Neil Cummings - ArtFutures
Through an account of a series of projects, artist Neil Cummings will sketch a political economy of art, and suggest creative, economic, ecological and social scenarios that could nurture vibrant artistic practices and prototypes for arts futures.
Neil Cummings was born in Wales and lives in London, he is a professor at Chelsea College of Arts and on the editorial board of Documents of Contemporary Art. As an artist Neil has worked with museums, banks, galleries, archives, auction houses, broadcasters, enthusiasts, places of education and department stores in locations as diverse as London, New York, Geneva, Cairo and Warsaw. He has explored the entanglements of art and capital in 19th century Manchester, linked the Tate and Bank of England through gifts and their subsequent debt, constructed possible futures for museums and impersonated a famous art dealer. These projects, although diverse, have consistently engaged with the cultural forces that designate and exhibit art, and the increasingly devolved experience of art, to its publics.
Erika Balsom - An Oceanic Feeling
What is oceanic feeling? For Sigmund Freud, it is the sensation of an unbreakable bond between oneself and the outside world, a quasi-sublime state in which the integrity of the self is lost, or at least compromised, in a feeling of limitlessness, unboundedness, and interconnectedness. This presentation takes Freud’s metaphor literally, returning this sense of “belonging inseparably to the external world as a whole” to its aquatic origins to explore how the ocean forges connections between people, between communities, and between the human and nonhuman. If will drifts idiosyncratically through the history of cinematic representations of the sea, from Hollywood to documentary and the avant-garde, in search of reflections on what it means to belong to the whole of a world in our time of ecological, humanitarian, and political emergency.
The talk will be followed by a screening of La Monde du Silence (1956).
Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College London. Her latest book, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation, was published by Columbia University Press in 2017. She is the author of Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013), the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (2016), and a frequent contributor to Artforum and Sight and Sound. In 2017, she was the international curator in residence at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Zealand, resulting in the 2018 screening programme and publication An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea.
Sonia Boyce - Uncomfortable
In January 2018, media coverage erupted about the take down of a 19th-century painting (Hylas and the Nymphs, 1896) by J W Waterhouse a Pre-Raphaelite painter, at the Manchester Art Gallery during a performance organised by artist Sonia Boyce.
The artist talk will look at the circumstances of the performance and the subsequent multi-screened video Six Acts, alongside another moving image work Exquisite Cacophony, filmed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2015.
Sonia Boyce (OBE, RA) came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in
the burgeoning Black-British art scene of that time, with images that spoke
about race and gender in Britain.
Since the 1990s, Boyce has developed a wider social practice
inviting other people into the work. At the heart of these improvised
situations are questions about the production and reception of unexpected
gestures where the personal, aesthetic and political meet.
Recent exhibitions include: Sonia Boyce – a retrospective,
Manchester Art Gallery (solo, 2018); Á Cris Ouverts, Rennes Biennale of
Contemporary Art (group, 2018); We move in her way, ICA-London (solo,
2017); The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Prospect 4, New Orleans (group,
2017); and, All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale of
Contemporary Art (group, 2015). A recent monograph, Sonia Boyce – A
Thoughtful Disobedience, edited by Sophie Orlando has been published by les
presses du réel (2017).
Olga Goriunova and Matthew Fuller - Irresolvability
Irresolvable problems are those to which none of the answers available are the right ones. Irresolvability is the structural incapacity to sort out a problem, to be in a state of inhabiting a problem that both consists of you and that is outwith you. It is a means of establishing a certain kind of economy of deterrence, dysfunction, a generalised condition of sludginess. Irresolvability names the condition in which the structuring incapacity of action of strategic thought becomes, by means of related technologies, economic and organisational forms and processes of subjectivation a part of everyday infrastructure of feeling. Born in the game theoretical exuberance of the cold war, irresolvability names the rationalised technique, inaugurated at Hiroshima, of rendering a problem beyond reasonable choice. It thus establishes a connection between ecological obliteration and the prohibition of thought by means of reason.
This state of impossible choice becomes foundational to the modern world, but is one different to the choice of Sartre or of Kierkegaard. Gregory Bateson presents us with the form of the schizogenic double bind to articulate this condition and, reflecting on some particularly dark experiments on dolphins, notes that it is a formal condition that may be replicated across species.
But this condition is also that of a generalised proliferation of irresolvable problems, a world of debt that comes before persons and the fractal proliferation of deterrence that dissolves futures, and in which formalisms derived from the techniques of deterrence become structuring devices that saturate everyday life. In his regard, the paper develops a new reading of the work of Hayek in his work on economic automata as part of a generalised and nonlinear infrastructure of irresolvability.
Olga Goriunova is Reader at the department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University of London. She is the author of Art Platforms (Routledge 2012) and, with Matthew Fuller, of Bleak Joys (Minnesota 2019). She has edited numerous volumes, including Fun and Software (Bloomsbury 2014).
Matthew Fuller is author of books including How to Sleep, the art biology and culture of unconsciousness and is Professor of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Søren Pold and Christian Ulrik Andersen - The Metainterface: Critical Realism and Design
The computer interface is both omnipresent and invisible, at once integrated into everyday objects and characterised by hidden exchanges of information between objects. With the current spread of mobile devices, embedded sensors, cloud services, and data capture, a new interface paradigm, the metainterface, arises where data and software disappear from our devices and into the global cloud. The metainterface indicates, that the interface has become more abstract, generalized, but also spatialized in the sense of being ubiquitous, mobile, urban and related to the things of our environment. The metainterface is a paradigm, an industry (e.g. Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, etc.) and an art/design practice, which calls for new understandings of art, culture and IT. In our book The Metainterface (MIT Press, 2018), we have developed such understandings in relation to art, literature and culture, and we will present some of this in this talk with a focus on realism and design. We will argue, that a realism of the metainterface is needed to understand what we see (e.g. the data, tools, operations, transactions) combined with how we see it (the metainterface and its software, networks and executions), including how it sees us (how the user/users are captured, datafied, profiled, computed or ‘executed’). In other ways, we need a ‘way of seeing’ that goes beyond the visual and integrates the metainterface and its effects. This realism will be discussed with examples from software art and critical interface design.
Christian Ulrik Andersen is Associate Professor at Aarhus University, Department of Digital Design and Information Studies. Inspired by network and software culture his research addresses the intersection between software and cultural performativity. In particular, he addresses the notion of »interface criticism« as performed in a variety of design and arts practices. The outcome is found in various articles and books, including The Metainterface – The Art of Platforms, Cities and Clouds MIT Press 2018 (co-authored with Søren Pold) as well as a number of projects that address issues of tactical and free research; including the online journal APRJA, together with Geoff Cox, and a Peer-Reviewed Newspaper in collaboration with transmediale festival for art and digital culture, Berlin.Søren Bro Pold is Associate Professor, Information Science, Aarhus University. He has published on digital and media aesthetics – from the 19th century panorama to the interface in its different forms, e.g. on electronic literature, net art, software art, creative software, urban, mobile and cloud interfaces, activism, surveillance culture and digital culture. His main research field is interface criticism which discusses the role and the development of the interface for art, literature, aesthetics, culture and IT. Together with Christian Ulrik Andersen he edited the anthology Interface Criticism (2011) and published The Metainterface – The Art of Platforms, Cities and Clouds (MIT Press, 2018). In relation to electronic literature, he has collaborated with libraries in several projects, e.g. on developing the installation The Poetry Machine, which has been showed at many libraries across Denmark and internationally.