Anxious to Act
Five years after the tumultuous political events of 2011, which triggered a series of dispersed yet medially choreographed acts of resistance, the larger patterns and nature of global activism and individual action are in need of assessment and reinvention. From Tahrir to Taksim, from Occupy to Indignados, from the Twitter and Facebook Revolutions to the Blackberry Riots, the Anxious to Act stream confronts the events behind us as well as the fundamentally paradoxical challenges of action and activism in the muddy now.
Having seen the systematic recuperation of acts of resistance by a combination of media-savvy counter-choreographies and brute-force attacks, media-based action has been cast into uncertainty and ambivalence. A creeping unease as to what can be achieved by popular media expression has set in during the Post-Snowden Era. What was once conceived as the “noosphere” or “World Brain” has emerged as a fragmented global sensorium—one in which micropolitical and geopolitical movements seem out of sync, aside from the all-too important idea of “the commons.” Dealing with the complexity of notions of intervention and resistance within gigantic networked systems of subsumption, the discussions that make up this stream zoom in on the contradictions inherent in “media activism” as a still-evolving, uncertain concept. The stream reflects on the need for renewed convergences beyond the technological in a time that offers ever greater scopes for interaction—and reasons to intervene.
_ hybrid event (panel + workshop) | 4+7 feb '16this gathering will be focused on reviewing traditional ports, gathering concrete engagements with their inherent and continuing political-logistical promise of connecting people, places, and important matters in view of transgressing engagements to re-establish the communal quality of ports and retain their open global character. – moderated by Ben Vickers, Oliver Lerone Schultz with: Nicholas Anastasopoulos | Fabiane M. Borges | Geheimagentur | Ben Vickers | Oliver Lerone Schultz
Everything Will Be Fine – Working Anxiety
_ prototyping workshop | 4 feb '16The military-industrial-research complex of the last century has relied on the faith in the digital as a deus ex machina to miraculously resolve our insurmountable anxieties. At the same time, the digital has by now become the established ground zero for apocalyptic futures. And paradoxically, the digital has been—again—presented as the solution to both these anxieties; digitally mediated violence is believed to be resolved by producing more digital structures and practices. This capacity of the digital to generate, perform, mitigate, and resolve anxieties truly produces its own cybernetic feedback loop. This techno-centrism often glosses over the often-underprivileged bodies, the “undercommons,” that bear the burden of experiencing and servicing anxiety in the post-democratic age. Drawing from postcolonial locations, gendered sites, and other political contexts, this workshop will look at three kinds of post-digital bodies marked by gender, sexuality, race, and political identification, in order to produce new vocabularies, visions, and practices for engaging with and working out the anxieties of the digital. with: Elizabeth Losh | Nishant Shah | Jonathan Worth initiated by Nishant Shah
The Map is the Territory
_ talk | 4 feb '16 | 7 feb '16Artist and activist Burak Arikan enters into discussion with professor Jussi Parikka on collaborative mapping and the use of visual knowledge as situated activist practice. The discussion will relate to Arikan’s two day Graph Commons workshop at transmediale 2016, but also more widely to artistic methods of producing a politically important commons through diagrams, graphs, and more. Arikan’s art projects and design methods will be approached in relation to contemporary issues in the politics of (in)security, and to Graph Commons’ potentials for investigative journalism, data research, civic activism, organizational analysis, exploring archives, and art curation. The workshop will also be drawn upon as a location-specific way of mapping the links and nodes, territories, and issues that can emerge in collective settings.
