework. Proletariat, in Marxist-Leninist perspective, is the last class that has not only to destroy all other classes or the old society (bourgeoisie etc.), but also to destroy itself as a class. At the summit of its activity, when it holds not a constitutive, but rather a destitutive power, i.e., at the moment of its dictatorship, proletariat must find itself in a state very similar to Hegelian post-revolutionary “fury of destruction”. It is a figure of double negation; it transforms into a pure destruction in order to destroy the destruction itself. It is a figure of an extreme alienation that wants to have done with other general alienation. Being left alone, with no God, no Other, no Law, it fights against itself. His position towards history is not a melancholic, but a psychotic one. Taking it into account, the paper aims to contextualise the idea of “progressive psychosis” in modern historical subjectivity.
Destruction and novelty are deeply connected in Heidegger’s thought, especially between the late 20’s and the 40’s, when he developed his “history of Being“ (“Seinsgeschichte”). Heidegger distinguished (initially in a messianic, finally in a dualistic and antagonistic way) destruction as condition of possibility for “another beginning” (event) from a “desertification” (“Verwüstung”) as nihilistic and destructive tendency leading to the /impossibility /of any decision and the lost of a real novelty. His Antisemitism of the late 30’s and 40’s was associated with it. Confusingly, his radical separation of a positive and negative destruction went hand in hand with a difficulty to distinguish one from another. This difficulty is reflected in Heidegger’s struggle with Nietzsche and National Socialism in the years around 1938. In my talk, I will focus on this uncertainty and its philosophical and political aspects.
Commenting on Friedrich Schlegel and the romanticist concept of irony, in his doctoral thesis Walter Benjamin (1919) introduced the notion of formal irony. Unlike subjective irony, formal irony is not bound to the abysmal boundlessness of the romantic critic; it does not simply cancel itself out as Hegel argued. Rather, formal irony designates an objective activity within the work of art itself. In other words, formal irony is not simply negative or self-annihilating but designates the positive feature of constructing through destructing. This sort of non-nullifying nihilism functions through the enactment of a Nichts, a nihil that is operative within aesthetic formations. Without ever arriving at the zero-level of all formations, this nothingness persists as unstable movement, deviation, or displacement. It is the inexhaustible movement of voiding without forming a void. In this respect, it presents a strictly relational concept, an unstable yet non-nullified nothingness that never dissolves itself fully, never perishes completely but keeps on building through demolishing, forming through deforming, enhancing through reducing, fulfilling through voiding. In my presentation, I examine the structure of these paradoxical formulae and discuss how they could provide the key to a positive concept of nihilism.
The problem of destruction in politics has to be seen in conjunction with that of duration. How is the creative destruction of a proposition of displacement of forms of domination to endure? Thus framed, the connection between duration and destruction may be said to be based not on any essence or ideal foundation but retroactively on the puncturing of a given state of political knowledge. This will further imply not only that there are good and bad forms of destruction in politics, good and bad relative to the questions raised by that puncturing, but that the political process itself must contain a mechanism of self-undoing.
This panel aims to investigate and experiment with the idea that destruction, far from being either a negative term to be rejected or a moment to be passed through in order for the new to appear, can be conceived as a positive means of construction, an activity provided with its own narrative and temporality. Already in 20th century thought and art practice, destruction appears to be dissociated from negation, and something emerges like a positive or constructive side of it. From Matta-Clark’s and Rachel Whiteread collapsing structures to Ulay’s disappearing photos and Jia Zhang-Ke crumbling cities, from Diether Roth rotting works to Malevich’s pharmacy full of pots containing the ashes of destroyed classical painting, the idea appears that a true novelty is essentially inseparable from destruction. The construction of novelty can arise from within the process of destruction, when destruction is meant as a process or sequence provided with its own structures, its own tempo, its own narrative: such an idea seems to adequately respond to the need – present both in the radical political thought of the ‘60s and ‘70s and in philosophers such as Althusser, Nancy, Badiou, Rancière, Esposito – to find a novelty free from any dialectical bond with the old, and hence free also from a position of simple negation of the old. In all these cases destruction is not dealt with as a moment that is necessary in order to make room for the new to come; it is no longer conceived as a pars denstruens to which a pars construens will follow; instead, it is activated and manipulated as a sequence of actions disconnected from any relation with the old, and that evolves out of its own resources. Via theoretical presentations, performative lectures and artworks, this panel will question and elaborate upon the different approaches that artworks, politics and philosophy have offered to this peculiar convergence of the idea of construction and destruction.
