e-flux & HaFI Conference: Art After Culture: Navigation Beyond Vision, April 5 & 6, 2019, HKW, Berlin

Harun Farocki, Parallel IV, 2014 © Harun Farocki GbR, Berlin

Navigation Beyond Vision
Lectures, films, and discussions
Fri, Apr 05, 2019, 7pm
Sat, Apr 06, 2019, 11am – 8pm
Location: Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles Allee 10, 10557 Berlin
In English, free admission

With Ramon Amaro, Julieta Aranda, James BridleKaye Cain-NielsenMaïté ChénièreKodwo EshunAnselm FrankeJennifer Gabrys, Charles Heller, Tom HolertInhabitantsDoreen MendeMatteo PasquinelliLaura Lo PrestiPatricia ReedNikolay Smirnov, Hito Steyerl, Oraib Toukan, and Brian Kuan Wood.

Navigation begins where the map becomes indecipherable. Navigation operates on a plane of immanence in constant motion. Instead of framing or representing the world, the art of navigation continuously updates and adjusts multiple frames from viewpoints within and beyond the world. Navigation is thus an operational practice of synthesizing various orders of magnitude, each with its own horizon. Super-modernity’s expansive enclosures of global infrastructure, time zone logistics, and data-behaviorism become external abstractions as much as computational and territorial facts.

Only a few weeks prior to his untimely death in 2014, Harun Farocki briefly referred to navigation as a contemporary challenge to montage—editing distinct sections of film into a continuous sequence—as the dominant paradigm of techno-political visuality. For Farocki, the computer-animated, navigable images that constitute the twenty-first century’s “ruling class of images” call for new tools of analysis. Drawing on Alexander Galloway’s concept of “actionable objects” in gamespace, Farocki began to ask: How does the shift from montage to navigation alter the way images—and art—operate as models of political action and modes of political intervention?

Today, we “navigate” known and unknown, real and virtual, concrete and abstract space—cities, territories, lives, and narratives. As we attempt to map and record the terrain, we are ourselves being mapped and recorded. If Google Maps seeks to map space and global finance seeks to map affective responses to possible events, Farocki appears to have employed the question of navigation to ask: What are the interfaces of navigation that transcend the realm of the purely technical, even as a form of visualization that paradoxically supersedes the spatial and temporal constraints of images completely?

Rather than finding orientation by way of images in the real world, real world experiences may be increasingly used to find orientation within images. An image may mutate into a sort of interface—an operational tool reaching beyond visual-cognitive persuasions, beyond the documentary, beyond “the image” itself, enabling seemingly boundless and borderless mobility between spaces, scales, temporalities. The navigational also redraws as well as challenges power relations inherent to orientation and movement, when, for example, groups begin visiting distant “home countries” based on DNA test results, just as many from those countries flee to foreign countries moved by promise.

Against the backdrop of platforms that swell into worlds, disorientation may have become an ethical resource.

“Navigation Beyond Vision” asks: How do navigational paradigms in virtual and offline environments increasingly inform the politics of the image? If navigation puts ontological pressure on the static frame of a photographic or cinematic image, then how are our concepts of political action, visual literacy and collective intervention also pressured to surpass or perform model worlds? How does the operative and performative character of immersion in computational environments—navigating with and within images—impact the function and the status of the visual as such? Has navigation ever been a visual technology at all, or has it always compounded cosmological, mathematical, and sensorial orders of magnitude into aggregate spatial orders that surpass the visual entirely?

 

PROGRAM

FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 7–9pm

7pm Introduction:  Doreen Mende, Brian Kuan Wood
7.15pm Keynote and screenings:  James Bridle, Hito Steyerl

SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 11am–8pm

11am  Introduction:  Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Tom Holert
11.15am  Sensory Counter-Mappings:  Anselm Franke, Jennifer Gabrys, Laura Lo Presti, Mariana Silva (Inhabitants), Nikolay Smirnov,
moderated by Tom Holert
2.15pm  The Tasks of Abstract Space:  Ramon Amaro, Matteo Pasquinelli, Patricia Reed,
moderated by Brian Kuan Wood
5pm Extra-Image Violence:  Maïté Chénière, Charles Heller, Oraib Toukan,
moderated by Doreen Mende
7.15pm Closing Response:  Kodwo Eshun

 

“Navigation Beyond Vision” is the third in the conference series “Art After Culture?” organized in Rotterdam, Paris, Berlin, and New York launching off the next ten years of e-flux journal. It is co-organized by the Harun Farocki Institut (HaFI) and e-flux journal in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW). With additional support from the CCC Research-Based Master of Visual Arts at HEAD – Genève.

February 27th, 2019 — Projects / Event
Interface

Some basics from the Strike MoMA site: “Campaigns, actions, and letters chip away at the regime’s facade from the outside. Inside, every time workers organize, defy the boss, care for a coworker, disrespect secrecy, or enact other forms of subversion, cracks are created in the core. Cracking and chipping, chipping and cracking. As the walls that artificially separate the museum from the world collapse, we reorient away from the institution and come together to make plans. Let us strike in all the ways possible to exit from the terms of the museum so we can set our own.”

 

via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”

 

Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”

 

Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020
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