for Hybrid Times
HOW TO BEAM: Do-It-Yourself Teleportation for Hybrid Times
This inaugural residency season examines the shifting concept of what it means to be present in digitally mediated time. Three artists combining emerging technologies and low tech strategies take a hands-on approach to experiment with teleportation as a means to dynamically reclaim and reinvent individuality, autonomy and human connection in our rapidly hybridizing world.
In the great civic shift towards telepresence, where suddenly a disembodied digital versions of oneself is accepted as a legitimate way of ‘showing up’ in society, the idea that presence encompasses the entire physical self in one place at one time is somehow rendered obsolete. Wether we choose to re-materialize as a fantastical avatar, a floating head, a gesture of emojis or a muted black rectangle in a grid, there is an unquestionable departure from the physical body taking place as we beam through the digital unknown.
If Cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson can suggest that the future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed, then perhaps we can consider this digitally mediated state that we increasingly inhabit as early stage teleportation. Far from the hyper-sleek promises of futurist innovation, our current mode of quantum travel is still in its awkward teenage phase - the versions of ourselves that we transmit across physical reality into digital life are still clumsy, insecure, and often lacking in mystique. Though there are great gains with respect to public health and inclusion as society finally acknowledges that access to care, education, work and culture is indeed possible without the need for major mobility, this digital universe in which we travel is entangled with issues of power, control and questionable ethics brought forth by the global grip of Big Tech.
Through a series of public exchanges and participatory events, HOW TO BEAM: Do-It-Yourself Teleportation for Hybrid Times invites the public to experiments with diverse expressions that empower us to boldly navigate the frontiers of this uncanny digital terrain.
Darsha Hewitt’s art practice is situated across new media and sound and largely grows out of material based experimentation with obsolete technology. She make electro-mechanical installation, hand-made electronics, video, drawing and photography. Her practice takes an adventurous hands-on / media-archeological approach, where hidden systems within technology are de/re-mystified as a means to trace out structures of econo- my, power and control embedded throughout western culture. In its deconstructed form, the everyday technology that society throws away exposes the confounding ways that humans treat one another and how we engage with ecology.
Her artwork is presented internationally, with recent exhibitions at the Hong Kong City Hall (CH), Halle14 – Centre for Contemporary Art (DE), MU Artspace (NL), The Museum of Art and Design (NYC), Hartware MedienKunstverein (DE), Gaitée Lyrique (FR), Ottawa Art Gallery (CA), Modern Art Oxford (UK), The CTM Festival Berlin (DE) and WRO Media Art Biennale (PL). Within Germany, she was the recipient of an International Production Stipend from The Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art and held a fellowship at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences at the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Alongside her art practice, she has worked as an a guest Professor in New Media in the Visual Communications department at Kunsthochschule Kassel and in New Media/Sound at Karlsruhe University of Art and Design. Her contributions to do-it-yourself technology communities are internatio- nally recognized – her workshops and how-to videos have been profiled by technical forums such as the Chaos Computer Congress and Make: Magazine.
Darsha Hewitt lives and works in Berlin.
Nadja Buttendorf (b. 1984) questions contemporary codes and norms of gender construction as well as challenging the mechanisms of value creation that affect the human body in our digital society. Her work illustrates that even our understanding of technology is closely tied to systems of patriarchal power relations. Rejecting these notions, her interactive works and video projects are designed for interaction constructing new and far more mul-tilayered narratives in which women regain their visibility as an integral part of the history of technology. To this end, she draws on communicative moments of online participation both in her online tutorials and by creating performative jewelry objects. DIY as a wides-pread online aesthetic functions as a consciously employed strategy of both enabling access and defying neoliberal work ethics.
The works and workshops of Nadja Buttendorf were shown at the HKW Berlin, Hartware MedienKunstVerein Dortmund, Künstlerhaus Bremen, La Gaîté Lyrique Paris, MU Eindhoven, NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Halle 14 - Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, D21 Leipzig, Musem der bildenden Künste Leipzig, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst Berlin and the panke.gallery Berlin. She has also given lecture performances at Re:publica, the CCC, Creamcake and the nGbK Berlin. Nadja Buttendorf is a trained goldsmith and studied fine arts at the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Saale).
Bodypresents, or do you mean body presets?
In her research “Body presents, or do you mean Body presets?“ Nadja Buttendorf investigates body movements and their relation to digital space. Using various motion capture techniques, she questions stereotypical body movements and their relationship to physical and digital space.
Motion Captureis a process in which body movements are digitally stored in three dimensions. The movements can be transferred in real time to a digital avatar. In the entertainment field, MoCap is used primarily in film and computer game development to animate 2-D and 3-D characters. Body movements can be transferred with camera tracking or through motion capture suits equipped with sensors. In most cases, the bodies used to record the movements are professional dancers and performers who can move particularly well and expressively. Motion capture is designed to portray and reproduce effective movements. In contrast to athletic, optimized movements, Buttendorf is interested in minimal, everyday movements, such as hanging out on the couch.
