( pic from James Bridle’s project Citizen Ex )
< Nov 2- 4 > Berliner Gazette’s Annual Conference, theme Unfriendly Fire, ZKU Berlin
The formats for BG conferences are a good tactic to go deeper into some challenging topics, in a short time. This time there are 3 days of workshops on 5 different tracks - and 3 nights of public talks. See link above.
We won’t have time to participate this year… But will attempt to report back on some of the public talks and the workshop groups’ summaries on the last day.
We did attend the opening talks from James Bridle and Eleanor Saitta, and moderated by Anna Sauerbrey … on the theme of Are Digital Non-/Citizens the Status Quo?
A quick retort … to keep our impressions fresh… perhaps we’ll come back and try and go back to more about what was offered by the speakers:
There is the danger that when we try to describe and defend ourselves from the ominous enclosures created by the endless surge – and siege – of the technological tools and environments wielded by corporate and state entities, we can get lost in a virtuality of constructed territories and forget that also very real power still exists in citizens with their feet on the ground. From this angle, we might see that the more we submit to the tech + data games, the more we are captured and subjected to its rules and virtualizing frames !
Saitta is a computer security expert, who perhaps once shared the faith of technological social empowerment, a part of a left California Counter-Ideology. A community hacker. Though these days, the tide has definitively turned, there are very few in the field who have much optimism in tech liberation, and little strategy for digging ourselves out of the hole that a trillions dollar industry has implemented. Yet their faith remains in the form of their more recent pessimism, as if the whole cybernetic construct actually works as a complex and functional cage of networks and operating systems.
For Citizens IRL ( in real life ), we may do best when we imagine that we ARE the state, and NOT the fragile (virtual ) systems which have been built to format and incorporate us ! Sure, there are very dangerous and very concrete realities that arise from this mapped mess of digital and geographical borders, now enforced through technological means …But the more we operate as an organic, embodied species (and communities ) not of the technospheres, the less we are the compatible play-along cyborgs required for the the continuation of simulated narratives and post-human grids. When we are away from the machines, we are not only AFK ( away from the keyboard ), we are not subjects of, nor indexes for, a keyboard-or-code derived control. Perhaps that might be at first only a mental step forward, and then incrementally a tactical and physical praxis.
to be cont.