e-flux journal and Harun Farocki Institut present: “Art After Culture: Navigation Beyond Vision” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt

e-flux journal and Harun Farocki Institut present: “Art After Culture: Navigation Beyond Vision” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Harun Farocki, Parallel IV (still), 2014. © Harun Farocki GbR, Berlin

e-flux journal and Harun Farocki Institut present: “Art After Culture: Navigation Beyond Vision” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt
April 5, 2019
Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

Navigation begins where the map becomes indecipherable. Navigation operates on a plane of immanence in constant motion. Instead of framing or representing the world, the art of navigation continuously updates and adjusts multiple frames from viewpoints within and beyond the world. Navigation is thus an operational practice of synthesizing various orders of magnitude, each with its own horizon. Super-modernity’s expansive enclosures of global infrastructure, time zone logistics, and data-behaviorism become external abstractions as much as computational and territorial facts.

Only a few weeks prior to his untimely death in 2014, Harun Farocki briefly referred to navigation as a contemporary challenge to montage—editing distinct sections of film into a continuous sequence—as the dominant paradigm of techno-political visuality. For Farocki, the computer-animated, navigable images that constitute the twenty-first century’s “ruling class of images” call for new tools of analysis. Drawing on Alexander Galloway’s concept of “actionable objects” in gamespace, Farocki began to ask: How does the shift from montage to navigation alter the way images—and art—operate as models of political action and modes of political intervention?

Today, we “navigate” known and unknown, real and virtual, concrete and abstract space—cities, territories, lives, and narratives. As we attempt to map and record the terrain, we are ourselves being mapped and recorded. If Google Maps seeks to map space and global finance seeks to map affective responses to possible events, Farocki appears to have employed the question of navigation to ask: What are the interfaces of navigation that transcend the realm of the purely technical, even as a form of visualization that paradoxically supersedes the spatial and temporal constraints of images completely?

Rather than finding orientation by way of images in the real world, real world experiences may be increasingly used to find orientation within images. An image may mutate into a sort of interface—an operational tool reaching beyond visual-cognitive persuasions, beyond the documentary, beyond “the image” itself, enabling seemingly boundless and borderless mobility between spaces, scales, temporalities. The navigational also redraws as well as challenges power relations inherent to orientation and movement, when, for example, groups begin visiting distant “home countries” based on DNA test results, just as many from those countries flee to foreign countries moved by promise.

Against the backdrop of platforms that swell into worlds, disorientation may have become an ethical resource.

Co-organized by the Harun Farocki Institut (HaFI) and e-flux journal in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), “Navigation Beyond Vision” asks: How do navigational paradigms in virtual and offline environments increasingly inform the politics of the image? If navigation puts ontological pressure on the static frame of a photographic or cinematic image, then how are our concepts of political action, visual literacy and collective intervention also pressured to surpass or perform model worlds? How does the operative and performative character of immersion in computational environments—navigating with and within images—impact the function and the status of the visual as such? Has navigation ever been a visual technology at all, or has it always compounded cosmological, mathematical, and sensorial orders of magnitude into aggregate spatial orders that surpass the visual entirely?

Join us at HKW on Friday, April 5 from 7–9pm and on Saturday, April 6 from 11am–8pm for “Navigation Beyond Vision,” the third in the conference series Art After Culture? organized in Rotterdam, Paris, Berlin, and New York launching off the next ten years of e-flux journal.

With Ramon AmaroJulieta Aranda, James BridleKaye Cain-NielsenMaïté ChénièreKodwo EshunAnselm FrankeJennifer GabrysCharles HellerTom HolertInhabitantsDoreen MendeMatteo PasquinelliLaura Lo PrestiPatricia ReedNikolay SmirnovHito SteyerlOraib Toukan, and Brian Kuan Wood.



Friday, April 5, 7–9pm

Doreen Mende, Brian Kuan Wood

Keynote and screenings
James Bridle and Hito Steyerl, moderated by Brian Kuan Wood

Saturday, April 6, 11am–8pm

Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Tom Holert

Sensory Counter-Mappings
Anselm Franke, Jennifer Gabrys, Laura Lo Presti, Mariana Silva (Inhabitants), Nikolay Smirnov, moderated by Tom Holert

The Tasks of Abstract Space
Ramon Amaro, Matteo Pasquinelli, Patricia Reed, moderated by Brian Kuan Wood

Extra-Image Violence
Maîté Chénière, Charles Heller, Oraib Toukan, moderated by Doreen Mende 

Closing Response
Kodwo Eshun

Co-organized by the Harun Farocki Institut (HaFI) and e-flux journal in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW). With additional support from the CCC Research-Based Master of Visual Arts at HEAD – Genève.

