Forests of Antennas, Oceans of Waves
An Exploration of Art and Theory in Electromagnetic Urban Environments
May — October 2022 • Berlin
Forests of Antennas, Oceans of Waves was a series of events running from May to October 2022, including artistic interventions in urban space, sound performances, a conference and an exhibition. The aim of the series was to engage both artistically and theoretically with phenomena of electromagnetic waves in urban environments. In participatory formats such as workshops, interactive walks, artistic lectures, sound performances, installative presentations as well as a discourse programme, the various physical, social, legal, (urban) political, biological and ecological aspects of the »Hertzian« space were examined. Starting point for the series of events and discussions was the new mobile phone generation »5G«. It is currently being tested and expanded in Berlin and other German and international cities, and is also being discussed in the context of »smart city« technologies and initiatives. The series of events therefore focused on the question: How do imperceptible radiation, frequencies and waves of new communication technologies change urban space, our bodies and our society?
Werkleitz Festival 2021 : conference programme new world dis/order
June 2021 • Halle (Saale)
In the course of the previous year, there has been a lot of talk about new world orders – and even about the disorder that the world has devolved into. Elections, the pandemic, the climate crisis have swelled the upheaval of our globalised and digitalised living environment to dimensions never seen before. Under the title new world dis/order, the conference and discourse programme was devoted to such phenomena of our so “out of joint time” (Shakespeare). It investigated the ever more brutal online culture and information wars and the tracking technologies intended to promote our health, with their origins in surveillance capitalism. It questioned the religious-like faith in the infallibility of data and the often blind trust placed in technological solutions to all conceivable human problems. It explored the astounding fragility of global infrastructures, the desperation with which society clings to an economic system based on endless growth and the exploitation of all resources, and the potentially irreversible destruction of the earth by and for human-made technologies. In this sense, it also demonstrated the urgency with which new forms of collective reason and common action, as well as visions and concepts for digital technologies that benefit everyone are needed. It was about nothing less than saving the planet and the question as to what future world dis/order we want to live (or merely survive) in.
On three weekends renowned theorists, researchers and artists discussed and reflected on the three associated spheres: the sociosphere, the ecosphere and the bodydatasphere. The programme consisted of events streamed from the former headquartersof the East German Ministry of State Securityin Halle (Saale), a series of online performances and films from artists from the European Media Art Platform (EMAP) and podcasts as well as features produced for the festival.
The conference and discourse programme new world dis/order was organized in collaboration with the German Federal Cultural Foundation and supported by the ZEIT Foundation. Curated by Sandra Naumann and Daniela Silvestrin.
May 2020 — January 2021 • Berlin
COLLECTIVE PRACTICES was an event series that examined “collective practice” as it relates to artistic creation, cultural organizing and social coexistence. Together with all participating players, a team of cultural producers wanted to research, discuss, understand and practice collectivity across four thematic explorations (#NARRATIVES / #KNOWLEDGES / #CARE / #RESISTANCE). What can “collective practice” mean, and how can we better practice collectivity – both in artistic production as well as in social life? How can we gain a more collaborative approach to living and working? How can we create and sustainably organize spaces and structures for temporary and long-term communities? How can we experiment within the cultural-artistic realm to inspire community-oriented and equitable thought and action on a broader level?
Curated by Andrea Goetzke, Daniela Silvestrin, Inga Seidler, Juba
Oktober & November 2020 • Neubrandenburg / Neustrelitz / Demmin / Greifswald
Unter dem Dach des Europäischen Filmfestivals dokumentART – films & future wurden im Oktober und November 2020 im neuen Format Zukunftstreff in Neubrandenburg und weiteren Orten in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern dringende Zukunftsfragen besprochen und diskutiert. Dabei ging es um Themen, die die nähere Zukunft der Menschen betreffen, hier und anderswo. Wir leben in Zeiten permanenter Veränderung: Klimawandel, Digitalisierung, Globalisierung und ganz aktuell sind wir alle mehr oder weniger von den Auswirkungen der Corona-Pandemie betroffen. Was treibt die Menschen in der Region an, welche Wünsche, Hoffnungen und Zweifel haben sie, im Kontext des sozialen Miteinanders, der Arbeitsmarktchancen, der politischen Stimmung in der direkten Umgebung und mit dem Blick auf die Zukunft? Mit einem ernsten und einem lachenden Auge fragten wir: Sind wir noch zu retten?!
Gleichzeitig schauten wir gemeinsam über den Tellerrand. Welche Projekte gibt es anderswo, von denen man lernen kann, welche Stimmen können und sollten verstärkt gehört werden und wie können wir uns neues Wissen und neue Praxis aneignen und wo finden wir UnterstützerInnen?
Inhaltliche Schwerpunkte lagen im Programm des Zukunftstreff 2020 über die verschiedenen Veranstaltungen hinweg vor allem auf zwei besonders relevanten Aspekten beim Nachdenken über Zukunft: Nachhaltigkeit, sowie soziale Interaktion und Kommunikation mit Schwerpunkt auf die heutige Generation Z einerseits.
