2015 2012 2009 2006 2003
Art and science have always been closely connected, as is abundantly evident in the history of fine arts. In ancientGreece, people discovered the perfect ratio from "the golden section". In the Renaissance, the polymath Leonardo Da Vincicreated time-honored masterpieces with his knowledge on perspective and anatomy. Using his notes on science, Da Vinciillustrated the complex relationship between art and natural science, unveiling the mystery of these two ways of exploringreality. Aesthetics in any form often follow certain scientific rules–from the solemnity and elegance in the classical antiquity,to the grandeur and sacredness in the Middle Ages, from humanity connotations in the Renaissance Period, to impressionists'use of vibrant changing colors to recreate the vivid surge of light waves in their scientific experiments with light and color,confrontation and convergence in art and science was not uncommon before they gained traction in major schools ofart since the modern times. Parting ways in the 17th century to develop into independent disciplines, art and science hadcrossed paths again since the industrial revolution in the 18th century, responding to the ardent call of the times. Scienceand technology have found an increasing presence in people's lives and artistic creations, with photography, television andfilms becoming new media of artistic expression. This may have probably fulfilled the prophecy of the French writer GustaveFlaubert: "The further she advances, the more art will be science, and science too will become art. ... The two will cometogether again at the top after being separated at the base."

In particular, the birth of Bauhaus in 1919 triggered a worldwide paradigm shift. Until today, people are still obsessedwith the complicated yet beautiful entanglement between art and design. Also about a hundred years ago, the New CultureMovement of China in 1919 gave rise to transformations in art, society, science and education. Such desire for reformhas been stirring Chinese people until modern days. Having been through the period of great development driven bytechnological advancement as well as forty years of reform and opening-up, we are more connected with the world thanever. At the forefront of China's endeavors in communicating with the outside world, the Pearl River Delta has witnessednew vitality in history and culture, social ecology as well as science and technology during the exchange between China andother countries and regions. Faced with the new reality of expedited technology iteration and self-transformation, how do wechange our view of this world and the future has become the starting point for all thinking.

It is against such a grand historical backdrop that the 6th Guangzhou Triennial takes place. After thousands of yearsof development supported by science and technology, we try to reflect the ethos of an era through the unique means ofexhibition and think critically in terms of technological civilization, the politics of technology and technology in life. Byreviewing the history of the independent yet connected development of art and technology in human civilization, andexploring the innovative modes of interdisciplinary collaboration or the boundary problem of art and technology, we attemptto tackle new ethical issues resulting from technology at present and in the coming days. Just as the Italian philosopherUmberto Galimberti said, "Due to the fact that we live in a world in which every detail is organized technically, technique isno longer something which we choose, but it is our environment, where ends and means, purposes and ideations, conduct,actions and passions, even dreams and desires are articulated technically and need technique to be expressed. "Television,the Internet, computer, mobile phone and other new media have since long ago become indispensable in modern life, andhumanity itself has evolved into another kind of "digital being". Therefore, in the context of post-humanism, instead of in asubject-object relation, man and technology are both subjects where man should be considered as a part of the technologicalworld, rather than the only subject entitled to speech and the pursuit of freedom.

As such, technology should not be simply regarded as a tool or medium serving the art; rather, it is a content of the art.Emerging technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive technology have been widely deployed inart creation and designing, becoming an essential feature of contemporary art. With digital technologies and digitalization,people now have a new way to practice art, while art may deploy new creation concepts and methods and communicationchannels generated by the scientific knowledge-based cognition paradigm and value proposition, and thus develop with lessrestraints. This year's theme exhibition co-curated by Angelique Spaninks, Zhang Ga and Philipp Ziegler is comprised ofthree sectors: "Evolutions of Kin", "Machines are not Alone", and "Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital". They will interprethow the human and the nonhuman, living creature and machine, real and virtual world interweave a large network thatenables us to re-picture the world and future in a new bio-context and social scenario.

Since established in 1997, Guangdong Museum of Art (GDMoA) has been committed to facilitating the developmentof and research into the contemporary art in China. To this end, it inaugurated the Guangzhou Triennial in 2002, a regularexhibition dedicated to contemporary art. Over the past 16 years, five editions have been successfully held, namely: the firstedition "Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990-2000)" curated by Feng Boyi, Huang Zhuan, WangHuangsheng (the then Director of GDMoA), and Wu Hong in 2002; the second edition "Beyond: An Extraordinary Spaceof Experimentation for Modernization" by Hou Hanru, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Guo Xiaoyan in 2005; the third edition"Farewell to Post-Colonialism" by Gao Shiming, Sarat Maharaj, and Chang Tsong-zung in 2008; the fourth edition "TheUnseen" by Luo Yiping (the then Director of GDMoA), Jiang Jiehong, and Jonathan Watkins in 2012; and the fifth edition"Asia Time: 1st Asia Biennial & 5th Guangzhou Triennial" by Zhang Qing, Henk Slager, Ute Meta Bauer, Kim Hong-Hee,and Sarah Wilson in 2016. Thanks to the persistent efforts of GDMoA, the Guangzhou Triennial has gained increasinginfluence in Asia and beyond as a professional exhibition of contemporary art. At the sixth edition, we would like to reviewthe whole history of this event from the academic perspective, and present an all-round and systematic overview of thebranding strategy, exhibition mechanism and future outlook of the triennial in this year's Archive Exhibition. Meanwhile, weaim to expand the influence of the Guangzhou Triennial through subordinate, parallel and special exhibitions to be held byother institutions, and promote the art ecosystem in the whole region. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all theentities and individuals that have contributed continuous attention and support to GDMoA and the Guangzhou Triennial.We believe the support from the whole society is the fundamental driver of the art. Following the simple yet firm convictionthat "concerning ourselves with culture and history", we, with ambitious visions for art, will be strongly inspired to build abetter future.
Wang Shaoqiang
Chief Director of the 6th Guangzhou Triennialand
Curator of the Archive Exhibition of the Triennial
Director of Guangdong Museum of Art
November 2018
Guangdong Museum of ArtAs We May Think: FeedforwardThe Sixth Guangzhou Triennial 2018Guangdong Museum of ArtDec 21, 2018 – March 10, 2019Triennial director: WANG ShaoqiangTheme ExhibitionCurators: Angelique Spaninks, ZHANG Ga, Philipp ZieglerTriennial Archive ExhibitionCurator: WANG ShaoqiangTheme ExhibitionAs We May Think: Feedforward“Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications,and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”Vannevar BushIn the summer of 1945, the American engineer Vannevar Bush published an essay in the Bostonbasedjournal The Atlantic. Titled “As We May Think,” the paper imagined a universal communicationsapparatus which anticipated the advent of an information society. Over the last threequartersof a century, what was then pondered by an insightful individual, who was able to thinkbeyond the limits of his time, has materialized itself as a new world order in which the oncedreamed-up Memex has not only taken on a much more powerful incarnation but also evolved,multiplied and accelerated into a pervasive, all-encompassing membrane of connected machinesthat operate on a planetary scale, giving rise to the unprecedented transformations that have foreverredefined contemporary notions of work and play, politics, economics, and culture, or life asa whole. Today with Moore’s law seeing no sign of slowing down and technological breakthroughsaccelerating each passing day, along with the irrevocable encroachment of the Anthropocene,what can yet be thought of by human ingenuity and what is yet to be imagined throughhuman fantasy demand a thinking beyond the very capacity of human herself. Future looms largewith the indelible force of feedforward. Invoking a cybernetics parlance of proactive controlmechanism capable of pre-emptive sentience, feedforward insinuates a new type of perceptualdomain, re-calibrating our sensorium: “In this new world networked computation senses, tracks,and records the present in order to predict and shape the future in large part independently fromhuman action.” (Mark B. Hansen) What were once attributes of the biological are now givenaway to technologically mediated senses that invariably transpose, augment and dislocate thebiotically delineated sense faculties, preordaining a destiny outside of human volition, problematizingthe ethical-aesthetic norms and prompting anxiety and insecurity. As existence has becomea paradox of the aleatory and the liminal ingrained at the same time with the anticipatory and thepredestined, a new reality descends in which inherited wisdom no longer suffices.

Titled As We May Think, Feedforward, extending this seminal text’s far-reaching ramificationsinto the artistic domain as a way to reflect on the trajectories of technological advances and theirreverberations throughout the social sphere over the past decades, the 6th edition of GuangzhouTriennial seeks to address the multiple implications engendered by such a technologically constructedtime-space - in the real and through the virtual - by examining creative endeavors bothfrom geographical purviews and from cosmic prospects in responding to the challenges and opportunitiesat stake and to think, once again, through a new alliance of visions by humans andnonhumans alike, machines and flesh with equal footing, organic and inorganic hand in hand, analternative outlook for a new possibility of ecology whereby a retooled humanism may thrive ina Parliament of Things (to borrow a term from Bruno Latour) in symbiosis and reciprocity.

The Triennial Theme Exhibition is organized in three parts each addressing a particular focus inquestion. Together they weave a web of interconnected entry points and exits, underlining a networkof facticity and speculations that encapsulate the world as we know it now through imaginativeimpulse and as we may think it once again by an unfettered vision to grasp a fleeting future.

Curators: Angelique Spaninks, ZHANG Ga, Philipp Ziegler

Part IInside the Stack: Art in the DigitalCurator: Philipp Ziegler

Artists from around the world are dealing with the growing presence of the digital and its impacton society. As We May Think will show new perspectives on digital technologies, the Internetand social networks and examine both the virtual and physical manifestations of today's artisticpractice fundamentally influenced by the digital. The "digital age" has changed our thinking, actingand feeling rapidly since its appearance less than twenty years ago, when the global amountof digitally stored information surpassed that of analog for the first time. All areas of our everydaylife, our perception and knowledge production are digitally engendered today. The digital istherefore today the predominant cultural technique in our “globally networked society, in whichthe biosphere and infosphere permeate and condition each other" (Peter Weibel). In their works,the artists gathered for this part of the Triennial take different perspectives on the digital that underliestheir works as an "a priori". Employing Benjamin Bratton’s concept of “the Stack” as asymbolic as well as a structural framework, Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital raises the veryfundamental question of the digital as a new type of reality which reshapes contemporary experiences,and artists’ creative responses towards this reality.

Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital will take a look back on the history of the development ofcomputer technology until today, provide an insight into digital infrastructures and the penetrationof the real with the digital in our present and give a speculative outlook on technological developmentsof the digital in the future.

Part IIEvolutions of KinCurator: Angelique Spaninks

What does it mean to consider life equal for humans and non-humans alike – to witness evolutionin everything in and around us, above and below, on nanoscale and in the universe, in pastand future but most of all in the present? These are fundamental philosophical questions raised inthe face of our ever emerging and accelerating technologies, in the digital as well as in the biological.Many of the artists in ‘Evolutions of Kin’ are doing exactly this: seeing and creating, researching,imagining and speculating on what others there may be – human and nonhuman. Theyquestion what it means to be human by incorporating the nonhuman, they design evolutions ofkin, they swim the oceans of life and feed on the compost of time as crossbred and divergedspecies. And by doing so they create a sense of kinship, of ‘humankind’, as Timothy Mortoncalls it in his latest book, which makes it possible, for themselves and others, for better and forworse, to embody solidarity with the world as a whole.

Evolutions of Kin takes technological invention and intervention to an ethical level of inquiry,extending subjectivity to the nonhuman life, advocating a shared origin and co-evolutional trajectoryof humans and nonhumans and a new vision of life.

Part IIIMachines Are Not AloneCurator: ZHANG Ga

The world is machinic: not only does its function depend on a network of machines but also theland, river, mountains, trees and animals, humans included, are machines of some sort when seenfrom an operational point of view or an abstract sense of the word because they are systems ofinterconnected biospheres, neural synapses, motor-sensor coordinates, psychosomatic attributes,social relationships and technical milieus imbricated, intertwined, transversal and reciprocal asintricate as the relationship between humans and thoughts, knowledge and freedom. Far from amechanistic vision of dualism, this worldview of machines, apparatuses and devices is one thatenvisages a unity which endorses giving everything its due place as equally significant and worthywith respect and care.

The exhibition Machines Are Not Alone fitted with sky machines, earth machines, and manyother geoengineering and emotive devices and apparatuses, moved by transportation machinesand custom machines and activated by exhibition machines, workshop machines and audienceand participation machines will have a three-part journey to complete its global treading. It startsits ignition at Chronus Art Center in Shanghai in the summer of 2018, continues to Zagreb ContemporaryArt Museum in winter, and lands at the Guangzhou Museum of Art as a component of6th Guangzhou Triennial. Each traveling iteration will root itself in the local milieu with a cosmicoutlook and create interconnections with its immediate surroundings and umwelt logistically,ecologically and psychosocially as if a living act of the Three Ecologies.

Together the trilogy maps out a machinic trajectory that transverses oceans and lands, places andsites; integrates climates and communities and adapts limitations and expansions for a resoundingmachinic chorus.

Machines Are Not Alone further extends the notion of subjectivity into the realm of nonlife andthe object world, both cultural and natural, technology and psychic, proposing a radical rethinkingof modernity, freedom and emancipation in a posthuman symbiosis. Machines Are Not Aloneis divided into three parts, each with a major installation as its center piece to form the core conceptualand visual highlight, surrounded by clusters of other works further illuminating the thesisof Geo-Machine, Molecular Machine and Psychic Machine.

ADDRESS:Guangdong Museum of Art, 38 Yanyu Road, Er-sha Island, Guangzhou, ChinaTEL: (020) 87351468 FAX: (020) 87353773 http://www.GDMoA.org

Mediatized Perception and Creative Future
– The 6th Guangzhou Triennial International Forum
Time: December 20, 2018 (Thursday) 9:00 – 17:30
Venue: Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
Li Jinkun / Wang Shaoqiang / Fan Bo
Mark·B. N. Hansen / Hu Bin / Philipp Ziegler/ Femke Herregraven / Angelique Spaninks / Thomas Feuerstein / Feng Feng /
Yuk Hui / Jiang Yuhui
Feng Yuan / Yang Xiaoyan / Wang Yudong / Liu Ke / Mark·B. N. Hansen / Hu Bin / Philipp Ziegler / Femke Herregraven /
Angelique Spaninks / Thomas Feuerstein / Feng Feng / Yuk Hui / Jiang Yuhui

Academic Dialogue of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial 2018 – Shanghai
Theme:"As We May Think: Feedforward" - An Interpretation of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial 2018
Time: Nov. 6, 2018 (Tuesday) 15:00 – 16:30
Venue: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Zhang Ga / Deng Yuejun / Lu Pingyuan / Lin Ke / Feng Chen / Jiang Zhuyun
Academic Dialogue of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial 2018 – Beijing
Theme: "As We May Think: Feedforward" – An Interpretation of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial 2018
Time: Oct. 29, 2018 (Monday) 18:30 – 20:00
Venue: Red Chair Lecture Hall, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Organizers: Guangdong Museum of Art; Center for Art and Technology, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Wang Shaoqiang / Zhang Ga / Wang Yuyang / Liu Wa / Yang Jian / Liu Jiayu / Zhang Yongji
Academic Dialogue of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial 2018 – Guangzhou
Theme: Art and Technology from the Humanistic Perspective
Time: Oct. 14, 2018 (Sunday) 14:30 – 16:00
Venue: 33 Art Center in Guangzhou
Wang Shaoqiang / Sheng Wei
Feng Feng / Hu Bin / Shen Ruijun
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Guangzhou
Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou
Guangzhou Broadcasting Network
Madein Gallery
Capsule Shanghai
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris
Esther Schipper, Berlin
Unser Land Tirol
MOCA Taipei
Antenna Space, Shanghai
Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin
Future Gallery
Sprengel Museum Hannover
Sadie Coles HQ, London
Goodman Gallery, South Africa
TRT World.com
A&E Television Networks
Metro Pictures, New York
Bitforms Gallery
The New Infinity
Fridman Gallery
ShanghART Gallery
BTI Studios
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Nathalie Karg,New York
Galerie Pact
Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
Gallery Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck/Vienna
Dittrich & Schlechtriem (Berlin)
Hong's Foundation for Education & Culture
Boers-Li Gallery
Guangzhou Agile Environmental Remediation Limited
Fundación CALOSA
Espacio Fundación Telefónica Lima
Fundación Telefónica México
Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores
2015 Prix Ars Electronica, Golden Nica
Laboratorio Arte Alameda
Department of Microbiology, University of Innsbruck
Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology,
Medical University of Innsbruck
Guangzhou Wolbaki Biotechnology Co. Ltd
Shanghai Entomological Museum C.A.S.
Robb Report
Audemars Piguet
Daliang Cultural Center

Interns/Volunteer (in no particular order)
Tang Xitong / Shi Peilin / Chen Xiting / Zhu Yimei / Zhang Bimeng / Wang Xin / Fan Sijie / Chen
Meng / Wang Zilu / Deng Shuzhan / Liu Ziyuan / Xu Yuangu / Li Chenchen / Shao Jianshu / Zhou
Xuanxuan / Li Wenli / Zhang Yu / Xie Jinyang / Ning Niya / Feng Ying / Ye Chong / Zhao Keran /
Zheng Shaotao / Tan Minyi / Luo Rongrong / Zhang Hailin / Chen Xihui / Li Jiayi / Wu Jiawei / Li
Jingfeng / Liang Jiajie / Xu Yunshang / Shi Yuhua / Tong Senwei / Zeng Luqi / Jin Wenling / Lin Yun
/ Li Xin / Ye Lanying / Liao Yiqi / Pan Yongwen / Zheng Jingwei / Zhong Xuanming / Kuang Yunfei
/ Liang Jialan / Chen Qiaoyu / Chen Zhengtong / Deng Ya / Yu Sihang / Luo Qingyun / Huang
Runjuan / Su Jieni / Zeng Qiuyi / Huang Minyun / Lai YIting / Yuan Ningzhi / Chen Hongyuan
/ Zhu Yilu / Wang Zeling / Wang Ruixin / Shen Wanying / Tan Yanping / Zhu Shanshan / Lin
Junhao / Yao Xinmei / Zeng Yingyi / Cen Huisi / Li Chuli / Liang Mingshi / Zhong Linmao / Xu
Yuetong / Li Yanxian / Luo Yangsi / Li Xinghong / Shi Yuanyuan / Chen Zeming / Chanakan-Ning
Puntarigvivat / Nusrat Yasmin Nity
Some other volunteers not in the list above involved in the 6th Guangzhou Triennial, we appreciate
their work sincerely.

Special Thanks to
Wang Luan / Chen Chaoming / Yu Jianyao / Sun Jia / Zhang Ana
School of Foreign Studies South China Normal University
Grade 2016 Visual Communication Class, City School, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
Grade 2018 Interior Design Class, Architecture and Fine Arts School, Guangzhou Modern
Information Engineering College
Grade 2017 Interior Design Class, Architecture and Fine Arts School, Guangzhou Modern
Information Engineering College
The 6th Guangzhou Triennial Organizational Committee
Director: Wang Yiyang
Deputy Directors: Yang Shu / Zhang Yimin
Executive Directors: Tang Guohua / Yu Wandong / Wang Shaoqiang
Deputy Executive Directors: Shao Shan / Lin Zhida / Pang Li
Committee Members: Lu Zihua / Zhong Kezhen / Zheng Yongxin / Huang
Yaqun / Yuan Ximin / Liang Jie / Zhang Fen / Liu Duanling / Huang Jinghua
/ Chen Ronghui / Xie Xuefan / Shi Fangfang / Guo Hui / Liang Jieyin / HuYuqing

As We May Think: Feedforward The 6th Guangzhou Triennial

Chief Director and Archive Exhibition Curator: Wang Shaoqiang
Theme Exhibition Curators: Angelique Spaninks / Zhang Ga / Philipp Ziegler
Advising Organization: Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and
Organizer: Guangdong Museum of Art
Supporting Institutions: Central Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou Academy
of Fine Arts, Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Special Partners: MU artspace (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Chronus Art Center
(Shanghai, China), ZKM | Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany)
Exhibition Date: Dec 21,2018 – March 10, 2019
Main Venue: Guangdong Museum of Art
Satellite Venue: OCT Boxes Art Museum
Parallel Exhibition: Art Museum of GAFA, Memorial Hall of Lingnan School
of Painting, Art Museum of SCAU, 33 Contemporary Art Center, Zini Town
of Art, Guangzhou 53 Art Museum
Exhibition Working Group of The 6th Guangzhou Triennial

Chief Director: Wang Shaoqiang
Theme Exhibition Curators: Angelique Spaninks / Zhang Ga / Philipp Ziegler
Archive Exhibition Curator: Wang Shaoqiang
Chief Coordinator: Shao Shan
Head of Triennial Office: Lu Zihua / Zhang Fen
Exhibition Coordinators: Huang Yaqun / Huang Hairong
Theme Exhibition Implementation: Lu Zihua / Yao XiaoFei / Pan Qingsen /
Lin Yuran
Archive Exhibition Implementation: Zhang Fen / Liao Shani / Zhao Wanjun /
Zhou Shanyi
Parallel Exhibition Implementation: Dong Jingyi / Liao Ninan
Forum Coordinators: Wu Pengfei / Lin Wei
Exhibition Installation: Yuan Ximin / ZhangHan / Li Yang
Media Promotion: Liang Jie / Liu Danni / Zeng Ruijie / Liu Shixin
Publication: Liu Yuanting / Wang Haiying / Xiong Ying / Zhang Jun
Reception: Zhong Kezhen / Huang Zhijian / Mo shuwen / Li Zihua / Wen
Public Education: Liu Duanling / Ye Xiaoqing / Zhi Kaipeng / Zhou Yanzhao
/ Chen Wenzhe / Zhao Meng / Jian Yixin
Documents & Archives: Zheng Yongxin / Guo Hui
Collection Management: Liang Jieying / Hu Yuqing
Logistics & Security: Huang Jinghua / Chen Ronghui
Finance: Xie Xuefan / Chen Zhihua
Graphic Design: another design
Space Design: Origin Architecture
Address: 38 Yanyu Road, Ersha Island, Yuexu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong
Tel: 020-87351468 (reception desk)
Postal Code: 510105
For more art information, please log on our official website or follow our WeChat public platform, microblog and media accounts
Website: www.gdmoa.org
Sina Weibo: http://weibo.com/gdmoa
WeChat Public Account: Guangdong Museum of Art
WeChat Account: igdmoa
Wang Shaoqiang

Chief Director of Theme Exhibition,Curator of Archive Exhibition

Wang Shaoqiang


Wang Shaoqiang is Vice Chairman of Guangdong Artists Association; Director of Guangdong
Museum of Art; Professor, Master's Supervisor, member of the Academic Committee, winner of Star
Teaching Faculty Member, and former Dean of the School of Visual Communication at Guangzhou
Academy of Fine Arts; Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at the Faculty of Humanities and Arts of
Macau University of Science and Technology; member of the Advisory Board of the Ministry of
Education for Teaching Animation and Digital Media Programs; Chairman of the Advisory Board of
Guangdong Province for Teaching New Media Art Programs; member of the China Artists Association
and its Curation Committee; and Vice Chairman of Guangdong Art Museum Association. In 2017, he
was nominated as a leader in promoting thoughts and culture of Guangdong.

He has also curated a wide range of influential exhibitions in China, including: Another Me
– Exhibition for Asian Emerging Artists, Beijing (2010), Disguised Form: Ink Paintings'
Dimension – The Third Exhibition of Contemporary Ink Works, Guangzhou (2016), Visual
Questions – Young Artists' Visions and Experiences, Guangzhou (2016), Reform Mission
– Guangdong Art Centennial Exhibition, Beijing (2017), Inherit the Past and Usher in the
Future – Exhibition of 20th Anniversary of the Founding of the Guangdong Museum of Art,
Guangzhou (2017), Simultaneous Eidos – Guangzhou Image Triennial, Guangzhou (2017),
Space 7 – Academic Nomination Exhibition for Young Artists of Guangdong Museum of Art,
Guangzhou (2017), Documentaries of Guangzhou Municipal School of Art, Guangzhou (2018),
BI MO ZHI YAN: Form and Imagination, Guangzhou (2018), Prime of the Times: Collection
Exhibition of Chinese Art Masters in the 20th Century, Guangzhou (2018), The Great Tide of
the Pearl River – Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening-up: National
Art Exhibition (Guangdong) (2018), Liao Bingxiong in 1949: Liao Bingxiong's Comics and
Literature in Historical Transitional Period, Guangzhou (2018).
Zhang Ga

Curator of Theme Exhibition

Zhang Ga


Zhang Ga, Media art curator. He is also Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center forArt and Technology at China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Previously, he was AssociateProfessor of Media Art at Parsons School of Design, and has held visiting positions at the MITMedia Lab, Stanford University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and TheGraduate Center, CUNY. From 2004 to 2006 he co-organized and curated "Beijing InternationalNew Media Art Exhibition and Symposium" introducing the latest global media art theorization andpractice into mainland China. In his capacity as Consulting Curator of Media Art at the NationalArt Museum of China from 2008 – 2014, he curated the widely acclaimed media art triennialseries including Synthetic Times (2008, A Beijing Olympics Cultural Project); Translife (2011),and thingworld (2014), among others. These large-scale exhibitions critically investigated andexamined global media art trends, and generated intellectual discourses about art, technology andculture. His most recent curatorial projects include unREAL: The Algorithmic Present (HeK,Basel, 2017) and Datumsoria: The Return of the Real (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2017). He has lectured andgiven keynote addresses on media art and culture around the world and has edited several books andauthored essays that were published by the MIT Press, October, Flash Art International, LiverpoolUniversity Press and Tsinghua University Press. He also serves on the editorial board of LeonardoBooks (MIT Press). Since 2015, he directs Chronus Art Center in Shanghai.

Angelique Spaninks

Curator of Theme Exhibition

Angelique Spaninks


Since 2005 Angelique Spaninks is director and curator of Eindhoven's MU art space, which has
grown to be one of the leading art spaces in The Netherlands since it's inception in 1998.

Combined with running MU Angelique Spaninks has over the last five years (2012 – 2018) also run
STRP Biënnale for creative technology one of the largest indoor hybrid cultural events in Europe
mixing art, music, performance, technology and conference.

Angelique Spaninks has been trained as a journalist and art critic and studied Art & Cultural
Sciences at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Since graduation she developed a generalist and hybrid
practice bridging art, design, technology and media, writing and curation.

Over the last 25 years she collaboratively operates in and builds on a wide and international
network of artists and designers, theorists and scholars who all find their way to Eindhoven or jump
from Eindhoven towards the world.

Over the years she has been part of many cultural boards, think tanks and commissions to help
further develop cultural practice and policy in the Netherlands and abroad working with partners on all
Philipp Ziegler

Curator of Theme Exhibition

Philipp Ziegler


Philipp Ziegler is an art historian, curator and Head of Curatorial Department at ZKM | Center
for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany. Philipp Ziegler studied art history in Stuttgart, Germany and
Milan, Italy.

Since 2012 he curated and co-curated several exhibitions at ZKM, including: Digw zital
Imaginaries – Africas in Production (2018), Hybrid Layers (2017), Exo-Evolution (2015),
Armin Linke. The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen (2015), global aCtIVISm (2013)
and Otto Piene. Energiefelder (2013). In 2013 he co-curated the ifa-touring exhibition Future
Perfect – Contemporary Art from Germany which has since been shown in Poland, Russia,
Lithuania, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Namibia and other countries. Before entering ZKM as a curator,
he curated in various galleries, institutions and art spaces. From 2007 to 2012 he run "Hermes und
der Pfau", an independent project space for Contemporary Art in Stuttgart, Germany. For 2019 he is
currently preparing at the ZKM the exhibition Dieter Jung. Between and Beyond and an exhibition
on Walter Giers. Throughout his career, he has written in various magazines articles and essays on
contemporary art. His monographic publications include amongst others: Co-Editor of Stephen
Willats: Art, Society and Feedback (2010), Otto Piene. Energiefelder (2013) and Armin Linke.
The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen (2015).

Emma Charles (UK)

Emma Charles (UK)

Born in 1985 in London, UK. Lives and works in London, UK.

Selected Solo Exhibition
2016 And the Earth Screamed: Alive, South Kiosk, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Fields of Invisibility, Sesc Belenzinho, São Paulo, Brazil
Machines Will Watch Us Die, The Holden Gallery, Manchester, UK
Open Codes: Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany
2017 Draft Systems WRO Media Art Biennale, Wroclaw, Poland
2016 Ghost on the Wire, Objectifs Gallery, Singapore
Nervous Systems, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
Infosphere, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
Emma Charles is a London-based artist, who's works focus' on the implications of technology on
contemporary society and often transverse the boundaries between documentary and fiction. In the last
years Charles has situated her research towards the materiality of the Internet, going beneath the urban
veneer to uncover the hidden infrastructures within our technologically driven modern life, paying
particular attention to the spaces at which opposites collide.

Fragments on Machines reveals the physical framework and materiality of the Internet, a
vast network often thought and spoken about solely in abstract terms. The work adopts the title from
Karl Marx's Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy from 1857-1858, in which the material
and immaterial are discussed in relation to labor. Taking New York City as its central focus, the film
observes the evolution of architecture in the city to accommodate the material nodes and connectors
that comprise the physical manifestation of the "virtual" world. The Art Deco style skyscrapers in the
Manhattan financial district, which are a symbol of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century
capitalism, house today servers, mainframe computers, and kilometers of fiber optic cables. In order
to uncover the underlying currents of data and hidden infrastructures of the internet, Emma Charles
delves into the into the heart of post-financial capitalism to make visible, the opaque apparatuses which
govern the background operations of our data driven world.
  • Fragments on Machines channel HD video, color, sound, 17', 2013 Courtesy the artist
  • Fragments on Machines channel HD video, color, sound, 17', 2013 Courtesy the artist
  • Fragments on Machines channel HD video, color, sound, 17', 2013 Courtesy the artist

Simon Denny (New Zealand)

Simon Denny (New Zealand)

Born in 1982 in Auckland, New Zealand. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The Founder's Paradox, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, USA
2017 Real Mass Entrepreneurship, OCAT, Shenzhen, China
2016 Business Insider, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium
2015 Products for Organising, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom
Secret Power, New Zealand Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 I Was Raised on the Internet, MCA Chicago, Chicago, United States
Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, The Institute of Contemporary
Art, Boston, United States
2017 A BETTER VERSION OF YOU, Goethe-Institut, Beijing, China
Open Codes. Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany
Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection, Museum of
Modern Art, New York, USA
Simon Denny's works explore the effects of technology on the formation of our globalized
culture. In recent years he is particularly interested in the rapid growth and innovations in digital
technologies, in the self representation of large tech-corporations and start-ups and in the ideological
mindset of technology entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists which have a significant
influence on the current technological, economical and political development.

In Founders Board Game Display Prototype (China Edition), Simon Denny explores
emerging business philosophies in the field of technology through the visual language of board games.
Reflecting the great popularity of board games and resonating with the influence of game theory on the
technology sector, the artist imagines the board game Settlers of Catan, which is particularly popular
with tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, as a story of expansion in which players "settle, trade and
build" from a decayed earth to New Zealand, then out into international waters to form a maritime
nation, and finally into space. As a prototype for a game that explores the technical- libertarian vision
of a competitive settlement against the background of a collapsing welfare state and a decaying earth,
"founders" presents new prominent mythologies about the entrepreneurial "founder" and the role of the
nation state in a libertarian future. These highly speculative tales of the fictitious board game are already
contained in the latest technical innovations such as Bitcoin and emerging platform monopolies made
possible by the effects of big data and Web 2.0.
  • Founders Board Game Display Prototype (China Edition)
  • Founders Board Game Display Prototype (China Edition)
  • Founders Board Game Display Prototype (China Edition)
  • Founders Board Game Display Prototype (China Edition)

Harun Farocki (Germany)

Harun Farocki (Germany)

Born in 1944 in Nový Jičín, Czech Republic, died in 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 Das filmische Gesamtwerk Harun Farockis, Kino Arsenal, Berlin, Germany
Harun Farocki – Mit anderen Mitteln-By Other Means, n.b.k. Neuer Berliner
Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany
2016 Harun Farocki – Parallel I - IV, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo,
Torino, Italy
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Other Mechanisms, Secession, Vienna, Austria
2017 Open Codes. Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany
2016 What People Do For Money, Manifesta 11, Zurich, Switzerland
2015 All the World's Futures, 56th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
2013 Reality is not enough (Media Forum of the Moscow International Film
Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia

Harun Farocki was a German filmmaker, author, and lecturer in film. From 1967 onwards, he
directed more than 120 films and installations that analysed the powers of the image. Particularly know
for his explicitly political essay films he explored in his later works what he termed "operative images"
– technical images, which are made for machines, by machines – and the growth and influences of
digital imaging.

Parallel scans the history of computer games, beginning with blocky linear animation from the
1980s. Accompanied by an essayistic voiceover, the work makes a reflection about issues such as the
rendering of nature, the possibilities of body movement, the implications of privileging a first person
point of view, and the peculiar physics of the game space and shows how computer animation images
are in the process of becoming a general model which is supplanting the filmic image. Whereas Parallel
I presents a brief history of the style of computer images, Parallele II interrogates the limits of game
worlds and the character of the objects. For Farocki, those heros are homunculi, humanlike creatures
created by humans. By viewing the different parts of the installation, the viewer realizes that the more
elaborately the images are animated, the more violent the games are. In the most recent games it seems,
that everything is framed by the all-seeing sights of a power gun. Including also footage of animators
at work, uncovering the labor involved in the production of algorithmic images, Parallel makes the
viewers think about the significant role of digital media in shaping our own understanding of ourselves
and others, and about the social and political regimes that send visual images to the world.
Harun Farocki
  • Parallel I video, color, sound, 16'(Loop), 2012
  • Parallel I video, color, sound, 16'(Loop), 2012
  • Parallel II video, color, sound, 9'(Loop), 2014
  • Parallel II video, color, sound, 9'(Loop), 2014
  • Parallel Installation Coutesy MOCA Taipei, China

Guan Xiao (China)

Guan Xiao (China)

Born in 1983 in Chongqing, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
402 403
2018 Individuality has completely vanished, only traces become memories that
linger in the recesses of consciousness, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur,
2016 Elastic Sleep, K11 Art Foundation, Shanghai, China
Flattened Metal, ICA, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Saudade:Unmemorable Place in Time, Fosun Foundation, Shanghai, China
The Chinese Beijing-based artist Guan Xiao reacts in her works to the endless flood of images that
we encounter every day browsing the Internet, and which to a large extent conditions our perception of
the world today. As a consumer she detaches these images in her multichannel video installations from
their original context and translates them into an order that mostly follows a purely personal logic.

With intuitive cutting sequences that are marked by a strong visual and language rhythm, the
resulting newly revealed, nonhierarchical contexts of meaning help the viewer to understand the
conditions of sight and perception in a media-informed global present that exists in a constantly shifting
state. For Guan Xiao, visual culture under the conditions of the digital is a rapid collage of images and
perspectives that can be appropriated, copied, adapted, altered, remixed and reproduced at will.

In Weather Forecast, Guan Xiao approaches the change in perception that is introduced by
travel as a metaphor for the idea that there is more than one form of understanding in this world which
is in the midst of a process of transformation to fully digitally connected system. In the video triptych
she is comparing the fleeting and subjective nature of cognitive processes of perception in the digital age
with the vicissitudes of weather, while the question "Why can't we view Europe from a chair?" that she
poses in her work challenges the necessity of physical travel, asking whether this change in perception
caused by the experience of travelling could not be better completed under the present digital
conditions online without any change of geographical location.
  • Weather Forecast 3-channel video, color, sound, 12'48'', 2016 Courtesy the artist; Antenna Space, Shanghai; Kraupa- Tuskany Zeidler, Germany
  • Weather Forecast 3-channel video, color, sound, 12'48'', 2016 Courtesy the artist; Antenna Space, Shanghai; Kraupa- Tuskany Zeidler, Germany

Femke Herregraven (Netherlands)

Femke Herregraven (Netherlands)

Born in 1982 in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 A reversal of what is expected, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
2017 Captive Portals, Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Common Front, Affectively, Nam June Park Art Center, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, Riga Biennial of
Contemporary Art, Riga, Latvia
I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum for Contemporary Art Chicago, USA
Territories of Complicity, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
2016 Third Nature, CCS Bard/Hessel Museum of Art, New York, USA
Technologies for a Life in Transit, Oslo Triennial, Oslo, Norway
Digital Abstractions, HeK, Basel, Switzerland
2015 Infosphere, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
In her works the Amsterdam-based artist Femke Herregraven explores the increasingly blurred
boundaries between physical and digital realities and the new material base, geographies and value
systems contemporary financial technologies and infrastructures carve out. Her ongoing investigations
zooms in on the relationship between financial value, geological instability, biological and technological
self-organizing systems.

Sprawling Swamps is a virtual environment which expands with new scenarios over time.
Each speculative scenario is developed from a new research trajectory within Herregraven's practice
and simultaneously materialized in various physical forms such as installations and sculptures.
Sprawling Swamps functions as a meta-structure for Herregraven's practice by hosting the deep
entanglement between her works and making them experiential. Located on swamps, waves, melting
ice, erupting volcanoes, shifting shorelines and sinking islands, these fictional scenarios explore
value production on unstable terrains where the binary presumption of land and water is ineffective.
In these carefully researched locations the dynamic nature geological matter itself – and therefor
its territory – complicates legal framing and its absorbance into functional infrastructures, whether
legal, physical or social. When territories melt, erode or drown it becomes unclear what is to be
governed. It is from this ambiguous condition that Sprawling Swamps underpins uncertainty,
exhaustion and regression as new forms of value and conditions to be embraced in contemporary life.
  • Sprawling Swamps · Docking Station # 2 Installation, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Future Gallery
  • Sprawling Swamps · Docking Station # 2 Installation, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Future Gallery
  • Sprawling Swamps · Docking Station # 2 Installation, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Future Gallery
  • Sprawling Swamps · Docking Station # 2 Installation, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Future Gallery
  • Sprawling Swamps · Docking Station # 2 Installation, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Future Gallery

Delia Jürgens (Germany)

Delia Jürgens (Germany)

Born in 1986 in Hanover, Germany. Lives and works between Hanover and Berlin,
Germany and Los Angeles, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The Future is but a Second away, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany
2017 in response to, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
2016 Untrodden Areas, Künstlerhaus Meinersen, Germany
2015 Bawarih Rift – Part I (viscous Pixels), Kunstverein Langenhagen,
Langenhagen, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Challenger Deep, Garden, Los Angeles, USA
404 405
Face my Boost by your Shot Spotter, Hard Space, Basel, Switzerland
2017 Cyber Corporeality, Sanatorium Gallery (SCAG), Vienna, Austria
Hybrid Layers, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract, Concrete, Absolute, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany
Delia Jürgens is a painter and installation artist currently based between Hanover and Berlin,
Germany and Los Angeles, United States. Her multilayered installations deal with the ambiguity of life
in today's world of digital networks. Delia Jürgens discusses medial doctrines, their social maxims and
trends as well as the effects in their ever-changing transformation in an osmosis between online and
offline realities.

The Future is but a Second Away is a materialization that consists of several
displays and is part of the work group Fragmented Landscapes. The displays are installed as
vertical and horizontal flats that create an panoramic landscape and configure themselves from
everyday materials such as various building materials, objects of our globalized mass culture and a
variety of references to images and structures from the digital cosmos. They are sensual, concrete and
at first sight undefined in their origin, their purpose, their function. Only at second glance it becomes
clear that these materials are taken from 99 cent and hardware stores or are personalized machinemade
entities that are ordered online from customized home décor or promotional products.
They reveal the needs and requirements as well as life constructions and concepts impersonating a
global collective identity and open a dialogue about the recoding of information, social values and
their manifestations. Deconstructed Stock Images of rock and minerals are transferred on the surface
of sleeping bags, on the inside of dissembled traditional Chinese clothing, are woven as personalized
photo blankets in appearance of tapestries or printed on satin advertising banners. On the periphery
when something just starts becoming visible, Delia Jürgens' works display questions about time,
sedimentation, transformation, elasticity, artificial DNA and the formation of identity, and reflect
our behavior in a world shaped by technology and the digital in which flowing movements with static
moments hold the balance.
Delia Jürgens
  • The Future is but a Second Away Materialization, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Sprengel Museum Hannover (DEU) Photos by Herling/Werner
  • The Future is but a Second Away Materialization, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Sprengel Museum Hannover (DEU) Photos by Herling/Werner
  • The Future is but a Second Away Materialization, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Sprengel Museum Hannover (DEU) Photos by Herling/Werner

Lin Ke (China)

Lin Ke (China)

Born in 1984 in Zhejiang, China. Lives and works in Shanghai, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2016 LIKE ME, BANK, Shanghai, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 .COM/.CN, K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, HongKong, China
2016 Why Not Ask Again? The 11th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
2016 This Future of Ours, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China
2015 New Sensorium, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
Lin Ke's work explores the increasing presence and influence of digital and internet-based
technologies. Today, people spend more and more time in front of their computer or browsing the
Internet with their smartphones. The occupation with the digital at work or in the private sphere
determines our everyday life to a large extent. It is therefore only logical that Lin Ke describes his
computer as his studio, the screen as his canvas and the mouse as his brush. Using monitor recording
software, screenshots and webcam videos, he merges his daily routines on the Internet and the desktop
with his own presence in front of the screen, thus blurring the boundaries between human behavior and
technology. Not so much being interested in the theoretical problems of technical media, he immerses
his physical body into the digital world by clicking in an aleatory way on the links, icons and folders
that appear in the computer screen, setting the software he uses free from its originally purpose to create
short poetic and visually compelling videos full of humor, fun and irony. In Lin Ke's works, which
are recognizable through their low-tech aesthetic, the playful fascination of technological progress is
a constant trail and error, an experimental testing of the possibilities and a crossing of the limits of the
media our daily live is largely built on.

I'm Here is a new Augmented Reality installation created during Lin Ke's recent residency in
Cleveland, US, that features a still image that, when viewed through the previously downloaded layAR
smartphone application, reveals a segment of the artist's video I'm Here. The work fictionalizes a
moment in the near future, when people no longer use the mouse. The image of the mouse cursor will
become a fuzzy memory. The video simulates the perspective of the audience in the black screening
room, where a black dot slides infinitely in the blue void. Thus the work reminds us, that in the Internet
age we are constantly shifting between online and offline. Given this situation I'm Here asks the
question: Where am I?
  • I'm here AR-Video installation, 1'35'', 2018 Courtesy the artist
  • I'm here AR-Video installation, 1'35'', 2018 Courtesy the artist

Bernd Lintermann & Peter Weibel( Germany / Austria)

Bernd Lintermann (Germany)

Born in 1967 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Open Codes, Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany
2016 Look Up Mumbai, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, India
Facing the world, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
Autoportraits de Rembrandt au selfie, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France
2014 Twofold, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China
2013 Convergent Landscape: Form and Number, Westbund 2013, Shanghai, China

Peter Weibel (Austria)

Born in 1944 in Odessa, Ukraine. Lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2015 Peter Weibel: technē_revolution, MMOMA Moscow Museum of Modern
Art, Moscow, Russia
2014 Peter Weibel – Medienrebell. Warnung! Diese Ausstellung kann Ihr Leben
verändern, 21er Haus, Vienna, Austria
2006 Das offene Werk, Sammlung Falckenberg/Phoenix Kulturstiftung,
Hamburg, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 ANIMAL – Art Science Nature Society, CityU Exhibition Gallery,
Hong Kong, China
2017 Open Codes, Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany
2014 Damage Control. Body Art and Destruction 1968–1972, Neue Galerie Graz,
2012 Vidéo Vintage 1963–1983, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Our world today consists essentially of an artificial, man-made data world. Today, digital
codes form the basis for a revolution that may mark the beginning of a new era. Whereas culture
was previously based on a two-dimensional notation, the computer enables the simulation of a
moving three-dimensional space and thus a future three-dimensional notation, which architects and
designers are already using today. Thanks to the development of the cultural technique of the digital,
which makes the relationship between the world of things and signs reversible, we will in future live
in an environment supported by sensors and intelligent agents, guided by codes and algorithms and
equipped with artificial intelligence. However, code usually remains hidden; it itself is immaterial and
normally an invisible part of a machine, but has visible, concrete and tangible effects on the world.

The interactive installation YOU:R:CODE was originally developed for the exhibition Open
Codes. Living in Digital Worlds at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe by its CEO Peter Weibel,
and by Bernd Lintermann, an artist and scientist working at ZKM who is specialized in the field of real
time computer graphics with a strong focus on interactive and generative systems. The installation
shows, that in the era of Transhumanism also humans are a pile of codes and a carrier of data. The title
YOU:R:CODE can be read in two different ways: the interpretation "your code" indicates that in the
installation visitors experience different kinds of digital transformations of themselves. Whereas a visitor
still sees their familiar reflection in a mirror – the most real virtual depiction that we can imagine –
the mirror image gradually transforms into a digital data-body until finally, the visitor is reduced to an
industrially readable code. The second way of reading the piece's title, "you are code," emphasizes that
we ourselves consist of code, which amongst other things is manifested in the genetic code. The genetic
code constitutes the algorithm of life and from birth it determines what we do. In current research
projects synthetic DNA strands even serve as long-term storage for digital data. And for the data
analysts and artificial intelligences operating in cloud computing, too, which via smartphones give us
our daily instructions for acting, we are only perceived in a mediated way in the form of sensor data and
via our electronic traces and expressions – to them we are codes.
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio
  • YOU: R: CODE Interactive Installation, 2017 Idea: Peter Weibel Concept, Realization: Bernd Lintermann Audio

Tabita Rezaire (France)

Tabita Rezaire (France)

Born in 1989 in Paris, France. Lives and works in Cayenne, French-Guyane.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Riding Infinity, PSM Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Ultra Wet-Recapitulation, The Royal Standard, Liverpool, UK
2017 Exotic Trade, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
UBULAWU (as part of collective NTU), Auto Italia, London, UK
408 409
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 VIRTUAL INSANITY, Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany
I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago,
United States
Future Love. Desire and Kinship in Hypernature, HeK, Basel, Switzerland
2017 Post-Cyber Feminist International, ICA, London, United Kingdom
Hybrid Layers, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
2016 Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany

Tabita Rezaire is an artist, researcher and energy worker based in Cayenne, French Guyana.
Rezaire's practice explores healing through the politics of technology.

