Transition Regimes: Cultures of Media Art I
Leonardo LASER talks at the MicroPOM Symposium Aalborg University
Panel 1 Lineup (IRL in Aalborg):Tanya Toft Ag (DK), Mogens Jacobsen (DK) and Alessandro Ludovico (IT). Chaired by Morten Søndergaard (DK)
When: 10th May, 2022, 3.00pm - 4.30pm CET
Where: Aalborg University, Create Campus, Rendsburggade 14, Aalborg, Denmark
Watch Live: The event will be livestreamed here!
Revisiting Susan Leigh Star’s notion (from The Cultures of Computing, 1996) of transitions regimes, the Leonardo TALKS at Aalborg University is generally questioning what is the status of those transitions and their regimes today, 25 years on?
“We are in a transition regime with respect to information technologies: will it make our lives easier or harder? More or less intimate, peaceful, productive, global? We don’t yet know, and in some larger sense, may never know, exactly what it is we have gained and lost in the wholesale adoption of information technology and integrated media. Because computers are at once intimate and impersonal, tied up with work, education, and entertainment, they may be so woven into the fabric of our lives that ‘standing back’ is completely an illusion. They are … not trojan horses but trojan doors – unfolding out into worlds embedded in each other without end…” (Star, 1996)
Following Star, ‘transition regimes’ is the description of the effects of vast infrastructural shifts occasioned by widespread new technologies. But where are we with the transitions? Have the transition regimes shifted or turned since 1996? And what is the role of Media Art in those transitions?
It would be possible to distinguish between two approaches to answering these questions, overall. 1) either Media Art is seen as an effect of transition regimes and the media art practices are thus to be seen as ‘representations’ of the societal and industrial transitions (and crisis) of modern and postmodern culture (Kittler, Stiegler) 2) or Media Art is the regime, so to speak: a sort of avant-garde of art and tech experiences driving the transitions in perceptions and experiences. In this sense, it is new media art (Manovich, Toft).
But maybe a third approach (or a fourth, fifth) can be distinguished, especially in the light of Star’s idea of transition regimes framed by the cultures of computing. Media art is woven so deeply into the fabric of our lives that it is not only the computer or media that is ubiquitous, but its ‘cultures’ – the way everything we live by is mediated, including ourselves. There may be no ‘standing back’ as Star suggests, with a quote from Heidegger. Instead, there are what she terms ‘trojan doors’, which I choose to interpret as ‘what media art does when it mediates our lives’. Media art exists as practices in-between representation and regime, as prisms of infrastructural shifts, political turns, and existential crisis in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Tanya Toft Ag is a curator, researcher, writer and lecturer examining trajectories of media art(s) and urban change. She has taken up visiting scholarships at Columbia University, The New School and Konstfack – University of Arts, Crafts and Design (CuratorLab). In 2018-2020 she is a research fellow at the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong.
Mogens Jacobsen is a Danish media artist who has been working with digital art, objects, and installations since the early nineties, and he was one of the pioneers of Danish internet art. In 1992 he cofounded the Danish net-art collective "The Artnode Foundation". His works focus on the temporal and material aesthetics of systems, processes, instructions, and code. His artworks often take the form of machines or devices that critically and humorously examine technology and our everyday lives coping with technology. Mogens Jacobsen's work has been exhibited at numerous national and international venues, among others the Media Art Festival in Japan, FILE in Brazil, ZKM in Germany, the Transmediale in Germany, and the Ars Electronica in Austria.
Alessandro Ludovico is a researcher, artist and chief editor of Neural magazine since 1993. He received his Ph.D. degree in English and Media from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (UK). He is Associate Professor at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He has published and edited several books, and has lectured worldwide. He also served as an advisor for the Documenta 12's Magazine Project. He is one of the authors of the award-winning Hacking Monopolism trilogy of artworks (Google Will Eat Itself, Amazon Noir, Face to Facebook).
The Leonardo ISAST LASER talks at Aalborg University will look closer at the cultures of media art in Denmark and beyond.
The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 40 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks
MicroPOM is the subformat of the international conference series POM - Politics of Machines www.pomconference.org, founded by Laura Beloff and Morten Søndergaard. Open for a general public, it focuses specifically on the growth layer of the field: the upcoming and emerging practitioners (artists, humanities students, programmers, engineers etc.) and scholars (below PhD level). It specifically aims at making visible local media art worlds and environments in a shareable and social hybrid Microformat, typically max. 24 hours. Furthermore, it aims at critiquing existing politics of the field, suggesting new policies / manifestos
Aalborg, 080 DK-9000