28. dokumentART – films & future
European Film Festival Neubrandenburg
Oktober 2019 • Neubrandenburg
With over 80 international documentaries, short feature films and animations, the 28th edition of dokumentART – films & future focused not just on film art but also on future issues and environmental sustainability in particular.
With an international competition, special programmes, discussions, kids’ and youth events, as well as perspectives on eastern European filmmaking, visitors could once again experience a broad spectrum of inspiring films from dokumentART that encourage to deal with pressing social issues. Building on the opening film 16 Sunrises, which looked at the future of humanity and society from a global perspective with the greatest possible distance – namely from outer space – the presented documentaries, feature films and animations dug even deeper into this year’s core theme:
A future that has a fateful affect on someone because it unfolds differently than expected or hoped. A future we cannot foresee because life in the here and now is already (too) complex. A future that is simply decided for us, in which money plays a greater role than responsibility for the environment or humanity. Or a utopian future which seems to be more desirable than the present or past, in which technological progress can solve all our problems.
In this sense, dokumentART – films & future both opened the door to distant worlds and invited the visitors to engage in discussion.
Regimes of anonymity in contemporary, hybrid online-offline worlds
Exhibition, Performances, Conference
October 2018 • Kampnagel, Hamburg
Anonymity is ambivalent. On the one hand, it has close ties to the values of Western modernity as it can secure free speech and free elections, enable communication outside of the markers of collective identities, allow for solidarity of the stigmatized and protect authors, whistleblowers, critical voices and activists against censorship and persecution. But anonymity can, on the other hand, also provide the possibility to communicate, operate and make politics without responsibility, identifiability, reciprocity, or control. This trait of anonymity can be used for libel, black markets, unfiltered aggression and criminal activity. From face- and namelessness to non-traceability and the exodus from digital networks, the forms of anonymity are changing. In the present, anonymity appears to be increasingly difficult to achieve, and at the same time excessively inflated. How are modern societies coping with this?
Over the course of three days, the research group Reconfiguring Anonymity invited the audience to discuss anonymity with experts from science, art, technology and activism under the title A=ANONYM. How do contemporary regimes of anonymity arise in hybrid online-offline worlds? How is anonymity modified, evaluated, defended or opposed and abolished? When we rely on networked information and data infrastructures, how do information, ownership, transparency, privacy and anonymity interconnect? At Kampnagel, artists, activists and scientists created a space of resonance for various forms of dealing with anonymity in transition. In workshops, lectures, laboratories, forums, and an exhibition, the participants enquired how we create or suspend anonymity today and what this means, in political, aesthetical, and in social terms.
“Reconfiguring Anonymity“ was a collaborative research project of the University of Bremen, the University of Hamburg, and Leuphana University of Lüneburg, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation’s initiative “Key Issues for Academia and Society”.
Solo Exhibition with Margherita Pevere
March 2018 • Degewo Galerie, Berlin
Bacterial biofilm, blood, paper: with the aid of these materials, the artworks by Margherita Pevere presented in this exhibition challenge the idea of the body as an enclosed entity, and explore it through the notions of leakiness, contamination, and hybridity.
Leaking. Mattering. comprised works from recent years such as Works on Paper (2015), which investigate the physical and tactile properties of paper, and the installation Lymph (2016), whose classical aesthetics and controversial materials tackle the physiological origin of disgust. Two new series emerging from the artist’s research about bacterial biofilm were premiered in the exhibition: Wombs (2018), a series of extra-bodily organs, and Skin Studies (2018), a sample collection which manifest her fascination for skin.
The House of Dust d’Alison Knowles:
INHABITED BY BIRDS AND FISH
Group exhibition (part of the curatorial research programme Art by Translation)
August 2017 • Fonderie Darling, Montréal / Canada
In 1967, Fluxus artist Alison Knowles produced The House of Dust, one of the first computer-generated poems. Each quatrain began with “A house of …” followed by random sequences of materials, sites or locations, light sources, and categories of inhabitants. In 1969, Knowles translated one of the quatrains into an architectural form, which was installed in Chelsea and then at CalArts, where a burgeoning community of artists and students were creating installations, performances, concerts, poetry courses, and film screenings. The exhibition presented at the Darling Foundry retraced the history of The House of Dust and presented contemporary artists’ new interpretations of the poem-score. Knowles also presented a new version of Gift Objects for the House of Dust.
Curated by: Maud Jacquin & Sébastien Pluot, with Jeff Guess and the members of the Art By Translation programme, Tyler Coburn, Lou-Maria Le Brusq, Joshua Schwebel, and Daniela Silvestrin.