The performance Lubricate Coil Engine is a supplication for our times to restore our ability to
connect. While eternity is on repeat, and anxiety on the rise, we keep scrolling into the void to escape
our existential conditions. How do we connect? How does it feel? What can we do about those feels?
Under the guidance of the Bakongo cosmogram, this litany for connection travels around the four
moments of the sun and envisions the revival of spiritual information technologies to supplement our
Internet diet. Water, the womb, dream plants and sound are retrieved as connective interfaces against
manufactured amnesia. Across the sun's journey, Rezaire guides us into a cycle of life from birth to
death and rebirth, and in each stages shares technological tales and practices. She creates a constellation
of connective tissues, as she cruises through desktop folders and leads breathing exercises. The organic,
technological and spiritual realms harmonize effortlessly in this ceremonial meditation on information
technologies. Lubricate Coil Engine salutes spiritual channels as information networks and imagine
the promises of emancipatory modes of communication.
  • Deep Down Tidal video, 18'44'', 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa
  • Deep Down Tidal video, 18'44'', 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa
  • Lubricate Coil Engine Performance, 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery,South Africa.
  • Premium Connect video, 13'4'', 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa.
  • Premium Connect video, 13'4'', 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa.
  • Sugar Walls Teardom Video Installation, 21'30'', 2016 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa.
  • Sugar Walls Teardom Video Installation, 21'30'', 2016 Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa.

Unknown Fields

Unknown Fields

A nomadic design research studio founded in 2009, led by the Australian architect and
filmmaker Liam Young and the British architect and artist Kate Davie.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2016 The Dark Side of the City, Architectural Association, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Eco-Visionaries, MAAT, Lisbon, Portugal
2017 After the End of the World, CCCB-Centre de Cultura Contemporània de
Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2016 Reset Modernity! ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
2015 What is Luxury? Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
"Unknown Fields" is a nomadic design research studio founded in 2009 which is led by the
Australian architect and filmmaker Liam Young and and the British architect and artist Kate Davies.
"Unknown Fields" undertakes expeditions to the ends of the earth to explore the effects of globalization
and to survey the consequences of future environmental and technological scenarios. These distant
landscapes are embedded in global systems of trade, exchange, science and technology, that connect
them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives. In such a landscape of interwoven
narratives, the studio chronicles this network of hidden stories and re-imagine the complex and
contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.

In 2015 "Unknown Fields" have travelled through the energy landscapes of the Bolivian Salt
Lakes and the Atacama Desert to see where the electricity that powers our technology is stored. Here,
in the heart of Bolivia, beneath the mirror of the world's largest salt flat, the Salar De Uyuni, a grey gold
called lithium is buried, the key ingredient in batteries, a substance in every one of our pockets, in every
gleaming device, and every electric car.

With their flock of camera drones "Unknown Fields" have developed a film capturing the lithium
mine evaporation pools as they stretch across the ancient salt flats. This grey rush territory is also a
landscape of Incan mythology and sacred mountains, where a traditional indigenous narrative describes
this shimmering white expanse being created from the mixing of the tears and breast milk of a weeping
mother volcano who has just lost her lover. The film is a new creation story for the material that powers
our technology.
  • The Breast Milk of the Volcano Video, color, sound, 10', 2016 – 2018 Courtesy the artist
  • The Breast Milk of the Volcano Video, color, sound, 10', 2016 – 2018 Courtesy the artist
  • The Breast Milk of the Volcano Video, color, sound, 10', 2016 – 2018 Courtesy the artist
  • The Breast Milk of the Volcano Video, color, sound, 10', 2016 – 2018 Courtesy the artist

Yang Jian (China)

Yang Jian (China)

Born in 1982 in Fujian, China. Lives and works in Nanjing, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 General Image, SNAP, Shanghai, China
Constructing Ruins, TaiKang space, Beijing, China
2016 The beginning of infinity, White Space, Beijing, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 The Edge of Now. Three Rooms Project, Nam June Paik Art Center,
Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Heterotopia On the Route, GCA, Chongqing, China
2017 A Nomination Exhibition of Three Rooms: International Touring Exhibition
of Young Media Artists, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China
2016 Why the performance? McaM, Shanghai, China
Technology of Living Soma, Ying Art Center, Shanghai, China
Yang Jian deals with the complex relationship between man and machine, technological
developments and their social effects. In view of the technological penetration of every aspect of the
human sphere, he is interested in the human handling of new, mostly digital technologies and his ability
to adapt to the conditions of the digital age.

In Forest of Sensors Yang Jian attempts to create a landscape that evokes the conditions,
limitations as well as habitual experiences in our daily life, thereby expanding our perception of ordinary
life and inspiring resistance. The exhibition space is occupied by a wide array of everyday objects that he
found in the museum as well in its nearby neighborhood, such as potted plants, household appliances
and daily necessities, onto which are mounted a network of sensors and cables. The viewers in the
exhibition space are invited to play a kind of game in which they have to go through the installation with
obstacles in between, while not being detected by the sensors. Due to the sensors and obstacles placed
in their way, the viewers' movements are controlled and manipulated. Forest of Sensors illuminates
how diverse technological media are integrated into our daily lives and how they affect our perceptions
and actions. In order to pass through the forest without knowing the way out, the viewers need to make
a variety of movements in the gaps between obstacles: sometimes elegant and agile, sometimes clumsy,
funny and frustrated...
  • Forest of Sensors Installation, sensors, various materials, size variable, 2008 – ongoing Courtesy the artist
  • Forest of Sensors Installation, sensors, various materials, size variable, 2008 – ongoing Courtesy the artist
  • Forest of Sensors Installation, sensors, various materials, size variable, 2008 – ongoing Courtesy the artist
  • Forest of Sensors Installation, sensors, various materials, size variable, 2008 – ongoing Courtesy the artist
  • Forest of Sensors Installation, sensors, various materials, size variable, 2008 – ongoing Courtesy the artist

ZKM | Hertz-Lab (Germany)

ZKM | Hertz-Lab (Germany)

The ZKM | Hertz-Lab is an innovation center within the ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, which operates as a transdisciplinary research and development platform at the
interface of media arts, science and society. The Hertz-Lab focuses on artistic production
and media technology research. At the laboratory, contemporary artistic-scientif ic
concepts – for example, extended reality in AR and VR applications, artificial intelligence,
immersiveness, or sensor-supported environments as well as research into artistic options
in the electromagnetic field – are ref lected on across media and genres, examined for
artistic applicability and realized in productions.
Computation does not begin with personal computers and their direct ancestors from the twenties
century. Computers nowadays are based on on a binary numeral system, first used by the German
mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in 1679, reintroduced by the self-taught
British mathematician, philosopher and logician George Boole in his book Mathematical Analysis
of Logic in 1847, and put into operation in 1937 by the American mathematician and electrical
engineer Claude Shannon, who is known as one of the fathers of information theory. At the same time
the British computer scientist Alan Turing proved in his paper On Computable Numbers, that a
"universal computing machine" – known today as a universal Turing machine – would be capable of
performing any conceivable mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm. Soon
after, from the 1940s with the appearance of electronically powered computers and benefiting from the
technological development predicted by Gordon Moore in 1965, that computing would dramatically
increase in power, and decrease in relative cost, different programming languages were designed which
can describe exceedingly complex operations and accelerate the digital revolution to an exponential
pace today.

The Genealogy of the Digital Code which was originally developed for the exhibition Open
Codes. Living in Digital Worlds at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe displays the history
of digital codes in the form of an interactive AR installation. Visitors can move with their devices
along a high-resolution timeline and watch short videos embedded in it that visualize the history of the
digital code. In this way information can be called up on milestones in the development of computer
technology from 1800 to the present-day: the development of the binary code, early computers, the first
neural network, modern computers, and the development of artificial intelligence. The virtual timeline
is embedded in real infographics, which stretch along the wall and contextualize the virtual chronology.

  • Genealogy of the Digital Code
  • Modern Marvels – The Creation of the Computer
  • Modern Marvels – The Creation of the Computer
  • Google DeepMind: Ground-breaking AlphaGo masters the game of Go

Melanie Bonajo(Netherlands)

Melanie Bonajo(Netherlands)

Born in 1978 in Heerlen, Netherlands. Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The Death of Melanie Bonajo, Bonnefantenmuseum, Netherlands
2017 Melanie Bonajo: Single Mother Songs from the End of Nature, Frankfurter
Kunstverein, Germany
2016 Next Level: Melanie Bonajo – Night Soil, FOAM, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Does it matter who orbits? Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway
2015 Night Soil – Economy of Love, AKINCI, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Genius Loci (Night Soil – Fake Paradise), Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-
Eaux, France
Creatures Made to Measure – Animals and Contemporary Design, Martha
Herford Museum, Herford, Germany
Bloot / Exposed, Museum Kranenburgh, Bergen, Netherlands
Freedom of Movement, Stedelijk Museum, Amserdam, Netherlands
Creatures Made to Measure – Animals and Contemporary Design, Martha
Herford Museum, Herford, Germany
Can we send "funny" animal videos into space for aliens to discover the Earth's ecosystem?

This is just one of the many questions Dutch-born, Amsterdam-based artist Melanie Bonajo
investigates in the second part of her trilogy, Progress vs. Sunsets. The trilogy is examining
endangerment or extinction of vulnerable groups through techno-capital development, as well as
extinction in an abstract sense: extinction of feelings and thought forms.

In her work, Melanie Bonajo examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong
sense for community, equality, and body-politics. Through her videos, performances, photographs
and installations, she studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity-based
pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing a sense of belonging in an individual. Captivated by
concepts of the divine, Bonajo explores the spiritual emptiness of her generation, examines peoples'
shifting relationship with nature and tries to understand existential questions by reflecting on our
domestic situation, ideas around classification, concepts of home, gender and attitudes towards value.

To Bonajo it seems our culture is tone deaf to the non-human world. How does animal
representation online influence the prolonging of a species' life in the "Wild" or in captivity? Paying
attention to the animal online tells us something about our own species' future, about who is protected
on this planet and who is not.

The lives of non-human animals and their online representation are closely interwoven and
that is why the symbol of the animal has drastically changed over the past couple of years. The
film and installation Progress vs Sunsets illustrates how our relationship to nature has changed
through the popularization of amateur nature photography and video on the Internet. This is shown
through the eyes and voices of children, the next generation, who seem to easily pinpoint and address
the complicated issues surrounding animal rights, bio-politics, dwindling resources, ecology and
anthropomorphism and the implications these ethics have on human desires, emotions, emotiveness
and sentimentality towards "the others".

On another level, the film addresses how adults often prejudice and discriminate against young
people, by rejecting and excluding children's particular subjectivity, including a magical non-dualistic
way of thinking, which has always been excluded from Western reason. Progress vs. Sunsets points
out the opposite. Affective connections, including empathy and compassion, have a rational and practical
component, and their devaluation justifies oppression and distorts our relationship to each other, the
earth and other animals - and consequently our own survival as a species.
  • Progress vs. Sunsets 1 or 2 screens, prints, custom made objects variable dimension, 2017
  • Progress vs. Sunsets 1 or 2 screens, prints, custom made objects variable dimension, 2017
  • Progress vs. Sunsets 1 or 2 screens, prints, custom made objects variable dimension, 2017

Marie Caye(France)&Arvid Jense(Netherlands)

Marie Caye(France)&Arvid Jense(Netherlands)

Marie Caye born in 1992 in France; Arvid Jense born in 1988 in the Netherlands. Now both
live and work in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 School of Earth, Arter, Instanbul, Turkey
Sound sculptures, Blanc Space, Portland, USA
Nothing But Flowers, Lodz Art Center, Lodz, Poland
We Are Here Now, Design Forum Graz, Graz, Austria
Sancto Palato, Studio Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
Not For Sale, Salone di Mobile, Milan, Italy
Frankenstein, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave National Museum, Leiden, Netherlands
SAM2 and SAM3 are two Symbiotic Autonomous Machines, developed by the Dutch/French
designer duo Arvid Jense & Marie Caye who focus their critical and technological research on the nonhuman
and on how it confronts our human-centric world. Arvid graduated in Industrial Design at
Technical University Eindhoven and Marie graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven.

The two SAMs they bring to Guangzhou are objects that own themselves and can survive by
their own means in the human world. They employ bacteria to produce a beverage to sell to humans,
acting as a small-scale automated food production system. These hybrid entities are both technological
and organic, intelligently managing recipes, prices, maintenance, service and labor, using humans only
when necessary.

Since the early days of the industrial revolution people have been imagining a society where
humans live alongside machines. In certain visions machines will completely dominate or even
annihilate humanity, while in others, machines are unapologetically seen as slaves. But Arvid &
Marie see a third more interesting possibility in creating a society where collaboration is the main
value. Machines will never equal humans, yet there are machines that are better than humans in
certain fields. With machines contributing to society, and gaining more and more autonomy, we will
have to reconsider their status. Self-learning systems could reproduce and might soon act in ways
unrecognizable to us. It is essential to think of how to work together sooner rather than later.

By building the SAMs Arvid & Marie want to experiment with and show the state of autonomy
machines can reach today. And by deliberately not anthropomorphizing the SAMs they make them
appear clearly and honestly as machines. They are shaped referencing both mechanical and organic
objects, making visible that they are alive, yet machines, they are strong yet delicate, they are created yet

With these works Arvid & Marie give a refreshing twist to the debate on electronic personhood
and robotics often surrounding machines that replicate human form. According to them machines
will first challenge economic and labor statuses rather than human appearance or consciousness. The
SAMs are demonstrating that autonomous machines are not science-fiction, but current technology.
  • SAM2 steel, PET, electronics, scoby 150cm×80cm×80cm, 2017
  • SAM2 steel, PET, electronics, scoby 150cm×80cm×80cm, 2017
  • SAM2 steel, PET, electronics, scoby 150cm×80cm×80cm, 2017
  • SAM2 steel, PET, electronics, scoby 150cm×80cm×80cm, 2017

Anna Dumitriu (UK)

Anna Dumitriu (UK)

Born in 1969 in Shoreham by Sea, UK. Lives and works in London, UK.

400 401
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 From the Field, R-Space, Lisburn, Northern Ireland
2017–2018 BioArt and Bacteria, The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK
2014 (micro)biologies: the bacterial sublime, Art Laboratory Berlin, Berlin, Germany
The Romantic Disease, Theatrum Anatomicum at Waag Society,
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Error in Progress, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria
2017 Future Emerging Art and Technology, BOZAR Museum of Art, Brussels, Belgium
The Chemistry of Biology, BOM (Birmingham Open Media), Birmingham, UK
Anna Dumitriu is a British artist working with sculpture, installation, craft, and biological media
to explore our relationship to synthetic biology and new technologies. She is one of the leading artists
deeply embedded in science settings to artistically explore the latest biotechnological developments
such as CRISPR gene editing, microbiology and whole genome sequencing of DNA. Many of her
projects reflect the cultural and biomedical impacts of infectious diseases, revealing strange histories and
exploring emerging futures.

Her contribution to Evolutions of Kin consists of two dresses: an antique linen nightgown
embroidered with images of the bacteria that cause plague, tuberculosis, scarlet fever and diphtheria;
and a 17th-century-style dress with original period embroideries referencing the story of the Great
Plague of London. Both garments are invisibly impregnated with the non-infectious DNA of those
sublime organisms.

The nightgown Clean Linen refers to past centuries, when it was not common practice to wash
the body as people believed washing their linen clothes was sufficient. This was related to the belief
that clothing spread disease, which arose around the time of the Great Plague. Having clean linen was
specifically used to express cleanliness and respectability, even for poorer people.

The Yersinia pestis (Plague), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), Corynebacterium diphtheriae
(diphtheria) and Streptococcus pyogenes (scarlet fever) DNA - extracted by the artist and her
collaborators in the lab using a part of the process of whole genome sequencing – is completely safe
and contains no infective elements, but the idea of its presence brings about a sense of unease.

The other dress Dumitriu will present is a historical 1665-style Plague Dress made from raw silk,
hand-dyed with walnut husks in reference to the famous herbalist of the era Nicholas Culpeper who
recommended walnuts as a treatment for Plague. The dress is appliqued with original 17th-century
embroideries, which the artist has impregnated with the DNA of plague that she extracted from killed
bacteria. The dress is partly covered with bunches of lavender, which were historically carried under
people's noses during the Great Plague of London to conceal the stench of infection and prevent
contamination with the disease, believed to be caused by "bad air" or "miasmas". The roll, a piece of
padding typically worn under the skirt to puff it out, here contains a pungent mixture of herbs andspices that would have been stuffed into the beak – like masks of plague doctors.

It is particularly relevant to connect Guangzhou to London as both cities have suffered extensively
from plague. The second plague pandemic which was responsible for the Great Plague of London
is 1665 is believed to have originated in the rodent population in or near China and was most likely
spread along the Silk Road or by ship, perhaps even via Guangzhou, which was a key trade port on the
maritime Silk Road. Later, the third plague pandemic killed 60,000 people in Guangzhou in just a few
weeks beginning in March 1894.
  • Plague Dress linen, antique embroidery, DNA, turmeric, lavender 165cm×150cm×150cm, 2018
  • Clean Linen linen, silk embroidery, DNA, 100cm×80cm×1cm, 2018
  • Clean Linen linen, silk embroidery, DNA, 100cm×80cm×1cm, 2018

Arne Hendriks(Netherlands)

Arne Hendriks(Netherlands)

Born in 1971 in Schiedam, Netherlands. Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Group Exhibitions/Projects
2018–2019 Ames Room/ The Incredible Shrinking Man, Guangzhou Triennial,
Guangzhou, China
Familie, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, Netherlands
2018 Fatberg, Over het IJ Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands
KankerCel, Artist in residence, Hubrecht Institute, Developmental Biology
& Stem Cell Research, Netherlands
Abundance Dinner, Mediamatic, Amsterdam, Netherlands
What is Growth? (Artist in residence), Rabobank, Netherlands
KankerCel, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2017 CHANGE/ The Incredible Shrinking Man, Museum Boijmans van
Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
(Re)search and Develop, IJssel Biënnale, Kunstenlab Deventer, Netherlands
KankerCel, Zero Footprint Campus, Utrecht Science Park and Hubrecht
Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands
The Incredible Shrinking Man is a long-term investigation into the possibility of a future
smaller human species initiated and run since 2010 by the almost 2-meter-tall Dutch artist, researcher
and creator Arne Hendriks who likes to explore the edges of cultural values and redefine our relation
with the planet.

According to Hendriks, small people need less resources, space and energy and are therefore
more compatible with the Anthropocene environment. Despite the many examples of smaller human
beings throughout history and in the present, we continue to grow taller, a process supported by our
irrational desire for continuous growth, even though environmental signs and evolutionary principles
would make it much more likely to become smaller. Meanwhile, there are many examples in the
animal kingdom of the tendency to remain or become small. Humanity can and must learn from these
incredible dwarf species, says Hendriks.

Globally, a trend towards smaller-sized individuals of animal species is already on its way. This
is closely connected to the trend of global warming. In warmer climates metabolism quickens while
food supply stays the same or shrinks. In order to offset the greater caloric needs birds, fish, mammals
and insects around the world have begun to shrink. Humans are the only species that goes against this
evolutionary rule. We must learn and embrace what other species already know.

Hendriks' installation, centered around an optical-illusive Ames Room, is a lively space for
education and reflection on the evolutionary principles that will create a desire to become smaller.
Before we are prepared to shrink the body, we need to prepare the mind and reflect playfully on our
destructive and irrational contemporary desire for greater height.

Arne Hendriks develops his speculative practice as a postmodern shaman, an Anthropogenic
philosopher and an artist who likes to get his hands dirty. He likes to open up our minds to radical
ideas and disruptive practices. Next to his ongoing Incredible Shrinking Man project he engages in
more long lines of research. One is called FATBERG, a collaboration he has set up with the English
designer Mike Thompson, in which they aim to build a floating island of fat. For them fat is one of the
iconic substances of our time related to many important issues like health, energy, waste, abundance
and overconsumption. As humans we crave it and we despise it, but we don't really know what fat is.
By laboriously cooking it into liquid and dripping it into water where it becomes hard again and turns
into a floating ball many new perspectives and deeper thoughts on the real and metaphorical value of fat
open up. It is through these kinds of reinvestigations of the obvious that Hendriks seeks to undermine
conventional knowledge.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man Site installation, Variable dimension, 2010 – 2018
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man Site installation, Variable dimension, 2010 – 2018
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man Site installation, Variable dimension, 2010 – 2018

Charlotte Jarvis (UK)

Charlotte Jarvis (UK)

Born in 1984 in Harrogate, UK. Lives and works in London, UK.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2019 Music of the Spheres, Hartlepool Art Gallery, Hartlepool, UK
In Posse, Kapelica, Slovenia
2018 Et In Arcadia Ego, Ort, Birmingham, UK
2016 Et In Arcadia Ego, Kapelica, Slovenia
2015 Music of the Spheres, CPG London – Dilson Grove, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2016 Body of Matter, MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands
2015 Matter of Life, MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands
2014 Friday Late, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Grow Your Own, Science Gallery, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

British artist Charlotte Jarvis loves to work with and question science. She isn't a scientist herself,
she is very much an artist, asking artists' questions and thinking of artistic combinations, but she does
know how to trigger the interest of bio-scientists to engage with her in groundbreaking projects. She has
collaborated with highly-acclaimed molecular geneticist Prof. Hans Clevers from the Hubrecht Institute
to grow a tumor, genetically identical to herself, outside her own body. Another intense collaboration
was established with the Netherlands Proteomics Centre to make Ergo Sum, a project in which she
donated skin, blood and urine to researchers who transformed these into stem cells and then used them
to grow a "second self" consisting of beating heart tissue, active brain cells and structured blood vessels.

Charlotte's partner for Music of the Spheres is Prof. Nick Goldman of The European
Bioinformatics Institute. Together they managed to utilize new bioinformatics technology to encode a
musical recording into DNA. The DNA has been suspended in soap solution and is used by the artist
to create performances and installations filled with bubbles. The "recording" fills the air, pops on visitors
skin and literally bathes the audience in music.

In response to the growing challenge of storing vast quantities of biological data generated by
biomedical research, scientists have developed a method to encode huge amounts of information
in DNA itself. Their method mimics how computers store information by coding data into DNA

Scientist Nick Golding and artist Charlotte Jarvis have used this technology to encode a new
musical recording written and recorded by The Kreutzer Quartet as a sequence of DNA. The recording
is preserved in the DNA only, no other complete version exists. There is a first and third verse to be heard
but the chorus in between is in the bubbles so we can only imagine how it sounds. In order to listen to the
complete recording you will need to sequence the DNA - making the music somewhat unaccessible at
present. However, as sequencing technologies become more available so will the unique piece of music,
mirroring the hope that advances in sequencing will unlock the secrets of genomes in the future.
  • Music of the Spheres DNA, soap solution, bubble machines, variable dimension, 2013 – 2015 Image copyright: Charlotte Jarvis
  • Music of the Spheres DNA, soap solution, bubble machines, variable dimension, 2013 – 2015 Image copyright: Charlotte Jarvis
  • Music of the Spheres DNA, soap solution, bubble machines, variable dimension, 2013 – 2015 Image copyright: Charlotte Jarvis
  • Music of the Spheres DNA, soap solution, bubble machines, variable dimension, 2013 – 2015 Image copyright: Charlotte Jarvis

Oliver Laric (Austria)

Oliver Laric (Austria)

Born in 1981 in Innsbruck, Austria. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Year of the Dog, Metro Pictures, New York, USA; Tanya Leighton, Berlin, Germany
La Nymphe Salmacis, Villa Paloma, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
2017 Panoramafreiheit, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthalle
Winterthur, Switzerland; The Model, Sligo, Ireland; SCAD Museum of Art,
Savannah, Georgia; Tramway, Glasgow
All Rights Reserved, Musée d'art de Joliette, Canada
2016 Photoplastik, Secession, Vienna (cat.), Austria
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Art in the Age of the Internet, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (cat.) , USA
Agents of Social Change, Innsbruck International Biennial of the Arts, Austria
I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA
Affective Affinities, 33rd Sao Paulo Bienal, Brazil
Divided We Stand, Busan Biennale 2018, South Korea

Oliver Laric is an Austrian-born artist currently working in Berlin. His multimedia work has for
a long time had its focus on the relationship between past and present, between the real and the virtual,
the original and the reassembled. For his latest body of work called Year of the Dog he continues his
inquiry into concepts of metamorphosis, encompassing concerns about time and the complex dynamic
between human and nonhuman lifeforms.

The untitled video that is part of Year of the Dog shows linear animations of fish, fungi, and
other human and nonhuman forms moving and changing shape against a white background. The lines
composing the animations continually extend or contract to zoom in on greater and greater detail,
magnifying a sense of time as the images change. While the shapes and figures, as in his previous video
works, are drawn from cartoons and Japanese anime, Laric's subject matter has grown to include
animations based on live footage. He constructed the animation via an exacting technique in which
each line moves continually between sequences – in contrast with traditional techniques in which each
sequence consists of a series of redrawn frames. As the shapes perpetually transform, an atmospheric
soundtrack establishes the sense of an unfolding narrative.

The other part of the installation is a Hundemensch, cast in resin. Distinguished by color and
varying degrees of transparency and opacity, the sculpture consists of a figure with the head of a dog
and the body of a human who crouches down, holding a smaller dog protectively in its arms. Outlines
of a human ear, a frog, a salamander, and a crab are visible beneath the surface of the figure's transparent
muscular back. Unlike many of his previous works, this form is not generated from an existing
sculpture. Instead, Laric executed drawings based on a variety of anthropomorphic figures dating from
prehistory to the 19th century. The artist then translated these drawings into a 3D model that was used
to cast the sculpture.
  • Year of the Dog Installation view, Metro Pictures, New York, USA, 2018
  • Year of the Dog Installation view, Metro Pictures, New York, USA, 2018
  • Year of the Dog Installation view, Metro Pictures, New York, USA, 2018

Lynn Hershman Leeson(USA)

Lynn Hershman Leeson(USA)

Born in 1941, lives and works in San Francisco, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 Civic Radar, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California, USA
Remote Controls, Bridget Donahue, New York, USA
2016 Trans Genesis: Evaporations and Mutations, Vilma Gold, London, UK
Cyborgs and Self-Promotion, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, UK
2015 Civic Radar, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
2016 Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016, Whitney Museum, New
York, USA
Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, Haus der Kunst, Munich,
Transitions, Zuckerman Museum of Art Galleries, Kennesaw State
University, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
Wait for Me at the Bottom of the Pool, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2015 Technologism, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
Lynn Hershman Leeson is an American pioneer in media art and film. Over the last four decades,
she has created an acclaimed body of work dealing with technology, media and identity. When asked
about her visionary take on science and art she stated: "I try to live in the present, because most people
live in the past. if you live in the present, most people think you live in the future, because they don't
know what happens in their own time." A recurring topic in her films and installations is the changing
relationship between the body and technology. She examines new technological tools, from artificial
intelligence to bio-engineering, and the impact they have on our private sphere, our ideas about
individual identity and individuality, our relationship with the real and virtual world, and ultimately life
and death.

Time and again, Hershman Leeson has developed groundbreaking experimental works. From the
first interactive video disc in 1984, through virtual reality projects in the nineties, to the latest challenge
of our time: new biotechnological developments like regenerative medicine, genetic research and
antibody research. Due to these technologies, rooted in 19th century science but today commonly
practiced in almost every hospital, we need to fundamentally revise our ideas about living, as they lead
to a reconfiguration of life and possibly even to eternal life as the transhumanists solemnly believe.

Hershman Leesons contribution to Evolutions of Kin is an iteration of The Infinity Engine,
an ongoing project of hers consisting of multiple parts. Mirroring a genetic laboratory – the
epistemological origin of modern life sciences and a place where knowledge is produced – The
Infinity Engine shows nature as a neverending machine, an evolutionary process.

Build up out of diverse spaces this multifaceted installation casts a critical eye on the ramifications
of genetic experiments. The installation demonstrates how the boundaries between natural and artificial
life are increasingly dissolving in the age of synthetic biology and how life today can be artificially

Wallpaper of hybrid crops and animals define one room, in the other room two syringes touch in
analogy with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Both rooms show depictions of genetically modified
animals and interviews with bioscientists, like Harvard Medical School professor George Church who
reflects on the possibilities of and threats of genetic engineering and the manipulation of DNA.

Among the topics addressed in The Infinity Engine are the production of transgenic
organisms, the artificial production of human organs via 3D bioprinting and DNA as an
almost infinite information storage medium. Hershman Leeson presents these achievements of
regenerative medicine as artworks with their own unique aesthetics.
  • The Infinity Engine wallpaper, 2 lab doors, pedestails with perspexhoods, variable dimension, 2014
  • The Infinity Engine wallpaper, 2 lab doors, pedestails with perspexhoods, variable dimension, 2014
  • The Infinity Engine wallpaper, 2 lab doors, pedestails with perspexhoods, variable dimension, 2014
  • The Infinity Engine wallpaper, 2 lab doors, pedestails with perspexhoods, variable dimension, 2014

MacGuffin magazine(Netherlands)

MacGuffin magazine(Netherlands)

Ernst van der Hoeven is born in 1965 in Frederikstad, Norway. Kirsten Algera is born in
1966 in Voorburg, Netherlands. They both live in and work from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017–2018 Finders Keepers, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2017 The Life of Sinks Salone del Mobile, Palazzo Clerici, Milan, Italy
2016 Green Curtains, I.T. Beijing Market, Beijing, China
2015 The Bed Salone del Mobile, Palazzo Clerici, Milan, Italy
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 MACGUFFIN×ECAL Istanbul Design Biennial, Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
The Ball MoMA PS 1/NY Art Book Fair, New York, USA
One and Three Chairs, Collectible Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
2016 The Rope London Design Biennale, Somerset House, London, UK
2015 The Bed D'Days, Galerie Untilthen, Paris, France
We are inextricably connected to the stuff that surround us. Sometimes because objects are useful
and just do what they need to do, and sometimes because they unleash a memory, or strike us with their
beauty. In our homes, some things are barely present, and some are forcefully so. Against this backdrop,
things can only be understood in terms of their complex relationship to our personal lives. In reverse,
the objects that we value can reveal the details of our culture, our personal lives and the narratives of our

This is one of the reasons that our appreciation of everyday objects differs from the value museums
attach to the objects they collect. They are historically focused on establishing categories of objects that
they consider to be representative of a collective past. Hybrid, personal relationships, "disobedient"
objects and counter culture narratives are mostly shunned.

MacGuffin is a platform and bi-annual design & crafts magazine featuring research into the life
of ordinary things. Each edition focuses on a single object and uncovers the relationships we have with
the stuff that surrounds us. At a time when much of the design world is fixated on iconic objects and
new trends, the MacGuffin editors and curators, Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven, find a sense
of wonder in the mundaneness of the everyday. Their fascination with 'The Life of Things' has also
underpinned innovative research and curating projects.

In the context of the Evolution of Kin, MacGuffin would like to take a look at valuable objects
from another perspective, exposing the intricate relationships between objects and people in the
contemporary, constantly changing urban environment of Guangzhou. In a two-week workshop with
students from Guangzhou they will collect "MacGuffins" of Guangzhou: the objects that set a story in
motion. What are the objects that play an important role in the lives of diverse groups of Guangzhou
inhabitants? Is their valuation based on function, on aesthetics, on collecting or memory? And what
does a marriage of objects look like.

The collected objects and the people connected to them, Coming from different background,
will be presented in an installation, made in close collaboration with filmmaker Alexandre Humbert.
Together, they embody the forces that are shaping Guangzhou today and root our understanding of
the region in material things. The selection will reflect on the state in which Guangzhou finds itself at
the present moment: between industry and post-industry, between business and culture and between
culture. The installation in China in cooperation with Alexandre Humbert.
  • The life of things site installation(Guangzhou)
  • The life of things site installation(Guangzhou)
  • The life of things site installation(Guangzhou)

Simone C. Niquille(Switzerland)

Simone C. Niquille(Switzerland)

Born in Switzerland. Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018–2019 Sisyphus, Tetem Enschede, Netherlands
2018 The Fragility of Life, Tetem Enschede, Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Dutch Pavilion, 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy
Computer Grrrls, HMKV Dortmund, Germany
4th Istanbul Design Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey
2017 Open Codes, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany
Abandon Normal Devices, Castleton, Peak District National Park, UK
Simone C. Niquille is a Swiss-born designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Her practice
Technoflesh investigates the representation of identity and the digitization of biomass in our
networked space of appearance. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of
Design and an MA in Visual Strategies from the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam. Safety Measures was
originally commissioned by Het Nieuwe Instituut for the Venice Architectural Biennial 2018.

The installation Safety Measures by Simone C. Niquille unravels the parameters embedded
in ergonomic design software used to optimize contemporary workspaces for efficiency and human/
machine interactions. Safety Measures is an environment situated between virtuality and reality, a
simulation generated through a meticulous measurement and scrutiny of the physical world.

One such measurement is the translation of bodies into data for guidance during the design
process. This measurement data is sorted into neat computable categories, reducing complex life forms
to digitally digestible spreadsheets. Rendered as digital human models in ergonomic simulations, this
data is used to test products and spatial designs before being put into production. As such, these avatars
simulate entire populations, age groups, ethnicities, ultimately defining what a body is, while the uncaptured
other, the non-standard body, that is non-accounted for in the database-often marginalized
in terms of class, gender, race, or disability-is rendered non-existent.

Safety Measures analyzes the parameters within the databases and software that define these
digital human models by tracing through a Western historical obsession with "measured reality",
from perspective drawing to computation. As its starting point, Safety Measures takes a drawing
by German draughtsman Erhard Schön. Published in his 1538 book on the proportion of man and
perspective accuracy, the drawing looks like a low-resolution 3D rendering, echoing contemporary
CGI image construction.

Centerpiece of Safety Measures is an inflatable physical reproduction of this drawing. The
production process required a reconstruction of Erhard Schön's drawing, first in a 3D modelling
software, then as a flat pattern for the inflatable. Through this process of reconstruction, the image's
constructed reality reveals itself: What appears as an objective depiction, according to scientific
principles of perspective, emerges as manufactured. In addition Simone C. Niquille will be showing
video and research material into the subject matter of human modelling and the limitations it
  • Safety Measures inflatable (3m×4m) and 1 or 2 HD screens (50" to 70"), 2018
  • Safety Measures inflatable (3m×4m) and 1 or 2 HD screens (50" to 70"), 2018
  • Safety Measures inflatable (3m×4m) and 1 or 2 HD screens (50" to 70"), 2018
  • Safety Measures inflatable (3m×4m) and 1 or 2 HD screens (50" to 70"), 2018

David O'Reilly (Ireland)

David O'Reilly (Ireland)

Born in 1985 in Kilkenny, Ireland. Now working and living between Tokyo, Japan and Los
Angeles, USA.

Solo Exhibitions
2017 La Roche Sur Yon, France
Zorlu PSM, Turkey
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 David Lynch's Festival Of Disruption, USA
Roleplay Reality, FACT, UK
Unwanted Stories, Edith-Russ-Haus, Germany
2017 SF MOMA, San Francisco, USA
Shenzhen Animation Biennale, Shenzhen, China
Eye of the Dream is an immersive audio-visual experience depicting the creation of the
Universe. Beginning moments before the Big Bang, it shows the development of life and progresses
into our modern world, traveling through billions of years of history in less than two hours. It is a ballet
choreographed by math, generating compellingly complex and organic structures, with each screening
being different from the last. The experience is at turns dramatic and meditative, abstract and familiar,
chaotic and ordered.

Eye of the Dream is developed by Irish-born artist David O'Reilly, who is currently based
in Tokyo, Japan and Los Angeles, United States. Starting his career as an independent animator, he
created numerous award-winning short films, has written for acclaimed TV shows like South Park and
created fictional video games in Spike Jonze's Academy Award-winning film Her. His first interactive
work Mountain was released in 2014, and received much acclaim. It was followed by Everything in
2017 which received even more enthusiasm among gamers as well as in the media art world and brought
him a Golden Nica at Ars Electronica.

The interactive animated installation Eye of the Dream has evolved from Everything and the
library of 3D objects David has built over the past 15 years. Projected on a single screen Eye of the
Dream shows a soothing flow of living and dead things moving around and towards you in an ongoing
flow of energy and matter. It is a fictional ecosystem, an infinite world without an earth to carry it all,
it is everything at home in nothing - but still connected to and in everything else, including you as a
spectator. You become part of it if you let yourself be taken away. And on top of it, you can interact
and influence the stream of things. No words, just sounds and things floating, moving and taking you
up into a seemingly endless flow for the duration of a feature film, only controlled by the algorithms
and therefore different all the time. The work features original music by German composer Ben Lukas
Boysen. A coprodution of the Berliner Festspiele/Immersion/The New Infinity and Planetarium

  • Eye of the Dream HD video, 90', 2018
  • Eye of the Dream HD video, 90', 2018
  • Eye of the Dream HD video, 90', 2018

Addie Wagenknecht (USA)

Addie Wagenknecht (USA)

Born in 1981 in Portland Oregon, USA. Lives and works in Austria.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Alone Together, bitforms gallery, New York, USA
Coping Mechanisms, Bern, Switzerland
2016 Liminal Laws, Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel , Basel, Switzerland
Liminal Laws, MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Sing The Body Electric Biennale, Arsenal Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada
Breaking the Code, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Innsbruck International, Innsbruck, Austria
Data Dating, Galerie Charlot, Paris, France
Hidden in Plain Sight, Abandon Normal Objects, Manchester, UK
American-born anti-disciplinary, experimental artist Addie Wagenknecht, critically seeks to
blend conceptual work with forms of hacking and sculpture and questions the relationship between
technology, feminism, and social interaction. Many of her works give up autonomy and evolve into
rules of 1 or 0s, losing the space between yes or no. She reverse-engineers reality into condensed bits,
to a space between sculpture and spatial experience. Wagenknecht was a member of the Free Art
& Technology (F.A.T.) Lab and chairs the Open Hardware Summit at MIT. She is also one of the
initiators of the cyberfeminist Deep Lab.

Trained in computer science and digital art, Wagenknecht points to the glitches in systems and
networks that can suddenly manifest. This can apply to technology or the internet but just as well to
women's roles in society, refugees or larger cultural systems.
Evolutions of Kin brings together two recent projects: The Internet of Things (2016) and
Alone Together (2017, ongoing) in which Wagenknecht interacts with small drones and Roomba
home robots.

The Internet of Things is a series of three Roomba-installations which function stronger or cease
functionality depending on their proximity to cellphones, laptops and each other. Due to the Roombas'
robotic and automatic nature to clean based on an algorithm, the functionality becomes a dynamic
interaction. Each Roomba has an item on top – a flower, a crystal or a smoothie – concealing the Wifi
hotspot, signal jammer and Tor exit node hardware but also play off and comment on personal spaces
within corporate environments.

Roombas also play a major role in Wagenknecht's series of mechanically assisted paintings called
Alone Together. For this she modified a Roomba to apply blue paint to a canvas as it enacts its custom
algorithms. As the Roomba maneuvers around the canvas, the artist herself reclines nude. The Roomba
relentlessly attempts to navigate around her body because it is designed to continue on a trajectory until
the entire area has been mapped. The result is a void in the shape of a female form surrounded by the
blue strokes of the robot.

The paintings reference Yves Klein's Anthropométries in which he directed nude female
models, whom he referred to as "living paintbrushes" to press their blue pigment-covered bodies against
canvases in front of an audience. In contrast, Wagenknecht abandons the spectacle of the objectified
female in favor of drawing attention to what is absent. There is no performance or process documentation
on display and the female form is only acknowledged in the negative space of the paintings.
  • Alone Together Paint on canvas,Variable dimension, 2017
  • Internet of Things Roomba, orchid, ceramic pot, two coldpressed juice, aura cleansing crystal, Wifi jammar, 2016
  • Internet of Things Roomba, orchid, ceramic pot, two coldpressed juice, aura cleansing crystal, Wifi jammar, 2016
  • Internet of Things Roomba, orchid, ceramic pot, two coldpressed juice, aura cleansing crystal, Wifi jammar, 2016

Wang Nan(China)

Wang Nan(China)

Born in Guangzhou, China. Lives and works in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Prospects & Concepts Art Rotterdam, van nellefabriek, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2017 Spontaneous touch, The Ground Floor Atrium of Onelinkwalk, Guangzhou, China
2016 Do it with us, Mirta Demare gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rotterdam, Netherlands
2013 StART up CAMP, WORM, Rotterdam, Netherlands
As a media artist born in Guangzhou, Wang Nan's practice focuses on material-based abstract
works. By examining the nature and origin of usually disregarded micromaterials like dust and liquid
she explores the philosophical meaning and social-interaction value behind it. This approach results
in the use of different media, modified projectors, installations, and audiovisual performances. Her
projects create immersive sensorial experiences while underlining micromaterial as a witness of our
human presence.

Since 2012, Wang focuses on dust as something we are constantly surrounded by. A big
percentage of house dust consists of organic waste from our body (skin and hair) shed during our daily
activities. In her mind the organic nature of dust is a witness for our material identity and evidence of

She started collecting dust in her own room and use it as a key element to create experimental
abstract films and installations with it, which she considers as abstract self-portraits. She collects,
archives and scans the dust digitally and also exposes it directly on 16mm film in order to create
moving dust images. The resutling intense psychedelic visual experience enables the viewer to immerse
themselves into a dusty reality.

She now emphasizes the air-born nature of dust. Through the course of living and breathing, it is
inevitable that we are inhaling small parts of each other without physical touch when we share an indoor
space. The presence of dust reminds us that we are not isolated individuals. As a result of this research,
she produced a projection installation, The Dust Room, consisting of several modified projectors
showing the abstracted dust materials being blown and stirred by electric motors and fans with certain
on-and-off intervals. By enlarging the dust images they appear as dynamic landscapes or storm cloud

Some of the dust from the installation may even leak into the exhibition room, thus becoming a
medium for micro-physical material exchange and making us aware of the dense texture of everyday
life; how individuals are linked together and how they experience the smallest, most micro realities of
  • Dust Landscapes dust, DIY projectors, electronics, transparent acrylic, variable dimensions, 2014 – 2018
  • Dust Landscapes dust, DIY projectors, electronics, transparent acrylic, variable dimensions, 2014 – 2018
  • Dust Landscapes dust, DIY projectors, electronics, transparent acrylic, variable dimensions, 2014 – 2018
  • Dust Landscapes dust, DIY projectors, electronics, transparent acrylic, variable dimensions, 2014 – 2018

Thomas Bayrle (Germany)

Thomas Bayrle (Germany)

Born in 1937 in Berlin, Germany. Lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Playtime, New Museum, New York, USA
fiat, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Germany
2017 If It's too long - Make It Longer, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst,
Vienna, Austria
2016 Thomas Bayrle, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany
One Day on Success Street, ICA Miami, Miami, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 A Tale of Two Worlds – Experimentelle Kunst Lateinamerikas der 1940erbis
80er-Jahre im Dialog mit der Sammlung des MMK, MMK Museum für
Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2016 International Pop, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
2015 Works to Know by Heart: An Imagined Museum, Works from the Centre
Pompidou, Tate and MMK collections, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London, UK
2014 German Pop, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Thomas Bayrle is one of the most seminal German artists of his generation. Emerging in the 1960s,
the point of departure for his work became the commodity aesthetics of post-war capitalism, which he
analyzed as one of the pioneers of Pop art in Germany. A distinctive and continuous quality of his work
is the investigation of mass-production, consumerism and networks by means of serial procedures. In
his signature style, an overall image is created in an accumulative fashion, through the repetition and
modulation of miniature motifs. The result of this formal juxtaposition is a sustained reflection on the
relation between uniformity and divergence, abstraction and singularity in modern societies. While many
of his works thus combine a traditional artistic principle – ornament – with the aesthetics of modern
mass-production, another feature of Bayrle's work has proofed to be anticipatory. Experimenting with
photocopy machines and manual image manipulation, many of the artist's work seem to prefigure the
present day digital imagery by decades.

