Displays for Becoming Present
I. Exhibiting Networking

This conference will consist of public brainstorming about spatial conceptualizations of artistic projects of a translocal and transdisciplinary nature. We aim to articulate possibilities on how we can develop and realize present places of production and how we can present these projects. Architects, curators, artists, researchers, and theoreticians will introduce their projects in the form of statements. Respondents will counter their short contributions. Thematically, the conference takes off from two threads: space and network.

The aim of the conference is to conduct a debate about the conditions of production as well as to present forms of practice that involve contemporary technologies, everyday media, audio culture, and participatory models. Following the approach of Networked Cultures, these projects will not be considered in the light of the promise of mechanistic innovations in the technology of digital culture. Rather the aim is to investigate the extent to which technologies influence social practices, information exchange, and political activism under everyday conditions and at locations of cultural transformation.

In particular, digital technologies change our understanding of proximity and distance, and also the ways in which we work together. Ad-hoc communication takes place over thousands of kilometres. The construction of identity is permanently in progress and generates multiple relations. Distances become calculable numbers that shed light on the acceleration of connections and of global partnerships. National, social and cultural concepts resist hegemonical lines of demarcation. – Networked Cultures takes off from a heterogeneous present state of society under post-colonial conditions. It is impossible to hark back to older forms of production and presentation. Networks act through permanent shifting. Needs, fears, and desires at present lead networks towards modes of dispersion.

It seems that Networked Cultures are our avant-garde. Nevertheless, they can hardly assert an autonomous status. Networking practices activate temporary environments and agonistic publics, which operate within various politics of mobility and through different organizational and political structures. For example, research by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer suggests that Networked Cultures are an approach that “replaces the most powerful figure of modernity: the threatening figure of the masses in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries”.

What are the dispositifs and spatial models that display the politics of networking? Which specific spatial formats make current projects manifest? How could institutional concepts, e.g. for Media Labs, be re-thought and developed today?

The conference is the first of a series of events to be held with international partners. The programme has been set up by Doreen Mende as part of the curatorial grant 2009 of Labor für Kunst und Medien Berlin. The contributions and discussion will be mainly in English.

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