Transmediale Prelude v.2, Break-Ins and Breaking Out of Darkness #Eddcon


{ pic from Kiev Occupation }

Breaking-In and Breaking Out of Darkness  – Part A

RT @pondswimmer “It’s great to fight over how to deal with “intrusion of neo liberal logic” but eventually we should take it outside this small room” #eddcon.

RT @Linuzifer “I guess few people are happy with @bruces telling everyonr off, but it’s exactly what we need to be told.” #eddcon

“Is it now easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine disconnecting from a cybernetic regime?” XLt analyst #eddcon ( @podinski )

Waking up monday morning from the bubble of the both fascinating and irritating conference Einbruch Der Dunkelheit, we saw this imagery from the incredible reports from Ilya Varlamov in Kiev. Internet imagery of course, but still a little closer-to-the-ground view of things as they play out AFK ( away from keyboard-s ) and AFC ( away from conferences). As expected, a stark contrast to the plush foyer of the Volksbuehne discussing the “theory and praxis of self-empowerment in the times of digital control.”

It was about half-way through the conference, that someone finally questioned “Self-empowerment” as opposed to a “WE” in the sub-header. “Praxis-of-the-self”, should in fact be the GMO-like-label for the social products “Made in New Age Silicon Valley”.


Missing in the english translation “As Darkness Falls” is the full import of ‘Einbruch’ which spans a range of active doings i.e. break-ins, raids, intrusions, trespassings, and even slumps [ econ.] By the end of the conference we certainly felt the topic of the New Digital Order had been “slumped”! Thoroughly divested of solutions and radical actions, one might say.

But it’s not as if no one had tried to stir up the crowd to get us moving toward the path of what-the- F*** we should do ! But apparently we’re still spending alot of time to convince people just how dark it has become.

Evgeny Morozov opened fire from the outset in his usual, irreverent cut-to-the-non-digital-chase ! It’s the Political and the Economical, Stupid ! Low-and-behold, you think it’s bad now, wait til ya see The Internet Of Things, that which we might call the industrial-strength Digerati sci-fi when us and our Things are gloriously and cybernetically bound forever !

And Bruce Sterling that same night was one of the most rousing and simultaneously hilarious speeches we’ve ever encountered at the Volksbuehne. “How many Snowdens do you neeeeed ?! How many (data) Chernobyls will we take ?!!” he asked. and then essentially declared the internet to be dead ! The room was awoken and emotionally charged ! We got the impression that if he sticks around in town long enough, he will be anointed the New Texan Schlingensief ! That kind of wild energy, imbued w/ a psychotropic sci-fi imagination could scorch the latest dreamy start-up Mecca, E-Cloudy Berlin ( imagined in a 1930s font above the pearly gates – thx @jkleske for the link. )

There were many other worthy contributions and relevant insights, but not all intentional… and as usual in these fully-stacked programs, more than we are able to process at this time. Archives should be appearing online very soon, to review and/or catch-up.

To back up and begin anecdotally, we might introduce the angles by saying that the XLterrestrials have not been too kind in our analysis of the technological fixer mindsets, the rising hacktivist consciousness (so often detached from sociological perspective, among other fields.), nor the policy advocate campaigner sorts that would attempt to intervene by lining up to have a serious chat w/ Brussels parliamentarians ( Sterling-esque cackles here).

Each day as we headed toward the Volksbuehne for #Eddcon, we were shocked and disturbed to see one of a small band of homeless people who regularly camp out in and around Rosenthaler Platz, a woman now alone curled beneath a sleeping bag and blankets in an uncovered corner against a building, a storefront for a Yoga school, btw. The temperatures in Berlin now close to -10c.

At first, we passed feeling empathy, distressed but w/o solutions, w/o the will and the time to act, remaining on track toward that serious business of what to do about all these new and inflamed digital dilemmas. The image haunted us a little at the conference. That night we were told by one of the conference organizers about a project which one can call to pick up people and bring them to shelters. It was late, our heads were full of a muddle of meandering lectures, still searching to recall the name and find a link. Still haven’t called. Writing this article, instead of searching deeper for a link.

In our minds, we said to ourselves… somebody will surely do this. Germany’s surely one of the better-equipped as a society to deal with this. And yet paradoxically knew that the next day we’d see this person still there. We packed some extra wool gloves – not used anymore – to take along. And we gave her the gloves and felt a little less guilty for having passed before without acting.

We mention this here, because in a sense, in light of the conference context here we were making a hasty, minimally-invested ‘technological solution’ to a dire situation.

Technical, and yet we felt a bit like it was somehow a more realworld practical offering to her, than if we had just tried to get her to a shelter. Because we imagined that we would not be the 1st to have tried getting her there before. Speculative, but it was possible she was refusing to go, out of fears, or had already been thrown out of the system b/c of drugs or alcohol, or ? … psychological help needed perhaps, etc.

Obviously the situation is still on our minds; It is not resolved. And it is a useful and painfully penetrating analogy to consider technological fixes in an emergency situation !

And in our heads, we imagine the digital culture crowd responding – if at all – in an even more removed and more ’self-empowering’ version or application, which would be like leaving an android app for homeless shelters throughout Berlin to a ‘realtime patient’ in the streets, whose mind was too numbed and fingers already grown too cold to even turn a gadget on, much less navigate its complex functions.

Some genius code to deal with just these kinds of situations, written from their Fabrik Etage in Prenzlauerberg… just around the corner !

Now ’scale’ that problem up to city-wide, national and global situations, and you will begin to understand the DARKNESS ! And that’s before we even start talking about the mesmerizing and sinister post-Snowden view of A Cybernetic Regime.

2 be cont…


Part B: AFK and AFC, Breaking Out Of Darkness


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