Culture Post Internet

Sessions on post-digital life and art with Addie Wagenknecht and Joerg Blumtritt
The Hague, Thursday July 7th 2016

“You have to make network culture classy on its own terms. You have to ennoble the vernacular – not by teaching people Latin, but by writing Dante’s Inferno!”
Bruce Sterling

“It lacks even the appeal of the apocalyps.”
William Gibson

Addie Wagenknecht and I will hold two sessions on culture and art in the post Internet age, on occasion of Bordersessions Conference at The Hague. First we will introduce into Cyberpunk [1], and discuss how to survive and maybe even live in our digitally enhanced reality. In the evening, we will give a lecture on aesthetics for the digital arts at Leiden University [2].

Come to us all who labor with cyber culture, and we will give you the rest.
Plus: You get free vaccination against nerve attenuation syndrome.

Cyberpunk Masterclass

Cyber is the condition of reality, Punk is our way to survive. What started as science ficton genre 30 years ago is today’s fight for reclaiming freedom in our cultural habitat: We are shaping culture, technology, and media ourself, we don’t go conform neither with mass consumerism nor with surveillance and authority. We take action. Join us!

Ten billion people will live on the earth soon. Today, half of all living humans have a mobile phone, two and a half billion have internet access via smartphone. Cybernetic systems have become mundane, from autonomous cars, to algorithmic content publishing, and smart implants into the body.

When the Net took off 25 years ago, we welcomed it as the promised land of unlimited access to culture and information for everybody, granting freedom of expression to all. However, the Net is indeed free more as in free beer and less than in freedom. All links of the chain seem either privately owned by global corporations or tightly controlled by the security apperatus.

The term cyberspace was coined by science fiction author Wiliam Gibson in his dystopic vision of an overpopulated globe of digitally connected people, governed by gargantuan conglomerates, with little left of civil society -high tech, low life. A grim metaphor what our world might already be evolving into – ‘The Jackpot’ (to quote Gibson’s latest novel). This genre, made popular by him together with Bruce Sterling, Richard K. Morgan, Neal Stephonson and many others, was soon called ‘Cyberpunk’. Since then, cyber has degraded to the prefix of cyber-bullying, cyber-crime, or cyber-terrorism.

But we want to use Cyberpunk for nothing less then as instructionons for shaping the things to come. For us, Cyberpunk is not fiction as entertainment, but as design fiction, thought experiments on a world that could happen soon.

Cyber will be the dominant part of our human condition, and our way to deal with it, to survive in such a world is punk. Punk means bricolage, streetfighting with everything that is handy to be used as our tool, and experimenting how it feels to live outside the cage without building a new one. Let’s see, how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Time: Thursday, July 7th, 1100
Location: Korzo theatre, Prinsestraat 42, The Hague

  • Aesthetics for the Art Post Internet

    Besides data as storytelling, journalism, and dashboards, data has grown into a medium for expression for a large spectrum of creative output. Parametric design, algorithmic architecture alongside rapid prototyping technologies have redefined the relationship between creator and artist tools. Generative art means using algorithms to create an object whose primary qualities are aesthetic. Although the products created by machine learning are not yet perfectly mimicing human creativity, it becomes increasingly hard to tell them appart. Even beyond the blunt journalistic hyperbole of AI related stories, algorithmic music, poetry, and generative visual art have evolved to such an extent that it became necessary to discuss a basic question once again: What do we think is art? Or better: What will be art?

    Contemporary artist are still struggling to find the language for a new contemporary output and practice in the post-internet genre. The online world is bingeing but is also a rapidly changing one. Does the next generation of digital artists, responding to their own experiences of the online world, threaten the way artist work and affect what is being known as a staunchly Web 1.0 aesthetic? Artistic expression within the digital arts has brought forward critical examination of the technology and its impact on society, such as surveillance and self-determination, and has often collaged quotations of all aspects of media and consumerism, questioning art market concepts like authorship and intellecutal property rights. Mediums range from video, software, websites, to hardware, kinetic machines, and robotics. Parametric or generative art emerge from algorithms without direct human intervention.

    We want to illustrate current developments with examples of recent bodies of work, and discuss how theoretical aproaches like object oriented aesthetics (Harman), parametricism (Schumacher), atemporality (Sterling) can contextulize the current emerging fields within contemporary art.

    Time: Thursday, July 7th, 1730
    Location: Living Lab, Faculty of Governance and Global affairs, Schouwburgstraat 2, The Hague