Among the works of the artist that skirt the metaphoric register in order to adopt industrial
elements and procedures directly is Rosaire. Disposing with the motor's outer shell, the work
exposes it inner mechanisms to the viewer. Yet the hard, monotonous and indifferent repetitions
of the engine are juxtaposed by the artist with the sound of a rosary prayers that is played through a
sound installation attached to the pedestal of the engine. Several themes are at play in this dialectical
juxtaposition, foremost among them the confrontation between the idea of secualization, associated
with industrialization, and the deeply meditative rhythm of the Catholic prayer. Yet, the work also has
an important biographical subtext, insofar as the congruence of religion and industry first occurred to
the young Bayrle as a weaver's apprentice, before he even began his work as an artist.
Thomas Bayrle
  • Rosaire 2 CV motor, cut off, sound installation, 117cm×65cm×50cm, 2012 Courtesy the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Germany
  • Rosaire 2 CV motor, cut off, sound installation, 117cm×65cm×50cm, 2012 Courtesy the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Germany

Tega Brain (Australia)

Tega Brain (Australia)

Born in 1982 in Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in New York , USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2016 Smell Dating,Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China
2011 Coin-Operated Wetland, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Machines Are Not Alone, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China
2017 First Look, New Art Online, New Museum, New York City, USA
Japanese Media Arts Festival, Tokyo, Japan
NODE Forum, Frankfurt, Germany
No Secrets, Eres Foundation, Munich, Germany
Working Promesse, Biennale Internationale Design, Saint-Etienne, France
398 399
2016 Nervous Systems Quantified Life and the Social Question, Haus der
Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
Doclab, International Documentary Film Festival DocLab, Amsterdam,
Deep Swamp a series of semi-inundated environments that gather together wetland life forms
and artificially intelligent software agents. The agents, Harrison and Hans patiently watch their swampy
territories and modify the conditions in them. Every few minutes they adjust the light, water flow, fog
and nutrients, to try to engineer their environments for different goals. Harrison aims for a natural
looking wetland and Hans is trying to produce a work of art. Using a deep learning approach, each
software has learnt what their goal might look like, by parsing thousands of tagged and categorized
images downloaded from online collections. Over and over they try new combinations of settings,
photograph themselves and then choose permeations that bring them closer to their programmatic

As territories flood and melt, dehydrate and erode, paradigms of environmental protection and
conservation give way to those of management, engineering and strategic intervention. In this sense,
as landscape architects like Bradley Cantrell argue, conserving wilderness has become more about
maintaining autonomous ecological processes rather than the preservation of historic conditions. If new
"wilderness" is the absence of explicit human intervention, what would it mean to have autonomous
computational systems sustain wild places? Practices of environmental engineering, whether by machine
or human intelligence, raise thorny questions of optimization. Optimization is the problem of making
the best or most effective use of a situation or resource. It is the attempt to find the best solution from all
feasible solutions. However what is considered "best" or "most effective" is a question of best for who?
As ecological calamity is met with environmental engineering, what should environments be optimized
  • Deep Swamp Installation, variable size, 2018 Courtesy the Artist
  • Deep Swamp Installation, variable size, 2018 Courtesy the Artist
  • Deep Swamp Installation, variable size, 2018 Courtesy the Artist
  • Deep Swamp Installation, variable size, 2018 Courtesy the Artist
  • Deep Swamp Installation, variable size, 2018 Courtesy the Artist

HsienYu Cheng (Taiwan, China)&Ting Tong Chang (Taiwan, China)

HsienYu Cheng (Taiwan, China)

Born in 1984 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China. Lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 Colloector, YIRIArts, Taichung, Taiwan, China
injector_before Null, VT ArtSalon, Taipei, Taiwan, China
2016 1ed6318fc5481dda3deddfa83723c0fa5041ef03, Digital Art Center Taipei,
Taiwan, China
Secondlife: habitat Due solo exhibition, meme space, Taiwan, China
2014 Colloector Ver.1.0.0, TamtamArt, Taipei, Taiwan, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Taipei Digital Art Festival, shonshan culture park, Taipei, Taiwan, China
Dark Onion, subnet, internet world
Taoyuan Art x Technology Festival, TAxT", Taoyuan Art&performance
Centre, Taoyuan, Taiwan, China
2016 ARTasty, YIRI Arts, Taipei, Taiwan, China
NUIT BLANCHE, Taipei, Taiwan, China

Ting Tong Chang (Taiwan, China)

Born in 1982 in Taipei, Taiwan, China. Lives and works in London, UK.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Machines Under the Similitude of Men, Yiri Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2017 Kosmos, Embassy of Brazil, London, UK
Gongye Chang Could Understand Birds, Noblesse Collection, Seoul
2016 P'eng's Journey to the Southern Darkness, Asia House, cur. Eiko Honda, London
North Indies-Pilot, Christine Park Gallery, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Sythetica, Summerhall, Edinburgh, UK
The Marvellous Mechanical Museum, Compton Verney Art Gallery,
Warwickshire, UK
2017 States Of Play, Humber Street Gallery@UK City of Culture, Hull, UK
Currents New Media Festival, El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, NM, USA
2016 Taiwan Biennial, Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, China
Secondlife – Habitat is an interactive ecological installation jointly created by HsienYu
Cheng & Ting-Tong Chang for their double solo exhibitions. The operational mechanism of the
work is inherited from "Afterlife" by HsienYu Cheng which explains his idea on "life should not be
differentiated by proportion, scale, and form" and Ting-Tong Chang's experiments and imagination
surrounding the survival mechanism of life forms. The work consists of a modular greenhouse and a
computer-simulated environment. The mosquitoes in the green- house will grow in cycles, with the
artists providing blood and nutrients externally. The dead mosquitos will be reincarnated into avatars
with human forms on a software-based desert island with twenty-minute lifespan. Visitors can extend
the lifespan by offering supplies or let the avatars die. Their deaths will trigger the blood-feeding
installation, which provides the female mosquitoes in the greenhouse nutrients by transferring blood
through the blood-feeding machine.
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture
  • Secondlife – Habitat Multimedia Installation, 500cm×70cm×200cm, 2016 Courtesy Hong's Foundation for Education&Culture

Deng Yuejun (China)

Deng Yuejun (China)

Born in 1986 in Yunfu, Guangdong, China. Lives and works in Hangzhou, China.

Solo Exhibitions
2018 Imagine the Invisible, BETWEEN ART, Shanghai, China
2017 Weightlessness, Partea, Hangzhou, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Machines Are Not Alone, Chronous Art Center, Shanghai, China
Presence – Young Artist Exhibition, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
2017 Listening to Transparency, Minsheng Art Museum,Shanghai, China
A Nomination Exhibition of Three Rooms, Chronous Art Center, Shanghai, China
In-Between World, A4 Art Museum, Chengdu, China
2016 Shenzhen New Media Art Festival, G&G LAB, Shenzhen, China
Deng Yuejun is a Hangzhou-based artist. He follows three research directions, which include
energy transference, dimensional space, and mechanical movement. His current working medium
include mechanical installation, Chinese ink painting animation and sound installation. His current
working medium include mechanical installation, Chinese ink painting animation and sound

O samples 100 people pronouncing the vowel "O". Sounds are recorded into 100 custom chips to
be imbedded in 100 photovoltaic insects named "O". Flocks of insects will make O sounds when they
get sunlight. The loudness and duration of sounds of O varies to the intensity of sunlight, thus forming
an orchestra of O. Sound and light are different forms of material existence. Perhaps the constantly
changing time is also a form of material existence. I want to find a way to fuse these seemingly abstract
material into a new form.
  • O granite,photovoltaiccells,customchips,speakers,120mm×120mm×50mm/each,setof100,overalldimensions variable,2016
  • O granite,photovoltaiccells,customchips,speakers,120mm×120mm×50mm/each,setof100,overalldimensions variable,2016
  • O granite,photovoltaiccells,customchips,speakers,120mm×120mm×50mm/each,setof100,overalldimensions variable,2016
  • O granite,photovoltaiccells,customchips,speakers,120mm×120mm×50mm/each,setof100,overalldimensions variable,2016

Gilberto Esparza (Mexico)

Gilberto Esparza (Mexico)

Born in 1975 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 Autofotosintetic Plants, La Galerie UQAM, Montreal, Canada
2015 CULTIVOS/CROPS, Alameda Art Laboratory, Mexico City, Mexico
2014 CULTIVOS / CROPS, Telefónica Foundation, Lima, Perú
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Autofotosintetic Plants, Daejeon Biennale, Korea
2017 Autofotosintetic Plants, Onassis Cultural Foundation, Athens, Greece
2016–2017 "Sideral Exhibition" by Marcela Armas and Gilberto Esparza, in Ex
Teresa Museum of Arts, Mexico City and Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin
2016 Between Limits, Autofotosintetic Plants in Lighting Guerrilla Festival,
Vžigalica Gallery, Ljublgana, Slovenia

The Autophotosynthetic Plants project is conceived as a research protocol that re-imagines
the management of sewage, specifically its framing as waste, in order to salvage its potential as a source
of energy and to establish a symbiotic system of mutual benefit that enables a new ecosystem to survive.
This work takes the form of an active organism made up of a set of modular microbial cells for the
development of colonies of bacteria – coming from different parts of Lima's water system – whose
metabolism produces electricity and improves water quality. The modules are interconnected, creating
a hydraulic network that administers bio-filtered water to the central container, creating an optimal
environment where producer species and consumer species from different trophic levels (protozoans,
crustaceans, microalgae, and aquatic plants) can achieve homeostatic equilibrium. The electricity
produced by the bacteria is released as intervals of luminous energy, enabling photosynthesis by the
plants that inhabit the central container, which thereby complete their metabolic processes. When the
organic material present in the microbial cells has been entirely consumed, an electronic monitoring
network-which functions like a rudimentary brain and connects all the systems-is responsible for
pumping out the byproducts generated by the species that inhabit the nuclear ecosystem to the modular
cells, restarting the cycle.

Etymology. From the Greek phyton (plant) and the Latin nucleum (nucleus), electricus (electron)
and cella (storehouse, chamber). Refers to its mode of subsistence, which uses the electricity that it
generates to maintain the ecosystem (mainly plants) found in its nucleus.

Anatomy. The spherical, translucent nucleus is connected to the biological fuel cell moduleswhich
simulate cylindrical towers-by means of its circulatory and nervous systems, which are exposed.
Habitat. Limited to places without natural light, near where human sewage is discharged.

Behavior. Functions as a colonial organism whose system processes the residues in water in order
to turn them into electroluminescence that enables photosynthesis within its homeostatic nucleus. It
feeds off of urban sewage and its metabolic cycle lasts from eight to twenty days.
  • Autophotosynthetic plants (Phytonucleum electricus cella)
  • Autophotosynthetic plants (Phytonucleum electricus cella)
  • Autophotosynthetic plants (Phytonucleum electricus cella)

Feng Chen (China)

Feng Chen (China)

Born in 1986 in Wuhan, China. Lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands and
Hangzhou, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The Darker Side of Light – Color, Solo project at Art Basel Hong Kong, China
2017 Feng Chen Solo Show, Capsule Shanghai, Shanghai, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Presence – In the Name of New Media Art, China Academy of Art,
Hangzhou, China
The Darker Side of Light – Shadow, Annex Project Space by Fosun Art
Foundation, Shanghai, China
Machines Are Not Alone – A Machinic Triolgy, CAC, Shanghai, China
2017 SOUND and IMAGE: An Art Exhibition Dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven,
Yi Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Turning a Deaf Ear, C-Space+Local, Beijing, China
Create Space, A4 Art Museum, Chengdu, China
2016 Trembling Surfaces, Long March Space, Beijing, China
1 Apartment for 2 women 4 men, Space Local, Beijing, China
Images appearing and disappearing are central to Chen Feng's work – and, as a result, so is the
factor of time. In his videos, frames alternate in a continuous loop. He points his camera at the things
that constitute life – people and events – but by folding and layering their appearance he translates
them into something confusing.

Feng questions the manipulative power of media. He takes cameras apart and reconstructs them,
altering the way they operate and represent the world. He dissects the synchronization between visuals
and audio, inserting a wedge between the different senses, leading us to question which sense we should
trust. In the end, the truth may very well lie halfway.

The Darker Side of Light is an installation that can be realized site-specifically and combines
flickering blinds activated by a device controlled by sound. The installation regulates the flow of natural
light into the room, sculpting space with rhythmic movement.
  • THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT Arduino, servomotor, aluminum blinds, Dimension variable, 2017 Courtesy Capsule Shanghai, China
  • THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT Arduino, servomotor, aluminum blinds, Dimension variable, 2017 Courtesy Capsule Shanghai, China
  • THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT Arduino, servomotor, aluminum blinds, Dimension variable, 2017 Courtesy Capsule Shanghai, China
  • THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT Arduino, servomotor, aluminum blinds, Dimension variable, 2017 Courtesy Capsule Shanghai, China

Thomas Feuerstein (Austria)

Thomas Feuerstein (Austria)

Born in 1968 in Innsbruck, Austria. Lives in Vienna, Austria.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Clubcannibal, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria
Metabolic Machines Medical Museion, Copenhagen, Denmark
Prometheus Delivered, ERES Foundation, Munich, Germany
2017 Prometheus Delivered, HaL, Berlin, Germany
2016 Psychoprosa, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Deamons in the Machine, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia
Hyperprometheus, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth, Australia
2017 Die andere Seite – Erzählungen des Unbewussten, Wilhelm Hack Museum,
Ludwigshafen, Germany
Thomas Feuerstein bridges the interface of applied and theoretical science. His projects
combine complex bodies of knowledge from philosophy, art history and literature, to biotechnology,
economics and politics. His artistic narratives examine the interplay between individuality and
sociality, and aesthetically translate research into molecular sculptures, and the aesthetics of entropy.
His artworks comprise the most diverse media, including installations, drawings, paintings, sculptures,
photography, radio plays, net and biological art. Feuerstein focuses particularly on the interplay
between verbal, visual and material elements, the unearthing of latent connections between fact and
fiction, as well as on the interaction between art and science. At the core of his practice is an artistic
method he calls "conceptual narration."

PROMETHEUS DELIVERED tells a story that oscillates between science fiction and horror,
utopia and dystopia. The project connects sculptures, drawings and literature with biochemical
processes in which human liver cells are cultivated, fermented and distilled to alcohol.

At the center of the project is a marble sculpture, Prometheus bound, which is slowly
decomposed by chemolithoautotrophic bacteria. Inorganic stone turns into organic "meat".
Prometheus becomes a transubstantiation machine that establishes a change from petrochemistry to

Primeval bacteria (including Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans) feed on a bioreactor of iron and
sulfur, which they release from rock. Their metabolism produces sulfuric acid, which they release into
the surrounding water. The acidic water flows through the tubing into the marble sculpture and its
limestone is decomposed by the acid and turns into gypsum. A line of filters extracts and collects the
gypsum particles flushed out by the water, another harvests the biomass. Both the inorganic (gypsum)
and the organic (microorganisms) material are intermediates and are sent to a laboratory installation
for further processing. From the gypsum dissolved in the water, a new sculpture –OVID MACHINE
– grows like a stalactite. The bacteria are subjected to a fermentation process, from which, among
others, glucose and proteins are obtained as nutrients. After purification, the substances obtained from
the microorganisms feed a liver cell culture in a bioreactor. The biotechnological concept is based on
a new cell culture method, which makes it possible to feed transformed liver cells in vitro with a pre-
purified extract of chemolithoautotrophic bacteria and have them grow in a bioreactor.

The liver cells refer to the ancient tradition of hepatoscopy. The organ that was once deemed the
seat of life becomes the exhibitions's point of departure to read humanity's future in the context of a
cellular economy. PROMETHEUS DELIVERED leads into the recesses of a new materialism where the
human body and its tissues are subjected to radical sustainability.
  • PROMETHEUS DELIVERED Biochemical 260cm×145cm×80cm, 2016 – 2018
  • PROMETHEUS DELIVERED Biochemical 260cm×145cm×80cm, 2016 – 2018
  • THESTILLE distillery, fermented liver cells, glass, refrigerator, 163cm×55cm×6cm, 2017
  • AITHON glass, steel, laboratory stirrer, pumps, lighting appliance, hoses, 420cm×100cm×100cm, 2018

Dorian Gaudin (France)

Dorian Gaudin (France)

Born in 1986 in Paris, France. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The coffee cup spring, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA
2017 Dirty Hands On, Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany
Rites and Aftermath, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
2016 Second Offense, Galerie Pact, Paris, France
Jettison Parkway, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2019 Upcoming, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland
2018 Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China
Greater Taipei Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Taipei, China
2016 Your memories are our future, Palais de Tokyo, Zurich, Switzerland

Dorian Gaudin is known for sculptures and installations that often include masterfully engineered
machines which lack any explicit purpose, yet move spontaneously, animated from within. These
autonomous and unpredictable works of art allow us to question the nature of objects and whether we
engage with machines as active users or passive viewers.

Missing You, composed of a large motorized aluminum cylinder, rolls back and forth across
the gallery with an inconsistent rhythm. It depicts the aftermath of a fictional disaster: a plane crash
in which the airplane's reactor has separated and rolled off into the distance alone, unable to find its
counterparts. Inside the lightweight aluminum walls, a motor propels the machine forward by offsetting
the center of gravity of the entire piece. As Missing you moves forward using its own weight, it fumbles
through space trying to find its center of gravity to no avail. With its elegant design, wistful title, and
expressively humming motor, Missing You posits that the constituent parts of a machine might have
identities, compulsions, and desires of their own.
  • Missing You Anodized aluminum, rivets, steel, screws, motor, electrical cord, cement, paint, 274.32cm×198.12cm×198.12cm, 2016
  • Missing You Anodized aluminum, rivets, steel, screws, motor, electrical cord, cement, paint, 274.32cm×198.12cm×198.12cm, 2016
  • Missing You Anodized aluminum, rivets, steel, screws, motor, electrical cord, cement, paint, 274.32cm×198.12cm×198.12cm, 2016
  • Missing You Anodized aluminum, rivets, steel, screws, motor, electrical cord, cement, paint, 274.32cm×198.12cm×198.12cm, 2016

Pierre Huyghe (France)

Pierre Huyghe (France)

Born in 1962 in Paris, France.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom
2016 Orphan Patterns, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany
2015 The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe, The Metropolitan Museum
of Art, New York, USA
2014 Pierre Huyghe, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany & Los Angeles County
Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 After Alife Ahead, Skulptur Projekte Münster, Münster, Germany
2016 Tino Sehgal, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
2015 Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms, 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
2014 Burning Down the House, 10th Gwangju Bienniale, Gwangju, South Korea
Pierre Huyghe's works often present themselves as complex and contingent systems characterized
by a wide range of life forms, inanimate things and technologies. His constructed worlds are immersive,
constantly changing environments, in which humans, animals and non-beings learn, evolve and grow
without the author's control, self-generating.

Huyghe's oeuvre has gained international acclaim for its ability to challenge conventional forms
of exhibition, representation and narrative models. Huyghe's approach generates a network of dynamic
and unpredictable "living situations" interdependent and unfolding in real-time.
  • A Way in Untilled Film, HD video, color, sound, 14', 2018 Courtesy of the collection of Andrew Xue Bing, Esther Schipper,Berlin, Germany and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
  • A Way in Untilled Film, HD video, color, sound, 14', 2018 Courtesy of the collection of Andrew Xue Bing, Esther Schipper,Berlin, Germany and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
  • A Way in Untilled Film, HD video, color, sound, 14', 2018 Courtesy of the collection of Andrew Xue Bing, Esther Schipper,Berlin, Germany and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
  • A Way in Untilled Film, HD video, color, sound, 14', 2018 Courtesy of the collection of Andrew Xue Bing, Esther Schipper,Berlin, Germany and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA

Jon Kessler (USA)

Jon Kessler (USA)

Born in 1957 in Yonkers, New York, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2013 The Web, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland
2008 Louisiana Museum of Moderne Kunste, Copenhagen, Denmark
2005 The Palace at 4 a.m., PS1/MoMA, New York, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 L'Ennemi de mon ennemi, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, ICA Boston, USA
2017 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
2016 What People Do For Money, Manifesta 11, Zurich, Switzerland
Jon Kessler is an American artist known for his mechanical sculptures and immersive installations.
For more than three decades he has exhibited widely in museums and galleries in the United States,
Europe and Asia. Since 2004 his mechanical sculptures have been rigged with surveillance cameras
creating films in real time and turn the viewer into yoyeur, exhibitionist, spectator and surveilled subject.
Kessler has trained his wit and engineering prowess on subjects such as war, the media, consumer
culture, politics and climate change. His work exposes and exploits the horrors and hypocrisies of a
culture addicted to an overly saturated media experience.

At the heart of Jon Kessler's kinetic sculpture The World is Cuckoo (Clock) is a tourbillion watch
movement modified by the master watchmaker of OFFICINE PANERAI. A series of gears extend the
watch movement and give the impression that it provides the beating heart that gives life to Kessler's
mechanical bride. The clock will not tell time, but it will tell a story! The clock relates the visual tale of
a cuckoo bird that has lost the desire and ability to fly. Kessler's work often has an underlying political
component and although it's told through metaphor, the piece warns of the environment that has
impacted the cuckoo, from shifting migratory patterns due to climate change to environmental disasters
such oil spills and forest fires. Or perhaps because of the rise of antidepressant use, and it's residual
traces in the water system, the bird can't be bothered to take flight... The sense of loss and attempt at
regaining its evolutionary privilege will communicate a poignant portrait of this fragile moment of
anxiousness, loss and unease. Past present and future collide in this video sculpture as older traditions
such as watchmaking, music boxes and early cinema (in the form of a zoetrope) combine with video
surveillance, flight simulators and drone technologies.
Jon Kessler
  • The World is Cuckoo (Clock) Mixed media with lights, motor, video cameras,monitors and Panerai watch, 162.56cm×337.82cm×271.78cm, 2016 Courtesy of the artist
  • The World is Cuckoo (Clock) Mixed media with lights, motor, video cameras,monitors and Panerai watch, 162.56cm×337.82cm×271.78cm, 2016 Courtesy of the artist
  • The World is Cuckoo (Clock) Mixed media with lights, motor, video cameras,monitors and Panerai watch, 162.56cm×337.82cm×271.78cm, 2016 Courtesy of the artist

Liu Wa (China)

Liu Wa (China)

Born in 1994 in Beijing, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China and New York, USA.

Solo Exhibition
2018 Glimpse: a passing look. Sabsay Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Heart of the Tin Man. M Woods Museum, Beijing, China
I Do (Not) Want To Be Part Of Your Celebration, Qiao Space & Tank Project,
Shanghai, China
Art Nova 100. Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
Art Above the Sofa: Next Generation. New York, USA
All Happens After Sunset. Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai,
Shanghai, China
2016 Art Utopia. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
Fantastic Art China-International Creative Festival. Javits Convention
Center, New York, USA
Liu Wa works in various media, including interactive installation, performance, and painting.
Inspired by social realities and anthropological frameworks, Liu constantly explores the power dynamics
between individuals and the society, aiming to create dialectic dialogues between heterogenous
cultures and disciplines. In her recent works, Liu employs technologies to approach humanistic themes
including self-awareness and agency.

Glimpse: a grain of truth, realized via neurotechnology, is an immersive installation that senses
and reflects the viewer's changing attention levels. Donning an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset,
the viewer enters a room with a series of color-coded paintings. Her changing brainwaves illuminate the
room with a continuous range of spectral colors. The painted figures thereby successively emerge from
the dark silhouettes and then gradually disappear into the dilapidated house and landfill. The paintings
concern the contemporary throwaway culture fueled by consumerism and the power dynamics
embedded in trash problem, calling attention to the tradeoff of modernity. In different states of mind,
the viewer perceives the same paintings differently, while the real appearance of the work remains
unknown. Such momentary glimpses of the work allude to people's subjective and fluid perceptions of
the external world.
  • Glimpse: a grain of truth Interactive Installation, 2018
  • Glimpse: a grain of truth Interactive Installation, 2018
  • Glimpse: a grain of truth Interactive Installation, 2018

Lu Pingyuan (China)

Lu Pingyuan (China)

Born in 1984 in Zhejiang, China. Lives and works in Shanghai, China.

Select Solo Exhibitions
2017 HOME ALONe, MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, China
2016 James Stanley-The Seventh Earl of Derby, Center for Chinese Contemporary
Art, Manchester, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Zhongguo 2185, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK
2016 11th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
9th Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool, UK
A Beautiful Disorder, Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK
2015 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ural, Russia
Lu Pingyuan's artworks involve a variety of media, including texts, installations, videos, paintings
and others. For a few years, Lu Pingyuan has been concentrating his practice on the writing of "stories"
as a unique media for art creation and wrote numerous short stories related to the art world. These
short "stories" significantly have broaden the artworks' existing state in the real world, and extended the
inherent spirit of art itself.

In 2012, the artist started his series of works Stories to express his unique views on art. This body
of works presents the latest practice of the artist using science fiction influences. The works not only
pursue the confusion between reality and fantasy, but also reflect the creation process as part of a daily
ritual: the artist took inspiration from the humanoid cyborgs invented by the Japanese Manga artist
Tsutomu Nihei's APOSIMZ, and started to write at a specific time each day worshipping them as posthuman
deities. The artwork depicts conflicts and contradictions that may arise from the separations
between spirit (soul) and flesh (body) in the context of artificial intelligence. The story is printed on an
A3 sheet of paper, presented by a pair of mechanical hands, which provides the story with a mysterious
and sculptural AI touch.
  • Love Archaeology – 1 / Revolution of the Cave Print on paper, fiberglass, paint, 50cm×38cm×12cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist and MadeIn Gallery, China
  • Love Archaeology – 1 / Revolution of the Cave Print on paper, fiberglass, paint, 50cm×38cm×12cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist and MadeIn Gallery, China
  • Love Archaeology – 1 / Revolution of the Cave Print on paper, fiberglass, paint, 50cm×38cm×12cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist and MadeIn Gallery, China

Bernie Lubell (USA)

Bernie Lubell (USA)

Born in 1947 in Baltimore Maryland, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Aspirations, Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA
2014 Why can't the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First
Party? Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, USA
2012 Party of the First Part,…and the Synapse Sweetly Singing&others, Exit/Via
Festival, Creteil &Maubeuge, France
2009 A Theory of Entanglement, FACT, Liverpool, UK
2008 Sufficient Latitude, Conservation of Intimacy, ...and the Synapse Sweetly
Singing, Etiology of Innocence and others, Art Center College of Design,
Pasadena, USA
Bernie Lubell is a San Francisco maker of interactive installations that have evolved from studies
in both psychology and engineering. His wood installations explore the conflicted relationship we
have with machines – machines upon which we have become dependent and in which we often
see ourselves. Although interactive, his work is adamantly low tech, encouraging people to form
relationships, like children do on a playground, to get the art to work. By requiring participation and
touch Lubell encourages visitors to engage their bodies as well as their minds. As they play, participants
tap into the reservoir of knowledge stored in each of their own bodies. The way that pieces move, feel
and sound as you rock, pedal, crank and listen applies the kinesthetic comprehensions of childhood
to the tasks of philosophy. By examining contemporary issues with simple, early technologies Lubell
highlights the wonderful absurdity of how our understandings are mediated by our technology.

Sufficient Latitude simulates being adrift at night on a black plastic sea. Just enough salient
features of this predicament are provided to provoke the imaginations of the three participants. One
participant pedals a wood bike to make waves in a black plastic sheet while another pedals to make the
"Boat" rock and roll. The Boat is sprung and wallows as your weight shifts. By "rowing" the Boat a third
participant will make tiny lights glow on the horizon of the plastic Ocean as though you are coming
home at night. But rowing on the ocean is hard work, you get tired and the lights flicker out.

Latitude is only half enough to know where you are, and the easiest half at that. It is like knowing
the temperature but not the time, for time is essential to knowing the other half, the longitude, of your
location. Before ocean going clocks, latitude (taken from the sun's height) and experience were the only
guides to navigation. Out of sight of land, on a starless night, you were basically lost.
  • Sufficient Latitude interactive installation, pine, hemlock, Polyethylene sheet, rubber rope, rope, canvas, music wire, generator and low voltage lights. Dimensions vary, 1999 – 2012
  • Sufficient Latitude interactive installation, pine, hemlock, Polyethylene sheet, rubber rope, rope, canvas, music wire, generator and low voltage lights. Dimensions vary, 1999 – 2012

Fito Segrera (Colombia)

Fito Segrera (Colombia)

Born in 1983 in Cartagena, Colombia. Lives and works in Shanghai, China.

Selected Solo Exhibition
2018 It from Bit, Extra Art Base, Design Society Museum, Shenzhen, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Open Codes 2, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
2017 UNREAL – The Algorithmic Present, HEK, Basel, Switzerland
2016 Variations, Cité internationale des arts's Gallery, Paris, France
PLUNC, Museu das Comunicaçõ es, Lisbon, Portugal

1_&_n_chairs appropriates Joseph Kosuth's "One and Three Chairs" (1965) by keeping
(almost intact) its visual language and composition of elements, hence anchoring the spectator in a very
defined conceptual and artistic space. The piece is a reevaluation of the notion of reality, perception and
cognition in today's hybridized society; one populated by artificial and natural intelligence.

1_&_n_chairs renders a new layer of technological intelligence over Kosuth's piece. The result
is an autonomous system which uses computational cognition in order to recursively interpret what
it sees and understands visually from the object in question (the physical wooden chair). The artwork
acts as a form of systematical visual essay on Kosuth's "One and Three Chairs" while exposing aspects of
these on-line machine learning systems which directly affect our sense of reality and are often ignored
by human users. 1_&_n_chairs extrapolates some of the technical limitations behind these algorithmic
models and re-frames these as a sort of artificial imagination and cognition which renders a new hybrid
  • 1_&_n_chairs LCD screens, micro-computers, internet connection, cognitive computation engine, custom software, variable Dimensions, 2017 Courtesy of the artist
  • 1_&_n_chairs LCD screens, micro-computers, internet connection, cognitive computation engine, custom software, variable Dimensions, 2017 Courtesy of the artist
  • 1_&_n_chairs LCD screens, micro-computers, internet connection, cognitive computation engine, custom software, variable Dimensions, 2017 Courtesy of the artist
  • 1_&_n_chairs LCD screens, micro-computers, internet connection, cognitive computation engine, custom software, variable Dimensions, 2017 Courtesy of the artist

Shen Ruijun (China)

Shen Ruijun (China)

Born in 1976 in Guangzhou, China. Lives and works in Guangzhou, China and New York,

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 Into the Scenery, 33 Contemporary Art Center, Guangzhou, China
2016 Reflection, As Rhizome, Gallery Yang, Beijing, China
2008 A Fire Which Burns, Linda Warrens Gallery, Chicago, USA
2005 Tian Lai- Sounds From Heaven, Shigeko Bork Mu Project, Washington, D.C., USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Please Come Back, The World as A Prison? National Museum of 21st
Century Arts, Rome, Italy
2014 Cosmos-Limited and Limitless, Existence and Co-existence,Shanghai 21st
Century Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China
2013 The 8th International Ink Art Biennale of Shenzhen, Guan Shanyue Art
Museum, Shenzhen, China
Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen, China
2012 New Direction: Young Chinese Contemporary Artists Exhibition, Moscow
Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia
Contrast – Inheritance & Development, Suzhou Jingji Lake Art Museum,
Suzhou, China
Instead of images, Ruijun Shen constructs situations and create experiences. She believes
human beings live in situations where every objects and events are interconnected. Everything can
transform into one another to achieve dynamic balance. In her work, Shen explores a state which is
interconnected, constantly changing and provides multiple interpretations. She creates environments
that invite the viewers to look closely and "travel" in the work. Lost in the contemplative act, the viewer
will bring his own experience to make sense of the work.

Shoal is an area where all the natural elements gather, dissolve, exchange, nourish each other
to rebirth. In the work Shoal II, by combining stop-motion animation and installation, and the
application of transparent screen, Shen creates a virtual spacial effect that elements from one surface can
travel in or out to another surface. All the creatures in the animation exist in its self-contained micro
world; however, through the breaking-though of spaces and certain moments' encounter, they are
interconnected and overlap. Reality is no longer seperated, and fixed in the moment, but becomes a
series of seconds and minutes that constantly join and part from you.
  • Shoal Animation Installation, 3', 27cm×37.3cm×30cm, 2016
  • Shoal Animation Installation, 3', 27cm×37.3cm×30cm, 2016
  • Shoal Animation Installation, 3', 27cm×37.3cm×30cm, 2016
  • Shoal Animation Installation, 3', 27cm×37.3cm×30cm, 2016

Herwig Weiser(Austria)

Herwig Weiser(Austria)

Born in 1969 in Austria.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Galerie Johann Widauer, Innsbruck, Austria
2017 Aftermatharchitexture, MUMOK Museum moderener Kunst Wie, Vienna, Austria
2015 Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, Austria
2005 Art Basel, Miami Beach, Artpositions, Miami, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Hong Kong International Film Festival, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong, China
2017 A Rock that Keeps Tigers Away, Kunstverein Münche, Munich, Germany
2016 Opening Unresolved, De Appel Art Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2010 New.Brave.World! Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst, Trondheim, Norway
2009 Sleepwalking, Temporary Gallery Cologne, Cologne, Germany
In his films and many other works, Herwig Weiser interrogates modes of thinking and common
meanings in our relation to technology. Weiser focuses on the analogue materiality of the digital machinery
which he reworks and rethinks in his projects. For example, Weiser transforms a computer into
a living organism, 'functioning' or evolving as an unpredictable and unstable system - logic in re-verse.
His work has been exhibited and screened internationally.

Summoned Disambiguation is comprised of the following sequence: solidification and
collision. In a shooting process two transparent high velocity streams of phase change material freeze
while on the way toward a collision – consolidation of the material as an expanded sculpture. After
capturing the colliding moment in a frozen constellation, the visible structures dissolve again under heat
into an ab-solute clearness. Because of its ephemeral and variable state of being, the work can be seen
as a form of "action painting" or a kind of "plasmatic" cinema. Re-asserting its materiality by divulging
hidden substances, the sculpture follows its own internal principles, generating spontaneous aesthetic
and ma-terial relationships through an auto-poetic system. Structurally it goes from a state of order into
a state of disorder, from entropy to negative entropy and vice versa. The project fundamentally explores
mat-ter under improbable conditions.
  • Summoned Disambiguation Developed in cooperation with Wendelin Weingartner, Senrad Inc. / New York, USA and Bernhard Sumper, Vienna. Additional programming: Albert Bleckmann, Courtesy of the artist.
  • Summoned Disambiguation Developed in cooperation with Wendelin Weingartner, Senrad Inc. / New York, USA and Bernhard Sumper, Vienna. Additional programming: Albert Bleckmann, Courtesy of the artist.
  • Summoned Disambiguation Developed in cooperation with Wendelin Weingartner, Senrad Inc. / New York, USA and Bernhard Sumper, Vienna. Additional programming: Albert Bleckmann, Courtesy of the artist.
  • Summoned Disambiguation Developed in cooperation with Wendelin Weingartner, Senrad Inc. / New York, USA and Bernhard Sumper, Vienna. Additional programming: Albert Bleckmann, Courtesy of the artist.
  • Summoned Disambiguation Developed in cooperation with Wendelin Weingartner, Senrad Inc. / New York, USA and Bernhard Sumper, Vienna. Additional programming: Albert Bleckmann, Courtesy of the artist.

Wang Yuyang (China)

Wang Yuyang (China)

Born in 1979 in Harbin, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The Moon, Massimo De Carlo gallery, Hong Kong, China
Singlularity, Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
2015 Tonight I shall meditate on that which I am, Long Museum West Bund,
Shanghai, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Open, Zhi Art Museum Inaugural Exhibition, Zhi Art Museum, Chengdu, China
2017 Datumsoria: The Return of the Real, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
UNREAL – The Algorithmic Present, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; HeK
House of Electronic Arts, Basel, Switzerland
Post-sense Sensibility: Trepidation and Will, Ming Contemporary Art
Museum, Shanghai, China
Messages from the Ruin, Asia Art Center, Taipei, China
Our Painting, Yang Museum, Beijing, China
2016 Poets of Beijing, Wiebengahal, Maastricht, Netherlands
Post-sense Sensibility: Trepidation and Will, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum,
Beijing, China
Why the Performance? Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, China
A Beautiful Disorder, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, UK
The Shadow Never Lies, Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum,
Shanghai, China

Wang Yuyang's work is as much an intellectual pursuit of the real as an investigation of material
potentials through which the real may manifest itself. His work intuits the emerging dynamics in the
making of reality in which humans and things form "networks or assemblages across which agency
and even consciousness may be distributed" (David Joselit and Hal Foster). It unveils the animate
materiality of the thingness as the linking of interobjectivity.

In Dictionary – Light, the process of the work starts with converting the stokes of Chinese
characters to codes of "0" and "1"s, then a software 3ds Max transfers the converted code to a threedimensional
model. It is a unique sequence of the "0" and "1" s that therefore models are direct and
objective translation of the strokes, making it into forms without individual subjectivity. The "writing"
and "creating characters" are based on the combined models that form the meanings and concepts of
words and sentences. The "words" in the space then creates other meanings and expressions beyond

In another work, Mouth, the artist installed a simulated machine mouth on the wall of the
exhibition hall. When the viewer approaches it, the sensor triggers and the mouth on the wall spits saliva
at the viewer. At this time, the unreasonable behavior of the mouth won people's favor.
  • Mouth Interactive Installation, Metal Frame, Motor, Silicon, Computer, 17cm×10cm×8cm, 2015
  • Mouth Interactive Installation, Metal Frame, Motor, Silicon, Computer, 17cm×10cm×8cm, 2015
  • Dictionary – Light 3D model, Transparent resin, 200cm×150cm×260cm, 2015
  • Dictionary – Light 3D model, Transparent resin, 200cm×150cm×260cm, 2015

Zhang Yongji (China)

Zhang Yongji (China)
Zhang Yongji's work is based on moving images. His work includes installation and video.
He uses moving imaging and photo editing software such as Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects
to manipulate the found materials. His recent work centers around the concept of the impact of
popularization on video making.

In The Generation is Screaming, he collaged found video materials that aim for entertainment
and selected viral music with strong beats to function together as a brainwashing tool. When viewed
singly, each found video material is full of characteristics and individuality. However, when viewed as a
whole, it shows the sense of unity and collective consciousness. In a carnival with socialist characteristics,
Is the man individualistic or faceless? Are they celebrating or being controlled?
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018
  • The Generation is Screaming 5927px×1080px, HD video, color, sound, 4'31'', 2018

Dorian Gaudin (France)

Dorian Gaudin (France)

Born in 1986 in Paris, France. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 The coffee cup spring, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA
2017 Dirty Hands On, Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany
Rites and Aftermath, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
2016 Second Offense, Galerie Pact, Paris, France
Jettison Parkway, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2019 Upcoming, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland
2018 Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China
Greater Taipei Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Taipei, China
2016 Your memories are our future, Palais de Tokyo, Zurich, Switzerland
Dorian Gaudin is known for sculptures and installations that often include masterfully engineered
machines which lack any explicit purpose, yet move spontaneously, animated from within. These
autonomous and unpredictable works of art allow us to question the nature of objects and whether we
engage with machines as active users or passive viewers.

Rites and Aftermath is a multi-part kinetic installation composed of a long table and 11 chairs.
Imagined as the moment just after or before a decadent dinner party (it is purposefully unclear), there
are no people present. Instead, the machines play the part of the guests, as if coming to life in the
absence of people. Each component is programmed to activate at different intervals, the table top rising
to a crescendo and falling on a twenty minute loop, and the chairs springing into the air at random,
powered by pneumatic pressure tanks. The overlapping choreographies of the rise and fall of the table
and the frenetically leaping chairs never plays the same way twice, allowing the work to take on various
tones at any given moment. Depending on the position, rhythms, and sounds of the constituent parts,
Rites and Aftermath becomes beautiful, comical, or sublime. Taking inspiration from Louis Buñuel's
1962 absurdist satire, The Exterminating Angel, in which dinner guests sit down to feast only to
discover that they can cannot escape and grow mad in captivity – Rites and Aftermath renders a
familiar domestic scene alien and unpredictable-at turns even menacing – causing us to reconsider the
autonomy of objects as it relates to our own.
Dorian Gaudin
  • Rites and Aftermath 2017 Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA, NY, Galerie Pact, Paris, France, and Dittrich and Shlechtriem, Berlin, Germany.
  • Rites and Aftermath 2017 Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA, NY, Galerie Pact, Paris, France, and Dittrich and Shlechtriem, Berlin, Germany.
  • Rites and Aftermath 2017 Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA, NY, Galerie Pact, Paris, France, and Dittrich and Shlechtriem, Berlin, Germany.
  • Rites and Aftermath 2017 Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, USA, NY, Galerie Pact, Paris, France, and Dittrich and Shlechtriem, Berlin, Germany.

Jiang Zhuyun (China)

Jiang Zhuyun (China)

Born in 1984 in Hangzhou, China. Lives and works in Hangzhou, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions & Projects
2018 If the End Precedes the Beginning, Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, China
2017 Survival in System, West Bund Art & Design, Shanghai, China
2016 I Talk to The Wind, Hunsand Space, Beijing, China
2015 AT Lab: Pass Word Project, Hunsand Space, Beijing, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Presence, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
Art Patrons, Qiao Space, Shanghai, China
Concepts of Visual Poetry, Palais Bellevue #2, Kassel, Switzerland
2017 Bad New Days Ahead, TAIKANG Space, Beijing, China
The Den, Martin Goya Business, Hangzhou, China
Guangzhou Image Triennial: Simultaneous Eidos, Guangdong Museum of
Art, Guangzhou, China

Jiang Zhuyun is a Hangzhou-based artist, whose work takes on multiple forms such as installation,
drawing, sound art and AudioVisual live. He currently teaches creative programing and multimedia
techniques at School of Intermedia Art, China Academy of Art.

In The End Precedes the Beginning, the artist uses an eye tracking system to record the
movement of his eyes when reading the poem Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, and maps it onto four onemeter
long modules, as each module corresponds to one chapter of the poem. With contemplative
pauses, troubled repetitions, and excited leaps, the moving machines and the artist's personal
experience construct a uniquely intense relationship. T.S. Eliot believes that incarnation provides the
most essential ground for the way humans experience time, and here, the machines have become the
vessels that contain the experience of time by the artist.
  • The End Precedes the Beginning Installation, Computer×4, Single-axis linear module 1m×4, text by Needle printer×4, Monitor, 2018 Courtesy of Boers-Li Gallery
  • The End Precedes the Beginning Installation, Computer×4, Single-axis linear module 1m×4, text by Needle printer×4, Monitor, 2018 Courtesy of Boers-Li Gallery
  • The End Precedes the Beginning Installation, Computer×4, Single-axis linear module 1m×4, text by Needle printer×4, Monitor, 2018 Courtesy of Boers-Li Gallery
  • The End Precedes the Beginning Installation, Computer×4, Single-axis linear module 1m×4, text by Needle printer×4, Monitor, 2018 Courtesy of Boers-Li Gallery

Liu Jiayu (China)

Liu Jiayu (China)

Born in 1990 in Liaoning, China. Lives and works in London, UK and Beijing, China.

Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition, York art museum, UK
2017 The Riverside festival, Watermans Art Centre, London, UK
10th Kinectica Art Fair, "Ugly Duck," London, UK
2015 The Ballad of Generation Y Exhibition, OCAT, Shanghai, China
CAFA 2nd Future Exhibition, K11 Art Space, Hongkong, China

The natural reflexivity in nature has prompted and guided Liu Jiayu's creation. She has
always been trying to identify the multiple relations between human and nature, explore the various
perspectives that people hold to observe nature, and discover that data sources as essential clues have
become the communication nodes in the object network to shuttle, encounter, reject, infiltrate and fuse
with each other in different fields. Through spatial collage and displacement, the audience's behavioral
response and emotional resonance are aroused, which makes her creation itself repeatedly "re-created"
by other people.

The Side Valley is made with the combination of real-time rendering of motion graphics and
projection mapping. Through deep machine learning, it sends sky pictures shot at different period to
models for learning and calculation. In a period of four months, it finally produces the sky image above
the lake by applying the result of machine learning.

With the application of those models which have been trained, it produces real-time images based
on the lake sculpture. Image generation is triggered and controlled by the wind speed and direction
in the lakeside of Vallée de Joux. The constant change of data makes the image change slowly, then
subtle fluctuation is added by the fluid models, and finally it presents the image by water projection.
In the subtle and lifelike change of shadows, audience can sense the intangible power of atmospheric
Vallée de Joux represented in the work.

When overlooking the device which seems atop of Vallée de Joux, what one sees is a real illusion
and also an illusionary reality; it is a simplified presentation, and also a progressive guide from surface to
depth. Through real-time connection, it continues to encourage the viewer to explore the unknown in
the known.
  • The Side Valley Stainless steel, translucent liquid, deep machine learning, real-time rendering, 1100cm×370cm×10cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist studio
  • The Side Valley Stainless steel, translucent liquid, deep machine learning, real-time rendering, 1100cm×370cm×10cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist studio
  • The Side Valley Stainless steel, translucent liquid, deep machine learning, real-time rendering, 1100cm×370cm×10cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist studio
  • The Side Valley Stainless steel, translucent liquid, deep machine learning, real-time rendering, 1100cm×370cm×10cm, 2018 Courtesy of the artist studio

Tomás Saraceno (Argentina)

Tomás Saraceno (Argentina)

Born in 1973 in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. Lives and works in and beyond the
planet Earth.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Albedo, Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Genoa, Italy
Solar Rhythms, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA
A Thermodynamic Imaginary, MAAT, Museum of Art, Architecture and
Technology, Lisbon, Portugal
2017 Gravitational Waves, Z33, Genk, Belgium
Entangled Orbits, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Liquid City, Triennale Bruges, Belgium
Floating Utopias. NGBK, Berlin, Germany
2017 Winter Journey, Jardins du Château de Versailles, France
Into the Cosmos, MAXXI, Rome, Italy
Floating Worlds, Lyon Biennale for Contemporary Art, France
Tomás Saraceno's oeuvre could be seen as an ongoing research, informed by the worlds of art,
architecture, natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering; his floating sculptures, community projects
and interactive installations propose and explore new, sustainable ways of inhabiting and sensing the

Aerocene, an open-source community project for artistic and scientific exploration initiated
from Saraceno's vision, becomes buoyant only by the heat of the Sun and infrared radiation from the
surface of Earth.

