Ben Vickers

transmediale 2016 @ HKW, Feb 3 – 7

3 February 2016

This year’s transmediale programme of exhibitions, conferences, screenings, performances and publications is on at Berlin’s HKW, running February 3 to  7.

With the theme of ‘transmediale/conversationpiece’, 2016 marks the first time the annual festival will run without pertaining to a central theme. It will instead host a series of discussions that take place each day with invited speakers and specific titles all owing to the anxiety of late capitalism.

There are four key strands that the organisers ask its audience to consider in relation to the unfolding, and in parts overlapping discussions: anxious to act, anxious to make, anxious to share, anxious to secure.

We reviewed 2015’s event here, and below have some recommendations for the upcoming week’s conversations and discussions:

Disnovation Research. Drone-2000‘, February 4.

Panic Room and ‘Excessive Research‘ with Cornelia Sollfrank (both) on February 4.

Global Ports‘ featuring Fabiane M. Borges and Ben Vickers, who will also speak in ‘After the Sharing Economy‘, February 4 + 5

Fear or Silence, A Brief History of the Air Raid Siren‘ (performance) + Translating the Hyper and the Invisible with Alona Rodeh, February 5 + 6

DJ Megatron set at the opening event, February 3

Still Be Here‘ performance with Hatsune Miku in collaboration with Laurel Halo and LaTurbo Avedon, February 4

Californium game hosted by ARTE Creative and Darjeeling Productions, February 4

Inner Security‘ with Sophie Hoyle, February 5

RecPlay‘ performance, February 4

Keynote Conversation: Anxious to Act‘ with Hito Steyerl, February 7

See the transmediale 2016 website for details and the full programme.**

Reflective Bags by Alona Rodeh (2015). Courtesy the artist.
Reflective Bags by Alona Rodeh (2015). Courtesy the artist.




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K.I.S.S @ Generation & Display, Mar 20 – May 2

19 March 2015

Generation & Display is celebrating its inaugural exhibition at their new North West location with a massive group show titled K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid!) and running from March 20 to May 2.

While no description is given about the thematics or aesthetic leanings of the show, its lengthy list of participants gives an idea of what to expect. Included in the line-up are Paul Kneale, Jesse Darling and Ben Vickers, who are simultaneously participating in the Berlin Lunch Bytes conference that weekend.

In fact, the line-up features many familiar names, from Holly White and Huw Lemmey, to Takeshi ShiomitsuLeslie Kulesh, Mat Jenner, Megan Rooney, Harry Burke, and Hannah Black, along with about 15 others.

See the exhibition FB page for details. **

BODIES AGAINST THINGS by Caspar Heinemann.


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An Evening… @ Goethe-Institut London, Mar 19

18 March 2015

Inspired by recent exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, the Goethe-Institut in London is putting on a study evening titled An Evening on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on March 19.

Organised by curators Lucia Pietroiusti and Rebecca Lewin, it brings together a collection of writers, artists, filmmakers, and researchers to explore “global infrastructure” and the mobility and movement of people, of things, and of information across international terrain.

Amongst the participants are anthropological researcher Alice Elliot and international law researcher as well as a lecture and performance by artist Rachel Pimm. There’ll be a conversation with architect and writer Keller Easterling and writer and curator Ben Vickers, as well as a screening of artist Lance Wakeling‘s 2011 film, A Tour of the AC-1 Transatlantic Submarine Cable.

See the event page for details. **

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Transmediale 2015, Jan 28 – Feb 1

27 January 2015

transmediale 2015 is celebrating its 28th year this week, running at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) from January 28 to February 1.

