A Video Store After the End of the World: The Great Netfix

June 05 – July 03, 2024

Borough Road Gallery, London South Bank University

Set up as a media re-distribution unit, The Great Netfix, an exhibition by A Video Store After the End of the World (Kristoffer Gansing & Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter), unfolds as a performative installation that works to reform relations between labour, automation and ownership.

The Great Netfix will consist of a low-tech media infrastructure that allows for the extraction of streaming media onto VHS. Exploiting how the contents of digital media platforms are not endless, the exhibition aims to discuss how the streaming economy is materially entangled and based on an economy of artificially created scarcity. In contrast, The Great Netfix “unclouds” online audiovisual media in a performance of the labour of automation and as a material speculation on alternatives to the algorithmic cloud. Consisting of a media front-end and a labour back-end, in The Great Netfix, VHS tapes are used to host the extracted media streams. During the course of the exhibition period, a stack of VHS data packages is built up, which can be picked up by visitors who then become the future custodians of A Video Store After the End of the World, interconnected through a VHS distribution network.

The Great Netfix is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and The Swedish Research Council and is organised in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI) at LSBU, The Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the research group Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics (CIIP) at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.


The servers are down. The Streaming has stopped. The cloud is gone.
Welcome to a Video Store After the End of the World.

A Video Store After the End of the World was first installed in Copenhagen as part of the Trans★Feminist Digital Depletion Strike on the 8th of March 2023 which brought together a transnational network of organisations, collectives and individuals in protest against cloud-based computing and its extractive logic. The video store and its VHS medium here became a backdrop for a conversation about how we can collectively imagine new, more sustainable and local ways of sharing knowledge, art and culture than through the energy-intensive cloud-based networks we rely on today. Due to its slow biodegradation process, VHS has the potential to outlive digital servers and humanity too. By referring to the end of the world, the project does not suggest a coming apocalypse, but a hopeful living in or in spite of what Anna Tsing has called “capitalist ruins” that are already very much here.

The initial video store collected more than 2000 used video tapes for home recording, some of which have been used to create mix-tapes on counter-cloud practices. In a next phase, the collection is now being mobilised to create a distributed model of A Video Store After the End of the World.

For more information on the project and its past activities visit https://vhs.data.coop/

In Search of Places Lost: screening and talk by Krassimir Terziev and Tsvetelina Hristova

May 17 2024 | 18:30 BST | May Day Rooms, London.

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Test screening of the video essay Time Sticks to the Walls by Krassimir Terziev and Tsvetelina Hristova and discussion with the authors.

Between 1945 and 1989 the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, part of the East-European Socialist Bloc, undertook the construction of public parks and amusement complexes for the working class. These structures were once built with a sweeping determination for a future that never materialised. The promise of a classless communist utopia operated with a vast horizon of a planetary communal futurity, where scale sealed the certainty in a deterministic line of progression and projected the vision of accessible and disciplined sociality. 1989 interrupted the trajectory of this imagined future and with this interruption, the temporalities of infrastructural developments and relations shifted into the unstable terms of public procurement contracts that banked the accumulations of the past into fungible futures.We reflect on how artistic exploration can provide an outlet to engaging with loss and trauma in the post-socialist urban landscape. The focus on loss opens the space for a critical interrogation of the possibilities of reclaiming an affective infrastructural commonality of joy, leisure and recreation beyond the consumerist spaces of the capitalist city.

Krassimir Terziev is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans a diversity of media, including video/film, photography, painting/drawing, and text, questioning the boundaries between reality and fiction, while exploring the manifold transitions and tensions between a globalized world, dominated by overwhelming multiplicity of symbolic imagery, and its material groundings in technological, physical and human ‘hardware’.

Tsvetelina Hristova is a Teaching Fellow in media studies at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton and part of the Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group. Tsvetelina works on topics that interrogate the politics of media, mediation and automation.

Alexandra Anikina

Dr Alexandra (Sasha) Anikina is a researcher and media artist. She is a Senior Lecturer in Media Practices at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton), Programme Co-Lead for MA Global Media Management and Co-Director of Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group. Her work focuses on digital and algorithmic visual culture, imaginaries of technology and AI, feminist studies of science and technology, affective infrastructures and technological conditions of knowledge production, governance, labour and affect. She writes on a variety of audiovisual media and digital artefacts, including experimental film, algorithmic recommendation systems, games, screensavers and contemporary art. She is part of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image.