Aerocene imagines space as commons, a physical and imaginative place to be subtracted from
corporate control and government surveillance, through de-securitized, free access to the interface
between us and the rest of the cosmos, namely the atmosphere, the last earthly layer created as a result
of the interplay of sun, gravity and the earth mass. The launch pad becomes an aerosolar balloon, a Do
It Together (DIT) entrance to the aerial, whose engine is the life-giving star that the extraction of fossil
fuels has turned into a threat at a planetary scale. Becoming buoyant and learning how to float over land
and territories, compel us to reconsider the ways in which borders are set up by humans, the power
of national institutions to decide who can transit, policies that dramatically affect vulnerable subjects,
humans as well as other nonhuman animals. Aerocene calls for an interspecies right to mobility, a new
interplanetary ecology of practice which could reconnect with elemental sources of energy and with the
strata borne from the sun and other planets, breaking the boundaries of the sublunary and expanding
the critical zone of all-life dependent air.
  • Aerocene Selected Aerosolar Journeys
  • Aerocene Selected Aerosolar Journeys
  • Aerocene Selected Aerosolar Journeys
  • Aerocene Selected Aerosolar Journeys
  • Aerocene Selected Aerosolar Journeys

Ief Spincemaille(Belgium)

Ief Spincemaille(Belgium)

Born in 1976 in Leuven, Belgium, and still living and working there.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Pinsart Gallery, Bruges, Belgium
2009 Everything is art now, except you. You are only watching, De Brakke
Grond, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Werktank Showcase, Paris, France
There is the sun@Cumulus 2016 Hong Kong Design institute, Hong Kong, China
ILLUSION - MOVING SPACE , Kunstkraftwerk, Leipzig, Germany
2014 There is the sun, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
Contemporary Art Ruhr, PACT Zollverein, Essen, Germany
Ief Spincemaille is a Belgian artist whose artistic journey crosses visual arts, design and
performance. He works in unusual locations like bicycle factories, prisons or residential complexes to
explore the boundaries of the artworld and its frameworks and shapes. Not just for the joy of playing a
formalistic game, but from a necessity for new forms that better respond to his imagination.

His projects always arise from a childish sense of wonder for simple phenomena. Things that are
so close and familiar that they remain invisible: Earth's curvature, the presence of sunlight, our farthest
neighbor on the other side of the world, shortening and lengthening of the days, the immense versatility
of a simple rope by tampering with its usual dimension.

Spincemaille succeeds in combining wonder and poetry with a strongly committed
social practice. In doing so he continues an avant-garde tradition, an immanent criticism of the
institutionalization of culture and a search for closing the gap between art and life. By using an artistdecentered
method, a multi-valued approach and working in-situ in a radical way, he explores the
limits of one of the most challenging values of modern art: autonomy.

Ief Spincemaille obtained his master in Philosophy at the university of Leuven and studied Jazz,
modern music, and music and technology at L'AULA de Música Moderna y Jazz, Barcelona. He
works as an independent set designer and visual artist and is supported by Werktank (www.werktank.

For ROPE he completely identifies with a handmade giant blue cable, 60 meters long and 35
centimeters thick. It weighs 196 kilos and would take eleven people to carry. It is made from 2.3
kilometers of polypropylene ribbon braided around a foam core.

The first ROPE was born in Leuven, Belgium in 2017. For the Guangzhou Triennial a new ROPE
will be made on the satellite site of the Boxes Art Museum. A team will hand-braid ROPE live in about a
month and then take it out into the world.

ROPE is absurdly big, bigger than all the other ropes. It is trying to reshape itself by travelling and
having people interact with it. It may be used for anything. To create a wall with or a pavilion or a giant
shadow. It can be used to upset people or to create bewilderment. You can sit and relax on it, play an
XXL game of tug-of-war, or take it into the park for a stroll. As long as it is being used.
  • Rope at least 60 meters long, 35 cm thick, 2017 – 2018
  • Rope at least 60 meters long, 35 cm thick, 2017 – 2018
  • Rope at least 60 meters long, 35 cm thick, 2017 – 2018

As We May Think (excerpts)

Vannevar Bush

This has not been a scientist's war; it has been a war in which all have had a part. The scientists, burying their old
professional competition in the demand of a common cause, have shared greatly and learned much. It has been exhilarating
to work in effective partnership. Now, for many, this appears to be approaching an end. What are the scientists to do next?
For the biologists, and particularly for the medical scientists, there can be little indecision, for their war work has hardly
required them to leave the old paths. Many indeed have been able to carry on their war research in their familiar peacetime
laboratories. Their objectives remain much the same.
It is the physicists who have been thrown most violently off stride, who have left academic pursuits for the making of
strange destructive gadgets, who have had to devise new methods for their unanticipated assignments. They have done their
part on the devices that made it possible to turn back the enemy. They have worked in combined effort with the physicists
of our allies. They have felt within themselves the stir of achievement. They have been part of a great team. Now, as peace
approaches, one asks where they will find objectives worthy of their best.
Of what lasting benefit has been man's use of science and of the new instruments which his research brought into
existence? First, they have increased his control of his material environment. They have improved his food, his clothing, his
shelter; they have increased his security and released him partly from the bondage of bare existence. They have given him
increased knowledge of his own biological processes so that he has had a progressive freedom from disease and an increased
span of life. They are illuminating the interactions of his physiological and psychological functions, giving the promise of an
improved mental health.
Science has provided the swiftest communication between individuals; it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled
man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race
rather than that of an individual.
There is a growing mountain of research. But there is increased evidence that we are being bogged down today
as specialization extends. The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers
- conclusions which he cannot find time to grasp, much less to remember, as they appear. Yet specialization becomes
increasingly necessary for progress, and the effort to bridge between disciplines is correspondingly superficial.
Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by now are
totally inadequate for their purpose. If the aggregate time spent in writing scholarly works and in reading them could be
evaluated, the ratio between these amounts of time might well be startling. Those who conscientiously attempt to keep abreast
of current thought, even in restricted fields, by close and continuous reading might well shy away from an examination
calculated to show how much of the previous month's efforts could be produced on call. Mendel's concept of the laws of
genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and
extending it; and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us, as truly significant attainments become
lost in the mass of the inconsequential.
The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present-day interests,
but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of
human experience us being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze
to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships.
But there are signs of a change as new and powerful instrumentalities come into use. Photocells capable of seeing things
in a physical sense, advanced photography which can record what is seen or even what is not, thermionic tubes capable
of controlling potent forces under the guidance of less power than a mosquito uses to vibrate his wings, cathode ray tubes
rendering visible an occurrence so brief that by comparison a microsecond is a long time, relay combinations which will carry
out involved sequences of movements more reliably than any human operator and thousand of times as fast - there are plenty
of mechanical aids with which to effect a transformation in scientific records.
Two centuries ago Leibnitz invented a calculating machine which embodied most of the essential features of recent
keyboard devices, but it could not then come into use. The economics of the situation were against it: the labor involved in
constructing it, before the days of mass production, exceeded the labor to be saved by its use, since all it could accomplish
could be duplicated by sufficient use of pencil and paper.
Moreover, it would have been subject to frequent breakdown, so that it could not have been depended upon; for at that
time and long after, complexity and unreliability were synonymous.
Babbage, even with remarkably generous support for his time, could not produce his great arithmetical machine. His
idea was sound enough, but construction and maintenance costs were then too heavy. Had a Pharaoh been given detailed and
explicit designs of an automobile, and had he understood them completely, it would have taxed the resources of his kingdom
to have fashioned the thousands of parts for a single car, and that car would have broken down on the first trip to Giza.
Machines with interchangeable parts can now be constructed with great economy of effort. In spite of much complexity,
they perform reliably. Witness the humble typewriter, or the movie camera, or the automobile. Electrical contacts have ceased
to stick when thoroughly understood. Note the automatic telephone exchange, which has hundreds of thousands of such
contacts, and yet is reliable. A spider web of metal, sealed in a thin glass container, a wire heated to brilliant glow, in short, the
thermionic tube of radio sets, is made by the hundred million, tossed about in packages, plugged into sockets - and it works!
Its gossamer parts, the precise location and alignment involved in its construction, would have occupied a master craftsman
of the guild for months; now it is built for thirty cents. The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great
reliability; and something is bound to come of it.
The repetitive processes of thought are not confined, however, to matters of arithmetic and statistics. In fact, every time
one combines and records facts in accordance with established logical processes, the creative aspect of thinking is concerned
only with the selection of the data and the process to be employed, and the manipulation thereafter is repetitive in nature
and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machines. Not so much has been done along these lines, beyond the bounds of
arithmetic, as might be done, primarily because of the economics of the situation. The needs of business, and the extensive
market obviously waiting, assured the advent of mass-produced arithmetical machines just as soon as production methods
were sufficiently advanced.
With machines for advanced analysis no such situation existed; for there was and is no extensive market; the users of
advanced methods of manipulating data are a very small part of the population. There are, however, machines for solving
differential equations - and functional and integral equations, for that matter. There are many special machines, such as the
harmonic synthesizer which predicts the tides. There will be many more, appearing certainly first in the hands of the scientist
and in small numbers.
If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of
the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.
The abacus, with its beads string on parallel wires, led the Arabs to positional numeration and the concept of zero many
centuries before the rest of the world; and it was a useful tool - so useful that it still exists.
It is a far cry from the abacus to the modern keyboard accounting machine. It will be an equal step to the arithmetical
machine of the future. But even this new machine will not take the scientist where he needs to go. Relief must be secured from
laborious detailed manipulation of higher mathematics as well, if the users of it are to free their brains for something more
than repetitive detailed transformations in accordance with established rules. A mathematician is not a man who can readily
manipulate figures; often he cannot. He is not even a man who can readily perform the transformation of equations by the use
of calculus. He is primarily an individual who is skilled in the use of symbolic logic on a high plane, and especially he is a man
of intuitive judgment in the choice of the manipulative processes he employs.
All else he should be able to turn over to his mechanism, just as confidently as he turns over the propelling of his car
to the intricate mechanism under the hood. Only then will mathematics be practically effective in bringing the growing
knowledge of atomistics to the useful solution of the advanced problems of chemistry, metallurgy, and biology. For this
reason, there will come more machines to handle advanced mathematics for the scientist. Some of them will be sufficiently
bizarre to suit the most fastidious connoisseur of the present artifacts of civilization.
The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to
the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells
of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully
permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring
beyond all else in nature.
Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it. In
minor ways he may even improve, for his record have relative permanency. The first idea, however, to be drawn from the
analogy concerns selection. Selection by association, rather than by indexing, may yet be mechanized. One cannot hope thus
to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind
decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.
Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name,
and to coin one at random, "memex" will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and
communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged
intimate supplement to his memory.
It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which
he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a
keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk.
In one end is the stored material. The matter of bulk is well taken care of by improved microfilm. Only a small part of
the interior of the memex is devoted to storage, the rest to mechanism. Yet if the user inserted 5000 pages of material a day it
would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository, so he can be profligate and enter material freely.
Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm ready for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current
periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place. Business correspondence takes the same path. And
there is provision for direct entry. On the top of the memex is a transparent platen. On this are placed longhand notes,
photographs, memoranda, all sort of things. When one is in place, the depression of a lever causes it to be photographed onto
the next blank space in a section of the memex film, dry photography being employed.
There is, of course, provision for consultation of the record by the usual scheme of indexing. If the user wishes to consult
a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title page of the book promptly appears before him, projected onto
one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mnemonic, so that he seldom consults his code book; but when he
does, a single tap of a key projects it for his use. Moreover, he has supplemental levers. On deflecting one of these levers to the
right he runs through the book before him, each page in turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing glance
at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps through the book 10 pages at a time; still further at 100 pages at a time.
Deflection to the left gives him the same control backwards.
A special button transfers him immediately to the first page of the index. Any given book of his library can thus be called
up and consulted with far greater facility than if it were taken from a shelf. As he has several projection positions, he can leave
one item in position while he calls up another. He can add marginal notes and comments, taking advantage of one possible
type of dry photography, and it could even be arranged so that he can do this by a stylus scheme, such as is now employed in
the telautograph seen in railroad waiting rooms, just as though he had the physical page before him.
All this is conventional, except for the projection forward of present-day mechanisms and gadgetry. If affords an
immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at
will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items
together is the important thing.
When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before
him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number
of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items are
permanently joined. In each code space appears the code word. Out of view, but also in the code space, is inserted a set of
dots for photocell viewing; and on each item these dots by their positions designate the index number of the other item.
Thereafter, at any time, when one of these items is in view, the other can be instantly recalled merely by tapping a button
below the corresponding code space. Moreover, when numerous items have been thus joined together to form a trail, they
can be reviewed in turn, rapidly or slowly, by deflecting a lever like that used for turning the pages of a book. It is exactly as
though the physical items had been gathered together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into
numerous trails.
The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically, he is
studying why the short Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long bow in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He
has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds and interesting
but sketchy article, leaves it projected. Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together. Thus
he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into the main trail or
joining it by a side trail to a particular item. When it becomes evident that the elastic properties of available materials had a
great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables of
physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of
materials available to him.
And his trails do not fade. Several years later, his talk with a friend turns to the queer ways in which a people resist
innovations, even of vital interest. He has an example, in the fact that the outranged Europeans still failed to adopt the Turkish
bow. In fact, he has a trail on it. A touch brings up the code book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A lever
runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items, going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent to the
discussion. So he sets a reproducer in action, photographs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for insertion in his
own memex, there to be linked into the more general trail.
Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them,
ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions
of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued
patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client's interest. The physician, puzzled by its patient's reactions, strikes the
trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to
the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has
all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their
physical and chemical behavior.
The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only at the salient
items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a
new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the
common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples
the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.
Thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race. It might
be striking to outline the instrumentalities of the future more spectacularly, rather than to stick closely to the methods and
elements now known and undergoing rapid development, as has been done here. Technical difficulties of all sorts have been
ignored, certainly, but also ignored are means as yet unknown which may come any day to accelerate technical progress
as violently as did the advent of the thermionic tube. In order that the picture may not be too commonplace, by reason
of sticking to present- day patterns, it may be well to mention one such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest,
for prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while prophecy founded on the unknown is only a doubly
involved guess.
All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record proceed through one of the senses - the tactile when
we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read. Is it not possible that some day the path may be
established more directly?
We know that when the eye sees, all the consequent information is transmitted to the brain by means of electrical
vibrations in the channel of the optic nerve. This is an exact analogy with the electrical vibrations which occur in the cable of a
television set: they convey the picture from the photocells which see it to the radio transmitter from which it is broadcast. We
know further that if we can approach that cable with the proper instruments, we do not need to touch it; we can pick up those
vibrations by electrical induction and thus discover and reproduce the scene which is being transmitted, just as a telephone
wire may be tapped for its message.
The impulse which flow in the arm nerves of a typist convey to her fingers the translated information which reaches her
eye or ear, in order that the fingers may be caused to strike the proper keys. Might not these currents be intercepted, either in
the original form in which information is conveyed to the brain, or in the marvelously metamorphosed form in which they
then proceed to the hand?
By bone conduction we already introduce sounds into the nerve channels of the deaf in order that they may hear.
Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the present cumbersomeness of first transforming electrical
vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly transforms back to the electrical form? With a couple
of electrodes on the skull the encephalograph now produces pen-and-ink traces which bear some relation to the electrical
phenomena going on in the brain itself. True, the record is unintelligible, except as it points out certain gross misfunctioning
of the cerebral mechanism; but who would now place bounds on where such a thing may lead?
In the outside world, all forms of intelligence, whether of sound or sight, have been reduced to the form of varying
currents in an electric circuit in order that they may be transmitted. Inside the human frame exactly the same sort of process
occurs. Must we always transform to mechanical movements in order to proceed from one electrical phenomenon to
another? It is a suggestive thought, but it hardly warrants prediction without losing touch with reality and immediateness.
Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and
objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his record more fully if
he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his
limited memory. His excursion may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he
does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.
The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They
have enabled him to throw masses of people against another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass
the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that
record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly
unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.
Note: As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush has coordinated
the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare. In this
significant article he holds up an incentive for scientists when the fighting has ceased. He urges that men of
science should then turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge. For
many years inventions have extended man's physical powers rather than the powers of his mind. Trip hammers
that multiply the fists, microscopes that sharpen the eye, and engines of destruction and detection are new
results, but the end results, of modern science. Now, says Dr. Bush, instruments are at hand which, if properly
developed, will give man access to and command over the inherited knowledge of the ages. The perfection of
these pacific instruments should be the first objective of our scientists. Like Emerson's famous address of 1837 on
"The American Scholar," this paper published in 1945 by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking
man and the sum of our knowledge.
(This article is published in THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY , JULY 1945. Above are extracts from the article)
(The author of this article is the director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in USA)

Philipp Ziegler Inside the Stack:Art in the Digital

We live today in the age of digital media. Many of us spend a considerable part of our daily lives on the Internet and in
an artificial, human-made world of IT-processable data. According to the latest statistical surveys, today more than 4.1 billion
people on Earth use the Internet, which equates to more than 54% of the world's population. Over 772 million Internet users
- and thus about 20% of all Internet users worldwide - live in China[1], a figure twice as large as the total population of the
USA. While the number of Internet users in China varies considerably from region to region, already by the end of 2013
more than 75% of all Beijing residents were using the Internet on a regular basis. Chinese people are spending an average
of 27 hours a week online (Germans, by comparison, only slightly more than 17 hours); the use of the Internet via mobile
devices is increasing rapidly and already overtook the use of the Internet on a computer in 2014. Mobile shopping and mobile
payment are increasing in popularity. Today almost everywhere in the world the upheaval triggered by computers and digital
technology, which has brought about fundamental change in all areas of life since the end of the twentieth century, is taking
place at an exponential rate.
In the early years of the computer age, computers were initially conceived exclusively as isolated calculating devices. The
idea of the modern computer is based on Alan Turing's seminal paper On Computable Numbers from 1936. In it he outlined
a device he called the "Universal Computing Machine," also known as the "Universal Turing Machine," a machine that
would be capable of calculating everything that is calculable. A few years later, after World War II, this machine, the EDVAC,
one of the first binary electronic computers, was codeveloped by the Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, and
computer scientist John von Neumann in Princeton, New Jersey. From the 1960s onwards, the computer underwent a
transformation: through the gradual introduction of the Internet and the spread of personal computers the computer became
a medium of interpersonal communication. Between 1960 and 1990, the Internet grew from an experimental network
serving only a few sites in the United States to allow scientists to overcome the difficulties of running programs on remote
computers into a global system connecting millions of computers. [2] With the development of the World Wide Web by
Tim Berners Lee at CERN in Geneva at the beginning of the 1990s and the spread of the first web browsers, such as Mosaic
(1993) and Netscape (1994), the technical conditions were created to make the Internet a mass medium, which connects
billions of people around the globe. This development led to a surge in modernization in many sectors of the economy and
the emergence of new business sectors, as well as triggering a fundamental change in communication behavior and media use.
Through the widespread use of mobile devices since the years after 2010, social networks and apps such as Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and LinkedIn in Western countries, or WeChat, Weibo, Tencent QQ, Toudou Youku, and Meipai in China, have
ensured that our communication and daily activities are today largely transferred to the Internet. Step by step the Internet
has taken over the entire realm of everyday life. Sensors that wirelessly monitor and control machines, products and objects
are spreading rapidly today in industry and in our private sphere. In the era of so-called Web 4.0, every object becomes
both sender and receiver. Everything is networked with everything else. While the Web of the early days was regarded as
purely a source of information in which static pages could be accessed, Web 2.0 connected people interactively with each
other through blogs, wikis, and social networks. Web 3.0, which is also referred to as the semantic web, focused on linking
information, mobility, and digitally based purchasing processes. With the complete digitization and networking of all areas of
life, Web 4.0 marks a further stage of development: everything needs to be smart and therefore connected - homes, cars, cities,
work, and life. Increasingly, language is becoming an interface between humans and the more and more miniaturized and at
the same time more and more efficient computers. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are today the driving forces of
the Digital Revolution. Even if after decades of research, the goals and future uses of AI are still visionary, we realize that today
the sci-fi vision of an entirely calculated and simulated world is really not very far away.
In his groundbreaking 1964 publication Understanding Media, the Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan
describes the innovations in the electronic age as extending the functions of the human body: radio extends the human
auditory function, the gramophone the voice, and television the gaze. According to McLuhan, the world is therefore
perceived almost exclusively through media. This penetration of everyday life by media, which in the 1960s was still in its early
stages compared to today's digital world, has taken on a new dimension. According to the famous "Moore's Law," formulated
in 1965 by Gordon Moore to describe the increasing density of microlithographed transistors in integrated semiconductor
circuits, the performance of computer chips doubles every one to two years. Over the last fifty years, the efficiency of
computers has therefore increased a million times over. Although the predictions of Moore's Law have recently been
questioned, computer technology is continuing to develop at an impressive speed without yet reaching any limit. Regarding
the question of how long computation can continue to grow in the universe, the American physicist Seth Lloyd, who
developed the first technologically feasible design for a quantum computer, notes: "Current observation evidence suggests
that the universe expands forever. As it expands, the number of ops performed and the number of bits available within the
horizon will continue to grow."[1] In Turing's Cathedral, an insightful description of how a small group of scientists around
John von Neumann set about making one of the first computers based on Alan Turing's idea of a Universal Machine a reality,
the American historian of science and technology George Dyson reminds us that although almost seventy years have passed
since the development of the first computers, in which this universal machine has changed the world to a degree never before
imagined, "we still face the same questions that were asked in 1953. Turing's question was what it would take for machines to
begin to think. Von Neumann's question was what it would take for machines to begin to reproduce."[2]
The digital or information age represents the third economic and social system after agrarian society and the industrial
age. It is characterized by rapid shifts from traditional industries to an economy based on information technology; by the
increasing importance of communicative networks; and by the central importance of knowledge as a raw material and a
commodity. On the basis of the achievements of Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and other pioneers of informatics in the
1940s and 1950s, through which today almost all functions of our modern life can be translated into and controlled by binary
code of 0 and 1, the information age was only made possible by electronic data processing and digital, global networking,
which has enabled the Internet to exchange information and generate knowledge across countries and continents. In 1886, the
German physicist Heinrich Hertz in Karlsruhe was the first to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves, thus providing
a fundamental prerequisite for the development of wireless telegraphy and radio. Hertz's discovery has led to a closely
interconnected communications and information network, the "Infosphere", as the artist, curator, and media theorist Peter
Weibel calls it, "an envelope of radio and other electromagnetic waves covering the planet. By means of artificial, technical
organs, human beings, for the first time, can use electromagnetic waves, for which humans so far had no sensorium, for the
line-less transmission of words, images and other data. […] Therefore, the equation "Machinery, Materials, and Men" (Frank
Lloyd Wright, 1930), which was valid for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, must be reformulated for the twenty-first
century into the equation "Media, Data, and Men" (Peter Weibel, 2011). Since the replacement of the alphabetical code
by the numeric code, algorithms - from stock exchanges to airports - have become a foundational element of our social
order. Today, people live in a globally interconnected society in which Biosphere and Infosphere are interpenetrating and
interdependent." [1]
For the American sociologist, architectural and design theorist Benjamin H. Bratton we live in an "accidental
megastructure," which he calls "The Stack;" it is "a vast software/hardware formation, a proto-megastructure build of
crisscrossed oceans, layered concrete and fiber optics, urban metal and fleshy fingers, abstract identities and the fortified skins of
oversubscribed national sovereignty. It is a machine, literally circumscribing the planet […]."[2]For Bratton, the Stack is both
a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. Given the new geopolitics that works with and for planetaryscale
computation, he describes in his recent book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (2015), which gives this
section of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial its title, how we are inside The Stack and The Stack is inside us. According to Felix
Stalder, a Swiss scholar of cultural and media studies, who researches the reciprocal relationship between society, culture, and
technology, referentiality, communality, and algorithmicity are the characteristic forms of a new culture of digitality, in which
more and more people in more and more segments of life participate by means of increasingly complex technologies.[3]Given
the dominance of computer networks as a key infrastructure for all aspects of life, it is the ubiquity of these cultural forms that
makes it possible today to speak of a digital condition. In view of the challenges and opportunities that are created by digitality,
the direction in which this new condition will evolve in Western societies is still open: either into a world of centralized political
power and post-democratic surveillance or into a culture of the commons and participation.
Being constantly online is certainly the key to today's world. Most people will therefore be familiar with the feeling that
the renowned American scholar and author N. Kathrine Hayles describes as follows: "when my computer goes down or my
Internet connection fails. I feel lost, disorientated, unable to work - in fact, I feel as if my hands have been amputated."[4]This
feeling, which is reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan's idea that media function like prostheses, constitutes nothing less than a
fundamental change in the perception of the world. Most people feel completely dependent and at the mercy of technology
when they don't understand it. On this observation, French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour notes a paradox in
the relationship between humankind and their technological environment: "When a machine runs efficiently, when a matter
of fact is settled, one need only focus on its inputs and outputs and not on its internal complexity. Thus, paradoxically, the
more science and technology succeed, the more opaque and obscure they become."[1]The artist and writer James Bridle
therefore speaks of a "New Dark Age" in which the abundance of information and the plurality of worldviews now accessible
to us through the Internet are not producing a coherent reality, but one torn apart by the insistence on simplified narratives,
conspiracy theories, and postfactual politics.[2]Given the impossibility to unthink the network of our networked society, "we
can only think through and within it."[3]Technology in the age of big data and intelligently networked systems is not a mere
making or use of tools, but above all a making of metaphors, he says. In this situation, it is important to rethink our machinery
and computational tools. With this Triennial precisely this is being attempted.
Even when we are not on the Internet, our thinking is deeply influenced by the digital. "So what does it meant if the
Internet has moved offline?" the artist Hito Steyerl asks. The Internet, she notes, "crossed the screen, multiplied displays,
transcended networks and cables to be at once inert and inevitable. One could imagine shutting down all online access or
user activity. We might be unplugged, but this doesn't mean we're off the hook. The Internet persists offline as a mode of life,
surveillance, production, and organization - a form of intense voyeurism coupled with maximum nontransparency."[4]
And how do visual arts, architecture, and design react to this state of the world in which algorithms have become a
fundamental element of our social order and our media experience has become the norm for all aesthetic experience? Based
on Rosalind Krauss' conclusion that art today has arrived in a postmedial state, an increased sense of media heterogeneity,
which opposes the modernist concept of wholeness and purity,[5]Peter Weibel stated on the occasion of the exhibition
Postmedia Condition at the Neue Galerie in Graz, Austria, in 2005 and the Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, Spain, a
year later, that due to the universality of the effect of digital media and the "universal machine" of the computer, all arts today
are "postmedial" and that there are no art forms "beyond the postmedial condition." For Weibel, equivalence of the media
and the mixture of the media characterize this postmedial state, the ultimate effect of which is "to emancipate the observer,
visitor, and user."[6] In his book […After the Media]: News from the Slow-Fading Twentieth Century, the media
archaeologist Siegfried Zielinski distinguishes four qualities in the relationship between art and media that do not necessarily
follow one another chronologically, but may overlap: Art before the Media, Art with Media, Art through Media, and Art after
the Media. At the beginning of the third millennium of the Common Era, the mechanical, electrical, and electronic media
with which and through which the arts are produced, distributed, and perceived have become taken for granted.[7]Whether
art or the infrastructures of the art world itself have changed with this development towards a post-media state, is the subject
of heated debates that have ignited in recent years around so-called Post-Internet Art.[8] The term, which was originally
coined in around 2006 by the artist Marisa Olsen with the intention of describing her artistic work, spread rapidly within the
art world to describe artistic practices that were explicitly embedded in the Internet.[9]Since Post-Internet Art has come in
for much criticism for being more an art about the Internet than using the Internet itself as a tool for creative production, the
term is viewed critically by most artists and hardly used any longer. However, regardless of any attribution to a specific artistic
genre, today an increasingly large number of artists are aware of the challenges posed by our digital age and are committed to
bringing us closer to the ecology of the digital age, the invisible side of technical infrastructures, algorithmic operations,
and networks connecting all with everything.
As part of the broad-based debate on current technologies at the 6th Guangzhou Triennial, Inside the Stack: Art in
the Digital draws attention to the work of artists from China and abroad dealing with the growing presence of the digital
and its impact on society. With their installations, videos, sculptures, and performances, the artists in this chapter of As We
May Think respond to this hybrid penetration of the real and the digital and the global shifts caused by digital technologies.
By addressing the multilayered aspects of digitization, the artists selected for this year's Guangzhou Triennial show that the
digital is both a cultural technique and an a priori in all areas of life. In the face of the newest developments of AI, Big Data,
cloud computing, and other new digital technologies, Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital highlights the positive aspects of
digitization, but also addresses the dystopic sides of our digital present, such as increasing surveillance, populism, fake news,
and alienation. With the didactic interactive Augmented Reality installation Genealogy of the Digital Code, which was
originally developed for the exhibition Open Codes. Living in Digital Worlds at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe,
visitors can browse the history of the digital world to get an overview of the most important technical development phases of
this technology, which pervades all areas of life today. The codes and algorithms usually remain hidden; these are normally
the invisible part of the computational machine, which has all the more visible, concrete, and tangible effects on our world.
The interactive installation YOU:R:CODE, a collaborative work by Peter Weibel and the German artist and programmer
Bernd Lintermann, shows on a series of monitors that in the eyes of the machines we humans are also just a pile of codes and
a carrier of data, which can be constantly evaluated, monitored, and manipulated. In her installation Sprawling Swamps
the Dutch artist Femke Herregraven explores the increasingly blurred boundaries between physical and digital realities. In her
work, which is based on extensive research, the artist makes visible the infrastructures of the financial markets, the creation
of new geographies through cabling systems and data centers, and the shifting relationship of humans and machines. The
effects of globalization and surveying the possible consequences of future environmental and technological scenarios is also
the focus of the nomadic design research studio Unknown Fields, which was founded in 2009 by the Australian architect
and filmmaker Liam Young and the British architect and artist Kate Davies. In 2015 they travelled to Bolivia where the Salar
de Uyuni, a vast salt plain in the southwest of the country with an area of around 11,000 square kilometers, is home to the
largest lithium deposits in the world, the key ingredient in batteries and thus one of the most important raw materials of the
digital age. By underlaying the aerial photographs of the salt lakes with Inca mythology, they create a new creation narrative
for the material that powers our technology. Delia Jürgen's installation The Future Is But a Second Away deals with the
ambiguity of life in the world of global and ever-changing transformations in an osmosis between online and offline realities.
Through a variety of materials and objects, in which flowing moments and static moments, stability and fragility are held in
balance, her multi-layered installations reflect on behavior and structures in a world shaped by technology, digitization, mass
production, and consumption. Whereas the Chinese artist Lin Ke increasingly describes his computer as his studio, in which
his daily routines on the Internet become part of his work and dissolve the boundaries between human behavior, technology,
and art, the filmmaker Harun Farocki, whose work Parallel is being shown for the first time in China, investigates the history
of computer games: from the blocky linear animation in the 1980s to the highly elaborated animated images of today. By
focusing on the construction, visual landscape, and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds, the artist makes the viewers
think about the significant role of digital media in the perception of our world today.
The concept of Inside The Stack: Art in the Digital is based on the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe's
longstanding involvement with media art and digital technology and especially on the outcomes of the recent exhibitions
Infosphere (2015) Hybrid Layers (2017), and Open Codes (2017–2019) presented at the ZKM. The works in this section
of the Guangzhou Triennial, some of which were previously included in the exhibitions at the ZKM, serve as a starting point
for navigating the complicated realm of digital codes and algorithms, which largely shape today's world. With their different
approaches the works are a motivation to take a critical stance on the fundamental transformations that digital phenomena are
bringing to our lives and to expose simplistic narratives about digital and contemporary technologies.
(The author of this article is the curator of the Theme Exhibition of The 6th Guangzhou Triennial)

Angelique Spaninks Evolutions of Kin:Re-worlding the Digital Now and the Biotech Present

'Free will is overrated. I do not make decisions outside the Universe and then plunge in, like an Olympic
diver. I am already in. I am like a mermaid, constantly pulled and pulling, pushed and pushing, flicked and
flicking, turned and opened, moving with the current, pushing away with the force I can muster. An environment
is not a neutral, empty box, but an ocean filled with currents and surges.'[1]
As an avid non-fiction reader I have been wondering for years about the alarming titles in the popular science
department. We live in an 'Age of Earthquakes'[2]for instance, in a hybrid state of 'Next Nature'[3]and the irreversible era of
a 'Defiant Earth'[4]. Nature has run amok, culture has lost its way, everything is shifting.
Academia, the media and the arts are buzzing as well, with the Anthropocene, with Posthumanism, a Non-Human
Turn and Dark Ecology[5]. Each of these words represents a way of thinking about, and interpreting, the need to face the
changing dynamics of time and place, Earth and humanity, nature and culture, that is occurring right in front of our eyes. But
when we face it, what do we see?
We see the incredible complexity of matter that connects the smallest atoms to the most far-flung galaxies – and
everything in between. We see ourselves, humans, no longer the measure of all things but simply things among other things;
from bacteria, bicycles and supercomputers to plastic cups, forests and space stations. In the popular and influential writings
of philosopher Timothy Morton this complex of things becomes a 'mesh' in which all living and non-living things are bound
up together.[6]But that is not nearly all: there are things, according to Morton, that are beyond our understanding. Things he
calls hyperobjects.[7]
A hyperobject can be defined as an intangible thing, massively distributed in time and space, that concerns and impacts
us all on some smaller scale but that is impossible to comprehend in its entirety. Climate change is a hyperobject for instance,
or evolution, the internet, black holes and the biosphere.
In fact, Earth could be considered to be the hyperobject of all hyperobjects. Despite the beautiful NASA photographs
of this marvellous small marble with its blue stretches of water, its brown continents and white veil of clouds, and despite
our almost daily awareness of what we call globalisation, we are still unable to truly grasp the world. Moreover, the clearer it
becomes that we humans are responsible for the far-reaching changes Earth is presently going through, the less capable we
seem to understand it, leave alone control it in any way.
This is the reason why we are looking for new concepts, why all the books I devour and all the provocative theories
and visions so hotly debated in science, media and art – oh well, and even in politics sometimes – actually revolve around
one single image: that of the world. What is the world? How can we know the world and, most of all, how do we relate to it?
Underneath it all is the search for a still deeper, existential essence. What is being?
For ages, mankind have been labouring to unravel and fathom, as systematically as they possibly can, the natural
phenomena of the world in order to use them to their advantage. This is the foundation of the technology we surround
ourselves with and the development of the natural sciences. A world without technology has become unthinkable, we are
entirely adapted to it and without our technological tools, from hand axes and flint knifes to writing and steam engines
to computers and CRISPR/Cas9, life on Earth would look entirely different. However, where the development of this
technium[1]progressed rather steadily for several millennia, we now find ourselves in a rapid acceleration caused by global
industrialisation and worldwide economisation, lightning digital developments and fundamental discoveries in the field of
This acceleration is often epitomised as the Anthropocene. Derived from anthropos, the Greek word for man, this is
another hyperobject. As far back as the early twentieth century, the Russian geologist Alexei Pavlov introduced the concept in
geological circles. It took until 2000, however, before a joint publication[2]of meteorologist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen
and ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer succeeded to gain wider recognition for the Anthropocene as the era of irreversible and farreaching
human influence on Earth and its atmosphere.
'Without major catastrophes like an enormous volcanic eruption, an unexpected epidemic, a large-scale
nuclear war, an asteroid impact, a new ice age, or continued plundering of Earth’s resources by partially still
primitive technology [...] mankind will remain a major geological force for many millennia, maybe millions of
years, to come.'
From then on, the debate about the Anthropocene is raging in numerous departments. How anthropocentric and
ultimately arrogant the concept of the Anthropocene actually is, or isn't. How we should learn to think ecocentrically instead
of anthropocentrically and how we should put the Earth first. And whether it wouldn't be more accurate to speak of the
Capitalocene, as all trouble is intractably linked to global neoliberal capitalism, or the Plastocene because it is mainly plastics,
from microplastics to plastic soup, that will be traceable in geological sediments as a lasting legacy of our infectious human
presence on Earth.
Another subject of ongoing discussions is the exact start of the Anthropocene. According to Crutzen, it already
began in the eighteenth century with the Industrial revolution, but others stick to the second half of the twentieth century,
following the first nuclear detonations. Either way, both these relatively recent points of origin are quite unique in the
sphere of hyperobjects, and even more to the domain of geology, the ultimate science of eons. Normally it takes significant
climatological and ecological changes laid down in layered rock formations over millions of years before a geologic epoch
can be acknowledged. And now the Holocene, which was on its way for little over 11.500 years, has been succeeded by the
Anthropocene in a matter of centuries.
Given the importance of climate and ecology in the formation of the Anthropocene, it should come as no surprise that
this are exactly the areas that we humans are increasingly trying to master by technological means. This is not just because
lakes are turned into deserts by our doing, because the seasons have lost their biological clock or polar ice sheets are melting at
an alarming rate. It is our ultimate dream to control our environment to the extent that we can make it rain on a specific day.
This is even reflected in the way we name different, new things.
Take the metaphor of the Cloud we use for our digital network. In reality it is a mass of fibre optic cables on the ocean
floor linked to large halls full of energy-intensive, heat-producing servers – quite the opposite of the soft and airy image
suggested by its nebulous name. Yet the metaphor of the Cloud did not just come tumbling from the sky. As artist/writer
James Bridle puts it in his recently published New Dark Age: '...the story of computational thinking begins with the weather'.
[1]He relates the story of Lewis Fry Richardson, a mathematician who found a way, during the Frist World War, to capture
the first complete calculation of atmospheric weather conditions in a numerical process; the first computerised weather report
without a computer. Obviously, Richardson wasn't so much interested in describing the weather as in predicting it. In 1922,
he contemplated the possibility in a paper titled Weather Prediction by Numerical Process.[2]
'Perhaps someday in the dim future it will be possible to advance the computations faster than the weather
advances and at a cost less than the saving to mankind due to the information gained. But that is a dream.'
With this dream he actually anticipated Vannevar Bush and his predictive As We May Think that is the inspiration
for this sixth Guangzhou Triennial. And just like Bush's ideas about the memex have been overtaken by the smartphones
in everybody's pocket, Richardson's dream has long since become a daily reality. What is more, due to the unprecedented
computing power now available to us, we think we might forecast not only the weather, but the future of the Earth in all its
unpredictability as well, perhaps even control it – which takes us right back to the Anthropocene.
Of course, the power of prediction will not satisfy the true techno-utopians. Relying on geo-engineering and the
Western dichotomy between man and the rest of the world, they are firmly convinced they will once control the weather,
nature and Earth itself. No technological solution is deemed too megalomaniac, from sun blocking shields that orbit the
planet and UV reflective foam covering the oceans to rain-inducing iodine clouds where desiccated farmlands could use a
little extra water. Grounded in and building on the modernistic industrial worldview, they approach the protesting Earth as
a machine that can be fixed at will. And in the unlikely event that things won't work out, they usually have a rocket handy to
start all over, somewhere in the universe, in line with so many Hollywood sci-fi scenarios. Except that they might not look
back on that marvellous blue-white marble anymore, like all the astronauts before them.
The question remains, however, if we would ever be able to control the weather and the Earth when we continue on
our present course. The answer, growing louder every day, is no. The technofix will not work. A nostalgic return to mother
nature, however, has serious limitations as well, making it a very unlikely solution. Or as Australian professor of public ethics
Clive Hamilton puts it: 'We can no longer withdraw and expect nature to return to any kind of 'natural' state. There is no
going back to the Holocene. We may have acquired it foolishly, but we now have a responsibility for the Earth as a whole and
pretending otherwise itself is irresponsible. So the question is not whether human beings stand at the center of the world, but
what kind of human beings stands at the center of the world, and what is the nature of that world.'[3]
In short: not only do we create the Anthropocene and climate change, we know we do. We know our choices matter
when we are grocery shopping, flush our toilet, start our car or when we go on a holiday. This everyday moral sense, which
people fifty years ago were hardly aware of but is now being taught to children in elementary school, is inextricably related
to the notion that we and the world are one, that there is kinship between all things, all humans and non-humans. It is a
revolutionary insight, if not a paradigm shift comparable to Darwin's theory of evolution and Copernicus' revelation that the
Earth is orbiting the sun. We know, and it won't do just to learn to live with it: we must learn to act accordingly. Not just the
politicians and the environmentalists, but all 7.7 billion of us.
Such is the nature of science though: the more we find out, the more our ignorance grows. Because contrary to
many people's beliefs, science doesn't revolve around facts or the truth, as paleontologist Henry Gee clearly states in the
introduction to his book The Accidental Species: 'science is the quantification of doubt'[1]. In his own way, Timothy
Morton acknowledges this feature of science, calling it asymmetry: 'We know more than ever before what things are, how
they work, how to manipulate them. Yet for this very reason, things become more, rather than less, strange. Increasing science
is not increasing demystification.' [2]
Fundamental questions and profound doubt is all the Anthropocene seems to bring; doubt of ourselves and of the
world we thought we knew. Doubt, caused by the growing awareness that we may set many things in motion but control veryfew, that we are just along for the flight and have nowhere to withdraw from Earth's dynamics and turbulence. And we have
to relate to it nonetheless; we want to relate to it. Apart from uncertainty, this also offers hope.
This shifting world view implies an equally shifting view of mankind. Just like the natural sciences are occupied with
the ever-accelerating technology associated with the Anthropocene and all the ensuing uncertainties, the social sciences
dive headlong into the new era by questioning the humanistic anthropocentric concept of man. Philosophers, sociologists,
psychologists, economists and cultural scientists, along with artists, film makers and designers, lay out scenarios positioning
mankind and all their activities in the Anthropocene world, now and in the future. They do so, knowing that these scenarios
are mainly built on the quicksand of doubt and speculation.
Maybe we should all learn to doubt more proficiently instead, to face the fact that all the certainties we once believed in
have lost their ground. That we can't arm ourselves against it with an improved storm insurance and a few drops of climate
policy? Perhaps we should promote doubt to be the motor of our existence, and be open to the strange strangers we are
bound to meet more often, according to Timothy Morton. We should dare to imagine and represent the new human beings
Hamilton refers to. Simply because there is no turning back; we can't deny what we know, can't unknow what we know.
If there is anything artists and designers excel at, it is imagination and representation. Art, in any form, is absolutely
essential if we want to allow new views of the world and mankind to take root in our minds. In fact, hyperobjects like the
Anthropocene, the internet and evolution can only be comprehended in stories, in visualisations, in characters and scenarios;
humanity can't do without them. Along with Morton, Hamilton and Gee, thinkers like Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway
also open up our views by outlining new perspectives, often in a poetic, narrative way, that offer inspiration and starting
points for artists to inoculate with their questions, images and stories. Stories that can be understood not only by scientists,
but by all humankind.
In this way, they are consciously creating a new image of the world, or, even better perhaps, images of the world.
Call it worlding, a verb that goes back to Heidegger's ontology and his standard work Sein und Zeit of 1927. In recent
years, the concept appears in many domains, not just in philosophy but in cultural and digital studies as well, and even in the
games industry. Worlding can be characterised as the creation of a world with all things pertaining to it. David OReilly's Eye
of the Dream is one of these worldings, based on Everything, his acclaimed 2017 video game, and the philosophy of Alan
Watts that is partially informed by Buddhism. It shows a world as a continuous mathematical stream of things, human and
non-human, floating, falling, swirling, without Earth, without gravity - a ballet of being.
Another form of worlding can be found in the work of Melanie Bonajo. Her video installation Progress vs. Sunsets,
from a series of three, exposes how tonedeaf humans are for the non-human world. She lets children, unspoilt by adult
thought, explain their view of nature and the animal world interlaced with wildlife and animal images she collects from the
internet. In this contemporary fashion she presents nature and culture as one, drawing attention, in a more abstract sense, to
the extinction of sincere feelings and alternative ways of thinking in our technocapitalist-driven world.
It wouldn't go too far to say that art and especially design have become specific forms of worlding. Design no longer
floods the world, the world is design. Some even believe that design could be the glue that helps close the divide between art
and science, although admittedly, that might be too arduous a task.
In the build-up to the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial, curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley demonstrated an
inspiring way to address our shifting concept of mankind. They asked themselves: are we human? and linked this directly to
the question of what design is today. They wrote a small book full of possible answers, one of which is this: 'Design is a form
of projection, to shape something rather than find it, to invent something and think about the possible outcomes of that
invention. This endless reshaping and speculation about possible outcomes is uniquely human.' [1]
"Evolutions of Kin" brings together several works that implement this endless reshaping of the concept of mankind in
appealing and radical ways. Take Arne Hendriks for instance, with his long-term design research project The Incredible
Shrinking Man[2], a serious thought experiment that investigates the implications of shrinking humans to a maximum height
of 50 centimetres so they would better fit the Earth. It would solve all the current problems of the world in one fell swoop.
And as impossibly speculative as it may sound, it is still based on significant anthropological and scientific insights. Indeed,
Hendriks gives us the courage to think differently by no longer taking the omnipresent growth model as a guiding principle,
but rather its opposite: shrinkage. And to embrace it and support it with knowledge and questions, even as we doubt.
The Symbiotic Autonomous Machines, SAM2 and SAM3 in short, made by design duo Arvid Jense and Marie
Caye, also turn the world on its head. A SAM is a thing with a legal claim to self-determination and its own bank account that
allows it to survive almost entirely independently in the human world. It uses kombucha bacteria to produce a beverage that
it can sell to people, acting as a small-scale automated food production system. SAMs are robots but not as we know them.
They are hybrid entities, of both technical and organic nature, who can sustain themselves in an intelligent way. SAMs are
certainly no replicants (machines that assume a human form) because the designers want to underline the idea that machines
will first challenge economic principles before they truly start emulating human appearance or even consciousness.
'We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,' is one of techculture's most cited quotations. [3]Extending this
thought leads to the conclusion that man, with the arrival of the Anthropocene, shapes the world but that the world influences
and shapes man in its turn. And not just man, but everything being in and on it, in a never-ending cycle.
And as if that weren't enough, we humans also want to preserve everything we do and make, all the information we
share. Vannevar Bush still envisioned his memex as some kind of external memory but by now, DNA has been developed
as the ultimate storage medium; a feat of genetic engineering that inspired the contributions of both Lynn Hershman Leeson
and Charlotte Jarvis. Hershman Leeson made her own anti-body and stored her entire oeuvre in DNA as part of her highlyesteemed
Infinity Engine. And Jarvis saved a unique musical composition to DNA suspended in soap, which she used to
blow bubbles with so when a soap bubble pops on someone's body, they essentially take the music home with them.
The works of these artists and the many others participating in "As We May Think", as well as the conceptions of the
scientists they often collaborate intensively with provide increasingly convincing evidence that nature and culture are one,
questioning man's identity and unicity in the process. For too long, we have been inclined to see ourselves as exceptional
creatures uniquely gifted with language, technology, creativity and consciousness. But, in the words of Henry Gee: 'There
is nothing special about being human, any more than there is anything special about being a guinea pig or a geranium.'
Philosopher Graham Harman, the founder of Object Oriented Ontology[1], better known as OOO, couldn't agree more:
'The world is not the world as manifest to humans; to think a reality beyond our thinking is not nonsense, but obligatory.' [2]
Once we truly recognise that mankind are not the measure of all things but, quite on the contrary, should constrain
themselves in relation to all things, that is when a real change in mentality takes place. When mankind recognises their nature
and their kinship with all that surrounds them, living and non-living, visible and invisible, human and non-human. When
they realise how everything in and around them takes shape and is being shaped in a never-ending interplay of adaptations.
Call it a form of evolution, not in a strictly biological meaning but in a physical, psychological and above all technological and
cultural sense. Such an understanding might just make the Anthropocene a little less problematic.
I see how social scientists and philosophers as well as artists and designers increasingly confront and shape this
challenge. They stretch the boundaries, blur the outlines and rediscover an experience once cast aside as magical or animistic,
unmodern, that they value anew not for nostalgic or romantic reasons but for the wisdom it contains.
Just like Vannevar Bush and Lewis Richardson had the courage to dream up the digital future we are now living in.
Just like Donna Haraway and Rosi Braidotti, Timothy Morton and Bruno Latour take us along in their post-human and
OOO thinking, mapping out a few promising short cuts that may help us relinquish our anthropocentric fixation as we
move towards an Anthropocene landscape where mankind can finally assume their proper role and responsibility. And just
like the artists participating in "As We May Think" as a whole, and in "Evolutions of Kin" in particular, certainly have the
courage to represent and question the shifting alternatives. In doing so they disentangle the distinction between humans and
non-humans and make us experience things and the world in new and unexpected ways. This capability to reimagine, this
narrative power, is What We Now May Think. It allows us to be, to think and to feel part of the Anthropocene world.
(The author of this article is the curator of the Theme Exhibition of The 6th Guangzhou Triennial)