The festival and year-long project looks at the future of work, play and life through “the black mirror of data”, examining a culture that has become dependent on and synonymous with measurement, automation and optimisation, one where all work is fun and all social relations productive.

transmediale 2015, led by a curatorial team made up of Daphne Dragona, Kristoffer Gansing, Robert Sakrowski, and Marcel Schwierin, presents the artistic responses to this contemporary phenomenon, kicking off with an opening ceremony with Erica Scourti, Hanne Lippard and La Turbo Avedon, among others. The next day brings a discussion called “Glossary of Subsumption: Enclosed Athens Disclosed” with Oliver Lerone Schultz, as well as “The First Global unMonastery Summit” with unMonastery and Ben Vickers.

That Friday brings back Vickers together with Scourti and Sebastian Schmieg for “Expose and Repurpose” as well as for “Enclosures of Toxicity”  with unMonastery, and the day also features: “hybrid publishing toolkit” with Florian Cramer, “Appropriate and Accelerate – Art Under Algorithmic Pressure” with Jonas Lund“Attuning to ‘Data Doubles’” with Stephen Fortune and Matthew Plummer Fernandez among others; and Evgeny Morozov at the “All Watched Over by Algorithms” conference.

Other events of the day include “#temporarycustodians” with curator Helen Kaplinsky and artist Maurice Carlin, and “Datafied Research: Capture People” with Mercedes Bunz.

That Saturday brings another handful of great events, including ones with Benjamin Bratton, Shu Lea Cheang, Lorna Mills, Aram Bartholl, and McKenzie Wark.

See the transmediale website for details. **

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Genuine Articles (2014) exhibition photos

23 October 2014

Seeing and talking about the Barnie Page-curated Genuine Articles show is one thing. Trying to make sense of the graphical flowering of links, images, reference points and ‘spaces’ in its infinity mirror of metanarratives is another. Right now, I have two browser windows open with about 10 tabs each (not including pop-ups) featuring information that is all somehow related to the subject at hand. The subject at hand being an exhibition of art documentation about an exhibition of art documentation that also features art documentation of exhibitions about art documentation, if you follow.

Running at London’s Jupiter Woods from October 2 to 25, Genuine Articles explores the aura of the artist and/or the artwork via its boundless reproductions, recontextualisations and reappropriations made possible by the internet. Spreading itself across platforms, namely the ‘real life’ location of the exhibition space and the online documentation thereof on a specially built website, the show draws from myriad artworks where their original, or ‘genuine’ sources have become so abstracted by the fracturing logic of the network that any notion of authorship becomes, as the press release states, “questionable and difficult to place, and at times of no importance”.

Barnie Page, 'this ain't soda pop, dude!' (2014) @ Jupiter Woods install view. Courtesy Barnie Page.
Barnie Page, ‘this ain’t soda pop, dude!’ (2014) @ Jupiter Woods install view. Courtesy Barnie Page.

Hence, Barnie Page’s ‘this ain’t soda pop, dude!‘ (2014) sculpture at the centre of the Jupiter Woods space, where a black and blue mesh wastepaper basket filled with empty black and blue Monster Energy Absolutely Zero cans respond to Cory Arcangel‘s instructions to Ryan Gander on recreating one of his own sculptures called ‘To Protect Space’ (2011). The Arcangel original featured limited edition Tron Coke cans which a cashpoor Gander reconfigured into ‘Enjoy Responsibly’ (2012) to save on shipping for his Ampersand installation in Paris. That “cover version” featured a bin that colour-matched the Bacardi Superior and Zero Calorie Cola of his own chosen beverage.

Hanging on the wall to the right of Page’s trashcan (if you’re facing the wall of Mona Lisa postcards, souvenirs and accessories) an A4 print-out, ‘Yin Yang Rock’, is credited to “various artists” and lacks a date of production. That’s because if you traced the original scultpture (now lost) back to its source (as Page did through Google’s “search by image function”), through the NO PERMISSION/ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK exhibition – where Andreas Banderas reproduced it and Ben Vickers commissioned it – and Carmen Mueck  who sculpted it before, you’d find that ‘Ying Yang Rock’ was in fact a meteorite that fell to earth in 1860. The universe itself is it’s author.

Documentation of Emily’s Video, 2012, Eva and Franco Matte, image courtesy Jupiter Woods.

