Reality is Overrated. When Media Go Beyond Simulation

Texts

I’m happy to announce that an old – but hopefully still fresh – text of mine has been re-published in the amazing Flatland Reader, a publication from O Fluxo presenting “a collection of art and essays that analyzes today’s post-digital conditions for critical media and artistic practice — the act of blurring the boundaries between the physical and the digital by staking out new paths for understanding and working in the transversal territories bounded by theory, internet, and art.”

The Flatland Reader is available in print on demand on Blurb. “Reality is Overrated. When Media Go Beyond Simulation” can still be read online on Artpulse‘s website, where it was originally published; but I strongly suggest to buy the reader for the great graphic design and the amazing company. The list of participants includes Aaron Graham, Anne de Vries, Brad Troemel, Christopher LG Hill, Constant Dullaart, Couple (Adam Cruces & Louisa Gagliardi), Domenico Quaranta, Ed Fornieles, Harm van den Dorpel, Jon Rafman, Keith J. Varadi, Rafaël Rozendaal, Antoine Donzeaud, Bora Akinciturk, Hotel Art (Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish), Ilya Smirnov, Jack Self, Jakub Choma, Konstanet (Keiu Krikmann & Epp Olekõrs), Matthew Raviotta, Michael Assiff, Natalya Serkova, New Scenario (Paul Barsch & Tilman Hornig), Nuno Patrício, PANE Project (Lucia Leuci), Ricardo Martins, Something Must Break (Monia Ben Hamouda & Michele Gabriele), Sydney (Conor O’Shea), Timur Si-Qin, The Swan Station (Luca Pozzi), 63rd-77th STEPS (Fabio Santacroce), Vaida Stepanovaite and Zoë De Luca.

In che modo oggi gli artisti usano Internet nelle loro opere?

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DISNOVATION.ORG, Shanzhai Archeology, 2015-2018. Courtesy: the artists. Photo: Seraina Wirz. Installation view, exhibition Escaping the Digital Unease at Kunsthaus Langenthal, 2017

Valentina Tanni. L’uso artistico delle reti telematiche ha una lunga storia, che ha avuto il suo picco con il movimento della Net Art nella seconda metà degli Anni Novanta e primi Anni Zero. Esaurita la spinta avanguardistica, e dissolti movimenti e correnti (compreso il controverso Post-Internet), cosa resta oggi? In che modo oggi gli artisti usano Internet nelle loro opere?

Domenico Quaranta. Da un lato il Post-Internet ha cancellato con un colpo di spugna gli ultimi residui della specificità mediale, facilitando l’emergere di artisti che portano i linguaggi e le culture digitali davanti a un pubblico più ampio, trasversale e globale. Per molti aspetti positivo, questo processo ha però danneggiato la riconoscibilità del fenomeno e la compattezza della comunità che l’ha fatto fiorire, riconducendola alle dinamiche individualiste del mondo dell’arte.
Tuttavia sono restio a vedere in questa transizione un passaggio senza ritorno. Le pratiche di networking e la Rete come piattaforma produttiva e distributiva sfidano ancora i formati e le logiche del mondo dell’arte; e, nonostante i suoi cambiamenti, la Rete non ha ancora smesso di sorprendere: blockchain, browser alternativi, mesh network, bot e intelligenze artificiali, deep web, residui strutturali della vecchia Internet lasciano aperti degli spazi a un uso dal basso, radicale e corrosivo delle reti.

In Valentina Tanni, “Internet e gli artisti. L’opinione di 5 esperti”, Artribune, January 30, 2020.

Talk to Me by Jonas Lund

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Jonas Lund, Talk to Me, 2019. 36 volumes, 740 pages each, available in hardcover and softcover. Produced on the occasion of Hyperemployment. Book Design: Federico Antonini (superness.info); Editorial Advisory: Domenico Quaranta. Available here

On October 21, 2017, at 6:17 PM, Jonas reached out to me with a proposal: to turn his online piece, Talk to Me, launched a few months before, into a book. According to the official text, “Talk to Me is a conversational chatbot, […] trained and modelled on all previous instant message conversations (Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger) as typed by the artist himself to create a smart, machine-learned, automatically talking version of the artist.” But in reality, Jonas told me, “it’s just me typing the answers through a Telegram bot, so each time someone uses the website I get a message on my phone and I answer.”

Hyperemployment

Exhibitions

Exhibition curated by Domenico Quaranta

Venue: MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana

When: November 7, 2019–January 19, 2020

Exhibition opening and guided tour by the curator: Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6 PM

Featured artists: Danilo Correale, Elisa Giardina Papa, Sanela Jahić, Silvio Lorusso, Jonas Lund, Michael Mandiberg, Sebastian Schmieg, Guido Segni.

Hyperemployment – Post-work, Online Labour and Automation

Exhibitions

Download the program!

In the current phase of late capitalism, we are experiencing a crucial contradiction every day. On the one hand, the increasing automation of productive processes is apparently making John Maynard Keynes’s promise of a post-work society not only more real, but also closer; on the other hand, labour – far from disappearing – is colonising and altering any given moment and aspect of our existence. The rise of precarious labour has freed us from the alienation of a permanent job, but has also made our lives more unstable and anxious, and is producing new social diseases. The increasing automation has made us more unemployed – a condition we are frantically trying to escape with micro-labours, turning us into “entrepreneurs of the self”.