Ai Weiwei

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Nervous Systems
Anselm Franke, Stephanie Hankey, Marek Tuszynski (Eds.)


Edited by Anselm Franke, Stephanie Hankey, Marek Tuszynski

Beyond contemporary disclosures about mass surveillance by intelligence services, the promises inherent in “big data” determine discourses about future innovations and systems of classification in government and industry, which aim to increasingly transform political and systemic questions into those of technological management. The promises of participation and “digital democracy” stand in contrast to new forms of cybernetic control and modulation of social behaviour on an unprecedented scale. The countless sensors of ubiquitous digital and technological infrastructures have united the state, industry, body and technology into ever more complex “nervous systems.” This nervousness is revealed in particular where relationships of power and participation come to the fore, namely in the “social question.” The publication, which appears in conjunction with the exhibition Nervous Systems (Haus der Kulturen der Walt, Berlin, February-April 2016), assembles a combination of contemporary art – complemented by contributions by experts, theorists and researchers, presenting contextualized historical documents, artefacts and further objects.

Worldwide Tactical Tech has supported thousands of activists to creatively employ information and communication in their work towards social and political change.

Contributions and works by Vito Acconci, Timo Arnall, Mari Bastashevski, Grégoire Chamayou, Emma Charles, Mike Crane, Arthur Eisenson, Harun Farocki, Charles Gaines, Melanie Gilligan, Goldin+Senneby, Avery F. Gordon, Laurent Grasso, Orit Halpern, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ben Hayes, Douglas Huebler, Tung-Hui Hu, On Kawara, Korpys/Löffler, Lawrence Liang, Noortje Marres, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Henrik Olesen, Matteo Pasquinelli, Julien Prévieux, Jon Rafman, Miljohn Ruperto, RYBN.ORG, Dierk Schmidt, Nishant Shah, Eyal Sivan & Audrey Maurion, Deborah Stratman, Alex Verhaest, Gwenola Wagon & Stéphane Degoutin, Stephen Willats, Mushon Zer-Aviv, Jacob Appelbaum & Ai Weiwei, Aram Bartholl, Tega Brain & Surya Mattu, James Bridle, Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev, Veridiana Zurita, Open Data City, Peng! Collective, Privacy International, Share Lab, Malte Spitz, and others.

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RARE EARTH coverRARE EARTH-back

Rare Earth
Boris Ondreička, Nadim Samman (Eds.)

Texts by Iain Ball, Erick Beltrán, Jane Bennett, Benjamin H. Bratton, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Erik Davis, John Durham Peters & Paul Feigelfeld, Mircea Eliade, Boris Groys, Marguerite Humeau, Timothy Morton & Emilija Skarnulyte, Boris Ondreička, The Otolith Group, Jussi Parikka, Matteo Pasquinelli, Nadim Samman, Charles Stankievech

Rare Earth is an attempt to define the spirit of an age. Exploring how today’s myths, identities, and cosmologies relate to current advances in technology—through reference to the material basis to our most developed weapons and tools; a class of seventeen rare earth elements from the periodic table—Rare Earth challenges the rhetoric of immateriality associated with our hypermodern condition.

Rare earth elements are the game-changing foundation of our most powerful innovations, are fundamental to contemporary accoutrements such as mobile phones, iPods and iPads, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, light bulbs, CDs and DVDs. Often described as conflict materials due to the limited number of easily accessible mines, they are also integral to weapon systems used for cyber-warfare, medical technologies (including MRI scanning equipment), hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, and other green energy applications. Consequently, rare earth elements play an increasing role in global affairs and power inventions that facilitate our changing self-image—giving birth to today’s emergent myths and identities.

Rare Earth grounds our strange, seemingly weightless cultural moment. While we may design our technologies, these tools and weapons shape us in turn. It may seem that we dream the contemporary into existence, but perhaps rare earth elements are dreaming through us. After the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, this is the age of Rare Earth.

Copublished with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna on the occasion of the exhibition “Rare Earth,” February 19–May 31, 2015, with works by Iain Ball, Erick Beltrán, Julian Charriere, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Camille Henrot, Roger Hiorns, Marguerite Humeau, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Oliver Laric, Ursula Mayer, The Otolith Group, Katie Paterson, Charles Stankievech, Suzanne Treister, Ai Weiwei, Guan Xiao, Arseniy Zhilyaev

Design by David Rudnick and Raf Rennie

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