Fragments on Machines
Friday 13th of May, 2016
Screening curated at Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration at Goldsmiths, University of London
In the spirit of Marx’s Fragment on Machines, a section from the Grundrisse, and inspired by Emma Charles’ film of the same title, this screening suggests works that focus on the material and machinic configurations of the ‘virtual’, bringing to light the precarious power relations within it. How, as human beings, do we inhabit the space of the image technologies? What clandestine sensibilities govern the background operations of the machines? The opaque apparatuses are made visible in order to uncover the underlying currents of data, hidden infrastructures, mutations and peculiar spatiality of the material encounters with the human bodies.
White Mountain, a new film by Emma Charles, focuses on the Pionen data centre - a redesigned Cold War era civil defence bunker located 30 meters under the granite rocks of Vita Bergen Park in Stockholm and housing servers for clients which once included WikiLeaks and PirateBay. The film reveals the new accelerated temporality of the geological space, brought into it by data streams.
In Kodak Moment Wilf Speller combines sound from a commercial for Kodak Instamatic 814 camera with the images from commercial for Calico Submachine Gun, resulting in a humorous but also ominous assemblage evoking the military potentiality of the image technologies.
Lawrence Lek’s Berlin Mirror is a site-specific simulation of the 2042 Berlin Biennial in which fictional artist Daniela Graham leads the viewer on a guided tour of her centennial exhibition at Kunst Werke Berlin. The tour weaves together her practice in video and sculpture, her relationship to history and her four site-specific works at the institution. In this work the filmic space is revealed as both questioned by and questioning its material alliances and lineages.
The other Wilf Speller’s film in the screening, BlkBx.mov, borrows from the internet aesthetics ranging from YouTube conspiracy videos to instructional desktop demonstrations, as well as from guidelines for performing religious rituals in space, to explore the notion of the Black Box as a gesture of power and ideology - a gesture founded in faith and illusion.
The 3D Additivist Manifesto by Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke calls for pushing the additive manufacturing - technologies pertaining to 3D-modelling and printing - “to their absolute limit and beyond into the realm of the speculative, the provocative and the weird.” Expressing the thinking behind the larger movement of #Additivism, the manifesto conflates the difference between the physical, virtual, human and non-human agents and materials.