This presentation will introduce a collective work in progress on the notion of the generic. Developed and mobilized in various domains and disciplines, this concept however also remains largely undefined. As it is more generally used to explain something than it is properly articulated as a distinctive concept, this notion often appears tautological. By tracking its use in architecture, urban theory, and art theory as well as in philosophy and in mathematics, this collective work on the generic aims to move beyond this tautological aspect, while remaining faithful to what, in its vagueness, makes it a highly plastic and dynamic notion. Notably emphasizing the relation that the generic entertains to the universal, this presentation will try to show how this concept can enable us to understand universality and diversity in more synthetic terms than they have been in contemporary discourse.
(screening and conversation)
SOUVENIR is a documentary film essay that derives from the private video archives of cultural diplomate, politician and former Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s employee Alfred D. From the 1980s until recently, Alfred D. has recorded his life and work on the process of democratization as propelled by his foundation and political party; encompassing nearly 400 hours of film. However, as filmmaker André Siegers’ view of this image flow has put into light, Alfred D.’s archive does not only offer rare insights and intrinsic “point of view” coverages of the realms of current cultural politics and diplomacies (such as the filming of embassy parties, desks and work spaces, or interviews with politicians on the market and social democracy). It also testifies of a striking, and somewhat bewildering transformation of those images over time. What appears to begin as a documentary archive of Alfred D.’s political work, gradually transcends into a private video diary, and from there into an increasingly fictional account on the political processes, during which Alfred D.’s “role” as a foundation worker blends in with the role of the “hero inside his own film.” The ensuing film essay SOUVENIR lays special emphasis on this very entanglement between filmmaking and the making of politics, and the many different image qualities of Alfred D.’s footage entailed therein. However, unlike reediting the archive footage into a ficticious narrative in its own right, the film follows a strategy of reflecting and playing further with the already inherent stagedness and “Bühnenhaftigkeit” of its source material, akin to proposing a potential completion of the hidden “tale”, or, “real drama” that undermined Alfred D.’s archive as a whole. The result is a discomforting travelogue that deliberately intertwines the genre of the portrait film – on a “politician with a movie camera” – with a formulation of a democratic critique that will serve as a starting point for the adjacent conversation.
From Marx’s analysis of the value form of the commodity to Althusser’s theory of ideology to Irigaray’s critique of phallocentrism–each of these positions interrogate the relationship between specular reflection and structures of domination. This talk returns to the specular as the timeless mechanism that subtends the latest advances in domination.
This film is structured around three appropriated videos: a Digital Light Processing logo sequence shown in movie theaters using their proprietary technology (the sequence is of a computer-generated waterfall boring a hole in a desert); a 1970s-era DIM pantyhose advertisement also shown in movie theaters (of women dancing against a yellow background); and a promotional video for Project BigDog, DARPA funded research into the motion of four-legged animals for expanded robotic warfare. These seemingly disparate materials will be manipulated in order to reflect on the domination of nature and of human beings by means of rational imitation.
(screening 35 min.)
In the video, a virtual camera moves around a 3D computer rendering of a taxonomical specimen of the insect species Fulgora laternaria which itself had served as object for Roger Caillois’ reflection on the mask. The video binds the latest technology of mimicry, which is rapidly replacing photography and film in advertising and entertainment generally, to the natural-history of mimicry. This, in order, by juxtaposition, to break the spell of commodity images which are at once the false promise of something decisively new and immediately accepted as natural.