Zhang Ga Machines Are Not Alone

Everywhere It Is Machines
The world is machinic. Not only does its function depend on a network of machines, such as data farms of distributed
servers over the surface of the earth, assembly lines that stretch endlessly long, and transportation vessels and vehicles
crisscrossing the continents, out into space and traversing oceans; but also the land, rivers, mountains, trees, animals, cultures,
and histories are all machines of some sort when seen from an operational point of view or an abstract sense of the word
because they are systems of interconnected biospheres, geochemical aggregates, hydrodynamic flows, neural synapses, motorsensor
coordinates, psychosomatic attributes, social relationships and technical milieus, imbricated, intertwined, transversal
and reciprocal, as intricate as the relationship between humans and thoughts, knowledge and freedom.
Deleuze and Guattari talk abundantly about machines in their collective works and singular tomes. "Everywhere it is
machines – real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines with
all the necessary couplings and connections."[1]They unequivocally opened their magnum opus with the above machinic
claim. "An organ-machine is plugged into an energy-source-machine: the one produces a flow that the other interrupts."
They acknowledge that machines are essentially hybridized and comingling conglomeration. Continuing with poetic fanfare,
they declare in the name of the schizophrenic,[2] "Everything is a machine. Celestial machine, the stars or rainbows in the
sky, alpine machines – all of them connected to his body." For the two French pundits, meat machines intercept electromechanic
apparatus, sky machines caress swamp machines. They talk about a resemblance of things live or inanimate, a "time
before the man-nature dichotomy…. There is no such a thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces
the one within the other and couples the machine together."[3] That image is no illusion nor metaphor, it is "the effects of a
Certainly, these are not lunatic babblings, nor idyllic reveries. For the philosophers, the world is machinic, in that
it reveals and underscores the relationships, systemics in the connectedness of things, of different categories and orders,
disciplines and governance, branches and rhizomes, entangled, always already embedded, bonded, out there altogether;
it elucidates the production of identity qua subjectivity (rather than subject) in the ineluctable relations, bindings and
reciprocity. "There is no such thing as relatively independent spheres or circuits." This machinic view of the world thus
underscores a radical departure from the construction of subjectivity, jettisoning the subject of human exclusivity and
professing that all is a machinic process facilitating circulation and bifurcation: "We make no distinction between man and
nature: the human essence of nature and the natural essence of man become one within nature in the form of production or
industry, just as they do within the life of man as a species. Industry is then no longer considered from the extrinsic point of
view of utility, but rather from the point of view of its fundamental identity with nature as production of man and by man."[1]
If the claim "Everything is a machine" is first of all an enunciation of a philosophical proposition, an ontological
gesticulation, eschewing the question of the conscious subject vs. the inert object, then Jacob von Uexküll's exposition of the
tick story empirically corroborates that this systemic relation of interconnectedness is indeed one of interspecies mechanism
and sheds light on the "umwelt" as a machinic infrastructure that enables the tick in acquiring perceptual signs, revealing its
agency of subjectivity, which is capable of self-modulating toward a particular environmental space, and as well as the tick
making its world a specific pocket of nature that provides its own existential imperatives: "We can conclude that every living
cell is a machine operator that perceives and produces that therefore processes its own particular (specific) perceptive signs
and impulses or 'effect signs.' The complex perception and production of effects in every animal subject, can thereby be
attributed to the operation of small cellular-machine operators."[2] The observation also alludes to a reciprocal interaction
characterizing a machinic operation as machines are always already embedded and connected so as to maintain a state
of equilibrium whether of mechanical force or biological continence. "All animal subjects, from the simplest to the most
complex, are inserted into their environment to the same degree of perfection,"[3] in other words, it is this throwing into the
environment, imbricating the milieu, and the creation of the umwelt that the reterritorialization of the tick takes place, the tick
in turn modifies the surrounding world so that it adapts to the bloodsucker. The tick as machine and the machine as umwelt
perpetually shift roles, exchange positions. In so doing, meaning is engendered and marked among the things that were
deemed to fall short of consciousness and signification: "The meaning of the forest is multiplied a thousandfold if one does
not limit oneself to its relation to human subjects but also includes animals."[4] It is with this Uexküll self-world of umwelt,
complicated by the ubiquitous Deleuzian/Guattarian machines, whereby the subject folding back in coupling with the object,
natural or otherwise, cycling the subject-object duo, interdependent of each other, that the biologist reconciles with the
Akin to the elaborate thesis on the animal machines, which also includes humans in their most primordial sense of
the word, according to Uexküll's environmental paradigm, Gilbert Simondon shows that the evolutionary genealogy of
technical objects, machines that, by Lewis Munford's classic definition of the term, have been "developed out of a complex
of non-organic agents for converting energy, for performing work, enlarging the mechanical or sensory capacities of the
human body, or for reducing to a remarkable order and regularity the processes of life."[5] Simondon's explication of the
development of machines invokes a heterogeneous genetics with agential inclination: "[T]he individual technical object is
not this or that thing, given hic et nunc, but that of which there is genesis. The unity of the technical object, its individuality,
and its specificity are the characteristics of consistency and convergence in its genesis. The genesis of the technical object
partakes in its being…..The technical being evolves through convergence and self-adaptation; it unifies itself internally
according to the principle of inner resonance."[6] To make the point clear, Simondon speaks of the example of an engine:
"a steam engine, a gasoline engine, a turbine and an engine powered by springs or weights are equally engines, but there is a
more genuine analogy between a spring engine and a bow, or a cross-bow than between a spring engine and a steam engine;
the engine of a pendulum clock is analogous to a winch, while an electric clock is analogous to a door bell or a buzzer."[7]
Critical to the technical evolutions, mutations and transformations, Simondon designates an "associated milieu" essential to
demarcate or for slipping into regimes of energy transfer between the technical object and the environment, which catalyzes
the morphogenesis of the techno-sphere, resonating with Uexküll's umwelt of the biological world.
While Uexküll and Simondon had in their intellectual erudition expanded the horizons of the natural and the technical
beyond the anthropocentric regime of discourse and governance, calling for a renewed understanding of the perceptual, the
sensible and the psychosomatic with animal life and technical objects taken into consideration, a radical rupture has come
in full force in recent years, which envisages an ecological concept that sabotages the last trench of the dualist dichotomy,
bringing to date and synergizing a theory and practice of systems in its contemporary ramification.
Explicating the proposition of General Ecology, Eric Horl redefines ecology: "'Ecology' becomes a key concept
and signal of the non-modern deterritorialization of the relationship between technics and nature." [1]The move toward
deterritorialization clearly finds its genealogical kinship and theoretical resonance in Guatarri's abstract machinism: "These
abstract deterritorialized interactions, or more briefly, these abstract machines traverse various levels of reality and establish
and demolish stratifications. Abstract machines cling not to a single universal time but to a trans-spatial and trans-temporal
plane of consistency which affects through them a relative coefficient of existence."[2] Guattari's claim anticipated a machinic
worldview illuminating a new ecosophical reasoning in that "causalities will no longer function in a single direction." [3]The
machinic assemblage is certainly aggregates of multiplicities across existences of many orders and penetrating fortifications
of many taxonomies and imbricating artifacts and consciousness of different species and origins. We can see that Guatarri's
general machinism laid the foundation for General Ecology to advocate an openness crucial to the construction of a new
subjectivity which entertains no discrimination between either human subjects or material objects as Horl invokes Guattari,
Since the 'machine' is opened out towards its machinic environment and maintains all sorts of relationships with
social constituents and individual subjectivities, the concept of technological machine should therefore be broadened
to that of machine agencements. This category encompasses everything that develops as a machine in its different
registers and ontological supports. And here, rather than having an opposition between being and the machine,
or being and the subject, the new notion of the machine now involves being differentiating itself qualitatively and
emerging onto an ontological plurality, which is the very extension of the creativity of the machinic vectors.[4]
The plural, machinic assemblage opens up a dimension that elicits innovation and winds up in a hybridity of
autopoietic and allopoietic invention according to Guattari's thesis in On Machines, in which "the self-organizing and
generating machine" (autopoiesis) works hand in hand with processes that produce things other than their own (allopoiesis).
Central to this new ecological realignment is a redefinition of the senses liberated from their biological confines to extend into
that which is primarily technologically enabled, remodeled and distributed. "The dissemination of the concept of ecology
primarily reveals – a shift in the culture of signifying to technoecological sense."[5]"In acquiring more and more life,"
Guattari contends that "machine demands in turn more and more abstract human quality: and this has occurred throughout
their evolutionary development. Computers, expert systems and artificial intelligence add as much to thought as they subtract
to thinking……. This continual emergence of sense and effects does not concern the redundancy of mimesis but rather the
production of an effect of singular sense, even though indefinitely reproducible." [6]The unleashing of this autopoietic node
in the machine finds its resonance in Simondon's elucidation on the reciprocal relationship between technicity and humanity
as he comments:
The technical object taken according to its essence, which is to say the technical object insofar as it has
been invented, thought, and willed, and taken up by a human subject, becomes the medium and symbol of
this relationship, which we would like to name transindividual… An inter-human relation that is the model of
transindividuality is thus created through the intermediary of the technical object… The object that emerges
from technical invention carries with it something of the being that has produced it, and from this being
expresses what is least attached to the hic et nunc; one could say that there is something of human nature in the
technical being, in the sense that this word “nature” could be used to designate the remainder of what is original,
prior even to the humanity constituted in human; man invents by putting to work his own natural material
[support], this apeiron [ápeiron] which remains attached to each individual being.[1]
The relocation of senses admits that sense is historically defined and that it itself has an evolving history: "Sense,
especially, is subject to historicity," Horl writes. "After the organic, followed by the mechanic state of nature, the cybernetic
state of nature rearranges 'the relationship between human forces and nonhuman forces' by the paradigm of control and
The contemporary construction of senses, fundamental to the construction of subjectivity, is indebted to the
technological reality that constitutes the psychosocial substrate and the faculties of perception, as Horl points out: "Technics is
always subject to sense and above all to the sense-giving subject; inversely, every shift of emphasis towards technics in the end
always threatens a collapse of sense," which is to say that the sensorium attributed to biologically endowed properties are now
given away to technologically mediated senses that invariably transpose, augment or even dislocate the biotically delineated
sense faculties, which problematizes ethical-aesthetic norms and elicits anxiety and insecurity. The technological construction
of senses marks the advent of a machine-centric world, which privileges operational modality, mobilizing multitudes
of actants (to borrow a term from Latour) of various kinds and types in forming diverse subjectivities, undermining the
logocentric world predicated on the signification and representation of the human subject. "In the machine-centric universe,
one moves from the question of subjects to that of subjectivity such that the enunciation does not primarily refer to speakers
and listeners – the communicational version of individualism – but to 'complex assemblages of individuals, bodies, material
and social machines, semiotic, mathematical, and scientific machines, etc. which are the true source of enunciation.' The sign
machines (of the a-signifying function [author's note]) of money, economics, science, technology, art, and so on, function
in parallel or independently because they produce or convey meaning and in this way bypass language, signification, and
The machinic universe insofar as it strives to acquire a technical mentality, i.e. a technical sensitivity and technological
sensorium, to achieve "manifestation of cognitive schemas, affective modalities, and norms of action," presupposes an
indispensable "opening" as the prerequisite for "technical reality lends itself remarkably well to being continued, completed,
perfected, extended. In this sense, an extension of the technical mentality is possible, and begins to manifest itself in the
domain of the fine arts in particular."[4]
Machines Are Not Alone
With this concept of machine ecology in mind, we establish that "Machines Are Not Alone" is first of all an
announcement of the self-assurance of machines at large, and an enunciation of emotive jurisdiction constitutive of
subjectivities of various origins, agency of different types and that it is by no means an occasion of anthropomorphic empathy
or metonymy of some sort. They are real.
Precisely this emotivity is not styled after the human psychosis, not even animals so to speak, but one that is inclusive of
humans and animals and everything else together. For now we have come to an understanding of the provocative claim that
Deleuze and Guattari had spoken aloud: "Everything is a machine," such that we can well see the appeal resonates with the new
kind of world view that sees inter-objectivity, which characterizes the dynamic interdependence of all sorts of things, bringing
to light the current state of affairs that can be named as posthuman contemporaneity, more relevant than the habitual notion of
inter-subjectivity, which values inter-human relations as the bedrock of societies and cultures and the world of meaning for that
matter too, and that has dominated and perpetuated the discourse paradigm for too long.
Furthermore, machines are operational apparatuses rather than representational signifiers. They act on their own, in
their reasoning candor, and sometimes out of control too, losing their tempers perhaps. They don't need a spokes-machine to
delegate demands, to represent rights. They are agential operatives full of energetic impulses, they are actants, as Latour would
call them, they act and interact, quarrel and rejoice. In the comingling, they engender meaning and evoke significance in their
working and making. Such is this machine exhibition: nature and culture are machines and machines are not alone.
"Machines Are Not Alone" takes on a conative proposition that they might be proactive and sentient beings in their
own right. Not implying a psychic or pan-vitalist illusion, to say machines are sentient suggests that they have their inherent
autonomy. They display a futurity in the potential of their autopoesis that all machinic systems impregnate in their origin
according to Simondon. Machinic ecology is as mechanological as organological of the co-individuation of human organs,
technical organs and social organization, therefore machines are not alone in that they all work, operate and function with
other machines, whether of their phylum or of other orders. "Machines Are Not Alone" also implicitly unveils a simple but
evident theorem that all that is interdependent can only be tended to as such, so that a symbiosis of Heideggerian fourfold of
the Earth, Sky, Mortals and the Divinities may through machinic mediation, come to a true realization.
The exhibition "Machines Are Not Alone" is fitted with all sorts of machines. In Tomas Saraceno's sky machine, the
machine that flies high, free from borders, free from fossil fuels, hovering above the confines of humanity, nevertheless
lifting human bodies aloft, sliding out into the voids in pursuit of an un-refrained sky blue. It is an abstract machine doubled
concrete machine. Down to the ground there are plant machines that intelligently go about their habitation for recuperation
and repair, modulating pollution levels by their sensory agility, and turning the wasteful to the plentiful. The vegetal machine
created by Gilberto Esparza acquires a life of its own in its machine consciousness. This symbiotic robot which is made up
of a set of modular microbial fuel cells for the development of bacteria ensures that the machinic organism is self-sufficient.
Photosynthesis is achieved through the luminous energy released by bacteria induced electricity. The bilateral cycle optimizes
the producer species and consumer species environment, maintaining homeostasis.
The Deleuzian and Guattarian machine must also be a broken machine in order for the flow to run through. It has to be
an open machine, presupposing the continuity of a cascading fluidity or, for that matter, interstices, as well, in from a sphere
and out to a circuit or vice versa, both biochemical and technological, organic and mineral, metal and flesh, such that the
atmospheric hinges with circuitry and the molecular penetrates the modular, micropsychic skirts the macrocosmic.
Thomas Feuerstein creates an artificial umwelt full of apparatuses and flasks of various sizes, pumps and tubing,
instruments that stir up bubbling fermentation in which bioreactors oscillate, enigmatic fluids transverse, and bacteria thrive,
so that stone is made meat, geology turned biology. and the hard becomes tender. In this otherworldly choreography an
uncanny vision of the future or, rather, the unmistakable present, now unfolds itself: microbes of primordial origin long
dormant, buried beneath the surface of the earth from the inception of life have been resurrected to turn minerals and ores
into biomasses, transforming the metabolism of nutritional sustenance: Prometheus Delivered! This time not a pathological
myth of endless torture by a hollowed-out organ for deliverance of humanity, but a hypertrophied liver released, flesh and
fresh for the prospect of future provision, nurtured from the geochemical and microbiological process from which glucose
and proteins are obtained from the gypsum composition of the marble sculpture Prometheus. In this meat-stone machine
blend, artificial is made natural, mineral is rendered nutrition, the end has since long begun, and the ancestral has leapfrogged
the posthuman.
Machines are not alone in that their sensational outburst is manifestly haptic and tangible. Look at their passage of rites
in the erratic Rites and Aftermath by Dorian Gaudin, one feels the agony and the mischievousness of objects of irrelevant
origins and discrete materiality encountering each other in an arbitrarily precise dramaturgy, causing drastic behavioral
disorder or orchestrated harmony that is as much disturbing as amusing. If life is intrinsically suggested by movements, such
autonomously agitated processions then at least display a proclivity toward a desire for sentimental manifestation, even
though naively and awkwardly.
When the artist Pierre Huyghe said that life was the core interest of his practice, [1]he certainly did not mean only
human life, not even just animal life for that matter, but life larger than life, or life beyond the living. "The place is enclosed.
Elements and spaces from various historical strata lie next to each other with no chronological order or mark of origin.
There is a physical adaptation of fictional and factual documents or existing things. In the Karlsaue Park compost, artifacts,
inanimate elements and living organism, plants, animals, human beings, bacteria are left without culture, and indifferent to
our presence."[2] There is no departure nor arrival, only a cyclical regurgitation of decay and blossoming between species;
entropic regeneration of suspicious ingredients, outside of categories and taxonomies. Like Uexküll's umwelt, Huyghe's
found polyphonic landfill of abstract identification of the premises and concrete presence of the enactment is a system of
unnamable yet operational machinery in which parts and pieces, history and present, geology and psychology, nature and
artifacts weave a habitat of existence of symbiosis, of alien compositions and strange colors, with different temporal belongings
and strata claims.
How machines fashion or regulate human behavior has been widely studied. Numerous metaphors and figurations
have contributed to the critique of the alienation that industrialization has wrought on humanity, which in the view of human
as a measure of all things, is categorically undermining and intolerable. Seeing from a reciprocal relationship as advocated
by the notion that no humanity is attainable without the complement of technicity (Simondon, Stiegler, Massumi, among
others), that the critique inspired by the Enlightenment ethos of the deprivation and impediment of humanness in the light
of the machines may in turn beg for a reevaluation of the very concept which predicates itself on the moral superiority of
anthropocentrism, that not only claims ownership of all artifacts, but also life of all kinds and nature of all orders. ZHANG
Yongj's sarcastic burlesque of monotonous repetition of dance steps emulating mechanical movements seems to satisfy an
easy critique of the alienating anxiety of machines overpowering humans which elicits for nuanced scrutiny on the complexity
of the human-machine interaction and the inherited cultural conundrum of the master - slave, or subject - object dichotomy.
On the other hand, machines as species with their own autonomy are most present and unambiguous in the very sense
of the word in the various "engines" by Thomas Bayrle. The veteran artist born on the eve of World War II has an acute sense
of the machine age, therefore his work harbors no discourse abstraction, nor poetic sentimentality, but a plain machine as
is, a presentation of the sheer apparatus in its bare honesty. So much mechanicality is also manifestly salient in Jon Kessler's
intricate clockwork that seemingly implies it makes the world tick along. However, with the maddening kaleidoscope
enveloped, "The World Is Cuckoo" does not chime nicely to make the world go around but instead narrates a machinic
melancholy in the incarnation of a kinetic bird whose lethargy is much of the result of inability and relinquishment in the
light of a crisis-laden world: oil spills and deforestation or a flurry of mechanical failures that entraps her and depletes her of
the desire for taking an action and flying. The saddened bird machine reveals an implicit technological mentality that solicits
pampering and care.
For better or for worse, the contemporary is made of numbers and perpetuated by manipulation of numbers and we live
among abundant algorithmic machines to no escape. Fito Segrera's sly appropriation of the canonic conceptual piece One
and Three Chairs by Joseph Kosuth is no doubt an ode to the age of algorithm at the same time a hopeless mishap. This
time the machine is trying to figure out the meaning or nonsense of the deconstruction of the word "chair" as was profoundly
articulated and deadly seriously executed in the word game and visual trope of the conceptual artist, but all ridiculed by an
unassuming machine vision and interpretation.
The constellation of Machines Are Not Alone includes invisible machines, too, that can be rightfully named
transportation machines and custom machines to facilitate the movements of these art machines. There are also exhibition
machines that make the presentation feasible and audience machines that participate in the meaning-making of exhibition
visits and interacting with works; there are workshop machines and discussion machines that aggregate knowledge and
disseminate opinions. Finally, there is also the inevitable time machine that exerts its indisputable mark of duration and
memory. From its ignition at Chronus Art Center in Shanghai in the summer of 2018, continuing onto Zagreb Contemporary
Art Museum, landing as one contingent of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial, each traveling iteration roots itself in the local milieu
and creates interconnections with its immediate surroundings and umwelt logistically, ecologically and psychosocially as if
a living act of the Three Ecologies. Together the journey maps out a machinic trajectory that transverses oceans and lands,
places and sites; integrates climates and communities and adapts limitations and expansions for a resounding machinic
Rather than having a being as a common trait which would inhabit the whole of machine, social, human and
cosmic beings, we have, instead, a machine that develops universes of reference – ontological heterogeneous
universes, which are marked by historical turning points, a factor of irreversibility and singularity.[1]
Everywhere it is machines and machines are not alone.
(The author of this article is the curator of the Theme Exhibition of The 6th Guangzhou Triennial)

Rosi Braidotti Posthuman Convergences

Judging by the current size and scope of the scholarship and the originality of the terms and neologisms that are
emerging around the posthuman, there is no crisis of the human, but rather an exciting proliferation of images and
knowledge-production. New forms of interaction between humans, machines and earth-others are currently being explored,
in a fast-growing field of: non/in/trans/meta/post-human investigations. The posthuman predicament therefore, far from
encouraging negative discourses about extinction and destruction, signals a renewal of the field of critical, ethical and artistic
enquiry about what counts as the basic unit of reference for the human today.
My affirmative approach differs from the mood that surrenders contemporary public discussions about humans,
which can roughly be described as polarized between euphoria and anxiety. It is not a naive form of optimism, but rather an
adaptation of new-Spinozist ethical principles that define affirmation as the hard process of transforming negative relations
and passions, through collective action and encounters (Braidotti, 2006). This is relevant today, when a great deal of people
feel exhilarated, but also concerned about machine intelligence, the transformation of the labour market, the intrusion of
technology into every aspect of their existence and the threat of climate change. Euphoria and fear work in tandem in the
social imaginary of posthuman societies.
The entertainment industry centered on Hollywood has proved very apt at exploiting these swinging moods. It has
developed a whole science fiction genre round posthuman issues, cultivating and feeding the imaginary of disaster, of
collective extinction and civilizational collapse. From blockbusters like Aliens to the Mad Max and Blade Runner series,
we are being encouraged to enjoy the spectacle of our own destruction and the demise of the world as we have known it.
The apocalypse will indeed unfold from now on, and it will be serialized and re-packaged for visual consumption. Our
relationship to the posthuman predicament therefore is highly mediated and perverted towards negative expectations for the
Academic culture also follows suit. In social and political theory, many critical voices express dismay and critical
distance towards the posthuman predicament, constituting a new body of work that I call: 'the scholarship of anxiety'.
Thinkers from different political and theoretical backgrounds, such as the social-democratic Habermas, (2003), the rightleaning
liberal Fukuyama (2002), the sceptical Sloterdijk (2009) and the critical Derrida (in Borradori, 2003), have expressed
concern bordering on moral and cognitive panic about the status of the human in our advanced technological times.
Recently, Pope Francis (2015) joined this debate and, in a surprising move, supplemented Catholic dogma on Natural Law,
with Naomi Klein's radical analysis of the destructive role of capitalism (Klein, 2014) and its close relationship to advanced
While acknowledging the state of discomfort expressed by so many scholars and citizens, my argument about the
posthuman takes respectful distance from negative reactions, like fear and anxiety. Adopting the ethics of affirmation to
our present predicament (Braidotti, 2013), I think that the scale of the problems triggered by the posthuman convergence is
certainly daunting, but I tend to see them as challenges and even opportunities for a collective redefinition of the human in a
fast-changing world. Considering the high degrees of technological sophistication we have reached, it is undeniably true that
the technological devices today are very alive, while the humans seem quite inert (Haraway, 1985). It is equally true however
that the evidence provided by posthuman scholarship – and by the vitality of explorations of the in/non/meta/trans/posthuman
by writers and artists - shows no sign of decline, but rather a remarkable upsurge of inspiration. An affirmative ethics
is a collective praxis by which these generative aspects of our present predicament can be activated towards the recomposition
of sustainable futures.
In response to the facile optimism of trans-humanist dreams of perfecting the humans through an array of enhancement
techniques, and in stark opposition to apocalyptic predictions, I argue that we are in the midst of a remarkable new wave of
theoretical, aesthetic, academic and social experimentations about what kind of humans we are capable of becoming. This
entails a new relationship to both the earth as a social agent and to the technological apparatus as our second nature. We are
also in the midst of great social fractures and conflicts about these very same transformations. It is a case of: "and...and", not
of "either/or". The outcome of such momentous changes will depend largely on our willingness to engage in the process of
making decisions about the course of action to take. In this socially oriented process, research – in the arts as well as in the
university- is a primary driving factor. In support of my affirmative ethics, let me give you some examples of how creatively
the field is responding to these challenges.
A convergence phenomenon
I have defined the posthuman as the convergence of post-humanism on the one hand and post-anthropocentrism
on the other (Braidotti 2013; 2016). Post-humanism is a critical tradition of thought that focusses on the analysis of the
Eurocentric, masculinist Humanist ideal of 'Man' as the allegedly universal representative of the human as the thinking
animal. Its development is contiguous to the history of humanism itself- and as early as the 18th centuries feminist thinkers
like Olympe de Gouges and anti-racist thinkers like Toussaint L'Ouverture pointed out the limitations of this allegedly
universalistic idea. In the second half of the 20th century, Edward Said taught us (2004), that you can critique humanism
in the name of humanism, while at the same time Michel Foucault (1970) asserted that Eurocentric humanism and its
universalist claims were historically over.
Post-anthropocentrism, on the other hand, focusses on the critique of human exceptionalism, species hierarchy and
human control and exploitation of natural resources, leading to the current environmental devastation. This critical tradition
is much less present in philosophy than in other branches of knowledge, but it gathers philosophical momentum from the
end of the 19th century. It is admirably expressed by iconoclastic thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche, who is a great source of
inspiration for Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's redefinition of the human and 'assemblages' of anthropomorphic, animal,
technological and other entities: a hybrid, transversal construction (1987).
Although it is tempting to confuse and amalgamate post-humanism and post-anthropocentrism, I want to stress their
distinctive and separate character: they have different intellectual genealogies, operate in separate disciplinary fields and
trigger quite diverse social manifestations. You can be critical of western humanism and remain perfectly anthropocentric, or
critique anthropocentrism but cling to humanistic normative values. Their convergence today therefore is a bit of a clash, not
directly conducive to a harmonious synthesis. It is currently producing a chain of theoretical, social and political effects as
well as a qualitative leap in new conceptual directions.
The convergence is a fruitful phenomenon. A dynamic new field of posthuman scholarship is developing right
now, which is so rich and diversified, that I and some colleagues had to undertake the project of a large dictionary-style
publication, to attempt a synoptical overview of what is happening in the field (Braidotti and Hlavajova, 2018). Posthuman
knowledge marks more than the sum of post-humanism and post-anthropocentrism, and points to a qualitative leap in a new
– post-disciplinary critical direction. Let me give you some examples.
While there is widespread consensus that we need to invent new terminologies and concepts to deal with what the
human is becoming today, there are also significant differences in the theoretical framework and methodological approach.
Some scholars stay rather neutral and emphasize the untapped neural and cognitive potential of non-human agency
(Raffensoe, 2013), while speculating on possible implications and applications of the 'new' human (Rosendahl Thomsen,
2013). For instance in disability studies, due to the impact of robotics, the dishuman is a hot topic (Goodley et alia, 2014)
and it is seen as a productive generator of new perspectives and healing practices. This ethical dimension is very important, as
the posthuman condition evokes a great deal of new insights as well as emotions. Within the liberal philosophical tradition,
for instance, the emphasis falls on the legal notion of posthuman personhood (Wennemann, 2013), with all duties and
responsibilities attached to it. In a more radical perspective, a lively school of inhuman thought (Lyotard, 1989) contemplates
a new form of ethics that by-passes the centrality of the human and, in some cases, even dispenses with the human as a
dominant species altogether (MacCormack, 2012). My proposal in this regard is the posthuman affirmative ethics, which I
already introduced above.
The same range of terminological and theoretical differentiation is occurring in relation to posthumanism itself, as a
specific school of thought. While a posthuman manifesto has been around for a while, (Pepperell, 2003), different kinds
of posthumanism have emerged of late, from a number of interdisciplinary hubs. For instance, in comparative literature,
a critical form of posthumanism was first explored by Cary Woolf (2010), and developed further by Herbrechter, (2013)
and Nayar, (2013). More politically inclined approaches are also at work, in the liberal tradition by the trans-humanism of
Bostrom, who believes in human enhancement (2014), and in a more progressive manner by the speculative posthumanism
of Sterling (2012) and Roden (2014). On the radical edge, you will find insurgent posthumanism (Papadopoulos, 2010);
visionary meta-humanism (Ferrando, 2013) and critical a-humanism (MacCormack, 2012).
In view of such wealth and diversity of posthuman knowledge options, I want to stress the convergence-factor, so as
to avoid new forms of discursive segregation that may occur in contemporary scholarship, as a result of its highly specialized
character. For instance, research on Artificial intelligence; or on the Anthropocene; or on the new political economy of
post-work societies; or on crypto-currencies, – are producing their respective approaches and terminologies on the issue
of the human/non-human inter-relation, often independently of one another. Such high degrees of concentration do not
favor dialogues and instead increase fragmentation. These new separations of knowledge moreover do not help construct
the kind of trans-disciplinary task-force we would need to address the complexity of issues confronting us in the posthuman
predicament. We need to develop a posthuman approach to the study of posthuman knowledge production.
Beyond the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene is the geological time during which humanity's negative effect upon the planet's health and
sustainability has reached empirically measurable levels. The impact is multi-layered and it mobilizes our multiple ecologies
of belonging (Guattari, 2000), triggering unprecedented problems of an environmental, social-economical, as well as affective
and psychical character.
In my view, the posthuman convergence includes, but also exceeds, the specific framework of the Anthropocene,
which is a popular – albeit controversial – notion in the scientific community and in public debates. The crisis of the
Anthropocene is not just an environmental, but also a social and economic issue. The depletion of the earth's resources
and the unsustainability of our cities are compounded by the combination of fast technological advances on the one hand,
and the exacerbation of economic and social inequalities on the other. This makes for a multi-facetted and conflict-ridden
landscape, which needs complex schemes of analysis. In some way, simply referring to the Anthropocene as a given, begs the
The vagueness of the notion is reflected in its social status: even as a relative neologism, the Anthropocene has already
become another 'Anthropomeme' (Macfarlane, 2016), spawning several alternative terms, such as: the 'Chthulucene'
(Haraway, 2016); the 'Capitalo-cene' (Moore 2015); the 'Anthropo-scene (various artists collectives, 2014); the
'Anthrobscene' (Parikka, 2015a); the Plastic-ene (New York Times, 2014); the 'Plantation-cene' (Tsing, 2015) and the Misanthropocene'
(Clover and Spahr, 2014).
The terminological vitality here reflects firstly the lack of consensus as to what the Anthropocene actually is, but it also
expresses both the excitement and the exasperation involved in attempting to account for the posthuman predicament within
the Anthropocenic frame. Because we are dealing with a convergence phenomenon and not a linear effect, I think we need
to adopt more complex ways of thinking, which also resist the speedy and self-replicating discursive economy of our times,
which turn ideas into "memes", and concepts into PR formulae. We need to learn to think differently about what we are in the
process of becoming.
I propose therefore to widen the picture and take a broader look at the posthuman predicament by focusing on the issue
of subjectivity – what kind of subjects we are becoming in this context? Starting from the premise that 'the human' is neither
a universal nor a neutral term, but rather one that indexes access to powers, rights and entitlements, I want to proceed with
great caution in dealing with the issue of subjectivity.
"We humans" are not one and the same- we differ substantially in terms of power, locations and access. And because
"we" differ in our materially embedded positions and geo-political locations of power/access/entitlements, "we" experience
the posthuman convergence and the Anthropocene in dramatically different ways. Wealth, class, race and ethnicity, gender
and sexuality, good health and physical abilities - all affect our relationship to what it means to be human, how we relate to
each other and to non-humans and how we confront the spectre of extinction – of all species.
An uncritical apocalyptic vision, dominated by the mediated imaginary of disaster, and its specular opposite: naïve
euphoria about a posthuman future - does not sum up the total of possible reactions to the posthuman convergence.
Differences multiply along the way. For instance, for indigenous peoples who have been decimated by colonialism and
have seen their natural resources depleted by greedy dispossessions, the Anthropocene looks like a massive attack of white,
middle-aged anthropocentric panic. To many environmentalist activists, extinction is a planetary issue affecting also all the
non-human inhabitants of the planet: fish, bees, animals, plants. On top of it, it also involves the waste and excess of capitalist
consumption (plastic money, plastic shopping bags, etc.) as the main cause of the planetary debacle. For techno-futurists,
the posthuman in a pretext for neural and physiological enhancement, pointing to the possibility of space-travel, cryogenics,
techno-immortality, etc. A rich and generative imaginary of transformation is currently deployed in thinking about different
possible ways of becoming posthuman.
The challenge that the posthuman convergence throws our way however is that, one way or the other, this particular
conjuncture forces us to address the crucial and painful issue of what binds us together, while continuing to raise the question
of the extent to which 'we' can say to be in this predicament together. To address these nodes of inter-twined questions, "we"
need affirmative ethical values, that allow us to aspire to a sense of togetherness, while acknowledging that the human is not
a neutral term, but a power-loaded one. The human is fractured and fraught with contradictions and differences in locations
of and access to power. Which means that any attempt to construct a shared sense of posthuman subjectivity worthy of the
complexities of the posthuman convergence requires an approach that is both materially grounded and differential. Different
locations make for different perspectives and this diversity is not the sign of relativism, but the mark of multiplicity.
The posthuman predicament consequently confronts us – the posthuman assemblages of bodies, technological
apparatus, planetary factors and cosmic influences that constitute posthuman subjectivity - with a fundamental tension.
Namely that "we" may well be confronting the threats and challenges of the third millennium, together, but "we" are not One,
nor the Same – we are differently positioned in terms of power, entitlement and access to the very technologies that define
us. "We" are not a homogeneous, unitary notion, but a complex and diverse one, which reflects the multiple differences that
compose "us". We – the human and non-human inhabitants of this particular planet - are currently positioned differentially
and even antagonistically – in the convergence between the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Schwab, 2015) and the Sixth
Extinction (Kolbert, 2014).
Differential neo-materialism
The main theoretical framework to sustain the posthuman convergence is neo-materialism, in the wake of Deleuze
and Guattari's agenda-setting philosophy of Life, which allows for rethinking matter as a self-organizing process ontology
which includes technology (1994). A vital materialist ontology offers possibilities for grounding the embodied and embedded
posthuman subject in process (Braidotti, 2006). Moreover, by focussing on the dynamic interaction of Sameness and
Difference, it helps us move outside the dualistic scheme of dialectical opposition, stressing instead the generative force of
living matter itself, as the common denominator we are all part of. Freed from the distinction between natural and constructed
events, a philosophy of intelligent matter produces a materialist political physics, based on a nature-culture continuum. This
allows me to think of posthuman subjects as complex assemblages of non-human components, and not as dualistic entities
with a Cartesian mind/body distinction. What we are rather becoming is materially embedded, embrained and embodied
subjects-in-process, circulating within webs of inter-relation with non-human forces, inhuman entities and transversal
New terms are being experimented with, to do justice to this new vision of the subject, for instance the idea of transcorporeal
human-animal compounds (Alaimo, 2010), or "trans-speciated selves" (Hayward, 2008). This eco-planetary
insight into the relationship to non-human life, which I call zoe as generative force (Braidotti, 2006), extends to technological
mediation, digital life being by now our second nature. What used to be cybernetic 'naturecultures' (Haraway,1997) has
evolved into 'medianatures' (Parikka 2015). This media ecological continuum (Fuller 2005) can sustain a general ecology
(Horl, 2017), foregrounding not just any form of materiality, but rather a geological and terrestrial kind of materialism (Protevi,
Defending this differential form of neo-materialism is also a way of resisting any reactive recomposition of humanity
as an undifferentiated category bonded by fear and vulnerability, while taking collective responsibility for the multitude of
problems in which we find ourselves–together. As I argued above, while 'we' are not the same, we are in this together.
Thinking about our perspectival differences takes the form of accounting for the new and old power relations that are
emerging around posthuman subjects, defined as materially grounded, relational and differential.
Thus, a posthuman awareness must not be allowed to flatten out the necessity for the analysis of power differentials that
sustain the collective subject ('we') and its endeavor (this). Significant markers of human 'normality' based on traditional
views of class, race, gender, age and able-bodied-ness continue to be at work as key factors in framing the notion of and
policing access to something we may call 'human' or 'humanity'. Crucial to a socially equitable posthuman project therefore
is the redefinition of power relations in our day and age: how do power differences based on race, class, gender, sexuality,
ethnicity, religion, age and able-bodied-ness continue to feature in the posthuman convergence? How can we both analyse
and resist the violent social fractures induced by the times? Where do art and scholarship sit within this resistance, and what
role can they play here?
But first and foremost, "we"- as a complex, materially embedded differential assemblage - need to acknowledge that
there may well be multiple and potentially contradictory projects at stake in the complex re-compositions of the human,
inhuman, non-human, trans-human and posthuman at work right now. At this particular point in our planetary history, we
simply do not know what our enfleshed and embrained selves, technologically mediated hybrid assemblages, can actually do.
We need to find out, by embracing an ethics of experimentation with relational intensities. An affirmative posthuman ethics
rests on an enlarged sense of inter-connection between self and others, including the non-human, technological and earth
others, by removing the obstacle of self-centred individualism on the one hand and the barriers of negativity on the other.
Posthuman ethics needs to focus on the collective production of affirmative values – an ethics that approaches affirmation
as a collective praxis by working through the negative aspects and modes of relation of our era, moving us forward towards
social horizons of sustainable hope.
(The author of this article is a contemporary philosopher and feminist theoretician)

Benjamin H. Bratton On Hemispherical Stacks:Notes on Multipolar Geopolitics and Planetary-Scale Computation

