tech x space
SKUC Gallery / LJUBLJANA (Slovenia)
08.08.2017 – 08.09.2017
New technologies are crucial to the acceleration of capitalist operations and, consistent with them, they are no longer oriented primarily towards human actors or instrumental to them. The exhibition is focused on the role of digital technologies and planetary computation for the organisation of global space, which is structured by them in ways, on a scale and at a rate that evade human perceptive and cognitive capacities. The exhibition registers the consequences and the potentials of shifting the driving force of social organisation towards automated and increasingly autonomous processes. Furthermore, it opens the question of how contemporary art, which as a field is still largely bound to its humanist base and (human) spectator, can register the rise of non-human actors, networks and systems, which take on an increasingly leading role in the organisation of complex contemporary capitalist societies.
UCOG-144 (Marko Peljhan) registers the migration of social power from the physical into the signal territory of telecommunication, which is dominated by military and commercial interests, but it is not directly visible or accessible to the individual. Using psycho-geographic tactical remapping and the figure of nomadic actor, it anticipates the transformations of urban space in the direction of simultaneously increased militarisation and mobility, flow. Access to the network is initially a subversive tactic, linked to the existence of the already disappearing boundary between physical and digital space; however, the shift from the figure of artist-cum-hacker to the body-cum-data marks the collapse of the boundary, in which constant connection is in fact imperative. Using alert sounds and trigger words, Constant Update (Fatima Al Qadiri and Dalton Caldwell) explores digitally stimulated and dis/organised attention and anxiety. It self-reflexively raises the question of the criteria of “novelty” and “obsolescence” and of the dynamics of information economy driven by innovation. The sound of continuous updating also signals that home has become a primary site of production. The potential of contemporary technology for the collective ownership of this means of production – the home – is the starting point of the project New Eelam (Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann), which is also a start-up company. In the context of technologically accelerated dislocation, it develops the idea of global housing subscription, which would be based on collective ownership and would make possible a more liquid form of citizenship beyond national borders. It starts from the unrealised possibilities of the neo-Marxist self-managing state Eelam; however, it does not imagine the formation of a new economic model by going back to historical forms but rather by harnessing the transformative potential of digital technologies and by accelerating the techno-capitalist vectors that already point beyond the existing socio-economic institutions and structures. Hottest to Coldest (Aleksandra Domanović) is the result of the algorithmic processing of urban space. The algorithm of this work, which has been running since 2008, collects online data about temperatures in capital cities and rearranges the names of the latter according to its title, disregarding political, cultural or other human interests. The non-metaphorical recording of the atmosphere flattens geopolitical hierarchies and it registers political, cultural, technological and other anthropogenic factors as climatic factors that, together with the natural ones, form global environment.
The invention of electricity has introduced the possibility of extending work processes late into the night, mechanisation has made possible uninterrupted production, and digitalisation has brought about 24/7 global economy. Sun_Stop (Vadim Fiškin) reveals a space of continuous illumination – activity, visibility, surveillance – in which the movement of the Sun in the turn of the futurist triumph over the Sun is replaced by the pulsation of light through optical cables. The speed of information flow is established as a new measure of time. Automation eliminates sleep as an obstacle to the 24/7 economy. In the Blink of an Eye (Pakui Hardware) points to the obsolescence of the human body and a redefinition of “the moment” in the context of high-frequency algorithmic trading, which introduces a pace that only a digital entity can follow. The obsolescence of the human eye in the context of the automation of vision, which inaugurates a new visual regime, is the subject of the third instalment of the Eye/Machine series (Harun Farocki). The work is concerned with the concept of “operational images”, which do not have a representational but rather an executive function and which are created by machines for other machines; hence, they are seldom, if ever, visualised for human eyes. Eye/Machine III registers the contours of this new hyper-alienated world of automation, the processes of intelligent machines and systems, upon which performance in all key social spheres is increasingly dependent nowadays.