To discuss the conceptual outreach, the potentials, and the implications of the project, "Tracing Information Society, A Timeline", a round table discussion was held on November 19th, 7 pm at Kunstraum NOE. Tracing Information Society is the new project of the Technopolitics Working Group. The Technopolitics Working Group decided to engage in a material project that couples artistic as well as theoretical research and practice and initiated Tracing Information Society – A Timeline.
This informal group began in February 2010 and comprises about 10 core members and about 30 contributors. Most of us work as artists, theoreticians, curators or journalists inside and outside major institutions. What brings us together is an interest in the impossible project of analyzing the Information Society as an open totality, that is, an integrated network of actors and events with dimensions that change depending on the perspective taken. The aim is to produce cultural criticism and art works that engage with the deeper structures of the present as a contribution to the globally distributed efforts of transforming them.
The Technopolitics Working Group decided to engage in a material project that couples artistic as well as theoretical research and practice and initiated Tracing Information Society – A Timeline. The timeline provides a format that is both clearly structured––everything is organized according to its datum––and open to multiple perspectives as of what constitutes a relevant event. The value of a timeline is not to signal the return to a simple linear chronological model of historical development but to show the parallelism of heterogeneous events.
So, for example, the year 1962 brings, among others, two entries next to each other: one is Beat the Dealer – probability theory and computation meet casino-gambling the other is the publication of Fritz Machlup’s groundbreaking empirical study of the “knowledge economy.” It is the claim of the project that these events, while usually not considered together, are nevertheless directly related to one another. The timeline––in its current manifestation in print measures 2.8 x 7 meters––shows data on six main layers, color-encoded, and annotated with keywords that are considered relevant for the coming into being of this social formation. As heterogeneous as both the entries and the group are––there is no binding theory––they all come from a critical angle and hence articulate struggles and contradictions as well as turning points (such as major political events and natural disasters) via individual entries in a single but multilayered timeline. The idea was to bring things into a relation that is not necessarily a causal one. By showing things together, new associations arise.
Tracing Information Society so far carries the shared input of: John Barker, Sylvia Eckermann, Doron Goldfarb, Armin Medosch, Gerald Nestler, Felix Stalder, Axel Stockburger, Matthias Tarasiewicz, Thomas Thaler and Ina Zwerger. Graphic Design: Fatih Aydogdu. The first version is on view at the exhibition SOCIAL GLITCH. Radical Aesthetics and the Consequences of Extreme Events from September 25 - December 5, 2015, curated by Theories in Mind
NOTE: Excerpts from longer text in Continent Online Magazine http://continentcontinent.cc/index.php/continent/article/view/216