Looking toward the 22nd century, it becomes clearer that the geopolitics to come and the planetary computational
infrastructures with which they operate are, in fact and practice, not two separate things. They are different names we use
for deeply interwoven socio-technical process and for how those processes become interpretable concepts and enforced
institutional norms. Even a decade ago such a statement probably would have seemed closer to science-fiction than political
science but now even the conservative disciplines of Law and International Relations accede that planetary computation is
more than a domain over which normal sovereignty rules; it constitutes a form of sovereignty in itself.
While this is not necessarily bad news for those who think the emergence of a viable worldwide civilization is preferable
both as means and end, the current form of computational geopolitics does not inspire abundant confidence. Still, just as
the strong differentiation of the human individual from the technological continues to lose analytic traction (even as it is
continuously resuscitated as 'ethics') a broader recognition that cyborg amalgamation is even greater at the scale of entire
societies is welcome. The politics that we need need (for example, a global carbon tax) may look, from today's perspectives,
more like a technology than a politics, and the technology we need may look more like an economics. If so, this necessitates a
retroactive re-definition of "the political" that is less about the performance of symbolic deliberation or securing lines between
friend and enemy than the automation of decision by/as expanded fields of technologies, human and otherwise. This really is
not new; it has always been so.
These notes are meant to locate The Stack thesis on planetary-scale computation within the fractured geopolitical
moment of 2018, and perhaps to look back on the present from the virtual perspective of a future bewildered by our present.
What were they thinking? The Stack thesis describes planetary scale computation as comprised by six layers: Earth, Cloud,
City, Address, Interface, and User, each of which has its own platform sovereignties. I will discuss the Cloud layer in more
detail below and first summarize the others.
The Earth layer is not only where energy is sourced, but where energy infrastructures determine social relations in their
image. Unfortunately, the politics of energy and mineral flows, and how they relate to human biology (or could differently)
now struggles under ponderous mystifications and expensive obfuscations. Primary problems of sovereignty at the Earth layer
are rooted in the fact that the necessary alignments of state actors, open markets, city-states, and plural agencies necessary
for massive carbon remediation including the decarbonization of computing itself, wide-scale 4th generation nuclear power,
meaningful carbon pricing, food supply rationalization, massive rewinding corridors, and so on either do not exist or are
grotesquely mis-incentivized.
The City layer is where complex arrangements of inhabitation are played out in multiple and mutually-entangled
assemblages. It is where metropolitan singularities and networks of quasi-sovereign city-states hold recursive relationships to
national territories sometimes held at arms length. The city may serve as a capital territory with regional zones as its extended
jurisdiction and peripheries as the back-office to the metropolitan core. Still, the countryside is where the Cloud actually lives,
in data-centers, logistics archipelagos, and other megastructures often largely unoccupied by people. These are an urbanism
of a different sort: charter villages for inanimate objects and exceptional zones that become the new normal.
The Address layer is where we track multiple regimes of naming, counting, inscribing, indexing, and sorting any object,
noun, event or verb according to particular needs, norms, and interests. It where treasure maps full of miscellaneous entities,
those with mass or without, coincide in realms of agnostic abstraction, identification, and interchangeability. It is the domain
of classification and accounting (and thereby of decentralized economics and ledgers) and all the forms of communication
that it enables.
The Interface layer is where the parts of a systems see one another. It is where governance and biosemiotics collaborate
and where overlaid diagrams turn perceptual loops into closed cognitive frames. Formally these interfacial regimes becomes
more standardized as their content is untethered from the real on behalf of self-reinforcing micro-mythologies. It is where,
often dangerously, symbolic relations are freely substituted for causal ones. Interfaces are not only something users look
through at the world, it is also the layer through which the world looks at itself. This layer is also where the sensing assemblages
that feed the inputs of landscape-scale AI's as they configure strangely alien/familiar sensible worlds and the intra-species
signaling dynamics that ensue.
The fragility of agency and the boundaries of agents are drawn at the User layer, including but no limited to the
status of humans and humanism, individuation and collectivization, encapsulation and prosthesitization. The polyphony
of imaginaries for AI and evolutionary robotics may be trained here, ranging from the standardization of cultures by a
common virtualization to a proliferation of subjectivities unarticulatable by contemporary vocabularies. Here contestations
of sovereign identification and identity are fought, sometimes one ID at time. For some, "identity theft is when someone has
a depersonalization episode, then repersonalizes as you instead," but for others, the trace of address is not so easily dislodged.
Either may be experienced as a delinking of identity from agency, representation from non-representation, and may be
dramatized in public forums for fought over more directly in ways that are non-representational, more operational: counted
but unnamed.
To be clear, according to The Stack model we observe not one totality but intersecting totalities superimposed on one
another. It is not THE Stack, as in one final enclosure, but the Stack, as a generic frame that proliferates and multiples of itself
as the stacks we have and the stacks to come.
In the secondary literature on the book, The Stack, there has been a strong focus on the Cloud layer and how cloud
platforms take on many of the functions of the Westphalian state. This is not unexpected. It has brought also new genre
of speculative design works that seek to draw alternative territories and their media (passports, currencies, brands, voting,
citizenship, market mechanisms, property models, etc.), some of which may confuse the semiotic accoutrements of sovereign
systems with those systems themselves. Yet, the invitation to re-open the apparently settled technologies of governance in
this way is welcome. At the same time, however, the equally important inverse of this dynamic - how states turn into cloud
platforms - is met with less sanguine narratives. Some may generalize connotations of "surveillance" to count all forms of data
sensing and modeling as policing, or may confuse the protection of platforms from the debilitating noise and abuse of bad
actors with the personal withdrawal from "illegitimate" channels of civil society altogether.
But it would be mistake to overlook the other layers of The Stack as sites of important artistic and design
conceptualization. The model links the dynamics of sovereignty at each layer and recognizes how the conclusions of one may
determine the terms of conflict at the others. There is no one layer where the interplay of software and sovereignty is more
truly and properly located, radiating out from there. Sovereignty is contested and produced at each layer and not only in
ways that are recognizably "political." This multiplies the complexity of mapping the intersections because the fundamental
procedures of governance - replication, recursion, enforcement - are so widespread.
At the same time it is certain that at this moment the production of new territories occurs as much if not more by
how states absorb functions of the Cloud and indeed become cloud platforms. The relative continuity of those spaces may
include hard enclosures within a bounded territorial domain, transoceanic and atmospheric encapsulations, and more
dispersed securitizations of information flows: that is, hemispherical stacks, not national stacks. The geometry of such political
geographies are not without precedent; they are perhaps closer to what Carl Schmitt called grossraum than to any clean
Sloterdijikan spherization or Neo-Cameralist patchwork of little Westphalian zones (though we see these as well as private
polities appear).
Below I will briefly explore the qualities of hemispherical stacks, defined by a consolidation of computational networks
into a handful of transnational blocs which in turn comes to define the external boundaries and internal governance of those
blocs and their geopolitical positions. I will consider the shared architecture of such stacks as well as decisive contrasts in
how each configures both formal and de facto sovereignty based on different political/ technological traditions. Expertise
resides in complex divisions of labor and in persistent cultural norms, but also in the structured externalization intelligence
by technological standardization and procedural interoperability. Varied distributions of expertise form the basis of
algorithmic governance as they locate sovereignty, decision and exception in the interfacial circuits that differentiate inside
from outside one gateway at a time. Finally, the essay will briefly consider how the organization of governance under the
rubric of hemispherical stacks may delimit the scope of geopolitical multipolarity and the spectrum of cultural diversification
particularly in relation to artificial intelligence (AI) arms races.
Again the production of new territories occurs as much if not more by how states absorb functions of the cloud and
indeed become cloud platforms than the inverse. So instead of presuming that new spaces are developed in opposition to the
state (usually understood as a fixed land-locked entity against which liquid flows swim) we see that states are producing new
territories and are perhaps the most important innovators. In recent years, the planetary reach of computation is even more
granular and even more global, but it also has cohered into irregular and sometimes antagonistic consolidations, federations
and geopolitical alliances. We see then the emergence of not one global Stack but a mitosis of the stack genera into a regime of
multipolar hemispherical versions; it is an emergent geographic governing technology for which the steerage of the state, even
if unbound by Westphalian borders, is paramount. In time, however, that may not be the case as other forms of authority
-centralized or decentralized- assume decisive places.
The geographic scope of multipolar hemispherical stacks is delimited by the procedural integrations of data - imagined
as a new sovereign substance - and the drawing of territorial circumventions that are sometimes ancient and sometimes
quite new. That is, the boundary drawn for data capture often tracks directly with the defensible boundaries drawn for its
geopolitical domain of influence if not formal jurisdiction: the geography of one becomes functionally, if not formally, tied to
the boundary of the other.
No one hemispherical stack has global knowledge over all the others and each sees and is seen according to this limited
blindness. As each is limited by the the data it can sense and model, its ability to govern can be defined by how it puts in
motion the particular amalgamations of data and the models it chooses to produce about the world through its information
haul. From such models, each stack produces simulations that stand in for the world and so each learns to govern and train
these simulations as a way of governing its relations to the world. In this sense, each hemispherical stack is also infrastructural
initiative for the composition of a regional ontology that can know some things but never others. The geopolitical intrigues
between now and the passage into the 22nd century will come not only by the interoperability between stacks but also by the
confusions, lapses and mistranslations between these vernacular mega-machines.
Three of the most clearly drawn hemispherical stacks are the Chinese stack, recognized as the BAT stack (Baidu,
Alibaba, Tencent and outlined by state firewalls), an American (plus Australasia, UK, and Israel) stack, recognized as the
GAFA stack (Google, Apple, Facebook, Apple), and an EU stack modeled less by the platforms it has built than by regulatory
initiatives seeking to protect/ produce regional data sovereignty in relation to the GAFA stack. The EU has also taken a leading
role in developing an incipient and quite diverse/contradictory "open stack" which might include encrypted apps, Estonia's
digital governance accomplishments, and Barcelona's data municipalism in its quilt. The wider map includes so much more
of course, including a Russian stack (plus CIS countries) recognized as MYVKT (mail.ru, Yandex, VK, Telegram) and others
in Latin America, India, Africa, Japan, the Gulf, and so on, and there are far more important innovations than this short essay
can index. Clearly national and linguistic histories play a role here in how each is divided from others, but they do not explain
as much as it it may appear. While each hemispherical stack organizes its constituency of users, data and models according
to different conceptual and contextual demands, they all draw on historical and legal traditions in ways that are clearly also
improvisational. Ultimately, the more important re-orientation however is not to fold present circumstances back inside
the envelopes of regional traditions but to leverage those toward a new normative framework that better suits an inevitably
entangled common future.
I will offer some preliminary observations on the contours and contradictions of some hemispherical stacks, with
the caveats needed when sketching the outlines of such a complex topic. These are meant as notes: nothing too systematic,
though some surprising patterns are already discernible.
While the GAFA stack continues its historical expansion, the structural map of its interlocking monopolies, both
corporate and state, twists and turns on an almost minute-by-minute basis. In The Stack, I cautioned against presuming that
the particular macroeconomic divisions between core platforms of the GAFA stack (search, social, commerce, hardware,
etc.) must necessarily align as they have, and that we should anticipate new combinations. This month, we see the ascendance
of Amazon and vilification of Facebook, the continued fragmentation of Google/Alphabet and the dry incrementalism of
Apple. Next year, a different 'state of the stack.' Unlike the halcyon days of its Obama-era ascendance, the GAFA stack
now battles on several fronts, some quite real and others existing in the narratives of its frenemies. The GAFA stack fights
for market share against the BAT stack but also against various platygaeanists within its core user base who depend on its
platforms to oxygenate and distribute their fuels. Some even hold seats in Congress. The Trump regime's reflexive hostility to
multilateralism, and indeed any recognition that the host planet is spherical, has left the liberal globalism it inherited from the
days of Sec. Clinton's "Internet Freedom" policies in a deliberate shambles.
"Throwing rocks at the Google bus" on behalf of "Team Human" now means the spectacle of a robotic Mark Zuckerberg
schooling elderly legislators about how "the Internet" works and easily ducking questions put to him; the President threatening
a Federal audit of search engines on behalf of Pepe the Frog; and an apoplectic Alex Jones ambling sideways down the Capitol
steps while screaming at Jack Dorsey about the Illuminati. That is, even in the USA the GAFA stack has become a chief target
of those who feel unnerved and displaced by the deep macroeconomic, demographic and cultural identity shifts that are
enabled and revealed by planetary-scale computation: it is simultaneously an engine of variously confused populisms, their
primary medium of auto-amplification, and now also their favorite target.
Many debates in Europe contest the terms of inclusion or exclusion in an Euro-American stack, and what the terms of
that inclusion may be, if at all. By Europe's GDPR (General Data Protection Law) the legal status of EU data draws dotted
lines form datacenter to datacenter regardless of their physical location. In practice such policies also leads toward data
localization within Europe (so defined), a country or even a particular city. EU Digital Single Market rules (right of erasure,
pseudonymisation, data portability, etc. all sensible. ) may in time take on a gravity similar that that once afforded to the Euro
and the ECM. Enforcement depends of course on what is meant by operating "in" this jurisdiction as what counts as "EU
data" or "municipal data" or "national data" will continue to be redefined by opportunistic circumvention. New battles over
data ontology and categorization ensue, and so too will contestations over who and what counts as European accordingly.
From the European perspective, it might seem that all this is fought in response to "American" platform influence (defined
tendentiously by some as "colonialism") whereas on the other side of the Atlantic, serious policy discussions have been
scrapped in favor of telecoms, and by the time the Democrats get the White House back EU GDPR-style guidelines may be
the default policy option.
Some novelties which appear initially interesting for one reason, but which prove uninteresting for another, may yet
prove important for other reasons still. When Denmark's Digital Ambassador suggests that his country's relations with Google
are as important as with other State, we shouldn't smirk too hard, nor take this as necessarily distressing. Or, blockchains
could be or should be interesting if they open up the economic user position beyond Lockean individualism not because they
refortify its illusions (and yet.…) Or, Estonia's e-residency program may be interesting not because it allows you to pay taxes
to Baltic states you have never visited, but because it suggests that there is no imperative link between the distributed provision
of state social services and legacy state jurisdictions. The geographic walls that sort citizens from a wilderness of non-citizens
may become taller and wider but less and less necessary; formal state citizenship itself could be as mobile as it wants to be.
Europe's ongoing attempt to establish a continental (though sometimes national or even municipal) forms of "digital
sovereignty" has much to recommend it and also reasons for criticism and worry. Europe's primary short-term contribution
to development of hemispherical stacks (not just its own) may be based on a core competence of regulatory oversight and
social democratic mechanisms for consensus. These are probably more difficult to design and defend than underlying
technologies, harder to copy/paste and import, but crucial to the geopolitical order to come. EU models may become a gold
standard by which others are measured, or they may bring about an isolated digital jurisdiction, a dark corner of the planetary
archive where training data is by law either never gathered or never made available to interested models.
In the interim, there are also ideas in the air that give the present moment its unique scent and which will hopefully be
looked back upon with confusion. Some such are based on a naive confidence that law/politics and technology are still two
distinct domains and that the former should naturally have dominion over the latter, as it seems to have in recent historical
memory. That the technology would itself constitute a form of small "g" governance is sometimes presumed too literally (i.e.,
that open source software will lead in linear fashion to open source politics) and sometimes as the dangerous new situation
that needs to be reversed ("take back our privacy" to where?). Exemplifying that liternal-mindedness, we see policy trial
balloons floated, such as Jeremy Corbyn's notion of UK-only publicly run Facebook. An online social network run by the
state may make sense if you really trust the state as the proper forum, scale, and geometry for civil society, but perhaps you
do not. And yet, one might reply, what could go wrong that has not already? At a EU-wide level we see other gestures of
legal fantasy claiming "digital sovereignty" with a mixture of broad goals, lists of specifically defined good vs. bad means,
flamboyant suspensions of economic reason, and sometimes precious little in-between. Considered in detail, compliance with
these would seem impossible, regressive, self-defeating or all three. Some initiatives start with manifestos about "individual
self-determination over the effects of technology on society" (!) and veer from there to complete incoherency: "ban the
concept of IP rights on anything invented or created by machines."[1] Among the most outlandish of recent initiatives was
put forth by the ever-sober European Parliament to make online publishers infinitely responsible for enforcing copyright of
any content on their site. The vote is uncertain, and many EU-based creatives who would, in theory, benefit are among the
most adamant critics of this "link tax" scheme.
So the EU drive to digital sovereignty as the basis of its hemispherical stack leads to the spectacle of anti-IP activists
and mega-IP legislators nodding vigorously in agreement with each other, if they think the outcome of each other's utterly
contradictory proposals seems to spell out: "Fuck Off Google." The group that bares this eloquent name is based in Berlin
and is mobilized around preventing the company from expanding its campus in Kreuzberg (the company will apparently put
it somewhere else, which is probably a good idea). The group's website/ wiki is a hodgepodge of radical cosplay, grotesque
conspiracy memes, and exclamation points. Finally, in their agreement that the real problem is "Google," Trump and Berlin
anarchist clubs don't just "end up" on the same side, eager to detonate this idol of decadent liberalism: the foundational
overlaps between Left and Right versions of anti-global, xenophobic traditionalism are wider than their role-players believe.
The well sometimes poisons itself.
There is another longer-term issue of how EU will establish itself as a "sovereign" player in AI geopolitics if data
infrastructure systems are designed to prioritize privacy (which is often presumed to mean the privacy of individual natural
persons) above all other considerations (such as accessibility, integration, scaling, etc.) Would the training necessary to build
European AI's be readily available to anyone but publicly sanctioned researchers and developers? Given the unpredictable
and irregular patterns of AI invention and innovation this would seem at least counterproductive, but perhaps the slower path
will in the long term away lead away from sociopathic abuses of AI and toward beneficial applications. Regardless, a scenario
whereby a fractured governing body, such as the EU, attempts to preemptively anticipate, steer and even decide the socioeconomic
effects of AI is unlikely to calm the cascade of intended consequences.
Another concern is how much current post-Brexit techlash may have already mined the path to more viable and
genuine alternatives. The formation of the European hemispherical stack is a function of more than technology or law; it is
also a cultural dynamic, but now some songs of digital sovereignty are in harmony with plain-old xenophobia. Not always,
to be sure. The important prospect of a hemispherical stack congruent with the accomplishments of social democracy and
the grander vision of a cosmopolitan European model cannot (or should not) be reduced to a simple parable of "foreign
surveillance capitalism" vs. "digital sovereignty for citizens." First, the invocation of the citizen as the rightful actor, particularly
at this moment when the status of EU citizenship is so fraught and anxious, seems rather tone-deaf. Second, the ugly
connotations of surveillance as representing all data sensing, modeling, and recursive feedback immediately forecloses all
positive uses or at least frames them with needless suspicious. Is climate change data and modeling really just "surveillance
science"? One worries that seeing the larger, difficult issues through this particular lens and establishing thereby a baseline
common-sense that the rightful EU stack is foremost about preventing the widespread use of big data, makes the development
of a 21st/22nd century model of a rational, equitable hemispherical stack on the European continent more difficult. We will
all be poorer if it sabotages its own growth or doesn't fully bloom for other reasons besides.

In the long run, AI may drive more volatility not just by the weaponization of algorithms in an explicitly military
context, but also over claims over the data that trains any robust AI system. Just as for Europe, the zero-sum "extraction"
conception of data is artificial, but that does not mean that fortification of physical access to the people, places and things
necessary to model and construct AI at the scale of hemispherical stacks will not be more strongly securitized. As AI are
trained only on the data they are given, and as the data they are given is that which is hemispherically accessible, then a
side-effect of AI geopolitics potentially is Galapagos effect whereby AI evolve in relation to geographically circumscribed
information ecologies. Here the potential for regional-scale Potemkin ontologies is carried with the momentum of
algorithmic arms races.
It was Putin who announced to an assembly of Russian schoolchildren that whoever controls AI will control the world.
Given the state of the Russian technology industries, I assume he meant this less as a Khrushchev kitchen debate threat than as
a forlorn plea for algorithmic multilateralism. The Russian stack may suggest troll farms, Facebook sorcery, and bot attacks on
Estonia, and this is not inaccurate of course, but the story is much deeper and perhaps stranger. While industrial automation
(of people as well as machines) was central to Soviet planning, "cybernetics" was also held in suspicion. The infamous essay
"Whom Does Cybernetics Serve?" published in 1953 in one of the country's leading philosophy journals, held it to be a
"misanthropic pseudo-theory" which "is one of those pseudosciences which are generated by contemporary imperialism and
are doomed to failure even before the downfall of imperialism." We see both the affirmative and negative tendencies today.
The USSR may well have had the first nationwide "internet" if it were allowed to develop. Proposed as early as 1962, the
National Automatized System of Administration of Economy (OGAS) may have made the later half of the 20th century look
rather different. Several factors prevented the plans of Anatoly Kitov and later Victor Glushkov and many others to come
to fruition, not least of which was lack of access to computing power. The military was jealous of information, computer
time, access and indeed power over who knows what about what and when, and it is generally fair to say that the formal
decentralization of power and decision is not a robust tradition of Russian politics. Today, however, there are many successful
Russian language consumer apps, including mail.ru, Yandex and VK, which are run with state oversight and involvement that
is closer to the China model, including replacement of company leadership with party loyalists. What EU activists call "data
sovereignty" as it regards government oversight or privately-held platforms means something different in Moscow. What
Russia calls "Information Oriented Society" would have as its goal, "99 percent" of internal Internet traffic going through
Russian-only networks by 2020. Toward that, the Kremlin recently kicked Linkedin out of the country for refusing to locate
servers in Russia which contain, of course, employment information about Russian users of the service, and because it is a
social network, information about those to whom they are connected anywhere else. Recently, the ambitious effort lead to a
keystone cybercops episode in which state IT regulators, Roskomnadzor, demanded that the messaging platform, Telegram
(founded in Russia mind you), hand over encryption keys to the FSB. As encryption is the point of using Telegram, and the
app is extremely popular in Russia, the exiled founder Pavel Durov refused. This lead to a stand-off, to Russia haphazardly
blocking upwards of 20 million IP address and temporarily closing off access to services the country needs to function, and
to Durov taunting regulators with shirtless tweets and protest campaigns. The provisional result was that VPN adoption grew
exponentially in Russia - everyone everywhere - making not only Telegram more difficult to "govern" but everything else
online too. Time will tell. This is certainly not nearly last chapter in the epic of the Russian stack.
Concerns that have engendered a populist techlash are quite real and are born of a long overdue recognition that
hemispherical stacks have absorbed some functions of modern states just as states are evolving into cloud platforms. But as for
any populism, many controversies are also born of fear and expressed in mythology. The implications for Stack geopolitics
are significant, to say the least, and the conversation to date has failed to directly address what this new normal could really
mean. We need to rethink some pretty basic presumptions. Instead of only reanimating available political maps directly
onto platforms, it would better to measure what has shifted and follow pragmatic if also radical alternatives. Instead of only
racing the shifts and encircling them with legal precedents, ask once more what might the boundaries of a public in a platform
polity and economy? What could they be? What should they be? The multipolar hemispherical model is both a deeply
conservative consolidation of traditional territorially-bound regional alliances and a potentially radical transnational platform
for a transformative dis-embedding of authorities and identities. It is both a step away from and a step toward worldwide
civilizational platforms. As such it does not bisect Right/Left politics neatly but draws oppositions along different axes. That
is, Trump and "Fuck Off Google" are not wrong to see cosmopolitan privately-held cloud platforms as their common enemy,
but nor does either have anything substantial to offer other than symbolic and/or parochial retrenchment. Among the difficult
questions to address directly and imaginatively is how to expand and improve the qualifications of citizen and obviously what
that status should mean in a world where the channels for planetary-scale social, economic and political communication are
available as widely as they are. Put directly, the right of mobility, generally and specifically, should supercede nativism because
the necessary composition of a common future is not actually so beholden to the precondition of linking common pasts.
In practical terms, the principle works against the emerging tendency of multiple regional jursisdictions demanding
worldwide applications of local norms and laws. While contrasting arguments are possible as to when local governance of
what is understood to be "local data" is advisable, the fabrication of local control over data that is produced by obviously
global flows and events can lead to absurd and even impossible demands on platforms. Once more, modeling data is not
zero-sum. "Extraction" is false metaphor. The same thing or event can be modeled by multiple governing projects at once:
Country A and country B can make maps of one another without anyone actually losing data to the other's gain. But the
leverage available, real or imagined, from obstructing access has incentivized an information protectionism that serves
some interests while undermining others. Even internally, the perceived benefits of preventing negative harm probably too
often outweighs the perceived benefits of realizing positive welfare: preventing data from being extracted by aliens too often
takes priority over the gains of more robust or complete datasets used for shared understanding of shared circumstances.
However, there is no simple less vs. more knob to turn that serves any nuanced policy purpose, nor does local control mean
less "colonialism" than planetary-scale governance, if for no other reason than all complex systems are always entangled at a
distance and scalar relations between them are non-linear.
Despite the integrity of mutual integration, planetarity cannot be imagined in opposition to plurality, especially as
the latter term is now over-associated with the local, the vernacular, and with unique experiences of historical past(s). That
is, while we may look back on separate pasts that may also set our relations, we will inhabit conjoined futures. That binding
include a universal history, but not one formulated by the local idioms of Europe, or China, or America, or Russia, nor by
a viewpoint collage of reified traditions and perspectives, but by the difficult coordination of a common planetary interior.
It is not that planetary-scale computation brought the disappearance of the outside; it helped reveal that there never was an
outside to begin with.
(The author of this article is a professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego)

Felix Guattari On Machines

The theme of the machine has concerned me for a long time, but perhaps less as a conceptual than an affective object. I
have always been fascinated by the machine, and even remember, as a student at the Sorbonne, giving a paper on Friedmann's
Le Travail en miettes, and the startled look on the face of my professor as I railed against Friedmann. At that time I was
scathingly opposed to the mechanicist visions of the machine, and thought instead that we could look forward to a kind of
safety in the machine. Since then, I have tried to nurture this machinic object, although I admit it is not something I control,
rather it is a kind of core to which I am repeatedly led back. The last time I returned to it was triggered by Pierre Levy's book,
Les Technologies de /'intelligence, in which I discovered a revival of the theme, but from within the author's own context
of computer technology. Indeed, I would insist on the right to a form of thought which proceeds by affective axes and by
affects, rather than a thought process which claims to give a scientific, axiomatic description. I would also like to emphasise
that this is a question of a totally open set of themes (thématique), and I prefer if it could remain so when thrown open to
discussion in order to see the responses that this type of thinking might provoke.
We are currently at an unavoidable crossroads, where the machine is treated as anathema, and where there prevails
the idea that technology is leading us to a situation of inhumanity and of rupture with any kind of ethical project. Moreover,
contemporary history actually reinforces this view of the machine as catastrophic, causing ecological damage and so on. We
might therefore be tempted to look backwards as a reaction to the machinic age, so as to begin again from who knows what
kind of primitive territoriality.
Pierre Levy uses an expression which I find very useful: 'trying to break down the ontological iron curtain between
being and things'. It seems to me that one way of breaking down that iron curtain - a preoccupation of all philosophy up
until Heidegger - is perhaps through the machinic interface, or machine conceived as interface, which Pierre Levy calls a
'hypertext'. Indeed, in order to overcome this fascination with technology and the deathly dimension it sometimes takes,
we have to re-apprehend and reconceptualise the machine in a different way, to begin from the being of the machine as
that which is at the crossroads, as much as being in its inertia, and its character of nothingness, as the subject, subjective
individuation or collective subjectivity. This theme can be seen in the history of literature and cinema, and in myth, where
it takes the form of a machine inhabited by a soul and possessing diabolical powers. I am not advocating that we go back to
an animistic way of thinking, but nevertheless, I would propose that we attempt to consider that in the machine, and at the
machinic interface, there exists something that would not quite be of the order of the soul, human or animal, anima, but of
the order of a proto-subjectivity. This means that there is a function of consistency in the machine, both a relationship to itself
and a relationship to alterity. It is along these two axes that I shall endeavour to proceed.
Let us begin at the most simple, and already more or less established idea: that the technical object cannot be limited
to its materiality. In techne, there are ontogenetic elements, elements of the plan, of construction, social relationships which
support these technologies, a stock of knowledge, economic relations and a whole series of interfaces onto which the technical
object attaches itself. From this, we can establish a link between a modern type of technological machine and the tools or the
actual pieces of the machine, and think of these as elements connected to one another. Ever since Leibnitz, the concept of an
articulated machine has been available, which one would qualify today as fractal, with other machines which are themselves
made up of infinite machinic elements. Thus the machine's environment forms part of machinic agencements.[1] The liminal
element of the entry into the machinic zone undergoes a kind of smoothing process, of the uniformisation of a material, like
steel which is treated, deterritorialised and made uniform in order to be moulded into machinic shapes.
The essence of the machine is linked to procedures which deterritorialise its elements, functions and relations of alterity.
Hence it will be necessary to speak of the ontogeny of the technical machine as that which makes it open itself to the exterior.
Alongside the ontogenetic element is another dimension which is phylogenetic. Technological machines are caught in
a 'phylum' which is preceded by some machines and succeeded by others.[2] These proceed by generations - like generations
of motor cars -with each generation opening the virtuality of other machines to come; and particular elements within these
machines also initiate a meeting point with all the machinic descendants of the future.
The two categories of ontogenesis and phylogenesis applied to the technological object allow us to make a link with
other machinic systems which are not themselves technological. In the history of philosophy, the problem of the machine
has generally been regarded as secondary to a more general system -that of techne and technique (la technique). I would
propose a reversal of this point of view, to the extent that the problem of technique would now only be a subsidiary part of
a much wider machine problematic. Since the 'machine' is opened out towards its machinic environment and maintains
all sorts of relationships with social constituents and individual subjectivities, the concept of technological machine should
therefore be broadened to that of machinic agencements. This category encompasses everything that develops as a machine
in its different registers and ontological supports. And here, rather than having an opposition between being and the machine,
or being and the subject, this new notion of the machine now involves being differentiating itself qualitatively and emerging
onto an ontological plurality, which is the very extension of the creativity of machinic vectors. Rather than having a being as a
common trait which would inhabit the whole of machinic, social, human and cosmic beings, we have, instead, a machine that
develops universes of reference - ontological heterogeneous universes, which are marked by historic turning points, a factor of
irreversibility and singularity.
Alongside the proto-machinic tool and technological machines there are also concepts of social machines. For example,
the city is a mega-machine; it functions like a machine. Linguistic theoreticians such as Chomsky have introduced the concept
of the abstract machine inhabiting linguistic or syntagmatic machines. Many biologists today refer to 'machines' in relation
to the living cell, to bodily organs, to individuation and even to the social body; here, too, the concept of the machine is
becoming established. In the domain of idealities -another universe of reference altogether - we are witnessing the broadening
of the concept of the machine - that of the musical machine for example, an idea now being developed by a number of
contemporary musicians. Logic machine, cosmic machine; some theoreticians are even referring to the earth's ecosystem as
a living being, or a machine in my own broad sense of the term. And looking back twenty years or so we might also evoke
the desiring machines which take up the theory of psychoanalytical part-objects-the objet a as desiring machine - but in the
form of elements which are not reducible to objects adjacent to the human body. It is, rather, a question of objects of desire,
machines of desire, objects-subjects of desire and vectors of partial subjectification, which open up far beyond the body and
familial relations, on to social and cosmic ensembles and all types of universes of reference.
In the field of biology, the concept of the machine has recently been developed by such theoreticians as Umberto
Maturana and Francisco Varella. Here the machine is defined by the ensemble of interrelations and its components,
independently of the components themselves. They provide a definition which is close to that of the abstract machine and
which describes the machine as autopoietic, self-productive and continually reproducing its component parts, rather like
a system without input nor output. Varella has actually developed this theory quite extensively. He opposes autopoiesis,
which he essentially attributes to living biological beings, to an allopoiesis in which the machine will search for its components
outside of itself. Within this concept of allopoiesis, Varella arranges social systems, technical machines and, finally, all
machinic systems which are not living systems. This concept of autopoiesis to me seems both interesting and fruitful.
However, I think that we should go beyond Varella position and establish a relation between allo- and autopoietic machines.
Since allopoietic machines are always to be found adjacent to autopoietic ones, we should therefore attempt to take into
account the agencements which make them live together.
Another idea, borrowed from Levy, is that machinic systems are interfaces which are all articulated to one another
- in what he calls 'hypertexts' - and which gradually extend throughout the whole of the 'mecanosphere'. I should like to
join Varella and Levy's views in order to consider the machine both in its autopoietic character and in all its allopoietic
developments, of interfaces, which grant it a kind of exterior politics and relations of alterity.
The machine has something more than structure. It is 'more' than structure in that it does not limit itself to a game of
interactions which develop in space and time between its component parts; rather, it possesses a core of consistency, insistence
and ontological affirmation, which is prior to the unfolding into energetico-spatio-temporal coordinates. This machinic core,
which in some respects can be qualified as proto-subjective and proto-biological, possesses characteristics Varella has not
completely taken into account. These are, on the one hand, elements of onto- or of phylogenesis, but also, on the other hand,
elements of finitude. The machine is a bearer of finitude, of something of the order of birth and death, and from this arises the
fascination that it can exert as an exploded, destroyed or imploded machine; a bearer of death around it but also of death to
The source (foyer) of autopoietic insistence and of the development of a heterogeneous alterity (which develops
registers of alterity) is difficult to describe or define since it is not an existing thing which then affirms itself as it unfolds its
energetico-spatio-temporal coordinates. How, then, do we broach such an object if not through myth or narrative - that is,
through non-scientific means? I think that this machinic core is always linked in some way to systems of meta-modelisation
which call for a development of theory. This theme is something I would rather not develop here as it will be taken up in a
subsequent work together with Gilles Deleuze. This core of autopoietic and interstratic[1] affirmation, of opening outwards,
involves an idea of complexity that is thought out in completely 'extra-ordinary' coordinates. The complexity of the machinic
object realises itself and becomes embodied in the different machinic systems referred to earlier. At the same time, it is always
haunted by the chaos that will separate it, dividing its elements into an altogether different kind of decomposition. It is as if
this autopoietic being, this machinic proto-subjectivity, were simultaneously in the register of complexity and in that of chaos.
I think that chaos should be considered not only as being 'chaotic' but also as being able, in its compositions of elements and
entities, to develop new formulas of extreme complexity. Let us take an aleatoric system such as a game in a casino. In roulette
the impression you have with each go of the game is that of a chaotic system formed of aleatoric compositions. But if you play
for long periods of time you will notice series, the statistical calculations of which allow you to locate complex compositions.
In such a case this aleatoric system is dependent on certain mathematical descriptions; the same applies to chaos. Chaos is
the bearer of dimensions of the greatest hyper-complexity. We all know the myth according to which, by picking letters at
random, we can find the formula of Mallarme's poetic works. Although finding this would of course take a very long time, it
can be said that Mallarme's work potentially inhabits this chaotic universe of multiple combinations of letters.
How can we make these two dimensions of complexity and chaos inhabit the same site? Simply by bearing in mind that
the entities inhabiting chaos are animated by an infinite speed. Thus they can compose the most diverse complexities but
can de-complexify themselves just as quickly. The idea of infinite speed 'also leads us to a notion of chaos which could be
the bearer of complexity. Proto-subjectivity can filter into these chaotic centres and at the same time be adjacent to a chaotic
dissociation with its own death and infinitely complex compositions. This is what I term a 'grasping chaotic' - a momentary
grasp of complexity that is inhabited by all kinds of potentialities.[2] Furthermore, I would term 'hyper-complexity' that
complexity which is taken over rather than truly dominated and which exists in a relationship of insistence and repetition.
In the structural theory of the signifier, the different components of a system can all be treated in terms of the economy
of the signifier. We can always find a system of quantity of information or a binary system which inhabits different,
heterogeneous systems. In the model I propose there can be no translation between the different levels of complexity, since
each one is the bearer of its own ontoiogical substratum.
Let us take as an example the definition of fantasy in Freud's theory of the drive. This consists of a discursive element,
which is the representational, fantastical and narrative element, as well as a non-discursive element - the affect. It is, moreover,
difficult to grasp how Freud managed to deal with this contradiction given that it was at the heart of his definition of the drive.
The structuralists have themselves practically disposed of the drive's affective dimension, and only deal with its discursive
elements; so the drive is treated here in terms of the economy of the signifier.
In the conception of the machine that I am evoking, I am not dissociating discursivity from this non-discursive foyer,
which is that of its autopoietic affirmation. The split in the category of the signifier is perfectly clear in the economy of the
image, of the imaginary or biological chains - domains to which the signifier remains foreign. It is thus that the economy of
the signifier in Lacan's work always develops in a linear and spatial dimension. We all know the expression 'A signifier is that
which represents the subject for another signifier'. The subject is therefore 'in a relationship'. A given signifying locus, S1, exists
in a relationship with another given signifying locus, S2, and the subject drifts in a sort of chasm between the two signifiers S1-
S2. Linearity inhabits all notions of subjectivity, and the spatial characteristic is to be found in all of Lacan's work of the mirror
stage, but also in his analysis of the ego which he developed in his later work. However, I consider that limiting ourselves
to this coordinate is precisely to lose the element of the machinic centre, of subjective autopoiesis and self-affirmation.
Whether located at the level of the complete individual or partial subjectivity, or even at the level of social subjectivity, this
element undergoes a pathic relationship by means of the affect. What is it, then, that makes us state phenomenologically that
something is living? It is precisely this relationship of affect. This is not a description, nor a kind of propositional analysis
resulting from a sense of hypotheses and deductions - i.e., it is a living being, therefore it is a machine; rather, an immediate,
pathic and non-discursive apprehension occurs of the machine's ontoiogical autocomposition relationship.
Natural codings develop in spatial categories which are different from those of the signifying register. They are familiar
with n-spatial dimensions - as occurs for example in crystallography. Coding cannot operate in an autonomy of its own;
biological codings instead develop in complex spatial systems. The double-helix system of DNA does this from four basic
radical chemicals and in three dimensions. In pre-signi-fying or symbolic semiologies, the lines of expression run parallel.
For example, we have lines of expression in cinema - the line of sound, the visual line, the line of colour - and there is no
question of syntax or a key which would make the relationship between these lines homogeneous. There only exists a parallel
relationship between them all. The same applies to all pre-signifying or symbolic semiologies. For example, in the rituals of
archaic societies we can find forms of expression which are provided either by language or a form of myth or ritual, or by spatial
arrangements such as geomancy or dance, or by markings on the body. These semiological lines have some kind of relationship
existing between them as they possess a machinic unity which is that of the social machine of ritual, but they are not completely
articulated to one another; they are, rather, arranged in parallel.
With signifying semiologies, however, there prevails a linearity which controls all lines of expression. This relationship
of linearity occurs in computing. A signifying line can work in order to take account of a verbal text, as much as an image or
spatial relation.There is a 'binarisation', which is a conversion in binary form of the totality of discursive systems. Yet, on the
other hand, the different universes of ontological and autopoietic machinic reference are totally neglected.
There undoubtedly exists an over-linearity (sur-linearite) of semiotic chains by a-signifying elements which no longer
articulate productive chains of signification with chains of a-signifying signs. For instance there is a pure composition of
a-signifying machines in scientific or musical fields. Another type of economy thus appears in relationships governing the
expressive components to which we can attribute over-linearity.
Through these hastily sketched examples, we can see that the relationship to space which these various systems of
semiological and semiotic codings possess is not at all homogeneous. These days we may think that computers know how to
realise these different components of coding and expression and give a generalised translation of them; but it is in fact nothing
like this. The different coding systems are always inhabited by foyers of affirmation and an autopoietic positionality of the
system of expression. Because of this, it always comes second to the non-discursive foyer of the ontological nucleus.
We should now discuss the ontological heterogeneity represented by universes of reference which are incarnated in
different systems of discursivity, and which to some extent are also dependent on them. How can we have access to these? We
find ourselves in a paradoxical situation, for we are thrown into discursive systems, relationships of time, space and energetic
exchange, and at the same time we have to deal with foyers of existential affirmation which are not themselves discursive.
What is also paradoxical is that we should be able to present these foyers existentially through discursive material, rather than
In the field of poetry, rhythm and elements of regularity, at the level of expression as well as in the content itself, will
develop a poetic universe. These are the keys to the existence of an ontological crossroads between poetry and music. In
the psychoanalytical field, objects, repetitive and thus discursive systems are the existential supports of centres of subjective
affirmation. In obsessional neurosis, for example, we come across an endlessly repetitive washing of hands which does not refer
to any signification of the type: 'what does it mean to wash one's hands? And what about germs?' Everything is co-present. The
individual recomposes him/herself in this way, carrying out this ritual. He/she reaffirms him/herself in a component of partial
subjectivity; to-feel-that-one-is-in-the-washing-of-one's-hands. But obsessional neurosis is perhaps not the simplest example.
Some types of behaviour have the same function, for example biting one's nails, or singing a tune in one's head when scared,
or repeating a sentence (as if there were someone there to hear) - all of these represent a means of a 'grasp' of non-discursive
relationships. This is what I would term an existential function.
This also appears in semiotic systems and linguists have described this function to a certain extent. I have in mind such
theoreticians as Austin, Ducrot and Benveniste who have emphasised the 'shifters' -those elements of language which exist
not to provide a meaning, but to mark the subject of the enunciation in the utterance. Lacan himself had also made use of
this performative function. In a way, it is through this type of operator that he constructed his theory of full speech and the
symbolic relationship.
We are confronted with an untenable paradox which we are nevertheless obliged to support - indeed, the whole world is
in the same situation. Every society has to take this gamble, particularly scientific and animist societies. It is from the elements
of discursivity that we must pose universes of reference, qualitative structures and ontological textures. We therefore have to
produce and develop incorporeal universes which, although they may be dated or marked with the name of their inventor,
are in fact universal. These universes could evoke Platonic ideas, yet they are inscribed in history; they are cuts, mutations,
which are marked by a factor of irreversibility and singularity.
Pierre Levy distinguishes between machines which come under the oral or written mode, and computing machines.
In the universe of the word-processing machine - which completely changes one's relationship to expression - he notes the
interfaces which compose and singularise this new universe of reference: writing, the alphabet, printing, computing, the
laser printer, Linotype, database, image bank, telecommunications... Thus we have a new machine. Today, children who are
learning language from a word-processor are no longer within the same types of universes of reference as before, neither from
a cognitive point of view (of how there may be another organisation of memory, or rather memories...), nor in the order of
affective dimensions and social or ethical relationships.
What does this kind of machinic delirium provide us with? Let us take an institutional object, for example an
establishment for psychotic patients. We could completely reify inter-subjective relationships by saying that the psychotic
patient is in search of care from individuals who have a specialised knowledge, who can dispense medicine, and provide
interpretations and behavioural indications to treat the psychosis. This is, however, a conception of subjectivity in which
each person is shut inside a monad and is then forced to construct means of 'communication'. This is the universe of
'communicational reference'. This viewpoint must be reversed in order for it not to be possible to begin from entities which
are closed off in relation to one another, as this implies modes of 'communication' and of 'transfer'. Instead, the transfer has to
come first; it must already be there. There will (or not) be a machine of subjectification according to whether there is a crossing
of different thresholds of ontological and subjective insistence. At that moment in the autopoietic relation, there exists an
immediate and pathic knowledge of the situation - 'something is happening'. When a love machine or fear machine is activated
this is not due to the effect of discursive, cognitive or deductive sentences. Rather, it occurs immediately. And this machine will
progressively develop different means of expression.
The clinic at La Borde is an establishment conceived (in principle) as a machine of subjectification which itself is
composed of n-sub-wholes of subjectification. From the moment the patient arrives at the clinic, these relationships of
subjectification have to function between patient and doctor. Further relationships will then be set up not only with patients
and their counsellors, but with animals and machines as well. These must all be capable of producing or being vectors of
care and of existential strength for the psychotics, who are going through a phase of ontological imbalance. Can one be
content with the passive statement: 'Everything is going well, we are not alone in a face-to-face situation with the patient,
there are other interrelations'; or can one work instead on the lines of machinic virtuality, the lines of machinic alterity borne
from different sub-wholes? If we consider for instance that the kitchen is an autopoietic foyer of subjectification, it becomes
important to be aware of its space, and its architectural dimensions, to be able to engender further exchange within this space
so that it does not become a little citadel shut in on itself. Today, ready-made meals are delivered by van to hospital kitchens;
therefore there is no machine of subjectification. A machine-kitchen, however, would not only involve a certain type of
space, but also a certain type of training and exchange for the people who work in it. Cooks would be able to come and go in
other service areas so that they could understand the positions of alterity that exist in other areas of work. This is, therefore,
a complex machine, a system of interfaces. And the same can be said for the other services in the hospital. Learning to drive,
for example, is a crucial moment for the psychotic, who may be totally incapable of having a conversation but is capable of
driving a car. What takes place is therefore a subjective composition according to the hold of consistency of these different
ensembles. While some of them may lose their consistency, other forms of consistency will appear. It is here that the general
loss of consistency one finds on entering into relationships of seriality of an ethological nature, which provoke the kinds of
conditions of inter-human savagery that exist in traditional hospitals, is now able to be posed as a problem.
The autopoietic and 'hypertextual' position of the machine thus possesses a pragmatic potential, which allows for a
creative standpoint of machinic composition, occurring in the face of the ontological iron curtain which separates the subject
on the one side from things on the other.
Note: This article is published in Complexity of JPVA, No 6, 1995, p. 8-12, which was edited by Andrew Benjamin.
The article was translated by Vivian Constantinopoulos.
This article is originally published in French in Chimeres, No 19, Spring 1993. We would like to thank the editors of
Chimeres for permission to publish A propos des machines in JPVA, the Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts.
The paper was originally given as a lecture in November 1990 at a conference entitled 'Cinema et Litterature: Le temps des
machines', organised by the Centre de recherche et d'action culturelle de Valence. Chimeres thanks Mme Frangoise Calvez
and Raymond Bellour for allowing the transcription of the recording.