(screening 9 min.)
By way of the seemingly arcane, specialized topic of ancient stone seals, an attempt will be made to bring this impression technology to bear on the present. If it is true that during the period while material goods are on display, to use an image from Sohn-Rethel, nature holds its breath, then by making contemporary impressions from stone seals we can see the face of nature turned purple. The talk will cover the transition from a pre-coined to a coined economy by way of the images found in relief on stone-seals, the precursor to the reliefs impressed upon coins. Attention will be given both to naturalistic representation as well as mythological content. What might this imagery tell us about force, obligation, and the preservation thereof? Stone seals are near-perfectly preserved due to their original purpose of producing a repeatable, frozen image. Can we glimpse in the repeatable, frozen image what could take on movement? Or are the earliest stone seals destined to be the last perfectly preserved artifacts of our extinct species?
As nature is ever put to work in a differentiated social structure, psychic life, sexuality, and relationships congeal into a hellishly repetitive formation – ever new, ever same. We will look at that which is figé and which could take on movement, as well as that which appears to have life and movement and yet is dead. Two videos will project some of the advanced technological mimicry of a perennially blocked society in order to get at what this technology might tell us about what is excluded from its advance and cannot help but be dragged along with it beyond all intention. These videos will be brought into contact with talks on ideology, psychoanalysis and art, the erotic and tradition, sex and technology.
Recuperation is an inexorable feature of late capitalism. Art movements and modes of cultural expression that were thought to be resistant, oppositional or antagonistic from the 1960’s and 70’s have been gradually absorbed by capitalism and its attendant apparatus, such that a certain generation has no idea what even constitutes “political dissent” because they have never seen examples of it. From the commodification of dissent (consumer as “rebel hero”) and blatant Western commercialization of former Eastern Bloc “democratic” revolutions (i.e. Serbia’s Otpor on MTV), to the recuperation of queer activism into queer consumerism (“pink money”), to the recuperation of a “postmodernism” of resistance, an oppositional epistemology that destabilized the grand narratives of Enlightenment into now a cynical a-historical “anything goes” postmodernism disemboweled of any element of critical resistance, complicit with neoliberal capitalism (as prognosticated by Frederic Jameson), to Boltanski & Chiapello’s analysis of how the May 1968 Marcusian critique of the alienation of capitalist bureaucracy was simply recuperated into a more expansive, ingenious mode of capitalism—namely, post-Fordist networks of flexibility. In light of this, we must ask “Is there no ‘outside’ position?” How can we theorize or historicize this phenomenon where the hollow shell of an oppositional form is preserved but it has been disemboweled of any actual oppositional content? How do we escape the conundrum of our inevitable yet unwilling complicity with neoliberalism?
All your metadata (data about data) gets collected on a massive scale: your location, who you talk to, chat with, when it happens, when you buy anything and so on. The collected pool of information alters your search results on Google, determines your targeted adds on Facebook, changes the price you pay on Amazon, determines whether intelligence agencies view you as a potential terrorist and much else. In this way we each have an online alias, a digital shadow, a data double. Who is this person? Who ARE you really, digitally speaking? And how is your metadata shaping your everyday life?
Meta(data)morphosis invites you to join a halfday workshop with the aim of exploring the nature of metadata: what it is, how it works and what it can be used for. We will engage these questions together through several exercises. Get ready to meet your digital shadow. No technical knowledge required, +16 years old. Bring curiosity, your smart device of preference (smartphone, tablet, laptop etc.) and your favourite pen.