Aesthetics, Contemporary Art

Doreen Mende is a curator and theorist who is currently Associate Professor of the curatorial/politics seminar of the CCC RP research-based Master at HEAD Genève/Switzerland. Since 2021 she has been the Director of the Cross-Collections Research Department of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), where she initiated the Stannaki Forum on diasporic knowledge, and conceptualizes the Transcultural Academy “Futurities” in 2023. Ongoing projects include the case-based academic research study Decolonizing Socialism: Entangled Internationalism (2019–24), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Based on this research, a new series of exhibitions, called sequences, is coming up in 2024 featuring invited curators-researchers and artists at the Albertinium of SKD. In 2022, she realized The Missed Seminar: After Eslanda Robeson in Conversation with Steve McQueen’s End Credits at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. She has published with e-flux journal, MIT Press, Oxford University Press, Jerusalem Quarterly, spector books, archive books, IBRAAZ, and Sternberg Press. She is a cofounder of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin.

Brian Kuan Wood is an editor of e-flux journal.

James Bridle is an artist and writer working across technologies and disciplines. His artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide and on the internet. New Dark Age, his book about technology, knowledge, and the end of the future, was published by Verso in 2018, and he wrote and presented “New Ways of Seeing” for BBC Radio 4 in 2019.

Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker, moving-image artist, writer, and innovator of the essay documentary. Her principal topics of interest are media, technology, and the global circulation of images. Through her writing practice, films, and performative lectures, Steyerl considers the status of the image in an increasingly global and technological world.

Kaye Cain-Nielsen is the editor-in-chief of e-flux journal.

Tom Holert is a researcher, writer, and curator. He is the co-founder of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin. He’s currently organising the research and exhibition project Education Shock. Learning, Politics, and Architecture in the 1960s and 1970s, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (forthcoming September 2020).

Jennifer Gabrys is Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, and Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is Principal Investigator on the projects Citizen Sense and AirKit, both funded by the European Research Council. Her books include Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (2016) and How to Do Things with Sensors (forthcoming).

Laura Lo Presti is a postdoctoral researcher in the “Landscapes of Human Mobilities” project at the University of Padua. She is also a visiting researcher in the Geo-Humanities group at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and a member of the international research project “Mapping and the Making of Empire” at the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG). In her work, she confronts ideas, theories, and methods from cultural, feminist, and postcolonial studies, migration and border studies, visual culture, and contemporary art with the scholarship of new cultural geography and critical cartography.

Nikolay Smirnov works as an artist, geographer, curator, and researcher.

Tom Holert is an art historian, curator, and cultural critic based in Berlin who works on learning curves and knowledge vessels at the crossroads of politics, economy, contemporary art, design, and architecture. He is also a cofounder of the Harun Farocki Institut, Berlin.

Ramon Amaro is Lecturer in Art and Visual Cultures of the Global South at UCL Department of History of Art. He is the author of The Black Technical Object: On Machine Learning and the Aspiration of Black Being (Sternberg Press, 2022).

Matteo Pasquinelli is Associate Professor in Philosophy of Science at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage of Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where he coordinates the ERC project AIMODELS. His latest book is The Eye of the Master: A Social History of Artificial Intelligence (Verso, 2023).

Patricia Reed is an artist, writer, and designer living in Berlin. Her work concerns the entanglements between techno-feminism, art, epistemology, and politics. She is part of the Laboria Cuboniks working group, which published the Xenofeminist Manifesto.

Maïté Chénière (a.k.a. Mighty) adopts theoretical research, music, performance, and video to create hybrid experiences. In their practice, they merge the cultural productions of racialized queer people with theoretical and popular knowledge to create an emancipatory discourse.

Chénière holds a master’s degree in Visual Arts, CCC – Études critiques curatoriales cybermédias from HEAD – Geneva and a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. Prior to that they studied woodwind instrument making and repair at Newark College, England. They have presented performances at Un Lieu pour Respirer, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Festival Les Urbaines, Lausanne; Théâtre de l’Usine, Cinéma Spoutnik, Geneva; Mains d’œuvres, Paris; and Ateliers Claus, Brussels, among others.

Mighty is an Afrofuturist DJ, producer, and founding member of Archipelagogo, a series of club events that promote the works of queer people of color in Geneva. Through music, they travel in time and shed light on stories that have been ignored, in order to create a space of expression and gathering on the dancefloor for a multiplicity of bodies and identities. They’ve played eclectic sets revolving around house and ballroom in Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Johannesburg, and throughout Switzerland.

Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker whose work has a long-standing focus on the politics of migration within and at the borders of Europe. He is currently Research Associate at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), Graduate Institute, Geneva. Together with Lorenzo Pezzani, in 2011 Heller co-founded Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Oraib Toukan is an artist. She is currently a EUME fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin and was a Clarendon scholar at the University of Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art, where she completed her PhD in 2019.

Kodwo Eshun is Lecturer in Contemporary Art Theory in the Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, Professor in Fine Arts, Haut École d’art et design, Geneva and cofounder of The Otolith Group which was nominated for The Turner Prize in 2010.

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