Buttendorf will experiment with a motion capture set from home during the digital residency, hosting livestreams and exploring different body movements in a constructed 3-D environment. The idea is to create an online library of movements that is different from the typical presets used in the game industry. Motion Captureis designed for a normalized human body. How can digital bodies be designed differently in a virtual world? Can mocap sensors function as jewelry? What can be perceived as body motion? Can objects become motion data for bodies?
Dasha Ilina (b. 1996) is a Russian digital artist based in Paris. Through the employment of low tech and DIY approaches her work highlights the nebulous relationship between our desire to incorporate modern technologies into our daily lives and proposed social imperatives for care of oneself and others. Her practice engages the public in order to facilitate a space for the development of critical thought regarding our modern day relationships, privacy in the digital age, and the reflexive contemporary desire to turn to technology for answers. She is the founder of the Center for Technological Pain, a project that proposes DIY solutions to health problems caused by digital technologies for which she has received an Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica.
Ilina’s work has been exhibited at institutions such as Centre Pompidou (FR), MU Artspace (NL), Gâité Lyrique (FR), Hartware Medienkunstverein Dortmund (DE), NeMe (CY), as well as various talks, workshops, and performances held internationally. She is also the co-director of NØ SCHOOL, a summer school that focuses on critical research around the social and environmental impacts of information and communication technologies.
Be? Here? Now?
“Be? Here? Now?” examines the nature of the human hybrid existence emergent in the technological age. The central divide in contemporary discourse on this topic has a tendency to file into one of two factions that function in opposition — the wish for a total technological detox, and the willingness to commit fully and naively to the world of innovation.
Through a collection of resources assembled into a single website, “Be? Here? Now?” speaks to the emergence of mindfulness culture, specifically the emphasis it places on being ‘present’ at the level of consciousness and what this means for interpersonal relationships when being physically present is no longer the single mediator of emotional proximity. Since mindfulness constitutes a central aspect of this project’s interest, it is through the esthetics of mindfulness that these topics will be examined, specifically forms of meditation and relaxation techniques. The design of the website will be inspired by kitsch 90’s and early 00’s web pages, which also happens to be the style of many mindfulness websites to this day.
The title of the project “Be? Here? Now?” is in reference to Be Here Now — a founding book on mindfulness by Ram Dass that has both been called ‘seminal’ and a ‘counterculture bible,’ as well as being so liked by Steve Jobs that it inspired him to visit India in search of his own guru.
Olsen‘s works are investigations of the human-machine interface. He places a special focus on everyday technologies with which we are constantly confronted and that shape our human existence, our preferences and our behavioural patterns. Examples are the opening of the boot at the push of a button, the automatic room scenting system or the robotic lawnmower. All of these examples involve automata – machines or computers – that carry out certain activities for humans with the help of programming. Technology can thus be understood as the effort to save humans effort.
After training as a carpenter, Olsen studied Media Arts at the HdK Zurich and Bellas Artes at the Universidad Barcelona, and in 2018 completed a PhD with the title »Affinity to Artefacts: Humans‘ Perception of Movement in Technological Objects« in Media Arts and Technology at Queen Mary, University of London. Olsen has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has given workshops and lectures in various contexts. His work is in the Daimler Art collection. He currently lives and works in St. Georgen in the Black Forest.
Via teleport to immortality – Technologies to counteract the irreversibility of death
Who is not familiar with the last-minute shopping in the duty-free zone before departure or simply strolling through the range of products on offer? In this case, however, we are on our way to the teleport to immortality. What is on offer here should give us a foretaste of the technical paradise of the future that lies beyond: „Mind Uploads“, „Cryonics“, „Whole Brain Emulation“ as well as elevation to the algorithmic cockaigne are part of the range on offer.
Olsen‘sproject puts a special focus on a human-machine relationship that is associated with artificial intelligence (AI). This builds on techno-prophecy, data religion or information monism and is linked to a quest for control and a complete power of disposal over humans and ultimately death. The protagonists of these computational immortalization movements, are aiming everything at the technical paradise of the future. In the present day they have at least one main pillar in the IT-branch and areas that are classified as AI.
Fascinated by questions such as ‚How can human experience be mapped in storage media and preserved forever?‘ or ‚How does it feel to live in immortality?‘, the aim of Olsen‘s work is to give a foretaste of what comes afterwards. For example, smells are one of the things that are currently difficult to represent or preserve, store and preserve in digital media when „uploading“. Olsen will examine this and other difficulties in the man-machine relationship and explore them artistically. He plans to further research the immortality fantasies of the protagonists and, through a humorous approach, tickle the feet of the emerging figures of thought.