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Sisters with Transistors
“It feels so utopian to think about a face filter that doesn’t capture data, an interactive mirror that doesn’t use DARPA-funded body tracking, with no governmental or corporate uses. But I have to believe that we could have that.”
Forensic Architecture launches an interactive archive of police brutality cases documented at Black Lives Matter protests across the United States. In examining thousands of videos shared online, the London-based research agency together with Bellingcat investigators managed to verify and analyse more than 400 attacks on civilians using chemical agents, 300 instances of unjustified arrest, detention, and intimidation, 300 physical assaults by officers, and 250 attacks on journalists, medics, and legal observers.
“Virtual influencers, while fake, have real business potential. They are cheaper to work with than humans in the long term, are 100% controllable, can appear in many places at once, and, most importantly, they never age or die.”
Mexican artist Julieta Gil wins Gold at the 2020 Lumen Prize for Nuestra Victoria, Our Victory (image), a recent series of photogrammetry reconstructions of the defaced Angel of Independence. The Mexico City landmark had been at the centre of the August 2019 protests against violence towards women. Derived from countless photographs, the work constitutes a digital archive of collective memory, as government forces began boarding up the monument only hours after the demonstrations.
After eight years of “promoting artistic innovation and digital creation” in and around Lyon, France, Mirage Festival calls it quits. “Since the beginning, Mirage Festival has encountered structural difficulties that we are not able to overcome anymore,” states artistic director Jean-Emmanuel Rosnet and team. This year, the festival was hit particularly hard: first by the pandemic—the 2020 edition was cut short by lockdown measures—and then by funding cuts. Mirage leaves a legacy of dynamic interdisciplinary programming that brought international talents such as Sabrina Ratté, Herman Kolgen, Quiet Ensemble, and Quadrature to the region.
Zentrum für Netzkunst’s “OPENCOIL” opens to “explore the impact of micro-mobility services on urban space” by hacking the decentralised infrastructure of dockless sharing vehicles—scooters—for a “roaming speedshow” across Berlin. 11 artists, among them Aram Bartholl, Rosa Menkman, Jonas Lund, Sarah Grant, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, and JODI, each turned a randomly selected e-scooter into a “digital gallery space” via a coil-powered WiFi microcontroller containing work.
“Thus, during mutual gaze, the robot appears to look at you instead of through you.”
Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan’s immersive installation Light Leaks (2013) opens at Wonderspaces, Scottsdale, deploying fifty mirror balls as epicenter of profound spectacle. Using computer vision and volumetric capture of projector pixel positions, the two artists control the balls’ myriad reflections into a meditative choreography. “It’s one of the best versions we’ve ever done,” McDonald writes on Twitter, citing updated tools for better calibration.
A database of myriad cyberfeminism(s)—post-binary, feminist servers, cyborg witches—from 1990–2020, Cyberfeminism Index launches. Facilitated and gathered by Mindy Seu and commissioned by Rhizome, the site offers a deep archive of hundreds of critical gender studies texts, manifestos, and inititiatives. To aid in navigating its voluminous collection, its interface includes curated ‘collections’ by key voices including original cyberfeminists VNS Matrix, bio-hacker Mary Maggic, and the xenofeminist collective Laboria Cuboniks.
“After a big storm or fire, fungi and bacteria move in and liberate resources from the destruction so that new growth might emerge. Following COVID-19, how might artists and other creators be recruited into the process of decomposing the debris … to support new models to emerge?”
“It’s unclear if she is trying to resuscitate these tired, old forms that have been reproduced infinitum, or if she is proving how dead they truly are.”
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez draws a record-breaking 439,000 concurrent viewers when playing the video game Among Us on the streaming platform Twitch. An effort to bring out the (youth) vote, the stream lasted over three hours, garnered more than five million views in total, and at the time was the lead traffic driver to IWillVote.com. Ocasio-Cortez was joined by fellow Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and various Twitch personalities, who had talked her into setting up an account just a day earlier.
“In Indonesia, 60% of people under 30 don’t have a bank account and use their phones to pay for goods and services—that’s the direction we’re going. I think companies that innovate by melding precious metals and cryptocurrencies are going to lead the way.”
Martina Menegon’s computer simulation when you are close to me I shiver (2020) opens at the MAK, Vienna, as the forth pop-up exhibition in the museum’s CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE series. In the real-time generated virtual environment, the Italian CGI and XR artist presents an apocalyptic vision of a future where people “gather in masses on the last remaining piece of land”—a reminder of the current planetary crisis and the limited capacity of our living habitat.
“But the truth is Facebook has always been a problem. There is no good Facebook that Facebook can return to being.”
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