As an artist, she works with experimental film, game engines and lecture-performances. Her work has been shown internationally, including VI Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Gaîté Lyrique, Paris; Anthology Film Archives, New York; NCCA Moscow; Korean Film Archive and Art Sonje Museum, Seoul; Sanatorium gallery, Istanbul; Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale; Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow; ar/ge kunst, Bolzano, Eye FilmMuseum, and others. Her artist portfolio can be found here.

Before joining Winchester School of Art, she taught at Goldsmiths, London South Bank University and King’s College London, and was Balzan Post-Doctoral Fellow at New Sorbonne University Paris 3 in 2021-2022. She was co-editor of Cosmic Shift: Russian Contemporary Art Writing (London: ZED Books, 2017, TLS Book of the Year 2017). She co-curated media art festival IMPAKT 2018 ‘Algorithmic Superstructures’ and was a Digital Earth Fellow in 2020-2021. Currently she is working on a monograph on procedural images, as well as on the themes of techno-animism and post-socialist necropolitics.

Rolien Hoyng: Models of the climate crisis: the quantitative and the speculative

May 7 2024 | 13:00 GMT

Online

A climate model in climate science is a proxy that does the work of standing in. It replaces the overwhelming complexity of the climate that can only be apprehended via a synoptic form, an abstraction. Yet the proxological role the model aspires to requires negotiating manifestations of agencies that for Stengers invoke the name of Gaia and to which Clark and Szerszynski respond with the idea of planetary multiplicity: a restless planet that is “self-incompatible,” “out of step” with itself, and “self-differentiating.” I am especially interested in how models of the Anthropocene that travel beyond science coalesce the quantitative and the speculative. Remarkably, while inscribed with indeterminacy, models, in their contemporary digital-algorithmic form, are the cornerstones of data-driven, quantified rationalities and numerical precision. Indeed, uncertainty and indeterminacy do not undermine the use of models but open up various possibilities and politics. Considering differential and situated experiences of these dynamics raises political and ethical questions over climate justice.

Rolien Hoyng is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK. Her research addresses the cultural and political implications of digital infrastructures and data-centric technologies in particular contexts of practice, including smart cities, waste, and ecology. Currently, she is working on the role of digital models as uncertain mediations of the climate crisis. Her fieldwork sites reside in Turkey, China, and Europe.

The talk is part of CIIP Speaker Series organised in collaboration with MA Fine Art and MA GMM in the Department of Art and Media Technology, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

Ryan Bishop

Ryan Bishop is Professor of Global Art and Politics in the Department of Art and Media Technology at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He is lead editor of the journal Cultural Politics(Duke UP) and co-edits the book series “A Cultural PoliticsBook” (DUP) and “Technicities” (with Jussi Parikka, Edinburg UP). A recent book is Technocrats of the Imagination: Art, Technology and the Military-Industrial Avant-garde(co-authored with John Beck, DUP, 2020).

Stephen Cornford

Stephen Cornford is a media artist and writer whose research investigates the relationships between technologies and landscapes, between media systems and planetary systems. His work critically questions the environmental impacts of consumer electronics and scientific sensing practices, and the viability of addressing ecological collapse through extractive and economic logics. His practice conceives of a ‘spectral geotechnics’ that connects technological and geological materialities through their mutual immersion in, and production by, the electromagnetic spectrum. Much of Stephen’s recent work was made alongside scientific researchers. He has collaborated with geophysicists prospecting for lithium, and held an Earth Art Fellowship with volcanologists studying magma crystallisation with X-rays.

Stephen is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Programme Lead for MA Fine Art at Winchester School of Art. He is also a founding co-director of Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics. Stephen has had solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Berlin, Brighton, Bergen, Ljubljana & London and his work has been included in group exhibtions at the ZKM Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe; ICC, Tokyo; Haus der Electronische Kunst, Basel; Sigma Foundation, Venice; Finnish Museum of Photography and Coventry Biennial.

stephencornford.net

Olga Goriunova: Biometrics, Data Abstractions and the Politics of Truth

April 30, 2024 | 13:30 GMT

Winchester School of Art

Guest talk by Professor Olga Goriunova, cultural theorist working with technological cultures, media philosophy and aesthetics.