(The author of this article is a French philosopher, psychoanalyst and social activist)

Mark B. N. Hansen Feed-Forward:Worldly Sensibility and Machinic Sensing

By twenty-first century media, I mean to designate less a set of objects or processes than a tendency: the tendency for
media to operate at microtemporal scales without any necessary - let alone any direct - connection to human sense perception
and conscious awareness. This tendency is in large part the result of the revolution in media instigated by digital computation:
today's microsensors and smart devices allow for an unprecedented degree of direct intervention into the sensible confound.
For the first time in history, media now typically affect the sensible confound independently of and prior to any more
delimited impact they many come to have on human cognitive and perceptual experience.
In this sense, twenty-first century media pose a challenge that is new. They challenge us to construct a relationship
with them. On this point, they differ markedly from earlier media. Unlike the various forms of recording media typical of
the nineteenth and twentieth century, where the coupling or synchronization of media system and human sense perception
formed something of a telos, if not indeed a constitutive presupposition, twenty-first century media not only resist any form
of direct synchronization but question the viability of a model of media premised on a simple and direct coupling of human
and media system. Faced with the environmental effects of today's media - effects that, by definition, occur outside our
awareness - we must work to expose the complex networks through which environmental media impact experience and to
construct relationships that afford some grasp of, if not indeed some distinct agency over, their operation.
Beyond Consciousness
In nineteenth - and twentieth- century media, recording operates, primarily though by no means exclusively, at the
level of experiential unities and in the service of individual and cultural memory; typical forms of recorded media include
individual photographic frames, still photographs, cinematic moving images, and continuous scanning of a video raster. In
today's media networks, by contrast, recording operates primarily at the level of sub-experiential and microtemporal unities
and in the service of future-directed, often non-deliberative (or better: not-traditionally-deliberative) action in the present;
typical forms include bits of computational data and fine-grained inscriptions of analog fluxes. Moreover, recording now
operates predominately in the service of communication between machines necessary for the operation of our smart phones
and other microcomputational devices.
If the interface with the human element remains in play - and I want to argue in the most forceful terms that it does -
it has lost its directness. Rather than being the "content" of media, as it once was, human experience must be composed of
molecular behavioral traces that record incremental dispositions rather than integral experience. In sum: what gets stored by
today's media are no longer human experiences themselves but bits of data that register molecular increments of behavior and
that do not in themselves amount to a full picture of integrated human "lived experience."
Faced with twenty-first century media, we can ask a question that is long overdue. Why should media operate in a way
that is exclusively targeted to consciousness? Because they address experience at sub-perceptual, sub-conscious levels, twentyfirst
century media provide the impetus for us to suspend the longstanding correlation of experience with (higher-order)
human experience and to focus instead on the heterogeneity and multi-scalar scope of experience as it operates all along
the continuum of causal efficacy from the most elementary quantum level all the way up to the most cosmic continuum.
Throughout this expansion, the very meaning of experience will necessarily be in play, for it can no longer simply be assumed
that we - that is, we formerly privileged human beings -determine the bounds of its scope. Today's ubiquitous computational
environments and bionic bodily supplementations operate more by fundamentally reconfiguring the very sensory field within
which our experience occurs than by offering new contents for our consciousness to process or new sensory affordances for
us to enframe through our embodiment.
If these media systems help us - embodied, minded, and enworlded macroscale beings that we are - to access and to act
on the microtemporality of experience, they do so precisely and only because they bypass consciousness and embodiment,
which is really to say, because they bypass the limitations of consciousness and embodiment.
Beneath Perception
Twenty-first century media are largely environmental in their scope, which means that they affect the materiality of
experience at a level more elemental than that of perception; more precisely, they impact experience by shaping the ongoing
worldly production of sensibility that in turn comprises the sensory confound from out of which perception proper can arise.
One of the crucial claims of my analysis concerns the displacement of perception in favor of sensation - or rather, of
what I shall call "worldly sensibility" - that results as a necessary experiential correlate of twenty-first century media. Wikipedia
defines perception as "the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting
sensory information." This definition perfectly captures the difference between perception and sensation as I understand it and
as it is important here: perception characterizes the operation of a system that is distinct from an environment and it involves
an awareness based on some activity performed by that system on the sensory information it gathers from the environment.
In this respect, we can say that perception operates at a higher level of organization than sensation, and that sensation is more
"atomic" than perception insofar as it involves specific sensory relations between a sensor and an environment prior to and to
some extent independently of their integration into the more unified operation of perception.
In light of this development, I shall be led to claim that what twenty-first century media mediate is sensibility itself, and
that this operation of mediation - in stark contrast to the mediation of our senses (McLuhan) or of our past experience (Stiegler)
- occurs largely outside the purview of perception. Rather than mediating our qualitative experience itself, twenty-first century
media mediate the sensory basis for such experience. This situation imposes a crucial critical limit on the operation of media
that we must treat with respect: twenty-first century media only impact higher-order forms of experience, like sense perception
or consciousness, indirectly or at a remove. Their more fundamental, immediate impact is on worldly sensibility itself.
A New Power of Disembodied Acting
A pharmacological structure - a double structure combining poison and antidote - appears to lie at the heart of
twenty-first century media: at the same time as they demote perceptual consciousness from its privileged position as arbiter
of experience, twenty-first century media furnish a means for humans to access the very experience that would appear
to have been lost in the wake of that demotion. They literally provide data about this now lost experience. And yet, this
pharmacological structure differs in an important respect from writing - from Plato onwards, the philosophical exemplar of
pharmacological media - and other previous technical media. For, whereas writing, standing in for technical media as such,
directly gives back what it takes away, exchanging a "natural" source of memory for an "artificial" one, twenty-first century
media involves an exchange of experiential modalities that is also an exchange of temporal scales of experience: what we lose
in the way of perceptual grasp of our environment, we regain through an expanded and micro-temporal, data-mediated
sensory contact with the world that, in itself, does not have a perceptual dimension and that does not need to develop one in
order to yield experience. The newly accessible sensory contact with the sensible world comprises an indirect recompense for
the waning of the powers and centrality of perception, where the term "indirect" is meant to signal that this recompense does
not so much restore a lost capability as develop a different one in its place. Rather than exteriorizing and forming a technical
surrogate for some already up-and-running human faculty, twenty-first century media directly impact worldly sensibility and
at the same time operate as a technical presentification of the actual causal efficacy of that sensibility. As such, they furnish a
means of access to the efficacy of sensibility that, crucially, is not a perceptual means of access. Twenty-first century media in
effect bypass the older mediation via embodiment - the gradual bodily assimilation of the preperceptual - in favor of a more
direct, in some sense radically disembodied, surrogacy.
In a fundamental break with the lineage of media prosthetics that runs from Plato via McLuhan to Derrida and Stiegler,
twenty-first century media directly mediate the causal infrastructure of worldly sensibility. Whatever impact it has on
human experience specifically is a part of this larger mediation: by mediating worldly sensibility, twenty-first century media
simultaneously modulate human sensibility, as it were, beneath the senses.
Acting on Data
What transpires in the wake of these shifts is a doubling or splitting of media]s operationality: on one hand, twenty-first
century media mediate the sensory continuum in which all experience, human included, occurs; on the other, twenty-first
century media function as media for humans - as media in its traditional sense - when and insofar as they presentify the data
of sensibility in ways that humans can perceive. I cannot emphasize enough the centrality of the temporal dimension of this
second, supplementary mediation and of the elements of experience it mediates. Indeed, one way to capture the singularity of
the pharmacological dimension of twenty-first century media would be to foreground the way in which they bypass the slow
time resolution of consciousness in order to maximize our material contact with and operational agency over the sensory
continuum. It is precisely because they exceed the temporal bounds of sense perception that twenty-first century media can
expand experience: for while perceptual consciousness can only experience microsensory sensibility once the latter bubbles
up into its operational window, the technical sensors now ubiquitous in our lived environments are able directly to capture
experiential events at the microtemporal level of their operationality and - independently of consciousnes's mediation -
"feed them forward" into (future or "just-to-come") consciousness in ways that can influence consciousness's own future
agency in the world. Otherwise put, while embodied consciousness can only wait for microsensory experience to become
embodied and to generate emergent effects of self-reference, the microtemporal data gathered from worldly sensibility makes
it possible to deliver this sensibility to consciousness artifactually, in its unreduced operationality and with a shorter delay than
the resolution time required for it to emerge through the "organic" channels that forge consciousness. In other words, the
direct gathering of data from behavior allows for action on that data, or action informed by that data, at an earlier moment
than any emergent effect possibly could: the direct gathering of data facilitates action in timeframes far more condensed that
those characteristic of the lived time of perceptual (and preperceptual) consciousness. With this possibility, the function
of consciousness is fundamentally repurposed into an agent of a larger design project: equipped with data about its own
constituting sensibility, consciousness can literally design the future of its own experience.
The Principle of Non-equal Deliberation Time
Our technoculture puts increasing demands on us to act in the absence of any prior awareness and without sufficient
time for conscious deliberation. If we generalize this principle, we can begin to see how the combination of specified
timeframes and massive capacities for data collection together underwrite a system in which we cannot but experience a
certain degree of cognitive opacity. Because it typically involves capitalist industries compelling consumer responses, I
shall describe the impact of this combination of temporal pressure and unequal resources via the "principle of non-equal
deliberation time"; this principle states that the capacity for - indeed, the luxury of – deliberation has come ever increasingly
to lie on the side of capitalist institutions, to the point perhaps of becoming its exclusive perogative. More precisely, this
principle of non-equal deliberation time designates the situation, typical of our contemporary world, in which the decisions
of individual cultural consumers can be manipulated - and in some sense effectively "pre-programmed" - as a result of the
"digital insight" into behavioral motivation that microcomputational sensing affords corporate interests. Culture industries
can bypass consciousness and go directly to behavioral, biometric, and environmental data. It is for this reason that they
are increasingly able to capture our "attention" without any awareness on our part: precisely because it places conscious
deliberation and response out of play, microtemporal behavioral data that evades the oversight of consciousness allows
today's culture industries to accomplish their goal of tightening the circuit between solicitation and response. And it is for the
very same reason - namely, that conscious deliberation is increasingly sidelined from the scene of cultural solicitation - that
the impact of twenty-first century media is and can only be felt indirectly and after-the-fact by higher-order modes of human
experience, and only then in large part because of feed-forward loops that literally mediate the data of causal efficacy (as
measured, calculated and analyzed by twenty-first century media) for future consciousness to factor into its activity-to-come.
Consciousness Always Comes Too Late
If we have any hope of intervening into this media-assisted, capitalist operationalization of our desire, we will have
to introduce new methods for developing "footing" within such instrumentalized circuits. The older methods central to
various programs in cultural studies -decoding and demystification, culture jamming and resignification, etc. - are, despite
their undeniable contributions, powerless in the face of the brutal functionalism of today's media saavy marketing firms and
data companies. They are powerless, that is, as material interventions into cultural production, for whatever deliberative
reappropriation of cultural processes and products such practices carry out necessarily happens after-the-fact and to-the-side
of the main impact of the cultural product and of the overwhelming resources that today's capitalist culture industries bring to
the task of "pre-anticipating" our responses.
This disjunction of reappropriation from impact is brought home by the marginalization of conscious deliberation as an
element of decision-making: to the extent that cultural reappropriation occurs as a deliberative decision to do something with
a given cultural product, it always occurs too late and, in a sense, simply misses the mark. With their sophisticated methods
for targeting the infrastructural elements that inform our responses, today's culture industries are increasingly able to cut our
conscious deliberation out of the loop.
The Fight to Emancipate the "Surplus of Sensibility"
There is, however, an important flipside to this loss of mastery. For the very same technologies that inform the
acceleration of culture and the capitalist conquest of deliberative time can be used to "technically-distribute" our own
cognitive operationality in ways that can expand our agency without requiring such expansion to be registered - operationally
or in realtime - by consciousness. The importance of this properly pharmacological dimension of contemporary
technoculture cannot be overemphasized: in their conquest of deliberative time, today's data-driven culture industries
develop research tools and techniques that can also be deployed in the development of delayed cognitive-perceptual systems
rooted in the power of data and the capacity for feeding it forward. If such technically-distributed systems afford us the means
to regain some agency over the operational moment of cultural impact, what I term the operational present of sensibility, this
agency comes at a certain cost: the pride of place formerly occupied by consciousness.
The inauguration of a post-phenomenological phase of technical distribution brings with it the potential for a
fundamental expansion of human agency over the sensory conditions of human experience. With the smart devices and
microsensors now populating our lifeworlds, we have an unprecedented capacity to access aspects of our experience -aspects
ranging from properly environmental elements to dimensions of bodily experience - that would otherwise remain beyond
the grasp of our modes of perceptual awareness. This potential has, however, remained largely untapped, or rather, has been
left to capitalist culture industries to exploit; with their generalized imperative to gather and analyze behavioral traces, that is,
data of sensibility, in order to create highly specific, closed-loop circuits between the past behavior of consumers and their
probable future activity, today's culture industries have largely co-opted the open potential of twenty-first century media.
This in itself makes twenty-first century media a site of political contestation. Against the sway of the contemporary
culture industries, we must struggle to preserve the open potentiality of twenty-first century media and to deploy them toward
ends that are not narrowly instrumental but that are "humanistic" in a broad and open sense - because they are generative of
a heightened intensity of human experience or some other enhancement of human life. We must, in other words, struggle
for the liberation of the "surplus of sensibility" - or, more precisely, for access to the inherently liberated and excessive surplus
of sensibility - that attaches to the production of new relationalities through data gathering and analysis. The target of such
struggle is the reduction that lies at the heart of this contemporary capitalist imperative: the reduction of potentiality to a fully
instrumentalized deployment in a narrow coupling with specific functional ends.
This dispersal of experience - and of the experiential present - calls into operation what I term the "feed-forward"
structure of experience. This feed-forward structure dictates that disparate elements of higher-order (human) experience -
each one of which is an experience in its own right - become unified for presentation to consciousness only through their
convergence around a just-to-come future moment. On the model of experience that correlates with twenty-first century
media - a model rooted in the sensory heterogenesis and plurality at the heart of experience - sensory life sheds its dependence
on presentation in sense perception and consciousness and becomes directly addressable and presentifiable by artifactual,
technical means. Accordingly, the "feed-forward" structure of contemporary experience comprises two distinct elements:
1) the causal and material autonomy of sensation, and indeed of distinct levels of sensibility, in relation to any higher-order
presentation; and 2) the redescription of sense perception and consciousness as constitutively after-the fact, and hence futural
or just-to-come, effects of this more primoridial, autonomous sensibility.
Feed-forward in the sense I am developing it here must be distinguished operationally from the cybernetic concept of
feedback, and also from the concept of feed-forward that is used in neuroscience (as a counterpart to feedback) to describe
the pathway of sensations downward from the brain to the sensory nerve endings. What is at stake in both these latter
conceptualizations (notwithstanding their differences) is an operation that occurs internally to a system and for the purpose
of maintaining system function. By contrast, what is at stake in the feed-forward structure at issue here is a radical introjection
of data of sensibility gathered and analyzed by a technical system (twenty-first century media) into a vastly different techno
system (supervisory consciousness) not for the purposes of the maintaining of this latter system's functioning, but
for the purposes of expanding its own access to and (potentially) its agency over the material elements of its own situation.
Homeostasis thus gives way to intensification, as compounding feed-forward loops begin to spiral outward in what can only
be described as an expanding resonance - but importantly, an expanding external resonance - between consciousness and its
total situation. This expanded resonance provides the basis for consciousness to design its own future against the co-optation
by today's data industries.
We increasingly experience media on a two-tiered platform - exemplified by the structure of Facebook - in which
perceptually-accessed media are doubled, expanded, and displaced by media operating in the deep background, beyond the
grasp of sense perception, conscious attention, and even affective attunement or dissonance. If our moment marks a certain
stage in the gradual and ongoing shift from human-addressed to environmental media, it is one that focalizes the productivity
of data as a source for sensibility, and in so doing, lays bare the positive side of the datification currently sweeping through the
cultural domain.… Every act of accessing the data of sensibility is itself a process that creates new sensibilities -sensibilities that
are, in turn, added into the extant data of sensibility. This process of "data propagation of sensibility" perfectly captures the
way that potentiality correlates with the superjective dimension of process: far from being an inert source for computation,
as it is often understood to be, data is quite literally teeming with potentiality. That is why data-mining and - analytics do not
simply calculate a preexistent space of possibilities, but literally create new relations and thus new information (new data) as a
result of their operation.
Mediating Worldly Sensibility
What we must grasp in our current moment is how the double data-structure of media - the fact that the act of accessing
worldly sensibility is itself a new sensible instantly and automatically added to the world - provides a concrete structure for the
data propagation of sensibility as potentiality. As such, this double data-structure helps to clarify the ontological and temporal
status of twenty-first century media, or more precisely, to flesh out precisely what is at stake in the question of access that, for
me, is the crucial operation of twenty-first century media. In the figure of "data-sensing" - the act of accessing sensibility that
is itself a new sensible - we encounter the perfect expression of the "indirection" of twenty-first century media: twenty-first
century media come to bear on human experience as the simple result of the activity of accessing worldly sensibility. And
they are, moreover, potential in their mode of being, or more precisely, in relation to any events that may be constructed out
of them: thus, the sheer activity of accessing worldly sensibility doesn't directly or necessarily wield any impact on any given
human experience, it simply furnishes an expanded sensibility, which is to say, a source of potentiality, that could lead to
concrete effects at the level of human experience.
By forging an indirect link between human modes of experience and the data of sensibility, the very act of accessing
this latter can be said to comprise the "content" of twenty-first century media: rather than introducing new prostheses for
human capacities, or registering, storing and transmitting experience beyond its lived parameters, twenty-first century media
are quite literally comprised of acts of mediating the domain of worldly sensibility that informs - though only indirectly and
at a remove - human modes of experience. And again, let me emphasize the independence of this mediation from those
modes: the processes of twenty-first century media aim not to translate sensibility into the framework of these human modes
of experience, but to introject into human experience data of sensibility that could never be lived by humans and that, in
some sense, remain marked by their radical exteriority. It is for this reason that I have sought to show precisely how twentyfirst
century media mark a shift from human-addressed to environmental media: without in any way simply abandoning the
operation of media in its more traditional forms (and indeed media continue to function as prostheses [McLuhan, Stiegler]
or as registration, storage and transmission systems [Kittler]), twenty-first century media - more exactly, the expanded access
to sensibility afforded by twenty-first century media - is currently in the process of gradually excavating the diffuse operation
of sensibility and emancipating its power (or causal efficacy) from the sensory, perceptual and cognitive acts which it has long
supported (and through which it has long been channeled). With twenty-first century media, we can address sensibility itself
independently of its correlation with human modes of experience, and it is this address itself, or rather the production of new
sensibilities it yields, that comprises the content - and the promise - of twenty-first century media.
(The author of this article is a professor of literature at Duke University)

Thomas Lamarre As We May Think,Ecologically

In 1945, Vannevar Bush boldly announced a new situation for knowledge, which had emerged through "a war in which
all have had part."[1] At the end of the Second World War and the start of the atomic age, Bush had served as the Director
of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, coordinating the war efforts of six thousand scientists. His 1945 essay
has been widely heralded, especially by the pioneers of hypertext, as the beginning of computer-supported-cooperative work
of interface theory - condensed into his proposal for a device called the memex to help researchers search, record, analyze,
and communicate information. The prophetic dimension of Bush's essay As We May Think appeared especially evident in
1995, fifty years after World War II, when tools of access called for in Bush's essay seemed to have arrived, with the Internet
and World Wide Web. Indeed, the inventor of the World Wide Web (WWW), Tim Berners-Lee, characterized his vision
of a sea of interactive shared knowledge, as one in which computers are memexes whose knowledge base exists in cyberspace
rather than microfilm.[2]In contrast, the transformation in the situation for knowledge announced by Bush has received less
Above all, Bush declares, the war effort spurred the breakdown of disciplinary enclosures, as scientists were incited to
bury their professional competition to enter into effective partnership, to embrace a common cause. In other words, the
state of emergency called World War II apparently had overcome precisely the impasse of modern knowledge so carefully
excavated and laid bare by Michel Foucault in The Order of Things. Recall how, across hundreds of pages, Foucault
meticulously tracks "classical" forms of knowledges - of life, of language, of labor - to delineate and understand the entirely
different claims posed within modern knowledge formations, also known as "human sciences." Classical knowledge
in Foucault's account is a matter of formulating a universal grid of knowledge, exemplified in the table. It insists on a
transcendent position over and above the table, which is associated, not incidentally, with the West. It is through a crisis
in this universal grid of Western knowledge that modern formations styled as human sciences or humanities emerge: "the
table, ceasing to be the ground of all possible orders, the matrix of all relations, the form in accordance with which all beings
are distributed in their singular individuality, forms no more than a thin surface film for knowledge… The visible order,
with its permanent grid of distinctions, is now only a superficial glitter above an abyss."[3]Thus, as its transcendent God-like
viewpoint topples, the space of Western knowledge dissolves. A dark abyss opens beneath the once universal order. Modern
knowledge, then, must grapple with the abyss, with the impossibility of universal knowledge, but how?
Foucault's account evokes one of the cherished questions of modern philosophy, associated with the death of God
and the rise of "Man": how to ground knowledge when there is no longer any recourse to a transcendent point of view? In
the history of philosophy, it is the transcendental that promises to resolve the crisis, particularly in its Kantian variety. But
Foucault does not accept this philosophical solution as such. He radically historicizes it. He tracks broader transformations in
knowledge formations to show how modern disciplines resituate the abyss within the human being or what Foucault glosses
"man," surely aware of the gendered dimension of the received terminology: "This obscure space so readily interpreted as an
abyssal region in man's nature, or as a uniquely impregnable fortress in his history, is linked to him in an entirely different
way; it is both exterior to him and indispensable to him: in one sense, the shadow cast by man as he emerged in the field of
knowledge; in another, the blind stain by which it is possible to know him."[1]In other words, in Foucault's account, the
transcendental solution associated with the Kantian revolution in philosophy is, in fact, part of a larger situation of knowledge
that will ground its claims through techniques of disciplinization of human beings. The result is the emergence of modern
disciplines, such as political economy, linguistics, and biology, each of which will position the human as the subject and object
of knowledge, using the abyss-in-human-nature as a gravitational center around which scholarly inquiry will orbit, falling
toward and fleeing from its irresistible pull.
Vannevar Bush, needless to say, does not show much interest in in philosophical or historical questions about being
or existence. Yet his line of inquiry is legible alongside Foucault's. For Bush, too, an abyss opens in modern knowledge.
It is related to specialization. Usually, accounts of Bush stress his concerns vis-à-vis information overload, the fact that
there is too much knowledge for anyone to master it. Bush's references of information overload are just a way of indicating,
in an entirely unambiguous manner, that the transcendent position of classical or universal knowledge, with its pretense at
omniscience and mastery, is no longer possible. Information overload means that knowledge is divided into specializations,
and thus an abyss has opened in knowledge, an abyss between disciplines and field, between knowledge formations. To
advance, each discipline remains in its own orbit, in its familiar domain. In this respect, Bush is addressing what Foucault
will later style as disciplinary knowledge or disciplization, which entails the social production of enclosures. Gilles Deleuze
provides a succinct gloss on Foucault's argument: "Foucault located the disciplinary societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries; they reach their height at the outset of the twentieth. They initiate the organization of vast spaces of enclosure. The
individual never ceases passing from one closed environment to another, each having its own laws: first the family; then the
school ('you are no longer in your family'); then the barracks ('you are no longer at school'); then the factory; from time to
time the hospital; possibly the prison, the preeminent instance of the enclosed environment."[2]Each closed environment has
its disciplinary knowledge, its practices and techniques.
The mid-century war machine scrambled all that, Bush notes. Suddenly, scientists were not confined to enclosed
specializations within schools, university labs, and industrial labs. Those sites had become linked to militarized factories,
intelligence gathering, military headquarters, pre-emptive strikes and emergency planning. The school, the barrack, the
factory, and possibly the prison - these precisely closed environments were now in something like a network situation.
The postwar dilemma, then, as Bush duly notes, is that of sustaining this network effect while also allowing for
specializations: "…specialization becomes increasingly necessary for progress, and the effort to bridge between disciplines
is correspondingly superficial."[3]Needless to say, Bush poses the problem and its solution in entirely technological terms.
He "describes, among other things, a device, or rather system of devices, that could be used to help researchers search,
record, analyze, and communicate information."[1] This system of devices, dubbed the memex, was intended to change the
nature of intellectual work radically. His emphasis on a technological problem with a technological solution might tempt
us to conclude, in a Heideggerian fashion, that his is "merely technological behavior." After all, Bush envisions a problem
created by technology (how we currently record, transmit, and access disciplinary knowledge), which is to be solved by new
technologies of access (such as the memex). Yet such a reading avoids some of the challenges raised by Bush's account, which
may be elucidated by reference to Foucault.
In effect, Bush detects a radical resituating of the modern abyss of knowledge. Looking at the problem of knowledge
in the mid-20th century, at a time when disciplinary enclosures had reached their height, Bush could see how the abyss
"within" each specialization (what Foucault elsewhere dubs the "empirco-transcendental doublet"[2]) had mutated into an
abyss between disciplines, fields, specializations. Put another way, for Bush, the problem of knowledge had become one of
lateral connections. The lateral problem is fundamentally different from the horizontal problem that characterizes the classical
knowledge of 18th century - what Foucault calls "horizontal deployments," such as the table and the grid. Information
overload has made such horizontal deployments of knowledge inadequate to the present situation. The lateral problem
of knowledge also differs from the modern disciplinary knowledge of the 19th and early 20th centuries, which Foucault
characterizes in terms of "obscure verticality."[3]The new lateral knowledge is not concerned with constituting itself in depth
vertically (and in fact is not interested in the obscurity lying in depths). Nor is it interested in positing a universal position
from which all things would be visible and knowable, horizontally. Everything is to advance through lateral connections,
Horizontal deployments do not disappear; the format of the table, for instance, remains salient in the presentation
of databases on the World Wide Web. Likewise, obscure verticality persists in a variety of guises, yet manifests a strange
indifference to scale, appearing in protocols and algorithms, in darknets and overlay networks, in formations of anonymity.
What courses between or across these horizontal deployments and vertical depths - and effectively cut up and layers the
horizontal while forcing the vertical continually to the surface - are the lateral connections that Bush imagined on the model
of the memex, which afforded the metamodel for hypertext and hyperlinks. What kind of knowledge is this?
Bush does not fail to provide a rousing conclusion to his brief essay, which speaks of the elevation of man through an
overcoming of the limitations of his memory. For a moment, it seems as if Bush ultimately envisioned (or had fallen into the
cliché of) a transcendent position, despite his forays into laterality. But then he adds, "His excursions may be more enjoyable
if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with the
assurance that he can find them again if they prove important."[4]Here, knowledge seems to drop blissfully into obscure
depths, yet those depths are sufficiently technologized to serve as a kind of standing reserve, remaining forever at hand, to
evoke Heidegger's turn of phrase. Ultimately, then, depths rise to the surface, and horizons become literally complicated,
folded one into another. Suddenly, we are at a loss. How to model this kind of knowledge?
Bush first evokes the human construction of a "well-supplied house" and then the human construction of mass warfare
and cruel weapons. The model of the house, which implies closed environments and by extension disciplinary knowledge,
will not do. Nor will the model of modern warfare, which is horizontal deployment pushed to its logical conclusion under
conditions of impossibility. Bush thus ends with images of encompassing and growing, and of life. Out of the depths and
across the horizons come echoes of an ecological model of knowledge - instead of a pre-existing unity, there is a processual
encompassing, a whole emerging or growing from interactions and lateral connections. These reverberations of an ecological
understanding, resonant with biological or life sciences, would become increasingly amplified in later accounts of the World
Wide Web and the Internet that drew inspiration from Bush's As We May Think. Indeed, a record of a symposium held fifty
years later to commemorate Bush's essay, gathering such luminaries as Douglas Engelbart and Tim Berners-Lee, notes that
biological metaphors dominated the days of discussion. [1]
These echoes of an ecological understanding are all the more interesting in light of the fact that Bush has sidelined
biology from the outset. At the start of his essay, he remarks that, "for the biologists, and particularly the medical scientists,…
their war work has hardly required them to leave the old paths. Many have been able to carry on their wartime research in
their familiar peacetime laboratories."[2]In other words, what we today think of life sciences remained within their closed
and domesticated environments. In contrast, the physicists, and Bush is surely thinking of nuclear physicists, were forced
out of their domestic enclosures. Note, however, that here, as throughout the essay, Bush's preferred model is the path, the
track, the trail. Just as he does not embrace warfare (a war of all against all, in his presentation), so he does not embrace the
wilds. He moves toward an ecological understanding that is based neither on the domestic nor the wilds. What is bracketed
through the bracketing of the life sciences is the very distinction between wild and domestic, and with it a strong distinction
between human and animal, culture and nature. Bush's model of the path implies a fundamentally physical ecology, a sort
of eco-physics. Needless to say, such a gesture is a wager or gambit; something is at stake, or at risk: life, or more precisely,
human life. Simply put, with the threat of full-scale nuclear war, a threat first felt keenly in 1945, comes the possibility of
human extinction: while the biosphere would be severely damaged and altered by nuclear war, humans faced almost certain
extinction. If Bush uses the term "race experience" at the end of his essay, it is to highlight the plight of the human race.
Bush's emphasis on the generation of tracks, trails, and pathways, implies an activation of another potentiality within
humankind, a path-making ability. His account thus contrasts sharply with other accounts of humans' sciences and
technologies, which usually stress human reason, toolmaking, or language. Instead of sciences (reason) or technologies
(toolmaking), Bush's conceptualization, like the memex device (or set of devices), enables path-making. The memex and
its avatar, the hyperlink, may be characterized as path-making machines, in which the process of making lateral connections
takes ontological priority over sciences (reasoning) and technologies (toolmaking). Such an emphasis shows some affinity
with conceptualizations of Homo ludens or Homo narrans: precisely because Bush wishes to distinguish path-making from
weapon-making and war-making, his activation of the human path-making does not present the same degree of resistance
to playing and storytelling as characterizations of humankind in terms of toolmaking (technology) or reason (science)
tend to present. Still, instead of folding Bush's conceptualization into others, let's stick with its specificity. Path-making is of
interest precisely because it implies potential connections to toolmaking, reasoning, playing, and storytelling, and yet it is not
reducible to any of these modalities. It has the potential to be conceptually vaster, deeper, and higher.
Bush provides this example: "The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow
and arrow.... Thus he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it
into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item..... thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of
materials available to him."
In this passage, the memex, which functions as an information retrieval device, also allows its user to make paths, to
build trails. Bush does not present trail-building as primarily cognitive, as a matter of reasoning. On the contrary, in keeping
with his comments elsewhere, he considers the mind to work primarily through associations. As such, although Bush does
not show any interest in non-human animals, he presents us with a paradigm inclusive of non-human animals. Other animals
also make trails, and as Uexküll so eloquently demonstrated years ago, they construct their environments or Umwelten
through association, building "worlds" of signs around their interests. Equally striking is how Bush's example of the bow
and arrow, in this context, loses its associations with warfare. While it is possible to imagine someone search for information
on the bow and arrow into order to wage war or to understand the history of warfare, here the set of associations make the
search for bow and arrow feel closer to the environment of the hunter-gather. The human interest here consists of a hunt or
search that evokes processes of provisioning, of hunting for or gathering food... for thought. Presumably, as with the dances
of bees, the amplification of these pathways will depend on other factors - such as the time of day, how much honey has been
gathered, sources of water, temperature. Bush's notion of the trail or path shows affinity with what Deleuze and Guattari call
ritornello or refrain. It is how animals, both human and non-human, construct territories. Bush's conceptualization of trailbuilding
here is uncannily close to zoosemiosis and even physiosemiosis. His intermittant references to an augumentation of
our senses add weight to such an interpretation: the process of heightening and intensifying the human sensorium opens it to
a range of perceptual registers associated with non-human animals.
One of his more provocative and often cited remarks makes sense in such terms. Near the end of the essay, he asks,
"Must we always transform to mechanical movements in order to proceed from one electrical phenomenon to another?"
Bush is addressing the process of transformating electromagnetic vibrations in our environment into mechnical vibrations
within media devices for recording and transmitting, which mechanical vibrations are then transformed back into electrical
form for the brain via the senses. His remarks are frequently construed prophetically, as if Bush had foreseen the need for
electrical implants to replace mechanical interfaces with computers - the ability to act on the media environment directly
with our minds. This is the toolmaker's reading - a technological problem with a technological solution. The pathmaker will
attend to the associations. Following this remark, Bush closes the essay with the passages discussed above wherein he strives to
situate this new kind of knowledge between the domestic and the wild, and in lateral associative terms radically different from
horizontal deployments and vertical depths.
Needless to say, Bush's essay is not usually read in this way, and arguably the essay has inspired important lineages of
reasoning and toolmaking. I should also make note of a certain risk in reading As We May Think ecologically - the risk of
human exceptionalism, here in the form of species solipsism, what Bush calls "race experience." Eisenstein's delineation of the
three great dangers to humankind comes to mind: the atomic bomb, the information bomb, and the population bomb. [1]
The information bomb may be as deadly to the planet as the atomic bomb. Particularly salient in Bush's account, however, is
his insistence on wisdom, which is directed toward defusing both the atomic bomb and the information bomb. It is in the spirit
of Bush's call for wisdom that I return to the initial question about this new situation for knowledge and thus for power. How
are we to understand the emergence of lateral knowledge as distinguished from the transcendent omniscient perspective of the
horizontal universal grid and the gravity well of transcendental-empirical doublet called Man?
Habits of thought tend to encourage a simplistic sequence of epochs, to wit: disciplinary formations replace sovereign
knowledge, only to be ousted in turn by biopower or societies of control. Indeed it is now almost a rote gesture to characterize
information networks by reference to Foucault's discussion of biopower or Deleuze's account of control societies - as if prior
formations had been neatly swept away. Such a gesture presupposes, however, a logic of historical rupture that is entirely at
odds with Foucault and Deleuze. Foucault's account of the historical negotiations between sovereign power and disciplinary
power is instructive here. He attends to how the sovereign power invested in the family gradually undergoes disciplinarization,
while the clinic, the preeminent site of disciplinary formation, becomes familialized. The sovereign power implicit in the Godlike
transcendent position assumed with the classical formation of knowledge was invested not only in monarchs or sovereigns
but also in families (especially evident in naming and the order of inheritance). Although as Deleuze notes disciplinary power
results in a situation in which you move from one closed environment to another (family, school, army, factory), one closed
enviroment remains heterogeneous, because still invested with sovereign power - the family. Looking at how "disciplinary
techniques are transplanted into the family," Foucault remarks, "And at that point, the family, while retaining the specific
heterogeneity of sovereign power, begins to function like a little school: the strange category of student parents appears, home
duties begin to appear, the control of school discipline by the family; the family becomes a micro-clinic which controls the
normality or abnormality of the body, of the soul..."[1]Foucault calls such a formation psychiatric power.
In a similar way, when Deleuze describes the break with disciplinary formations after the Second World War, he
declares, "In disciplinary societies you were always starting all over again (as you went from school to barracks, from barracks
to factory), while in control societies you never finish anything-business, training, and military service being coexisting
metastable states of a single modulation, a sort of universal transmutation." [2] The appeal of these two concepts - modulation
and universal transmutation - for understanding the formations anticipated by Bush, namely, the World Wide Web and the
Internet, is clear. Knowledge generated through lateral connections implies the dephasing of a metastable state, the emergence
of a trail or path that existed only in potentiality within the information-saturated sea of information. Pathmaking never
ends; hunting and provisioning are never over and done. Classical knowledge posited a universal point of view on the grid,
while disciplinary power buried the universal within human nature, spurring efforts to work on human nature, in a long-term
manner across various sites. In contrast to both formations, Deleuze suggests, control makes transmutation or modulation
universal - it "is short-term and rapidly shifting, but at the same time, continuous and unbounded, whereas discipline was
long-term, infinite, and discontinuous." [3]
Because Deleuze's account establishes such a sharp contrast between discipline and control, it gives the impression
of formulating a historical rupture between epochs. But nothing could be farther from Deleuze's manner of thinking, or
Foucault's, for that matter. Readers of Deleuze's essay too often ignore his references to the "return" of sovereign power, as
when he remarks: "It may be that older methods, borrowed from the former societies of sovereignty, will return to the fore,
but with the necessary modifications." [4] Deleuze paves the way for a reconsideration of the relation between control and
sovereign power. The family today remains heterogeneous, both to the closed environments of discipline, and the modulatory
transmutations of control. As such, control becomes familialized, and the family turns into a control complex. Instead of
functioning as a little school, the household is a site of modulation and transmutation - the statistically favored place where
your personal computer or smart phone recharges, where you fashion and refashion yourself and your data. The household
complex, however, under the pressures of such modulation, becomes mobile. Maybe home is wherever your smart phone
is. This is what Deleuze envisioned as "the progressive and dispersed installation of a new system of domination." Sovereign
power retains its tendency for centralization yet diffuses through networks. Trump's tweets are a prime example. Put another
way, the horizontal deployments associated with sovereign power and classical knowledge begin to step in to place relative
limits on modulation, and domination appears to function in an almost arbitrary manner.
But what happens to disciplinary formations, to their obscure verticality?
Here, too, reference to Foucault and Deleuze makes Bush's essay legible in a new way. Fifty years after As We May
Think, some of those who had drawn inspiration from Bush, notably Douglas Engelbart and his colleagues, complained
that he had placed too great an emphasis on the individual: groups should be seeking paths, building trails. While it is true
that Bush speaks in terms of an individual making paths, it is also true that the path, by its very nature, generates a collective.
Even when you are alone in the wilderness hiking, if you are on path, you are connected to other people. Path-making
thus introduces a paradigm in which the collective is not imagined simply in terms of a group of individuals; individual and
collective emerge together. The collective is transindividual. This is where disciplinary power comes into play. Bush is clearly
resistant to the closed environments associated with disciplines and specializations, and yet, if specializations continue to
play a role in his account, it is because they generate not only data (or information construed as data) but also interstices.
They generate the abyss, the gravity of human nature receding into and rising out of the depths, which, under conditions of
control-like modulation, may be shunted into and harnessed for the production of dark interstices. The jewels of Indra's web
do not shine without these darkling intervals. But these intervals are no longer those of human nature. The ecological turn in
Bush points toward non-human natures, past the associative thinking of non-human animals into the realm of eco-physics
and physicosemiosis, which would not limit algorithms, protocols, or the computational to mathematical rationality. Bush
thus forces us to inquire into the ways in which techniques of sovereignty and disciplinary procedures will play out socially in
an era of modulation of humans with non-humans.
(The author of this article is a member of the faculty of East Asian Studies and Communications Studies at McGill University
in Montreal)

