Dashboarding the crisis
As the Coronavirus crisis evolves, it becomes harder to tell what kind of image the most publicised image of/on the crisis is exactly: Courtesy of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), this info-assemblage of charts, curves, numbers, names, map has to be considered as contemporary’s control (or rather: panic) panel par excellence, the iconic polydiagram of the moment. There are other Corona dashboards available (to be used with great care as many have proved to be carriers of malware), but this one (perhaps alongside the sites of the New York Times, the WHO etc.) singlehandedly became the key reference site in the decision-making processes of governments, health administrations, executive boards, stock exchanges and newsrooms worldwide. On the – to date – “virus-free,” website updates on the global spreading of COVID-19 are being merged into a (interactive, zoom-able) sombre black map with feverishly alerting red dots, whose sizes correspond to the numbers of COVID-19 related infections and deaths in the depicted countries and regions (charted on the left and the right side of the central map). For weeks without end routinely opening this site on one’s personal browser faces one with the image that probably features most pertinently in the war rooms of the world. Observing the data at the quarantine called home (in durational performances of anxiety and dread), a prognostic habit is likely to settle as the default mode of perception. At the same time, however, Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 dashboard is also eerily comforting. For, at least, the numbers seem to be properly quarantined and contained. Imaging the paradox of the control of the disaster, the corona dashboard has done a pretty effective job so far, eliciting alternative kinds of infographic creation, such as the one on the Information is Beautiful site. TH
March 15th, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02
On Friday, April 6, 2021, at 8 p.m., Akademie Schloss Solitude will host a Zoom event with former HaFI Residency fellowship holder Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible” (2017). Moderated by Doreen Mende. To register, click here.
April 14th, 2021
The magazine MONOPOL currently features an interview (in German) with Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible,” which she conceived and shot during her HaFI residency in 2017.
April 14th, 2021
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