On the opposite wall from the fallen rock facsimile is a wall-length print of an image of Joey Villemont and Camille le Houzec‘s Screenplay exhibition held at Glasgow’s SWG3 Gallery. Giving the illusion of a three-dimenional extension to the Jupiter Woods space, it’s a flattened photo of a physical exhibition that was itself a representation of digitised art documentation – including that of Simon Denny, Philip Timischl and Anne de Vries among others – originally (or is it secondarily?) presented on Villemont and Houzec’s online exhibition space,

Then there’s ‘Emily’s Video Reactions‘ by Eva and Franco Mattes screening reactions to the “worst video ever” from a TV in the corner that’s facing a wall. The source of its viewer’s distress was a film found in the deep web and promptly destroyed, so “the second hand experiences are the only proof of its existence” on YouTube. With that its the second hand experience of said second hand experience that an IRL audience becomes witness to at Jupiter Woods, as only one person at a time can view the video in the tight spot between the white wall and the screen. That’s where you consider Genuine Articles and each object, or each image of an object, or each image of an image of an image of an object becoming merely a reflection of a particular historical, cultural, physical, even emotional context. Because at any given time an artwork, whether ‘genuine’ or not, is less a reflection of its author than the position of the person that’s looking at it.  **

Exhibition photos, top right.

Genuine Articles is on at London’s Jupiter Woods, running October 2 and to October 25, 2014.

Header image: Genuine Articles (2014) @ Jupiter Woods exhibition view. Courtesy Barnie Page.

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AGNES live @ Serpentine Galleries website

24 February 2014

Cécile B. Evans‘ AGNES launched her residency on the new Serpentine Galleries website, in partnership with Hackney Picturehouse, on February 23.

With the concept of the ‘digital native’ being such a contentious issue, perhaps spambot ‘AGNES’ –the first ever digital commission from the Serpentine and curator of digital Ben Vickers  –is its truest incarnation.

Apparently born in ’98 and ‘living and working’ at the Gallery website, AGNES’ disembodied hands and voice leads her viewer through a personalised tour of a WWW dystopia, that can lead anywhere from a wikipedia page on sleep deprivation to a video narrative from the perspective of a sentient, English-speaking chicken.

See the Serpentine Galleries website for details. **


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Near Now 2014-2015 Fellowships announced

11 February 2014

Dejan MitrovicHarry Sanderson and Ben Vickers have been announced as fellows for 15-month artistic and professional development placement with Nottingham’s Near Now.

As part of the programme’s efforts to critically explore the place and impact of technology in everyday life the three practitioners -including Digital curator at Serpentine Gallery and LimaZulu co-founder Vickers, RCA graduate and creative entrepreneur Mitrovic and Sanderson, who recently worked with led the Unified Fabric exhibition at Arcadia Missa, will be developing their work with Near Now’s support from January 2014 to March 2015.

Watch an interview with Harry Sanderson and see the Near Now website for details. **

Header image by Harry Sanderson

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‘Re-calculating Virtual Ratios’ @ Import Projects, Oct 23 + Nov 13

21 October 2013

In collaboration with Berlin’s Import Projects, writer Elvia Wilk will be exploring the virtual vs IRL distinction that has generally become accepted as non-existent through two discussion panels running October 23 and November 13.

Interrogating this still problematic assumption of digital dualism, while looking at the social implications of its deconstruction, the panels will feature artists and writers charged with distilling a specific project to a 10-minute presentation, with discussion to follow. The two days will also be separated into two themes, with Jenna Sutela, Nadim Samman, Jesse Darling and Luke Munn speaking on ‘Opacity’ on October 23. Beny Wagner, Olia Lialina, Ben Vickers and Asli Serbest + Mona Mahall will be covering ‘Transparency’ on November 13, to coincide with Import Projects’ launch of Wagner’s Invisible Measure.

See the Elvia Wilk’s website for more details. **

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