Within the context of archi-writing, I will discuss with the workshop participants the status of science (physics and mathematics) in Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Heidegger’s recently published Black Notebooks famously and sweepingly dismiss both the Jewish and the Christian religions of the Book. In almost 2,000 pages of notes from 1931 to 1948, outlining the intellectual history of the Occident, from Parmenides to Sartre, Heidegger mentions the Bible only once. Being pre-biblical is one of the central virtues that lead him to identify the ancient Greeks as the proper, pure Beginning of the *Seinsgeschichte*. Paradoxically, however, it is precisely the “geschichtliche” nature of the intellectual operation undertaken by Heidegger on the philosophical tradition, which renders his thought profoundly hermeneutic, and philosophy itself – a tradition of Holy Texts. This talk will look at some key moments of this process, in which ontology seems to turn into ontography.
The Derridian notion of archiécriture (“archiwriting”) manifests some obvious Scriptural resonances and was used by Derrida in order to reorient the relationship between “speech” and “writing,” with the fundamental purposes of “deconstructing” the so called “logophallo-centrism.” Despite its obvious theological côté, the notion of “archiscripture” appears to support a number of different cultural uses. For instance, in psychiatry, “archiwriting” would support the assumption that the unconscious is structured as a language, with some important psychological and epistemological consequences: our inability of “interpret” the unconscious would impliy that this “linguistic structure” is not fully transparent to the analysis, since it is “deeper” that “writing,” indeed is an “archiwriting.” This psychiatric assumption would then be confirmed also in Human Sciences, specifically in biology. It is particularly “Biology” that would show how “archiwriting” isn’t simply a metaphor rather an actual “empirical” condition, susceptible to biological as well as neurological studies. A further “empirical” support to this notion would also be found in modern physics, since “archi-writing” as a sort of “primordial writing” would offer a philosophical and epistemological support to the assumption of the newest physics of the universe: the strings theory as “fragments” of a “writing” that has never been present. Finally, this notion of “archiwriting” would also be confirmed in modern media theory, as the assumption that a “primordial writing” lays beneath all the transformations of “writing” from its first manifestations in primitive caves up to the new “immaterial” conception of “cyberspace.”
This collection of pages emerged out of a philosophical thesis, a thesis dealing predominantly with the effects of different technologies on human perception and output. As a result of a three-year research period into questions concerning technology, culture and language, analyzing the dis/continuities between them, a proposal for a structural comparison of the three as abstract concepts emerged. When does culture become technology, technology a form of culture, or either of them a specific form of communication? Can language be considered a ‘cultural technology’? What are the delimiting constraints in our physiological experience that shape the ways we use and produce technologies and/or culture? Parts of the final printed thesis were then reedited by hand, scanned, reedited digitally, printed, edited manually again, and scanned once more. The final form this thesis takes plays on the theory, and vice versa. The result is a crossbreed between the classic tactile draft, handwritten notes, computer writing and formatting glitches, which can be consumed as an image and as a text simultaneously.
(48 A3 color laser prints, 2011-2014)
Aural perseveration can be defined as an experience of sound when its concrete prompt has ceased sounding. From spontaneous musical imagery, such as earworms, to the shift of a soniconceptual gestalt, the diversity of sensations entailed by aural perseveration can be crosscut with a ‘deep but hidden analogy’ (Poincaré) between them formalizing an infra-realism (Matta, Couroux). Continuing an ongoing project investigating the ‘,kataphysics of sonic identity’, this presentation seeks to explore questions raised by these auditory phenomena and trace the conceptual dynamics at play.
The claim that there’s no bad publicity seems to have its limits. Disregard of aesthetical or moral standards may result in rejection by the consumer. Nevertheless, contemporary marketing explores these limits constantly, including elements that classical advertising would avoid at any price. Slideshow and talk.
Understanding Radioactivity through Everyday Product Interactions
How do we understand something that we cannot see, touch or sense, that is a threat to all living system on earth and that will remain a threat for at least 100.000 years? – How do we understand and cope with radioactivity and nuclear waste? We cannot cope with this as it is exceeding our capabilities as human beings. Onkalo, the first underground repository for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel, is being built right now in Finland. 9.000 tons of high-level nuclear waste will be buried there. The amount of uncertainty makes it not only a matter of technology and engineering, but most of all a matter of trust, which is inherently human. It challenges us as humans. How can we address this? Three everyday artefacts translate the dilemmas around Onkalo into a physical shape. A lamp that operates at the time scale of 100.000 years, a pregnancy test that not only tells you whether you are pregnant or not, but also your body’s radiation levels, and a marble toy for children that introduces nuclear waste in a playful way. All artefacts perform their assigned tasks while telling the story of Onkalo.
