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.

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.

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.

Register here

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.

Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics – Seminar

April 16, 2024 | 14:15 CET

Aarhus University

Welcome to this seminar with four guest talks on critical infrastructures and image politics by scholars and artists from the UK: Alexandra Anikina, Kwame Phillips, Stephen Cornford, and Geoff Cox. The Digital Aesthetics Research Centre and the Centre for Aesthetics of AI Images are the local hosts of this seminar and the visit.

The seminar will explore Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics from multiple perspectives derived from a newly established research group at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton). Along with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at LSBU and the Digital Aesthetics Research Centre (DARC) at Aarhus University, we are exploring collective and decentred forms of research. 

This seminar will address the politics of images and sound as objects of research captured by various digital and scientific apparatuses and infrastructures. The presentations feature approaches grounded in artistic research, activist-focused sensory media and practices of ‘networking’ and ‘infrastructuring’ the university. The approaches are underpinned by an interest in collaborative modes of work that provide provocative approaches to audiovisual culture, as well as interrogating the very context of production of such knowledge in and beyond universities.

https://cc.au.dk/aktuelt/arrangementer/vis-arrangement/artikel/critical-infrastructures-and-image-politics-seminar-1

University as Infrastructure: diagramming the systems reliance of higher education

April 16, 2024 | 09:30 CET

Aarhus University

In this workshop we will collaboratively diagram the data and software systems on which all Universities have become dependent. The time of both students and staff are increasingly called upon to input, update, check, and action information stored in outsourced databases, producing value for external software providers, many of which are ultimately owned by private equity firms. Taking our lead from the practices of Mark Lombardi and Vladan Joler (among others), we see this diagramming exercise as a means to visualise the University’s integration into platform logistics and economies of data profiteering. 

The workshop is co-organised by the Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group (CIIP, Winchester School of Art), together with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI, London South Bank University), Digital Aesthetics Research Centre (DARC) and SHAPE (Aarhus University).

https://aias.au.dk/events/show/artikel/workshop-university-as-infrastructure

Federating Research: CIIP x CSNI x DARC

December 01, 2023 | 10:00 GMT

Winchester School of Art

A panel discussion between Dr Alexandra Anikina, Dr Stephen Cornford, Professor Geoff Cox (London South Bank), and Professor Jussi Parikka (Aarhus) on the relationships between image and infrastructure.

Wesley Goatley: Artificial Intelligence Does Not Exist

November 07, 2023 | 14:00 GMT

Winchester School of Art

Critical artist and researcher Wesley Goatley’s work examines AI technologies and their relations to society, geopolitics, and the climate crisis. In this talk, he will expose some of the common myths of AI and their concerning impact on labor, communities, and the climate, and how critical art and design practice can respond to and challenge these conditions. Goatley’s work is included in AI: Who’s Looking After Me, currently at the Science Gallery, London.

https://www.wesleygoatley.com/

Alexandra Anikina: Affective Scroll, Assembly Line

November 06, 2023 | 19:00 CET

Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany

Alexandra Anikina’s talk “Affective Scroll, Assembly Line: Automating Platform Spectators and Labour on TikTok” in the series Feeds & Flows: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ephemeral Image Cultures at Bauhaus University Weimar.

LINK

Remote Vision: Stephen Cornford & Harun Farocki screening

November 06, 2023 | 18:30 AEDT

Cell Block Theatre, National Art School, Sydney

Photographic imaging technologies have long been associated with important historical shifts in art practice. Cornford’s Spectral Indexand Farocki’s War at a Distanceexemplifythis legacy of artists reflecting on the role of new and developing imaging technologies in the contemporary world. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Cornford.

Eventbrite