– with: Burak Arikan | Jussi Parikka
Five Years After
hybrid event (panel + collective display) | 6 feb '16“In case you hadn’t noticed, these days a lot of the world is in some form of rebellion, insurrection, or protest,” wrote Rebecca Solnit in 2012, a year after a barrage of movements symbolically grouped around the Arab Spring erupted. These “post-2011” events challenged the sometimes simplistic narratives of the “post-911” world. What linked the events in this cycle of struggles was not organizational coherence but rather a shared global sentiment mediated by a new form of global sensorium. Social energies headed “back to the streets,” bringing up questions about the consequences of physical exposure, organization, strategy, fragmentation, and violence. New media became double-edged weapons, used for and against emancipation. While after 2011 there were some attempts to decipher these “signs from the future,” as Žižek has put it, now in 2015 it seems that the “global moment” has ended. It’s time for a reflective turn, looking into dim corners and listening to the subterranean echoes of what’s happened. And looking ahead. – moderated by Oliver Lerone Schultz with: Esra'a Al Shafei | Heba Y. Amin | Lara Baladi | Özge Çelikaslan | Alper Şen | Oliver Lerone Schultz
Tactical Media and the Archive
_ workshop | 6 feb '16Tactical media were identified in the 1990s as a distinct cluster of critical practices at the intersection of art, political activism, and technological experimentation. Tactical media are participatory forms of politicized self-mediation that give voice to the marginalized and excluded. There has always been a deeply troubling, uneasy and strenuous relationship between tactical media and archives. Archives, which are traditionally conceived as capturing living moments and turn them into historical events, as such would constitute the very opposite of tactical media’s dynamic nature. As a result of their resistance to archiving, the proponents of tactical media have succumbed to a severe form of memory loss, making critical reflection difficult. This is a high price to pay. This workshop will explore how documentation and memorialization can persist and be re-conceptualized in the wake of this intense collision. – moderated by David Garcia, Eric Kluitenberg with: bak.ma | Lara Baladi | Robert M. Ochshorn | David Garcia | Eric Kluitenberg
Seeing Power - What About That?
_ hybrid event (presentation/reception + AV-performance) | 6 feb' 16New global power complexes demand new multi-sensory ways of seeing power and sensing one’s own position in it: new sets of sensory politics. Following the concept of “altered states”—a geopolitics spectralized by sensory overload and dispossession and by the relocation of power in the post-democratic or post-digital era—the performance GEZILLA DESTROYS ISISTANBUL will reconsider what is (or was) referred to as Europe. It will also engage the Golden Age Global Hologram Doctrine, Isistanbul, and Anxt Hase States, and feature modern isolation tanks as part of the new inventory of “hardcore ultra modernism.” Isistanbul is also the title of a video-essay by Serhat Köksal, included in the upcoming after.video/assemblages, which is the first issue of a new hybrid “video-book” series by Open Humanities Press. The transmediale performance of 2/5BZ will be preceded by an open reception by the after.video collective. – with: 2/5BZ | after.video collective
_ panel | 7 feb' 16In postmedia times, when media are ingrained into almost every pore of society, what was once known as “media activism” has evolved and transgressed into something else. Changed along with it is the old idea and context of “media intervention,” whether conceptualized as tactical media or otherwise. Today the promise of emancipatory media trembles between revolts and revolutions amplified by social media, temptations to "go dark" and "log off" in the post-Snowden era, and impulses to build archipelagos of (semi-)autonomous media infrastructures. With media literally in the hands of everyone, networked publics are resubmitting the idea of “the public” (read: mediatized public) to renewed questioning—while network capitalism has already mastered and recuperated the aesthetics and languages of revolution. In this situation, what constitutes a critical media act? – moderated by Clemens Apprich with: Heba Y. Amin | David Garcia | Eric Kluitenberg | Simona Levi | Clemens Apprich
Acting on Vision
_ keynote conversation with Nicholas Mirzoeff + Hito Steyerl | 7 feb '16In the current age of audio-visual capitalism, “postproduction,” to use Hito Steyerl’s term, has brought about the industrialization of vision. Multi-modal devices and cybernetic networks blend visuality with other media-forms and media-acts, while vision is subject to operable protocols and (semi-)automated processes. “Seeing is believing" thus has morphed into "seeing is acting"—and as drones and surveillance cameras remind us, to be seen is now to be acted upon. Choosing to be in/visible is now an act of sovereignty, and governing means subjecting others to technologies and cultures of vision. What progressive agency, strategies, and options remain for emancipatory endeavours to act on vision? What is to be done in the eye of social algorithms? The two conversation partners have a long-standing stake in the ever more relevant discussion about what Nicholas Mirzoeff has called the “clash of visualizations,” and each in their own ways combine analytic, aesthetic, and strategic approaches to visual culture. They will ask what horizons for resistant media acts exist in times of visual and other enclosures. – moderated by Oliver Lerone Schultz with: Hito Steyerl | Nicholas Mirzoeff | Oliver Lerone Schultz