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Abstract

In this talk, I begin with the idea that in order to function, or be materially relevant, all abstractions need grounding. For the human subject, such grounding, I suggest, is performed via the body and the specific anchoring of the body in abstractions such as biometrics, mobile phone triangulation and a range of others. In such abstractions, the production of truth is performed in relation to the framework developed from the 18th century onwards, where the bearer of truth is nature, of which human body is part. However, with AI, “nature” as a concept loses much of its force and it is a newly constructed “matter”, which takes center stage. Therefore, using examples from ground truthing in AI to biometric technology, I ask, how are data and AI-based abstractions are grounded today and, relatedly, how is truth produced?

Olga Goriunova is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University of London. She was co-curator of Readme, international touring software art festivals, 2001-2005 and Runme.org software art repository (2003+), and curator of Fun and Software touring exhibition (2010-2011). This work has been conceptualized in her monograph Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (Routledge, 2012) and in the collections she edited and co-edited, including Readme. Software Art and Cultures (Aarhus University Press, 2004) and Fun and Software: Exploring Pleasure, Pain and Paradox in Computing (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is also a co-founder and co-editor of Computational Culture, a Journal of Software Studies. She is the co-author (with Matthew Fuller) of Bleak Joys. Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) and the editor of the special issue “Digital Subjects” of the journal Subjectivity (2018). She wrote influential essays on glitch, new media idiocy, memes and lurkers before these were mobilised by alt-right, data surveillance and AI. Her new project Ideal Subjects (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming) focuses on machine learning, data and subject-construction.

The talk is part of CIIP Speaker Series organised in collaboration with MA Fine Art and MA GMM in the Department of Art and Media Technology, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

Kristoffer Gansing

Kristoffer Gansing works across media theory, artistic research and curatorial practice. In his writing and projects, re-considerations of pasts, presents and futures of media aim to inspire transformative change. He has been professor of Artistic Research at the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen (2020-2023) where he also directed the International Center for Knowledge in the Arts. There, his recently curated symposia have accentuated perspectives beyond normative or Western centered-views on art and knowledge production, such as Not Only: A Symposium on Artistic Research (2021) and Transformative Futures –Re-imaginations of Time, Space and Materiality in Artistic Research (2022). Between 2011-2020, Gansing was artistic director of transmediale, a globally renowned art and digital culture festival in Berlin. He is the co-editor of Across & Beyond: A transmediale Reader on Post-digital Practices, Concepts, and Institutions (2016, w. Ryan Bishop, Jussi Parikka & Elvia Wilk) and The Eternal Network – The Ends and Becomings of Network Culture (2020, w. Inga Luchs). In 2023, he published the short-form book Homegrown, Outsourced, Organised – Network-based Arts and the Technoaesthetics of Infrastructure, which forms part of a larger investigation into shifting media infrastructures and non-extractive practices. 

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9009-1406

Tsvetelina Hristova

Tsvetelina Hristova is a teaching fellow in Global Media at the Winchester School of Art, Southampton University. She works in the fields of critical infrastructure studies, critical data studies and postsocialism, combining theoretical and methodological approaches from media studies, STS and anthropology. She earned a PhD from Western Sydney University and has been a fellow at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana and the Centre for Advanced Internet Studies, Bochum. Her texts have been published in the journals Big Data & Society, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Cultural Economy and the Theory on Demand book series of the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam.

Jussi Parikka

Jussi Parikka works on contemporary visual culture and operational images alongside questions of environmental media. He has authored several books on the topic including recently Operational Images (2023), Photography Off the Scale (2021, co-edited with Tomas Dvorak), and Living Surfaces (co-authored with Abelardo Gil-Fournier, 2024). Jussi works also occasionally also as a curator having participated for example in the curatorial teams of transmediale 2023 and Helsinki Biennial 2023. Recently, he co-curated with Daphne Dragona the Climate Engines exhibition (October 2023-May 2024) at Laboral, Gijon (Spain). In addition to being affiliated with CIIP, he works at Aarhus University where he leads the Digital Aesthetics Research Centre (DARC) as well as co-directs the Environmental Media and Aesthetics research program.

https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/operational-images

https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/the-lab-book

http://www.laboralcentrodearte.org/en/exposiciones/motores-del-clima