The Seduction of a Cyborg group exhibition is on at Los Angeles’ Human Resources, opening October 8 and running from October 7 to October 23.
Curated by David Evans Frantz, Hannah Grossman, and Simone Krug, the show takes the feminist work of artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, her 2002 feature-length film Teknolust in particular, as a starting point for exploring “intimacy, sex, and desire as related to technocratic fantasies of futurity, (re)production of bodies, and fractured selfhood in the digital age.”
The exhibition will feature the work of 16 artists and collectives, including Leeson herself, working across video, photography, installation, and web-based projects. Seduction of a Cyborg is a cross-generational project — Sadie Benning, Hannah Black, Shu Lea Cheang, Faith Holland, and Juliana Huxtable among them — representing a range of practices and approaches to deconstructing our understanding of “the networked and plugged-in subject” within technofeminism, queer theory, and disembodiment.
Anxiety and liquidity seem to be fairly overused words so far in 2016. They represent perhaps the general state of mind and things, in which stability is a privilege from the past and realities only come true at a speculative level. Those two terms, among others, are leading subjects of transmediale, a yearly festival on post digital cultures, hosted at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and running February 3 to 7.
The vast programme of transmediale 2016, subtitled ‘conversationpiece’ is structured under four main streams: anxious to act, anxious to share, anxious to make and anxious to secure. These enable the visitor to identify the nature of the happening, thematically or formally. A wide range of formats are running and overlapping each other throughout the four days, aiming to raise questions and generate propositions for change and adaptation to a future that might already be here.
Referencing 17th and 18th century portraits of tea parties, picnics and salons, this edition of transmediale is meant to become a conversation. As formerly privileged conversations have been decentralised and democratized over time, and in a world where “everybody’s talking”, there is an urgency to create not only new vocabularies, but a common ground in order to acknowledge the value of talking in itself.
In the Theatersaal some video works from Norman Cowie, Beatrice Gibson or Eleni Kamma are screened. Kamma’s work, ‘Yar bana bir eğlence. Notes on Pharresia’ reflects on censorship and the unequal distribution of wealth. “Yar bana bir eğlence” claims the urgency of the creation of a political voice, such as Karagöz’s one, to be a symbolic character from the ottoman empire.
Issues common to the transmediale streams are picked up and discussed at The Panic Room Session. These sessions serve as an informal space to discuss urgent topics and its participants are selected from other transmediale events or as external actors from all backgrounds. Market uncertainty is the topic of the third Panic Room Session, and it aims to revisit the role of the artist in a world in perpetual crisis. TTIP, TPP and TISA are branches for a ramification of terms currently used to refer to markets, such as “liquidity” or “hybridity”. Those floaty descriptors are scrutinized and redefined throughout a four hour panel moderated by curator Helen Kaplinsky and writer Elvia Wilk.
Denmark-based research collectiveDIAKRON open the discussion, analysing hybrid corporations which pursue shifts and improvements rather than just profit. Designer Femke Herregraven presents her online platform-game called Liquid Citizenship –sponsored by V&A– where anybody can check if they are eligible to get a specific citizenship. A more techie approach is offered by entrepreneurs Trent McConaghy and Jip de Rideer, who respectively present a decentralised model for the internet and a digital platform to trade with solidarity. Finally, artists Valentina Karga and Pieterjan Grandry, MoneyLab and Shu Lea Cheang – whose practices are devoted to exchanging and challenging value using materials such as garlic, gold coins or collective gestures – concluded the panel by discussing the value of money new forms, such as cryptocurrencies.
In the Anxious to Share stream, the hybrid event Making Planetary Scale Gestures, which is moderated by Ben Vickers, gathers artist James Bridle, designer Sarah T Gold, curator Troy Conrad Therrien and Femke Herregraven. Bridle presents extracts of his body of work inspired by the Superstudio collective and their idea of using grids as systems of networks. Herregraven speaks of her research around cables used by data centers in remote geographic locations, and Therrien claims that computation is architectured.
In the Auditorium, the Keynote Conversations are running every day. Under the stream Anxious to Act, Hito Steyerl and Nicholas Mirzoeff present their papers around the industrialization of vision, surveillance and sovereignty. The former points out the necessity of mediation in order to understand images and visual material nowadays whereas the latter talks of how collective gestures such as “hands up, don’t shoot“ can become a visual common or a icon for solidarity.
All this is just a small insight of what transmediale really is: it is necessary and enough to awaken some kind of actively critical approach in order to select and process the conversations in which to take part. Most of the panel discussions and lectures are uploaded to transmediale’s YouTube channel, for access for those who missed them. This might be the democratic counterpart of the festival, whose pricing makes it accessible to only a few; active participation and a physical presence in conversation is otherwise not as democratically open, the way it might have been with the former picnics and salons. However, the digital display of material produced here responds to the ideals and issues central to transmediale, serving as an important reference archive for anyone with the means to access it. **
Working with the internet since the 90s, Shu Lea Cheang and Mark Amerikahave seen the world wide web develop, shift and change into what it is today. As so-called ‘net natives’ Cheang and Amerika share many of the concerns of artists evolving with the WWW, from its emergence in the late-80s/early 90s,to the dot-com bubble, its burst, and now Web 2.0.
Cheang, a multimedia artist and punk at heart has been working with net-based installation, social interface and film production since her early days with open media collective Paper Tiger Television, living as a nomad in New York until finally settling in Paris, and is possibly best known for her work with the Guggenheim’s first web commissions BRANDON in 1998. Amerika is a media artist, novelist and theorist of Internet and remix culture, was named a ‘Time Magazine 100 Innovator’ and his immeasurable influence continues most recently with his theory of remix art publication remixthebook.
Both artists present some of their most recent work, side by side for the first time in a joint exhibition, self-titled Shu Lea Cheang & Mark Amerika, and featuring viral performance, virtual compost and artworks intentionally corrupted by technological processes across sound, electronic literature, comedy and more.
In this interview at Furtherfield Gallery before the launch of their exhibition, running August 31 to October 20, Amerika and Cheang kindly shared their thoughts on data collection, gentrification of the internet and the artist 2.0 commodified. **
Even since her early days with Paper Tiger Television, Shu Lea Cheang has been working to disrupt the corporate control expanding out from our suburbs to public broadcast and the web. But it seems that the effects of gentrification extend as far as our very crops, genetically modifying staple foods, with little regard for its ecological effects.
That’s why, in conjunction with Furtherfield’s Shu Lea Cheang & Mark Amerika exhibition, opening to the public on Saturday, August 31, the networking pioneer will be hosting Seeds Underground Party to raise awareness about the potential impact of the European Union’s plans to enforce strict new seed growing regulations.
Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park presents a shared exhibition between pioneering new media aritsts Mark Amerika and Shu Lea Cheang, opening August 31. Respectively named a “Time Magazine 100 Innovator” and a long time member of open media collective Paper Tiger Television, the two artists have been working across disciplines for decades and no doubt have a lot to teach this next generation of digital artists that we at aqnb find so interesting, if they haven’t already.
Sharing the same interests and obsessions as the rising tide of young artists raised on the internet, both Amerika and Cheang “continue to shape and be shaped by contemporary networked media art cultures of remix, glitch, social and environmental encounters”. See the Furtherfield Gallery website for more details.