20 November 2020 Virtual Workshops and artists talks

Workshops with Rosa Menkman and Btihaj Ajana

Workshop 1 with Rosa Menkman, 11:00-13:30

Beyond Resolution: Impossible Image

Workshop description: Imagine you can obtain an ‘impossible image’ of an object or phenomenon you think is important, with no limits to spatial, temporal, energy signal to noise or cost resolutions. What image would you create? When I went to CERN, Geneva, for the Collide residency, in 2019, I asked every scientist I met this question. Their answers gave me an incredibly rich and stimulating database of perspectives, not just on how resolutions play a vital role in our understanding and perception of the world, but also into the different understandings of impossibility. In this workshop, we will explore different forms of impossible and possible images, to better understand the dynamics and importance of resolution setting. The workshop is limited to 30 participants.

Rosa Menkman is a visual artist and researcher. Her work focuses on noise artifacts that result from accidents in analogue and digital media (such as glitch, encoding and feedback artifacts). The standardisation of resolutions, a process that generally imposes efficiency, order, and functionality on our technologies, doesn’t just involve the creation of protocols, but also the obfuscation of compromises and the black-boxing of alternative possibilities. Menkman’s work has been widely exhibited at venues like Transmediale, Berlin, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Nova Festival, Brasil. In 2011, she published Network Notebook #04: The Glitch Moment(um), which uses information theory to propose an understanding of glitch art. In the same year, Menkman authored A Vernacular of File Formats and Glitch Studies Manifesto, which was awarded ‘Best Practice’ by Virtueel Platform, the Netherlands. In 2015, she opened the institutions of Resolution Disputes at Transfer Gallery, NYC. One of the works in this exhibition, DCT, was awarded the first prize at the Crypto Design Challenge hosted by Museum of the Image (MOTI), Breda.

Workshop 2 with Btihaj Ajana, 14:30-17:00

The Burst of Surprise: Indeterminacy and the Viral Politics of Covid-19

Workshop description: The global crisis ushered by the spread of coronavirus has induced a rupture in the neoliberal order. Covid 19 is emblematic of how nature can act as a sovereign disturbing the world order and erupting into radical unknowability. The situation, no doubt, forces a rethinking of knowledge and of the political nature of the future and its indeterminacy. For so long the dominant articulation of politics has been the ‘techno-economical organization’ or ‘making operational’ of our world (Nancy). Yet ‘events’ like Covid-19 challenge the workability of neoliberal politics, creating a space for re-imagining the political as open futurity. In the workshop we will examine the technosocial operations that have been put to work as a response to Covid-19: tracking apps and facial recognition techniques that have been mobilised to ‘determine’ the indeterminacy of the disease, critically reflecting on their design and the ethical questions they raise. We will also explore alternative ways of thinking and imagining a post-Covid-19 world and the role of in(determinacy) in shaping such imaginary. The workshop is limited to 30 participants.

Btihaj Ajana is a theorist and practitioner. She is Reader in the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College, London. Her academic work is interdisciplinary in nature, spanning areas of digital culture, media praxis, and biopolitics. She is the author of Governing through Biometrics: The Biopolitics of Identity (Palgrave, 2013) and editor of Self-Tracking: Empirical and Philosophical Investigations (Springer, 2018) and Metric Culture: Ontologies of self-tracking practices (Emerald, 2018). Her new project is concerned with the politics of immunity in the context of Covid-19.

Artist Talks with Rosa Menkman and Btihaj Ajana, moderated by Natasha Lushetich & Iain Campbell, 17:30 – 18:30