In 1927, the Japanese scientist Masanao Abe built an observatory with a view on Mt. Fuji. For over 15 years, he studied the movement of the clouds around the mountain using film and photography. With his images, Abe wanted to answer the scientific question whether the clouds could be read as indicators for the air streams, vortices and turbulences around Mt. Fuji.
(screening, b/w, ca. 7 min)
Mt. Merapi in Central Java is one of the worlds most active and populous volcanoes. It has roughly a million people living on its flanks and volcanic events occur every four to five years. As a site of permanent environmental instability, it is a case through which to consider more broadly applicable strategies for living with environmental uncertainty. My study focuses on the role of gatekeepers as they interface, make meaningful and negotiate the volcanic system. These gatekeepers are the *Juru Kunci*, scientists and community radio operators. The *Juru Kunci* (Indonesian for key holder or gatekeeper) is appointed by the Sultan in the plains below and conducts diplomacy between his realm and the world of gods inside the volcano. Scientists negotiate the volcanic system, the contemporary state and its emergency operations. Radio operators position themselves in relation to a history of flight from the lowland sultanates and colonial occupation and horizontal forms of disaster mitigation. I frame their divergent practices according to three conceptual preoccupations: agency, boundary work and controversy. Together these account for the role of the human in volatile material milieus.
My lecture takes a close look at a series of seismic events and their accounting recordings. I will try to understand what it means to understand, to make sense, to sense into the inner of the earth: On April 19th, 1889 the horizontal pendulum of a German astronomer in Berlin-Potsdam by chance registers the first “Fernbeben” – a shaking that occurred 9000 km away in Japan. On August 16th, 1906 a strong earthquake destroys the city of Valparaiso in Chile. The needle of the only seismograph available in Santiago breaks and leaves traces of a strange dance on carbon loaded paper. In the weeks after, hundreds of lay observers describe the ways they felt the earthquake when answering an official questionnaire. On March 3rd, 2015 at 3:00 o’ clock a.m. the volcano Villarrica in the South of Chile erupts fulfilling the prophecies of a local indigenous leader. A microphone, located only 10 km from the volcano, collapses leaving the record of an infrasound. Can a volcano be “understood”? What is a seismic event – where does it start, where does it end? How do feelings correlate with words/numbers?
Based on material from a recent research in Chile, my talk will serve as a preview and first exercise on the way to my upcoming publication, Toponymisches Heft Nr. 3 (Fantôme Verlag, Berlin).
In essence, metadata presents us with a rich frame around a blank canvas, a space with ample room for interpretation, misinterpretation, miscarriage of justice, etc. An inherently irrational human intervention will always enter this equation, respond to the metadata frame, and thus render a distorted portrait into a temporary proxy for truth. How can we make sense of these ever-shifting digital shadows that social media, corporations, intelligence agencies, individuals etc., constantly draw from server farms from around the world? In other words, how do we respond to the power of metadata and its speculative qualities, the elusiveness, the lack of control and apparent meaning? Metadata pervades our lives in both trivial and profound ways. We know that a lack of response is essentially a submission to this very fact. How do we then deal with this dynamic? Do we experiment, resist, play along? This is some of the questions explored in the five works on display. While all the works engage with the process of meta(data)morphosis, they do so in highly different ways, employing a wide range of tactics and sensibilities.