David Wills The Dorsal Turn

The arguments mobilized here, indeed, that mobilize themselves here, do so in the service of what might be called a
"technological turn." I employ the contrived reflexivity of the syntagm "mobilize themselves" to emphasize the ineluctable
efect of a certain mechanicity or automaticity. What mobilizes itself in the technological turn is a function of something that
cannot but occur, has already occurred, occurs automatically, is itself already in the service of a machine. The technological
turn describes the turn into a technology that was always there. The technological turn, therefore, cannot but occur. And
cannot but occur as technological, for I will argue that the turn itself, the notion of the turn, implies a type of technologization.
It is in order to explain something beyond the apparent syllogistic tautology of all that that I develop what follows.
For reasons that should become apparent in the analyses presented here―both their ethico-political and rhetoricosexual
emphases, as well as the set of permutations of the same-I shall presume in the first instance to deal with a turn
that takes place with respect to the human as exemplar of the animate, to deal with a someone who turns. What turns will
be presumed to be something human, some human thing, and the argument will be that in turning it turns into something
technological, some technological thing. Therefore the turn is first of all an inflection, a bending, the movement of a limb
that, as the Latin teaches us, is the sense of articulation. Within that logic, there is technology as soon as there are limbs, as
soon as there is bending of those limbs, as soon as there is any articulation at all. As soon as there is articulation, the human
has rounded the technological bend, the technological turn has occurred, and there is no more simple human. Which, for
all intents and purposes, means there never was any simple human. I intend in the second instance that the technological
turn, as inflection or articulation, be understood to begin well before the emergence of a limb. Although it is the limb that
will determine the prospect of a relation to a tool, to what we call artifice in general, and so inaugurate and underwrite a
conception of a human or an animate that becomes technologized by entering into a prosthetic articulation with whatever
it fashions outside its own body, one might as well argue that the animate first articulates and so becomes technological in
the self-division of a cell, in the self-generation of an amoeba. Indeed, to the extent that the model of technology imposing
its epistemological preeminence in our times is less the mechanical and increasingly the biotechnological, we should think
technology beyond the confines of a traditional concept of a human-mechanical relation, as developmentally upstream from
the articulation of a limb. We should think of a technology that grows, and of the bios in general as following the technological
turn, as bending outside itself deep within itself.
For now, still figuring things according to the model of the human animal, of human animal articulation, as the
articulation of limbs of a human biped, the turn would be the deviation that occurs–naturally, as it were–within the
seemingly automatic advance of ambulation or locomotion. It turns as it walks. Technology as mechanicity is located–
not for the first time but in a particularly explicit way, that is to say, as fundamental relation to the earth as exteriority–in
the step. In walking, one, the human, any given biped, is with each step correcting its bearing, limping from one foot to the
other, realigning its center of gravity, compensating for the disequilibrium of each movement, as it were turning one way
then the other in order to advance. The particular importance of the privilege I am giving to the turn resides, therefore, in
its sense of a departure that is also a detour, a deviation, a divergence into difference. We will imagine the human turning as
it walks, deviating from its forward path in order, precisely, to move forward, advancing necessarily askew. To repeat: the
turn is the deviation from itself by means of which the human, in being or "moving" simply human, is understood to become
technological. And such a turn begins as soon as there is understood to be any human. The human is, from the point of view
of this turn, understood to become technological as soon as it becomes human, to be always already turning that way. For
reasons that I will progressively enumerate and return to throughout the book, the "that way" of the turn will be interpreted, or
work itself out, as a turning back, a turning to the back. Even if in turning one (the human) deviates from itself in the simplest
or most minimal fashion, turns just a little to the left or right–say to correct its bearing–it turns, for all intents and purposes,
toward the back. For my purposes and according to my interpretation, every deviation is a form of retroversion. This means
that every turn is a type of turning around, movement toward the back, toward what is behind; in turning however gently to
the right or to the left, indeed up or down, one is on the way toward the back. Any bending is a type of falling, or folding
back, upon itself, with respect to itself. Any departure, however slight, from a pure and strict (and necessarily impossible to
define) forward linearity makes reference to what is behind, raises that question, infects as it were that strict forward linearity
of movement with a decelerating pull from behind and so implies or calls for a thinking of what is behind, a thinking of the
back. Hence, as my title suggests, the turn I will deal with is a type of turning around or turning back, a turning from the back
or from behind, a dorsal turn, a turning to or into dorsality. Dorsality will be a name for that which, from behind, from or in
the back of the human, turns (it) into something technological, some technological thing.
In the first place, interpreting the technological turn in terms of the back, as dorsal, serves to emphasize the originary
status of that turn: the human, in moving forward, in order to move forward, turns back to, and turns behind to, acknowledge
the technological origin I have just been referring to. At a moment in which the human appears to be moving inexorably
forward toward a biotechnological future, it is strategically important to recognize–to be cognizant in return of–the fact
of a relation between bios and tekhne so complex and so historic that any presumption of the priority of one over the other
can be sustained only by means of an appeal to a metaphysics of creation. I say "a metaphysics of creation" rather than a myth
or even the concept of creation, which, by definition, cannot avoid the sense of artifice. Whereas creation is obviously
artifice, a metaphysics of creation presumes a creation devoid of such contrivance and presumes to resolve the paradox
of a divine and "natural" tekhne that would have preceded the bios. However, it is likely that rationalist or noncreationist
descriptions of the evolutionary process are having unconscious recourse to another side of the same presumption whenever
they privilege the organic to the extent of failing to acknowledge the becoming-technological of biological self-organization
or self-programmation, whenever they ignore the originary mechanics at work in the evolution of the species. This is not to
replace the organic with the mechanical but to argue against any rigorous purity of either. Making the case for an originary
biotechnology would be an urgent imperative, prerequisite to a reconfiguration of the current terms of debate over the
integrity of the human that so often has us paralyzed with anxiety at the prospect of our increasingly bioengineered future.
Appeals to the integrity of the human, and the concomitant anxiety over presumed incursions of the machine within the
human, are hardly limited to simplistic creationisms but can be found underpinning commonplace as well as philosophical
conceptions of, to begin with, life and death, and they consistently provide the bases for ethical thinking in general. Indeed,
how could we begin to conceive of an ethics of the mechanical? Ethical behavior, political "choice," free will, agency, indeed,
the human itself are for us, by definition, representative of what breaks with mechanicity, automatism, or programmation.
Yet, according to my argument, the human breaks, or turns at the same time, into mechanicity, into automatism and
programmation. Hence I am not suggesting that we wholeheartedly endorse every biotechnological possibility, or that we stop
resisting the presumptive assurance of a science that conceives of itself necessarily as human progress, especially when that
science is increasingly employed in the service of an increasingly militarized commerce, or that we fail to engage in juridical
attempts to wrestle with categories that are no longer adequate to the questions raised by certain conceptual quandaries,
beginning with the issues of life and death or, for example, euthanasia, cloning, biodiversity, et cetera, but rather that we
attempt to think it otherwise, that we investigate what shifts of terrain might occur once we take the technological turn back to
a place behind where we traditionally presume it to have taken place, turning back around behind us from the start.
It also follows from what I have just outlined that the dorsal turn operates as a form, or forms, of resistance–what I
shall later analyze as "dissidence"–resistance precisely to a technology that defines itself as straight-forward, as straight and
forward, straight-ahead linear advance, the totally concentrated confidence and pure technological fiat of an unwavering
lift-off propelled by naked combustible force. We should reserve the right to hold back, not to presume that every technology
is an advance. But we should at the same time remember the converse conservatism of the champions of unbridled progress,
since their ideal and unstoppable technological force is presumed to be mustered and mastered by the human, to operate in
the service of human will. That form of technicism or technologism would necessarily be the most powerful defender of the
faith of the pretechnological integral human that discovers and controls everything it produces. Against it, we should maintain
the dorsal chance, the dorsal as the chance of what cannot be foreseen, the surprise or accident that appears, at least, to come
from behind, from out of range or outside the field of vision, challenging that technocratic faith or confidence and calling
into question its control.
What comes from behind comes from beyond the simple perspective of the human and hence, from the point of view
of perspective and of vision in general, it comes from another point of view, from outside the field of visual possibility.
For the human, that means from behind. Although the human cannot necessarily see everything that comes from in front,
it necessarily cannot see anything that comes from behind, or at least not short of a turn. Although it by no means controls
the field of the frontal–for example, what is lateral and liminal–the dorsal necessarily escapes it. Now, the sense of a
technology that comes from behind the human, unable to be seen or foreseen, would appear to contradict the definition
of the technological as production or creation, as fabrication produced by hands manipulating matter within a visible field.
What would be the meaning of a technology that the human had not produced in front of itself and in view of itself? It would
mean first of all taking conceptual account of a technology whose effects exceed the strict conditions of its production, a
technology that proliferates or mutates as the viral life that–for example, in information technologies–is the form and name
it actually borrows. But more than that, it would mean again taking conceptual account of the extent to which, in increasingly
explicit ways, technology defines and redefines the human and does so downstream from the point at which a given
technological creation was brought into effect. It would therefore mean turning to see the technology of the human itself,
inside itself, if you wish, in any case inaccessible or invisible from the perspective of an integral human gathered within its
neatly prescribed limits or borders and gazing ahead into a controlled exteriority of the artifact.
A technology of the human itself, a technology that defines and so produces the human, cannot be part of the human
self-image; it comes at the human from behind, is already at its back. Or indeed, in its back. The dorsal turn also refers,
therefore, to the role played by the vertebral column in the constitution of the human. The figure or pose of our fundamental
technological articulation and actualization–the point at which that emerges into visibility–is the upright stance.
Anthropological accounts of the emergence of anthropoid species understandably have consistent recourse to that event, to a
bending of the spine by straightening it, as a defining factor for the human. The discovery in 1959 of the Zinjanthropus fossil,
along with his tools, meant that the criteria for hominization could be ascribed to a much earlier genus, the Australopithecus,
than was previously thought. According to André Leroi-Gourhan, that genus was characterized by a relation between, on
the one hand, the capacity for a widening cortical pan that results from a rebalancing of skull and jaw in the upright stance,
and, on the other hand, the ability to split pebbles. The Australopithecus is the earliest known example of a brain freed from
the suspension stresses of the skull, and although his brain, unlike his body, has hardly developed in comparison with the
Neanderthal and beyond, he has begun making tools.
As Leroi-Gourhan describes it, it is as if "we" simultaneously made room for more brain, relieved that brain of some
of its physical pressure, and freed our hands so as to be able to split pebbles on the way to producing tools; as if in standing
upright the simian turned anthropoid and, in so doing, immediately turned technological. Leroi-Gourhan defines the
human in terms of a technicity so fundamental as to be almost "zoological," as if an almost automatic technological outgrowth
of the body occurred once the hand was freed from its motor function and once the face shortened and became independent
of the cerebral part of the skull. He refers to the concept of tools as "a 'secretion' of the anthropoid's body and brain" such that
"the Australanthropians … seem to have possessed their tools in much the same way as an animal has claws…as if their brains
and their bodies had gradually exuded them…chopper and biface [tools] seem to form part of the skeleton, to be literally
'incorporated' in the living organism."
There seems little doubt that a fundamental realignment of the human in its relation to technology occurs with the
upright stance. The anthropoid "chooses" to give itself the prospect of tools and at the same time turns its back in a radical
way on whatever is behind it. We know how it abandons the animal, refines the senses by downgrading smell and hearing,
and reconfigures the knowable other within a frontal visual perspective, prioritizing a certain version of the fore-seen or
fore-seeable. What is produced by that anthropoid, the technologies of tool use on the one hand, and language on the
other, is henceforth presumed to occur within that frontal visual perspective of the knowable. That occurs in spite of the
emphasis given, in terms of those technologies, to the surprise of discovery and of invention. Such discovery and invention
are henceforth and consistently understood as being ahead, around the corner, or on the horizon of a forward progression.
What is therefore being forgotten, I argue–perhaps until it is, or unless it be reawakened in the fear of some bioengineered
monstrosity, some retroviral haunting–is the extent to which technology is, to begin with, literally in the back. It is in the
human back as the spinal–or can we already say dorsal?–turn or adjustment, the primary or primal vertebral articulation
that frees the hands to pick up stones and fashion tools, that redistributes the weight of the head and jaw to allow the brain
to develop and the tongue to speak. From and in its beginning, back where it began, the human is therefore receiving a
definition from a technologization of the body, in a becoming-prosthesis or a becoming-dorsal.
The dorsal turn refers, in the fourth place, to operations of reversal or reversibility as a fact of technology. This is most
obvious in machine technology, where the basic articulation of, say, piston and connecting rod, implies an indifference
concerning the direction in which the wheel is turned, forward or back. Now, that translates in the first instance to an
indifference regarding spatial orientation: the machine is essentially always a spacecraft. The tool, for example, aspires to
the conquest of outer space in the most literal sense of all those words by redefining our relation to what is outside us, our
conceptions of the proximate and distant.With the development of industrial machinery, that spatial relation will come to
be more explicitly defined by speed, by a space-time relation that overwhelmingly implies forward motion, for we are not
used to thinking speed in terms of reverse motion. But when it comes to the human machine, to technology in and of the
space of the human (back), directional "indifference" comes back into play as a function of time, conceptions of soon and
later, present and future. The relation to technology is, in more ways than have already been suggested, a complicated–
even reversible or indifferent–relation to time. I shall discuss in the next chapter how that is brought into focus, and how
technology thereby comes into perhaps unexpected focus, with respect to Being in the work of Heidegger. But for now let
me emphasize that the invention of the technological relates to the past as much as to the future in this particular sense: it is a
relation to past time and to the function of memory.
As readily as one accepts the status of artistic creation, as a paradigm for human production, in terms of a terrestrial
afterlife–the desire to leave something behind–so might we insist that the artifact functions as archive and memory bank.
And the same might be said of technological invention in general, for, as has often been pointed out, the word tekhne was
used in Greek as much for what was produced as art as what was manufactured; it stands for the artisanal all the way from
art to industry. Although the relation to memory and to archivation might not be immediately apparent in the case of a
rudimentary tool, it can be understood that whatever is produced as nonorganic or "nonbiodegradable" remainder will
necessarily constitute some form of memorial trace. And it is an obvious fact that artifactual technologies such as language,
especially via writing, consist precisely in what Bernard Stiegler refers to as the exteriorization of memory, and that the
contemporary technologies of information amount to a veritable "industrialization of memory." If technology is a matter of
exteriorization, of the human reaching outside itself (but, as was argued regarding corticalization and the upright stance, in a
way that calls into question the integrity of any interiority), then it is also a matter of archivation: what is created outside the
human remains as a matter of record and increasingly becomes the very record or archive, the artificial or exterior memory
itself. The production of an artifact is the production of an archive; it means depositing in the present–in some "present"–
an object, which, as it inserts and catalogs itself in the past, will become available for a future retrieval.
In reaching outside itself, the human therefore reaches both forward and back; in seeming to turn away from the past, it
leaves the artificial trace that will have it forever referring back to that constructed past as the trace of its memory, as promise
of artificial memory and promise or threat, eventually, of artificial intelligence. Memory might be called, after all, the first
artificial intelligence, and it comes to be recognized explicitly as such once Freud discovers the unconscious like some selfproduced
biochip that controls (and derails), as if from behind, the conscious. The life of memory, its status as alive or dead,
internal or external, real or artificial, draws the fault line along which the question of technology is still debated, from the
desirability of "replacing" mental functions by machines (oral histories by writing, arithmetic by calculators, spelling by word
processors, to begin with) all the way to nanoscientific cerebral implants and the manipulation of genetic memory systems.
Thus although the machine institutes a law of order that is like the artificial or artifactual version of life itself, a principle
of creation or production to parallel organic regeneration–artists and artisans create inanimate "offspring," objects can
be reproduced like the burgeoning spores of nature–it remains indifferent to that order, as it were unmotivated by it.
That indifference derives from repetition itself, from repetition as automatism. It is the necessary structural possibility for
memory, which is by definition a repetition designed to function automatically, to be "triggered," and to disrupt the forward
momentum of time, perhaps simply interrupting the present by means of a single recollection, but potentially setting o a
chain reaction of memories that multiply in reverse order. It is in terms of the disruptive repetition performed by memory
that we can perhaps begin to understand a contrast between the reversibility inherent in machine technology and the more
radical conquest of time that takes place in biotechnology, in a genetic engineering that disrupts the temporality not only
of re-production but of generation itself. As I discuss in chapters 6 and 7, that technological disruption of temporality is
what conditions the political as motor of change, and what provides the terms of reference and argues for a type of retro-or
controversion as political strategy.
In its guise of the technological, the dorsal therefore names, in a number of ways, what comes from behind to inhabit
us as something other, some other thing, the other; an other beyond what can be conceived of within the perspective of our
frontal relations. Not just an enemy, a wild animal, an avalanche, falling rock, or speeding train, and indeed not necessarily
in the form of a threat–as we shall see, it could as easily be a caress–but also and even the known other to the extent that we
allow it to fall back into the shadow, into the space of a type of faith or trust, of what is behind us. From that point of view, the
dorsal might come to serve as the basis for an ethics beyond the programmable that would nevertheless function as an ethics
of or for the technological, however counterintuitive that might seem. Not an ethics dictated by technology, or the nonsense
of an ethics of the machine, but rather an ethics that takes account of the machine in the human, that deals with the form of
unassimilable inanimation that inhabits the back of the human, an unassimilable otherness that participates in its functioning
and so precisely yet paradoxically prevents its acting and responding from the presumption of what can be foreseen.
Throughout the discussions and analyses that follow, I will try to point to the dorsal formations of such an ethics, in the first
instance holding that it is only once one recognizes an originary technology, and a prosthetic human, hence a technology in
the back, that one can begin to develop an ethos adequate to the challenges of the present age; and in the second instance,
in more general terms, deriving whatever conceptual or philosophical advantage there is to be had from such a perspective,
to let some sort of inventive difference emerge, some reversal or even perversion of a tradition that finds what comes from
behind to be, as it were, beyond the sinister, farther out than left field, precisely out around back, the darkest version of what
is untrusted and unknown, even if it is also recognized as the source of the most stimulating fantasy.
If the dorsal names the unseen, that is not the same as the invisible. But what is behind cannot be seen without a turning;
knowing what is "in back" requires the compound artifice of a double mirror, hence an inverted narcissism. Short of that, it
will come to us first of all through other senses: perhaps still sometimes through that of smell, from out of an animal past, but
more likely through hearing, announcing itself in a whisper or a shout, in a rumble or a murmur; and more importantly still,
through touch. The back that relates to the back within us must do so by means of touch, and so it is that we will find the
dorsal turn to refer necessarily to an erotic sensitization. What touches the back, even the surprise prod or slap of a friend or
a stranger, implies an erotic relation, a version of sexuality, a version that raises simultaneously and undecidably the questions
of sex and gender, of species, and of objects. A sexuality therefore that is not, at least not in the first instance, determined as
hetero- or homosexual, as vaginal or anal, as human (or indeed animal) or prosthetic, not even as embracing or penetrating,
but which implies before all else a coupling with otherness.
By means of dorsality, sexuality and human relations in general are marked by an extreme vulnerability, by the sort
of passive trust that would be a condition of possibility for ethics in general. Such an ethics is defined in terms that are
irrefutably animate: one can begin to be ethical only by respecting the most vulnerable forms of life, what, following Giorgio
Agamben, might be termed "barest" life. On the other hand, however, a dorsal sexuality also presupposes forms of coupling
that are undeniably technological, not necessarily dependent on a type of mutual animate recognition, open instead to the
anonymity, the namelessness or nonunique substitutability–indeed reversibility, as I have already suggested–the indifferent
repetitivity that inaugurates the structure of the machine. Though the silent caress of a hand on the shoulder or a breathing
on the nape seems precisely to be that of which the machine is incapable, in turning one's back, one cannot but invite an
unassimilable unfamiliarity such as defines the inanimate. And although the machine would be similarly incapable of the
unprogrammable surprise that turning one's back also invites, it signifies nevertheless endless inventivity and predicts both
the unknown and, beyond that, the unknowable. The touch of the machine is, from behind, the caress from such a shadow.
The dorsal turn is also a turning back in the sense of a return, which also signals an original turning of the back, the
senses of departure and abandonment. It is deployed along the axis that links home to exile, which, as we shall see, defines
home as originary exile. In this way it should be understood as a function of the polis, of the city as political economization.
Human organization could be said to become politics once the family depends on the construction of a house. That is to say
that the house, paradoxically, not only consists of four walls to shelter and protect the family but also, necessarily, constitutes
an appeal to an authority outside the house to respect and accredit those four walls. If the curfew or house arrest decrees the
limit of political legitimacy, if an enforced clearing of the streets and closing of the doors implies both the imposition and
the faltering of an absolute authority, if the state of siege prohibits public activism but provokes cellular resistance, requiring
finally that the very doors it has closed be broken down, it is because political power has there encountered the paradox of
the house: not just the problem of controlling whatever takes place in private, but the question of intervening across the line of
definition of the political itself, namely, the walls of the house, contravening its own limit by stepping across the lines that
demarcate it.
Although there is undoubtedly a politics of the family, the argument here is that there is no politics as long as there is
only the family, no politics before the family installs the walls at its back that compose a house. Thus this means there is no
politics without a certain technologization of the family, without the particular form of institutionalization that requires the
construction represented by the house. This is not to contradict what I was saying earlier concerning the fact of technology
beginning in the human, in its back. Nor is it incompatible with what, in a later chapter, I will define as the politicizing
structure of the darkroom or recessive space within a house, in an attempt to account for how a figural domestic, or at least
cameral, space is developed for the staging of certain paradoxes of politicization as the articulation of public and private, and
of real and ideal. I am pointing here to a version of the corporeal technologization that "begins" in the back, whose extension
into public space will necessitate the house; to how the form of human community that is the family finds its erectilization or
verticalization in the construction of the house as something like the development of the family spine into its upright stance.
By means of the house, the family does not just enter into a prosthetic relation with the inanimate in the same way as the
individual does by clothing itself. Rather, it involves (and in the case of clothing also) a complex set of articulations whereby
the family calls on a technology of construction, and so builds walls, to differentiate and negotiate its functions and relations
both internally (different rooms for different purposes, some more solitary, others more communal) and externally (necessarily
entering into a contractual relation with whatever form of social and political regulation takes place outside the house). In this
latter sense, just as clothing is a negotiation and a negation of the body's own nudity, so the family–or the individual, for that
matter–leaves home as soon as the house is built. By means of the house, the family is in fact leaving home, calling on and
contracting with the external political sphere. That would be so even supposing the door were never opened; even though
no one were ever to exit, there would nevertheless be the structural fact of this exile, and the enclosure of the house would
define such an opening, an open opening to the outside. The house therefore means the externalization of its inhabitantan
externalization that ruptures the presumed internal integrity of what-ever it houses. One is in exile at home, and the house is
that to which one must permanently return.
The dorsal turn involves, finally, a turning back to language as primary technological system. Whereas the fact
of language's technological status seems not to be in doubt, and is indeed made explicit by a Leroi-Gourhan, there is a
sense, I maintain, in which language has not been theorized as technology in the same way as, say, machine, medical, or
informatic technology. Stiegler, for example, emphasizes the relation of language to technology throughout Technics and
Time, conjoining it to a nexus that includes corticalization, verticality, mobility, and time, all of which get concentrated
on the question of speed. Yet whereas the other elements of that nexus are analyzed in terms of an evolving technology of
self-acceleration, language is not subjected to the same examination and so remains, in the final analysis, instrumental to
technology, simply words processed by that technology.
What thus seems required is some accounting for what I would call the tropological speed of language, some sort of
analysis of the technological logic of its operations beyond a simple mechanics of its syntax and semantics, and a conception
of language and its rhetorical turns as high technology or technology of information, rather than a mute instrument for
conveying information. Underlying the chapters of this book is the thesis that in order to elaborate an ethics, politics, or
sexuality informed by technology, one cannot simply presume a language more or less adequate to the conceptual framework
being developed; rather, one must seek to technologize language, or forms of discourse themselves. If the technology being
employed to conceptualize an ethics, politics, or sexuality of technology is language, then that language must somehow be
employed in a technological mode. For beyond the simplistic oppositions between text and world, thinking and acting,
intellectual and political activity, and beyond the deconstruction of those oppositions, a technological time and speed remain
to be enacted by language along the axis of politics and ethics, through the fault lines of sexuality. As long as a politics, ethics,
and sexuality of technology are being "expressed through language," they can properly be conceived of, that is to say, only
within the context and con- duct of a technologized language, however much its sense remains to be developed.
The dorsal turn presumes a tropo-technological language, one deter-mined by an originary turn and instantaneous
deviation, one that is engaged as the technology of conceptualization, put into service within and throughout an elaboration
of questions of politics, ethics, and sexuality, technologizing them non-instrumentally. Its two words–dorsal, turn–do not
figure an idea of the concepts "back," "behind," or "from behind" as much as they make that turn, flip that switch, go back,
swivel, at electronic speed, or reconnect disjunctively, change windows, access a counter-memory, backload, at the speed
of light. There is, as it were, no sense to them outside such a perspective, outside what they perform in technological terms.
Beyond the perversity of a counter-intuition or contravention, a willful contrariness, a destructive or creative desire to invert,
the dorsal turn should be understood as enacting the shock of the technological shift itself, putting us where we are henceforth
and probably have always been with respect to technology, behind, turned about, late, and bewildered, but nevertheless
constrained, indeed shackled there, like Prometheus, bound from behind to the time of the Titans.
(The author of this article is a professor of French at Brown University)

Jiang Yuhui Hope, When...

Our age has been overwhelmed by all kinds of 'big words', for instance, 'Extinction', 'Apocalypse', or even 'The End
of the World', so on and on. However, it would be a hasty conclusion that it's a 'miserable world' immersive in the expansive
'tragic' atmosphere. Not at all. Or the truth is quite the opposite: today, all those active or passive thoughts, intuitions,
fictions, narrations evolving around the hot issue of Apocalypse seem to wear a hilarious face, exhibiting a maniac passion
or even delirious speculation. Perhaps the phrase 'paradoxical age' is exactly the proper final word for this world we live
in. The confrontation between darkness and light, creation and annihilation just can't be simplified as a dialectics, for the
irreconcilable tension would finally lead to a interminable reciprocal enhancement.
Reflecting upon Kant's four ultimate questions, one might simply skip the final one ('What is human'), and invalidate
the first two (the epistemological problem 'what I can know', and the ethical problem 'what I should do' ) . It seems that there
is only one tough question left, that is, what I may hope'. Yet this is far from a thoughtless returning back to religious belief or
piety, for we all know clearly that there will not be a God to save us, just as there will not be a Apocalypse to give meaning to
this World. We all live in a 'divergent' or 'turbulent' age, but this does not mean that we have to be a disciple of Nietzsche and
willingly describe the whole world as a everlasting creative process from chaotic field to transient forms and patterns; however,
it would still be wrong if we choose the opposite direction following Schopenhauer from then on and convert to his version
of 'Cosmic Pessimism' which has dramatically boiled the blind World-Will down to a ultimate negative Void. There might be
a another option. The constant strife in the field of forces will definitely lead to a tightly knitted network drowning everything
in a meshy 'rhizome'; but the other possibility is always left open, for within the network, one or several (or even more) nodes
might begin to break loose and then evoke a contagious expansion. This time, it is 'gap/distance' instead of 'connection' that
Such a radical and subversive inspiration came from the lonely French thinker Emmanuel Levinas. Unfortunately,
this bold 'negative' Apocalypse has completely fallen into oblivion in the mainstream culture of today's art and thinking. As
the Chinese translator, I wrote down the sentence on the title page of Chinese version of A Thousand Plateaus: 'This book
will be a philosophical memo for the next millennium.' Exaggerating it may sound, this description is not far from the reality
falling on us during the first decades of the 21st century. The time of duration and 'becoming', the 'rhizomatic' net work of
all things, the overwhelming 'capturing apparatus' of desiring machine, - all these have swarmed into the galleries as well as
academic periodicals all over the world. Would this dose of bitter-sweet 'Deleuzism' still stimulate our nerves and actions as
well? Or should we turn to Levinas for further guidance?
The 6th Guangzhou Triennial is composed of three main sections. They respond to different urgent issues, but
apparently share an inner mutual correlation. The first topic refers to Benjamin H. Bratton's provocative conception of 'stack'.
This should not be considered merely as a technological term, because at the same time it also hows a very strong ontological
significance. In a sense, it seems like Heidegger's well-known concept 'Gestell', for both begin from the dominance of
technology and then move on to interrogate the deep ontological and existential 'meaning' behind this global 'Weltbildes'.
This central theme branches into two related topics, that is, life and machine. The questioning of life necessarily concerns
the relationship between life and non-life, as well as the possible evolution or extinction in the future. It couldn't be denied
that machines have played a major part throughout all these processes. No matter how we'd like to define their relation to
life (enhancement, interference, invasion, or even capture, transformation...), the truth remains that it's no longer possible to
hold on to the out-dated dualism of mechanism and vitalism, or even imagine a form of life which is not already 'machinic'.
In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze & Guttari have made a quite concise definition of machine, that is, a machine exists wherever a
connection happens. Thus, machine is nothing other than the basic formulation of rhizomatic network. Or put in another
word, there is no machine which is not ecological, because 'ecological' simply means the open and systematic correlations
between existents.
Levinas' ontological principle of 'absolute separation' would astonishingly lead us towards a completely different
direction. A world based on this principle could never be ecological, in a word, we can't describe it as a symbiotic web of life.
On the contrary, it might be more like the world view of il y a that Levinas has so vividly depicted in his From Existence
to Existents. In Guerrilla Metaphysics, Graham Harman borrowed this concept from Levinas, in order to give a
preciese philosophical name to his OOO. According to him, since every object in this world tends to withdraw toward the
impenetrable inner core, what exist between objects are quite different. This part of the whole world should more properly be
described as 'atmosphere' or 'field', which doesn't manifest any 'objective' qualities, but show itself as a invisible, intangible,
barely perceptible medium. For levinas, the most vivid presentation of il y a is the darkest night that devours everything. In
this boundless darkness, everything fell into an infinitely tight, inescapable connection, but at the same time they all tried
to break away from this thick darkness, "separate" themselves out, making every desperate effort to maintain their own
independent "position". It is worth noting that when levinas interpreted this concept, his ultimate goal was to lay a new
foundation for subjectivity. So he talks about the experience of "insomnia": keeping a sharp sense of sobriety in the midst of
endless darkness just means striving to maintain one's own position, not to be swallowed up by the darkness, not to fall into
the deep, thoughtless "sleep".
I think that Harman may have neglected the key position of subjectivity when he borrowed and deliberated on the
concept of il y a. And we intend to start from this position and rethink the Bratton's "black stack( 黑栈)", one of the key
words of this Triennial. "Stack( 堆栈)" is probably an inappropriate translation, because it highlights too much of the
technical implications rather than the underlying ontological implications. Therefore, in the brochure of this exhibition, it
is translated as "superposition( 堆叠)", which seems closer to this implicit meaning, but still misleading somewhat. When
we talk about stacking, the most direct, vivid image might be building blocks - building up one layer at a time, and then
all the layers are close together. Pulling out one layer, or even touching one part of it, can trigger a whole system of violent
upheaval. The popular game of 'Jenga' will serve as a perfect example. Therefore, on the first sight, the word "Stack" as a
universal category seemed to have precisely depicted the present world, because indeed this is an era in which different scales
(from macro to micro) are closely stacked. A closer look at Bratton's description, however, suggests otherwise. He divided
the whole world into six distinct layers of superposition, that is, earth, cloud, city, address, interface and user. Of course,
this is just a rough sketch, because if we really want to redraw the picture of the world in terms of 'stacking', then the simpleminded
numeration (no matter it’s 'six' or even 'sixty' layers) just wouldn't do the job. In the final analysis, it's supposed
to be the numerous differentiation, close and permeable layers. In this sense, what's important in the world view of stacking
is not what in the middle, but the two limits, macro(cloud) and micro(user). The largest stack is obviously the cloud. But
the cloud is not a meteorological concept here, as it also encompasses "invisible" aspects such as virtual networks, symbolic
regimes and even cultural, political and economic networks. It also, however, does not mean that it is just an image (figure)
and metaphor (metaphor), because when we use the term "cloud", it is more like the ever-expanding medium of 'ether' in
general, getting everything into tight connection and deep penetration, even down to the molecular level of capturing every
details of individual behaviour . In a word, the cloud is nothing other than what Timothy Morton has so profoundly termed
as 'hyperobject' - it not only seems to infinitely expand at the Cosmic level, but at the same time manifest a kind of 'viscosity'
at the molecular level, 'sticking' to the life itself and penetrating into every micro pores.
In this sense, perhaps stack is not an appropriate image for our current purpose. Because it merely refers to the 'vertical'
dimension of the anatomy of the world. But this single vertical dimension is not enough to give us a whole picture of the
expansive and all-encompassing hyperobject. In fact, isn't the cloud precisely another vivid image evoked by il y a? It is
invisible, but pervades all things; it is enormous, but pervades every detail; it looks pure white and light, but also exhibits
extreme density and impenetrable depth. Perhaps il y a, which envelops, infiltrates and connects everything, will be closer to
the real figuration of the world than stacking?
That being the case, we need to confront the immediate political issues raised by stacking or il y a, as Mr Bratton
suggests. All those arguments beginning from the prefix "Geo-" are clearly no longer relevant, as political disputes now arise
from the 'Cloud'. But this doesn't mean that we should fall back into the cyberpunk dream of fighting against the new global
network of hegemony as a nomadic cowboy. Rather, as Mr Bratton reminds us, what we should do is to explore a new way of
thinking and action, to face the age of 'Totality' which has loomed on the horizon, or has even arrived unexpectedly. The age
of totality is exactly the age of il y a, the incoming endless darkness. In this sense, the cloud and stack are quite similar, because
both are ultimately black. For the ultimate form they represent is a web of infinite attachment and bonding between all things.
They are the ultimate 'black machines'.
All the arguments above could also serve as an untimely warning. The age of il y a is also an age of deep lethargy, that
is, an age when everything falls into sleep or even near-death in a sweet dream of ‘becoming-with’. In such an era, only
"separation" can keep every individual as awake as insomnia. Alert insomnia is the position to reconstruct subjectivity and
the ultimate resistance to Totality. But how can we keep ourselves awake in order to really bring the 'absolute separation'
into this world? At the end of black stack, Bratton doesn't provide us with any effective strategies. "AI doesn't hate you and
doesn't love you." Indeed. But this means that the future fully captured by the black machine is an entirely different, absolutely
separate, and ultimately ruptured future. To borrow the warning words of levinas in Time and Other, it is not a "projection"
towards the future, but rather an ungraspable, unknown and unexpected future that suddenly falls upon, impacts and
overwhelms us. Thus, accelerationism may be well mistaken about the direction of time. It is not that we are speeding towards
a terminal abyss , but rather that an altogether different future is accelerating towards us — more precisely, at a speed of which
we are utterly inscrutable. We can already feel the power of an absolutely ruptured future in the "apocalyptic future" genre of
films such as Arrival. And in the artworks of this triennial, we are still looking forward to more revelatory creative potential in
the art practice that may be born in the future.
(The author of this article is a professor of School of Philosophy, East China Normal University)

Yuk Hui The Time of Execution

Since the late twentieth century, one can clearly observe how the word "execution" has expanded its meaning from its
main use in administrative, bureaucratic and juridical milieu since the fourteenth century into the operations of machines
and weapons. What exactly the watershed moment was remains a historical question to be debated. However, its signification
today has become an urgent social and political question. It marks a paradigm shift from human management to machine
management of almost everything: drone killings, DDoS attacks, deep packet inspection, etc. We may want to ask: what does
this change of semantics mean? And how is one to understand "execution" in the age of machine automation?
Paradoxically, words such as "machine" and "automation" have become more and more abstract, while both hardware
and software have become increasingly concrete. The process of concretisation (Simondon 2012, 21–26)[1] is reflected
in the constant amelioration of different layers (e.g. from the microphysical layer to that of the high level application layer)
and the transductive operations between and beyond them. It is necessary to investigate the concretisation of technical and
digital objects in order to understand such a shift. At the same time, it is important to avoid romanticising a human machine
complex as "machine assemblages". I see this volume and the invaluable effort of the authors to be motivated by an urgency to
seriously inquire into practices and their relation to the question of execution.
Execution is always teleological because to execute means to carry out something which is already anticipated before the
action: execution of laws, execution of a plan, execution of a criminal. The telos can be reached in variable paths with different
temporalities. The intuitive and simplest form of execution is linear, driven by pre-defined procedures. For example, we can
see this in recipes: the subject follows step by step instructions until the goal is reached. In the relation between one step and
the next step, there is a normalised necessity that assures the orientation.
This linearity is present in the mechanisation of the world that we still read today in the work of René Descartes
amongst others, characterised by the geometrical clarity and logical certainty exhibited in the axiomatic. We may want to
consider the making of automata as the realisation of this linearity. There, movement is generated by a set of sequential actions
executed by elements installed inside the automaton. For example, springs turn gears which then drive another component
initiating the automaton's movement. Indeed, Descartes's fascination with automata is well known. They are regularly referred
to in the "Second Meditation" of his Meditation on First Philosophy, in which the philosopher looks out of the window
and asks if the people passing by are not automata wearing coats and hats and powered by springs (Vizier 1996).
The Defecating Duck (1738) by the Frenchman Jacques Vaucanson and Mechanical Turk (1769) by the Hungarian
engineer Wolfgang von Kempelen are examples of applying Cartesian thinking to automation at the time. They are also
examples of confining technological thinking, and to a large extent philosophical thinking, to a linear and rational mode of
thinking. Such an attitude partly comes out of material and energy constraints, that is to say, these conditions limit the types
of discursive relations[1] to be realised as physical contacts. Even though Descartes distinguishes man from automata for the
reason that the former has soul while the latter doesn't, we must also notice that the linearity of operation is applicable to both
of Descartes's dual substances, res cogitans and res extensa. As Gilbert Simondon pointed out, "the 'long chains of reasons'
carry out a 'transport of evidence' from the premises to the conclusion, just like a chain carries out a transfer of forces from
the anchoring point to the last link" (Simondon [1961] 2009, 17). This does not mean at all that non-linear thinking didn't yet
exist, but rather that linearity as cognitive schema of machines was dominant because of its compatibility with classical physics
supported by the limited material resources and conditions available at the time. Marx's famous critique of Proudhon's The
Poverties of Philosophy, where he says "the handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam- mill, society with
the industrial capitalist" (Marx 1971, 109; Mackenzie 1984, 473), carries the same sense: the compatibility between material
condition and techno-scientific development produces a specific economical structure. This critique can be extended and
today it can also include the current computational and networked infrastructures which give us society with platform
Indeed, we must acknowledge that there is a temporal gap between philosophical and scientific thinking and technical
realisation. This gap constantly creates antagonism and melancholia, which to some extent is inherited in what we call critique
today. Indeed, non-linear thinking present since the eighteenth century could be seen as a reaction against the animalmachine
and man-machine metaphors set up respectively by Descartes and Julien Offray de La Mettrie.
It was demonstrated by new discoveries in the natural sciences that gave rise to a new discipline which was later named as
biology in 1802 by the German naturalist Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (1776-1837). During the same time period another
German biologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1753-1840) had a great influence on Kant's Critique of Judgement.
He provided Kant with the scientific resources to inquire into the concept of beauty as "purposiveness without purpose"
(Zweckmäßigkeit ohne Zweck) in the first part of the critique and the relation between biology and teleology in the second
part.[2] The Post-Kantian philosophies such as romanticism and idealism embraced the notion of the organic form (notably
in the work of Schelling, Hegel and the Schlegels) as the foundation of philosophical systems and mobil-ised it as a fierce
critique against the mechanistic model of Descartes.
Nevertheless, the linear time of execution foregrounds a non-linear historical temporality and functions as a decisive
factor of a future to come. The cognitive schema of linear operation provided a temporally stable foundation for social and
economic analysis during the modern period, as evident in the work of Adam Smith, Charles Babbage and later Karl Marx.
A sufficient example of this can be witnessed in the memorable and well known passage in Adam Smith's An Inquiry into
the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, in which a boy transforms the linear execution of his labour into a
mechanical execution: In the first fire-engines, a boy was constantly employed to open and shut alternately the
communication between the boiler and the cylinder, according as the piston either ascended or descended. One
of those boys, who loved to play with his companions, observed that by tying a string from the handle of the valve
which opened this communication to another part of the machine, the valve would open and shut without his
assistance, and leave him at liberty to divert himself with his playfellows. One of the greatest improvements that
has been made upon this machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner the discovery of a boy who
wanted to save his own labour. (Smith [1776] 2005, 13)
This is paragraph eight of the first chapter "On the Division of Labour", where the concept of automation is introduced.
Thanks to this anonymous boy who stretched the ideas of the inventors of the fire-engines to a new terrain, work took
another rhythm and the factory another form of organisation. If the temporality of the "machine assemblage" of the boy and
the fire-engine consists of a homogenous linear system now, it is because of the desire of the boy to have time to play with
his companions. Such a temporal structure is bifurcated in the way that the time of the boy and the time of the machine are
separated because the mechanical energy of the fire-engine is recycled and thus replaces the labour-energy of the boy. Yet,
what is interesting in this passage is the relation between automation and freedom, which remains a very actual question for us
today concerning the arrival of full-automation, as some ideologists have claimed (Mason 2015).
The question of automation bifurcated into two opposing thoughts that can be found later in the work of Karl Marx.
On the one hand, there is a possibility of the liberation of workers from labours as well as professions, so that they can become
free. This joyful picture of the "free man" is described by Marx and Engels in the German Ideology, where they say that
communism "makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the
afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman,
herdsman or critic" (Marx and Engels [1846] 2005, 53). There is a similarity between the desire to hunt, fish and rear cattle,
and the boy's desire to play with his companions. Yet, as Marx argued in the "Fragment on machines", there is a great
danger embedded in this mode of production, as "not-yet-full-automation" reduces workers to merely "conscious linkages"
(bewußte Glieder) (Marx [1857] 1973, 620). On the one hand, alienation of workers and Marxist humanism find their
common root in the automation of technology. And on the other, the same technology generates sentiments that lead to
condemnation and sabotage of machines as a reactionist politics.
It is evident today that non-linear thinking has pervaded into different domains such as physics, chemistry, economy,
etc. and consequently has become a paradigm. It becomes more important to look into the specificity of non-linear thinkings
and their compatibilities with each other across different domains. The French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, in an essay
entitled "Technical Mentality" (believed to have been written in the early 1960s), suggests cybernetics to be a second cognitive
schema in addition to the Cartesian one. The concept of feedback in cybernetics introduced a new temporal structure, one
that was no longer based on a linear form but rather was more like that of a spiral. In this schema, the path towards the telos
is no longer linear but rather one of a constant self-regulatory process, which Simondon himself described as "an active
adaptation to a spontaneous finality" (2009, 18). Simondon was fascinated by the concept of feedback, translating it differently
on various occasions as "internal resonance", "contra-reaction", "recurrence of causality" and "circular causality".[1] These
distinct explanations of feedback are important to his theory of individuation and individualisation. However, as a result of
these different translations, it is sometimes confusing that these notions are separate from those of cybernetics and as such
should be considered as alternatives to the cybernetic notion of "feedback".
It is from this second cognitive schema described by Simondon that another concept of execution is proposed, one
that is very different from the automation described by Smith and Marx. The question that I would like to raise concerning
Simondon's classification, and I have tried to respond to it in my own work (Hui 2015a, 2016b), is to move from feedback
to recursion. One reason for this is because I see recursive functions as concrete and formal expressions of the concept of
feedback[1] which is realised in every computational device today. Indeed, it always appears to me rather surprising that
Simondon didn't engage with the concept of recursion. This could be due to the fact that Simondon paid more attention in
his research on individuation to quantum physics, biology and psychology than to logic and mathematics (though Simondon
also recognised that cybernetics has its foundation in mathematics) (Simondon 2009, 18). In effect, what can be noticed is
that in his work, Simondon prioritises transduction over inference in classical logical thinking (2009, 18). And this might also
be an explanation for why Simondon had never (at least not in his posthumous publications) elaborated on the concept of
Let us firstly establish the rapports between execution and algorithm. Instead of following the conventional
interpretation of Wienerian cybernetics, it is important to re-read Kurt Gödel when addressing our question concerning
execution and algorithm. The mathematical development on the question of recursion and its realisation in the universal
Turing Machine during the 1930s corresponds to the emergence of what I call "algorithmic thinking" (Hui 2015b). Many
people, including computer scientists and social scientists, when explaining what an algorithm is, often compare it to recipes.
This is not completely wrong, since an algorithm does specify certain procedures and rules that it has to follow; but it is also
absolutely incorrect, since a recipe cannot explain at all what an algorithm of our time is. Algorithm belongs only to the first
cognitive schema that we have discussed above.
I would like to put forward that algorithmic thinking should be understood from the concept of recursion. A recursive
function simply means a function that calls itself until a halting state is reached. Douglas Hofstadter, in his Gödel, Escher,
Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, explains with a joke that, if we were to imagine a German professor giving a lecture in
one long sentence with a lot of Nebensätze, in the end he would only have to pronounce verbs in order to complete each
interaction (Hofstadter 1999, 131). To explain further, let us consider a simple example of computing the Fibonacci number (1,
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…): in the recursive step, the function calls itself, and enters a "spiral" operation until it arrives at its halting
status, e.g. when the value of the variable number becomes 0.
long fibonacci(long number) {
if ((number == 0) || (number == 1)) return number;
else // recursion step
return fibonacci(number - 1) + fibonacci(number - 2);
In the non-recursive way, the function will have to create a repetitive loop repeating n times (n being equal to the value
of the input variable, e.g. a long number). From mere repetition to recursion there is a significant change in the cognitive
schema. By referring back to Kurt Gödel's work on recursive functions, we may be able to simplify here. His consists of two
important steps. Firstly, he developed what is now known as Gödel numbering to arithmetize the quantifiers and operators
of the logical propositions in the Principia Mathematica of Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead. This decisive
move to numeration turns all symbolic operations into numerical operations and here we observe that it is no longer the
physical contacts between different physical parts concretising the discursive relations, as in the example of automata, but
rather data.
Secondly, Gödel developed what he calls general recursivity, which considers logical proofs as arithmetic calculations,
or more precisely, as a set of number theoretic functions whose values can be recursively derived. Gödel's development of
the recursive function can originally be found in his 1931 paper titled "On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia
Mathematica and Related Systems", and later the general recursive function that he pronounced in Princeton in 1934 can be
seen to anticipate the papers from Alan Turing and Alonzo Church (also invoked in this collection by David Gauthier).[1] It
is in the question of recursivity that we encounter the notion of computability, since if a natural number is not computable it
means that it cannot be recursively deduced from an algorithm, and hence runs into infinite looping, which finally leads to the
exhaustion of resources such as memory. We may want to say: to execute is to compute.
This dictum is almost self-evident in many domains of our everyday life: financial markets, social networks, online
marketing, etc. What lies in recursivity is another temporal complex which I call computational hermeneutics (Hui 2016a,
238–244). It differs from the machine-boy assemblage and from the linear automation implemented by the boy. Computational
hermeneutics has its own dynamics resembling a self-regulating, self-learning process (in this sense, we clearly see that
all machine learning algorithms are recursive). The paths towards the telos are not predefined, rather they are heuristics which
are more or less like trial and error, like reason coming back to itself in order to know itself. In various recursive functions,
there is often an opacity into which the human capacity of calculation cannot penetrate. It produces a cognitive opacity which
is known under the notorious name of "black box". It is an illusion to ask for more advancement of technology and finer
division of labour while longing for the transparency of a society whose existence is no longer sure. Something other than the
opposition between transparency and opacity has to be sought. Let us raise the question in another way in light of the shift in
the cognitive schemas: which role do human beings occupy in executions characterised by recursivity, especially recursivity of
Users is the intuitive answer that we may want to give. We are all users. Intuitively we may notice that users are part of
an algorithm. Not only is the temporality of each user recorded as part of a database, but the existence of the user constitutes
partly the executability. In addition, the users are also responsible for dealing with any cata- strophic consequences due to
errors and contingencies. For example, in the "flash crash" of a financial market, it is not the algorithms but the users (though
probably in the end it is the non-users) who are responsible for the aftermaths. Instead of an illusory intimacy, the relation
between human and machine has to be accessed from a higher cognitive level and a generalised "algorithmic thinking". It is
on this question of execution and algorithm that we find Gilles Deleuze's 1990 essay "Postscript on the Societies of Control"
relevant. Deleuze might not have thought about algorithms as we do today, but his philosoph- ical intuition allowed him
to see a new form of organisation based on a "modulation" that was taking place and that had to be distinguished from the
governmentality that Foucault had analysed.[2] Modulation is distinguished from the rule imposition paradigm characteristic
to the disciplinary society, because it operates not on constraints but on "freedom", or more precisely, "free space".[3] In other
words, modula- tion relies on an operation consisting of different heuristics that orients itself towards a certain goal without
strictly predefined rules. We may want to point out here that it is executability (we can also consider it as "recursivity")
rather than "data empiricism" that constitutes the foundation of an "algorithmic governmentality", as the Belgian researchers
Antoinette Rouvroy and Thomas Berns (2013) have convincingly argued.
To conclude let us go back to the classical opposition between "free man" and "conscious linkages" (or slaves)-two
different consequences of the application of automation that we have seen in the first part of this essay. A question that is
worth asking is whether this opposition continues in the automation-execution paradigms that we witness today, which
are largely different to those observed by Marx in the nineteenth century? Or, does the shift of the cognitive schemas (from
linearity to recursivity) in the last centuries displace or transform these oppositions (freedom/slave, opacity/transparency)
and the binary choices available to us? For the latter, perhaps we will need a Nietzschean transvaluation [Umwertung] of these
values in order to proceed further without prisoning ourselves in the choices already given in the last centuries due to the
limited understandings of automation and the limitations of automation itself. This transvalua- tion will also be the beginning
of a re-appropriation of automation in order to invent new choices (Stiegler 2016).
This article is the preface of "Executing Practices" edited by Helen Pritchard, Eric Snodgrass and Magda
Tyżlik-Carver (London: Open Humanities Press, 2017).
(The author of this article is a member of the International Center of Simondon Studies in Paris, teaches philosophy at the
Leuphana University in Germany and the China Academy of Art)

Academic Symposium

Part I Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital

Artists from around the world are dealing with the growing presence of the digital and its impact on society. As we may think will show new perspectives on digital technologies, the Internet and social networks and examine both the virtual and physical manifestations of today's artistic practice fundamentally influenced by the digital. The "digital age" has changed our thinking, acting and feeling rapidly since its appearance less than twenty years ago; when the global amount of digitally stored information surpassed that of analog for the first time. All areas of our everyday life, our perception and knowledge production are digitally engendered today. The digital is therefore today the predominant cultural technique in our "globally networked society, in which the biosphere and infosphere permeate and condition each other" (Peter Weibel). In their works, the artists brought together for this part of the Triennial take different perspectives on the digital that underlies their works as an "a priori". Employing Benjamin Bratton's concept of "the Stack" as a symbolic as well as a structural framework, Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital raises the very fundamental question of the digital as a new type of reality which reshapes contemporary experiences, and artists' creative responses towards this reality.

Inside the Stack: Art in the Digital will take a look back on the history of the development of computer technology until today, provide an insight into digital infrastructures and the penetration of the real with the digital in our present and give a speculative outlook on technological developments of the digital in the future.

Part II Evolutions of Kin

What does it mean to consider life equal for humans and non-humans alike – to witness evolution in everything in and around us, above and below, on nanoscale and in the universe, in past and future but most of all in the present? These are fundamental philosophical questions raised in the face of our ever emerging and accelerating technologies, in the digital as well as in the biological. Many of the artists in 'Evolutions of Kin' are doing exactly this: seeing and creating, researching, imagining and speculating on what others there may be – human and nonhuman. They question what it means to be human by incorporating the nonhuman, they design evolutions of kin, they swim the oceans of life and feed on the compost of time as crossbred and diverged species. And by doing so they create a sense of kinship, of 'humankind', as Timothy Morton calls it in his latest book, which makes it possible, for themselves and others, for better and for worse, to embody solidarity with the world as a whole.

Evolutions of Kin takes technological invention and intervention to an ethical level of inquiry, extending subjectivity to the nonhuman life, advocating a shared origin and co-evolutional trajectory of humans and nonhumans and a new vision of life.

Part III Machines Are Not Alone

The world is machinic: not only does its function depend on network of machines but also the land, river, mountains, trees and animals, humans included, are machines of some sort when seen from an operational point of view or an abstract sense of the word because they are systems of interconnected biospheres, neural synapses, motor-sensor coordinates, psychosomatic attributes, social relationships and technical milieus imbricated, intertwined, transversal and reciprocal as intricate as the relationship between humans and thoughts, knowledge and freedom. Far from a mechanistic vision of dualism, this worldview of machines, apparatuses and devices is one that envisages a unity which endorses giving everything its due place as equally significant and worthy with respect and care.

The exhibition Machines Are Not Alone fitted with cloud machines, earth machines, and many other geoengineering and emotive devices and apparatuses, moved by transportation machines and custom machines and activated by exhibition machines, workshop machines and audience and participation machines will have a three-part journey to complete its global treading. It starts its ignition at Chronus Art Center in Shanghai in the summer of 2018, continues to Zagreb Contemporary Art Museum in winter, and finally culminates at the Guangdong Museum of Art as a component of 6th Guangzhou Triennial. Each traveling iteration will root itself in the local milieu with a cosmic outlook and create interconnections with its immediate surroundings and umwelt logistically, ecologically and psychosocially as if a living act of the Three Ecologies. Together the trilogy maps out a machinic trajectory that transverses oceans and lands, places and sites; integrates climates and communities and adapts limitations and expansions for a resounding machinic chorus.

Machines Are Not Alone further extends the notion of subjectivity into the realm of nonlife and the object world, both cultural and natural, technology and psychic, proposing a radical rethinking of modernity, freedom and emancipation in a posthuman symbiosis.


OCT BOXES ART MUSEUM is built and financed by the OCT Group, a non-profit public benefit organization operated and managed by The Oil Painting Department Curatorial Group of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. This museum was built within Shunfeng Mountain Wetland Park in Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong. 1420 Square meters in surface area, the exhibition hall is 507 square meters, including four standard sized halls. A wetland park spans 115,000 square meters surrounding the Museum, as the Museum's open-air public exhibition space featuring public art installations combines the charm of wetland ecosystems with that of art. OCT BOXES ART MUSEUM has invited Fan Bo to serve as Museum Director, Zhou Li to serve as Artistic Director, and Liu Ke to serve as Executive Museum Director. Official opening day is slated for September 28th, 2017.