While Mutamorphosis has been full of people with an inspiring wealth of knowledge and pioneering creative direction, the event as a whole struggled to grapple with the bigger picture of what art and science as a collaborative medium might become for our seriously challenged times.
Ironically the one “Paper” that provided the most potent articulation of concerns of an “XL Terrestrial” nature* was not a presenter’s (power pt.) lecture, but something which seemed like an ancient relic amidst talks of biotech, nanotech, robotics, space exploration, AI, network theory, etc etc. ; It was a newspaper lying on the desk of an installation piece by Spectral Investigations Collective & RIXC Media Collective & Ewen Chardronnet entitled “The Laboratory Planet”. The articles here sufficiently bring us up-to-speed in terms of addressing the situations we find ourselves in today. Though if you blinked and missed it, or are simply out of range of the art sector (we presume) distribution, the creators have made the entire contents available for download. In hindsight, if only Mutamorphosis could have begun with this analysis of our planet transformed into “a laboratory world promoting the manipulation of the living according to the doctrine of ‘acceptable risk’ “, (which immediately draws parallels to the entry we recently posted about Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine) then we might have launched our discussions from more engaged humanist and responsive positions. But the conference rather took its cue and overarching theme from Louis Bec, who introduced the concept that we are “extremophiles”, which essentially states that we as a species continually push through our boundaries and limits in an aggressive and predatory manner. And while the abstract itself is full of the heavy and alarming implications in the current techno-scientific storm, he identifies all of us, as these arts and science transgressives, as though we must resign ourselves to this warped progression of extremes.
But on the contrary, an interesting dichotomy between the artists and those more fueled by the science industries became apparent. Not to entirely reduce this to a gender issue, but it can be deducted that a masculinist (and economicly-embraced) drive for knowledge/power avoids little if any reservation or responsibilities for whatever havoc might result from the exploitation of new territories, encouraging a come-what-may attitude, while primarily women who presented at the conference provided some counteractive designs to those “inevitablilities” of reckless, destructive and mutated futures.
(We will come back to add a description of more presenters at Prague’s Municipal Library and the RIXC installation, which was part of Mutamorphosis/Enter3â€™s exhibition called Unsafe Distance at the Stone Bell House cellar at the StaromÄ›stskÃ© NÃ¡mÄ›stÃ, central square. And certainly Mutamorphosis has many more facets, both bright moments and problematic holes which we hope to analyze and explore over the next days. )
From the back page article “Representing The System” by Bureau D’Etudes:
“The application of cybernetics to politics and economics, the use of computer networks and telecommunications will deeply transform the organization of the global system. The development of information and communication systems from the sub-surface level right up into outer space has opened new capacities of modelisation by providing the planetary real with an info-communicational doppelganger. This data-based double makes it possible to subordinate territory to its representation (thereby reinforcing management and long distance control capacities). Every point of the territory, every object of the subject that inhabits it, is thus subjected to a data-based twin. It is in this context that the dream of total management tends to become a reality: the map being the territory, action on the map is at the same time action on the territory.”
(Prague’s Å½iÅ¾kov Television Tower, named after the Zizkov neighborhood over which it looms from the top of a small hill on a rainy night. Not fotoshopped. This tower was built between 1985 and 1992. And so while it is a remnant of the communist-era, known as “brutalist architecture” of the east block, it is interesting to note that it was actually completed and now fully utilized in a “post-communist” telecommunicated world.)
to be cont.
* For those just landing here on our virtual XL Terrestrial shores, perhaps the XLT view may be briefly summarized as a citizenship which has one foot in the present, one foot in the future, and more than a few tentacles upon the wheels of change, and do not abandon a deep appreciation and respect of what lives before us.