Alain Badiou’s work has in many ways set the terms on which the relation between mathematics and philosophy is conceived today within contemporary European philosophy. Badiou attempts an asymptotic approach to contemporary mathematics from within set theory, setting up a division between set theory as ‘real mathematics’ and category theory as mere ‘logic’, between the ‘strong’ singularity of ontological decision and the ‘weak’ elucidation of possible choices. I wish to interrogate this reduction, focussing on a argument of Badiou’s contrasting the singularity of the void (as sign) in set theory with the ‘equivocal’ void of category theory: the empty diagram.
Fabien Giraud will present his new series of works, The Unmanned (in collaboration with Raphaël Siboni). The Unmanned is a film series recounting in reverse an “unmanned” history of technics in the sense of uninhabited vehicles in contemporary warfare. The first season is a discrete history of technology, opening in 2045 with the technological singularity and ending with the “discovery” of California by conquistadors in 1542, it explores the invention and consequences of modern computation. http://www.theunmanned.com
Departing from the historical concept of “sitespecificity”, and strongly influenced by the American pragmatist tradition in philosophy, this ongoing project attempts to define a contemporary theory of sites. For the JVEA event, we will present and discuss the first part of this project (to be published in Art in the Anthropocene, Open Humanities Press, forthcoming 2015) focusing on a revised conception of art’s relations to rationality through the artistic figure of Donald Judd and his work in Marfa, Texas.
Adopting an achronological mode, I would sketch the importance of Jef Cornelis’ oeuvre – pointing towards elements that anyone would be able to deduce after watching his works, but also addressing issues which I detected during the research in his private archive and many public archives.
There is an irresistible urge to disavow the book as a commodity. The book is repeatedly imagined as the antimodern and a-capitalist object par excellence, precisely that thing which must stand outside of the debasing transactions of the market. At the same time, the book, in many cultural historiographies, is imagined at the very origin of capitalism: as the prototype of the industrial commodity and as the mechanism for European capitalist enterprise in the fifteenth century and beyond.
I want to illuminate this insistent contradiction through a series of ten lucid episodes, in which the book as commodity form appears to both resist and accelerate the logic of capitalism: of efficiency, surplus value extraction, divisions of labor in production, etc. The book confounds these logics and is foundational to them at the same time, and this double capability qualifies the book as an exceptional object, crucial to, but also outside of, the matrix of economic procedures by which capitalism organizes life.
Edited by Alan Moore and Alan Smart, Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces is an anthology of texts on art, media and aesthetic practice in the context of squatting, occupation and urban space activism. It includes work by activist researchers, squatters, and artists involved in struggles over urban space. “Cultural production” appears in a variety of forms ranging from conventional art practices, to the organizing of communities and networks, to the production of media and setting up of information systems. Likewise, squats, occupations and social centers are figured as art projects themselves, housing and workspaces for artists or, most significantly, constituent parts of an alternative infrastructure for the autonomous production of knowledge, discourse, and aesthetics.
A short book presentation and a dialog with contributors to Making Room will discuss the relationships between art, politics, and architecture and urbanism. This will frame sites of overlap and points of engagement between aesthetic and political practice in the construction autonomous or alternative infrastructures for production and reproduction in cities. While participants in the book project will be specifically invited, presentation proposals from anyone interested in the engagement of research, design and aesthetic practice with the politics of urban space, production and infrastructure. Also, all are welcome to be part of the audience and participate in the discussion.
Glass Bead, an international research platform and journal, presents their project from the perspective of previous work and future plans. Considering art to be crucial for the invention of vehicles able to navigate among heterogeneous and changing epistemic landscapes, Glass Bead aims to bring disparate practices and ideas together in order to design complex transits between and within them. Although drawing inspiration from Herman Hesse’s novel, Glass Bead does not however incarnate its fiction. Glass Bead is engaged with the politics of knowledge: its generation, its expression, and its reception. Detached from any reference to the game as an overarching formula, Glass Bead works in immanent relation to the material dynamics shaping knowledge (i.e. morphologies), as much as it works with the geometry of knowledge (i.e. epistemologies).