Art by Translation is an international research program in art and curatorial practices directed by Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot. Organized in sessions dedicated to specific research themes, this itinerant program takes place at different sites in Europe and North America and develops artistic and curatorial projects, discursive events and publications in collaboration with museums, art schools and universities. In each context, research is enriched by the contributions of international artists, lecturers, doctoral and master’s students from different disciplines
as part of: The House of Dust by Alison Knowles. INHABITED BY PEOPLE FROM MANY WALKS OF LIFE
Group exhibition (part of the curatorial research programme Art by Translation)
November 2017 • CNEAI=art center, Magasins Généraux, Pantin / Paris
WHEREVERYOUFINDIT.NET, a project developed for the exhibition The House of Dust by Alison Knowles. INHABITED BY PEOPLE FROM MANY WALKS OF LIFE and in the framework of the curatorial research program Art by Translation, was taking shape as a website and made reference to the collaborations Alison Knowles had established through and for the architectural structure of The House of Dust: sound artist Max Neuhaus had been enlisted to create a new sound installation for the house, while other artists, students and neighbors had been invited to contribute “found objects” that would be affixed to the surface of the house and continuously change and transform its surface and look.
Conceptually taking up this approach, the project worked as digital and virtual architectural structure, hosting and presenting various sound works and materials “affixed to it”. The online platform presented commissioned sound works, “found (sound)objects” contributed by various artists, curators, and sound theorists, as well as a variety of additional materials by artists presented in the exhibition (such as interviews, recordings and texts related the project and its background), thus creating an extension of the exhibition space to the outside. In a Fluxus-type spirit, it’s aim was to become a place of collaboration and presentation without clear boarders or structure, a hybrid between online exhibition and archive, continuing to grow over the duration of the exhibition.
STATE of EMOTION – the sentimental machine
STATE Festival for Art & Science
November 2016 • Kühlhaus, Berlin
Emotions are a fundamental source of our most personal experiences in the world. Often considered the essence of what it means to be human, to be “yourself”, they are a key influence that motivates action and determines interactions with others. For most of the history of science, emotions have eluded empirical study, considered to be too intangible and too subjective. But during the last decades, groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in areas such as experimental psychology, affective neuroscience, artificial intelligence and molecular biology have created a new momentum for research and experimentation, leading to the development of technologies and applications able to measure, interpret and simulate emotions in various ways and for a wide range of purpose.
STATE OF EMOTION - The sentimental machine took on the current state of scientific research and resulting technologies that analyzes, simulates and even taps into human emotions as a starting point of reflection, discussion and experimentation. Topics ranged from biological, psychological, and socio-cultural origins of emotions, to the philosophical and socio-political questions arising with the possibilities offered by the development of Emotional Artificial Intelligence (AI) and affective surveillance. The festival program not only introduced and gave an overview of the field, but also created a platform of common analysis, reflection, speculation and discussion regarding the already existing or possible socio-cultural and socio-political implications and transformations coming along with the newest developments.
IGNORANCE. The Power of Non-Knowledge
9th conference of the Disruption Network Lab
September 2016 • Studio 1 / Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
Artists, scientists, researchers, activists and journalists present and discussed ways and strategies to explore, unveil and unmake ignorance and its political, legal and social uses in everyday life. The second event of the “Art & Evidence” series by the Disruption Network Lab investigated the political, social and ethical dimensions of ignorance, manifested as different forms of what has been termed “non-knowledge”. It shed light on how, why and when knowledge does not come to be, disappears or is suppressed, the possible advantages and disadvantages related to the creation or maintenance of ignorance and doubt, and how the underlying strategies and dynamics can be unveiled and unmade.
A program of keynote lectures, panel discussions and a film screening presented artists, scientists, researchers and journalists who discussed mechanisms and reasons behind knowledge that does not come to be or is suppressed. Discussions centered around the political, strategic and social uses of creating ignorance in social and everyday life through the manipulation and suppression of facts, the creation of doubt and uncertainty, biased reporting of the media, or even forbidden knowledge that is too controversial, sensitive or taboo to be studied.
Art & Science Workshop
Synthetic biology workshop, artist talk and science café with C-LAB
September 2014 • Art Laboratory Berlin, Berlin
The workshop organized by Daniela Silvestrin and Desiree Förster, hosted by Art Laboratory Berlin and held in collaboration with IGEM Berlin, addressed artists, designers, DIY biologists, and especially lay people who wanted to gain practical experience with the processes and methods in the creation of new life forms, bio-materials and new forms of expression:
The artists Laura Cinti and Howard Boland (C-LAB) gave insight into their artistic practice, which includes experiments with techniques of synthetic biology. Berlin-based biohacker Rüdiger Trojok presented the do-it-yourself biohacking scene and the possibilities and limits of bringing biotechnologies into private spaces. During the workshop’s three days, the artists together with Rüdiger Trojok showed, within a complete cycle of operation, how new forms of expression can be integrated into bacteria by genetic engineering and standardized synthetic biology.
The workshop took place partly in the makeshift (DIY) laboratory installed in the gallery space of Art Laboratory Berlin, and partly in the professional laboratory for molecular biology at the Institut für Chemie of TU Berlin. The participants were encouraged “to get their hands dirty” during the workshop and work with professional equipment in both an artistic and scientific context. The results and experiences were then presented, reflected and discussed together with the participants, artists, and other interested professionals of visitors in the „Science Café“ that concluded the 3 days of intensive discussions and experiences.