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‘You are Just in the Middle of the Beginning’ is a curatorial project exploring ideas of the temporalities of now, particularly attentive to the intersections of technology with politics and their entanglement in our comprehension of time. The project will unfold over a period – researching, developing and ultimately making public both artistic and theoretical articulations, to open fresh angles of vision to think critically about the present.

Focussing on the psychic and social affects and desires that are generated by the constant pressures to perform exerted upon us by an ‘always on’ culture, the project will explore what it means to live a life increasingly mediated through a relationship to the digital.

Globalisation in its development since 1989, through the now ubiquitous neoliberal governance of a victorious West and the development of the World Wide Web, bringing with it the increasing digitalisation of our interactions, has seen dramatic shifts in our understandings of geography. However what is becoming increasingly apparent today is that whilst this territorial shift was happening another potentially more radical shift was taking place in our understanding of time, whether it be the collapse of work and leisure time into playbouring on Facebook in bed or the endlessly fractalising time of the project. This collapse of time has lead to a new set of subjectivities and intimacies emerging. As we are overawed by the amount of information now available and the correlative diminution in the time available to synthesise this into applicable knowledge, we enter into a panicked state leading ultimately to exhaustion.

Technologies once venerated for their emancipatory potentials are now showing their dark side when appropriated into the flows of capitalist production. In the 60s a vision of the future existed in which we were released from the immiseration of work through the development of machines to replace the functions of manual labour. This in a sense has come to pass and the machine has largely replaced the human in production of material goods. However what wasn’t taken into account in those predictions was the wage-labour relation intrinsic to the capitalist mode of production. Now the subject of exploitation within labour has shifted from the worker’s body to the worker’s affect.

Additionally one thing that it is important to state is that this is not a call for a retreat to a romanticised supposedly pre-lapsarian time, but rather an attempt to lay some groundwork towards becoming conscious of the current conditions we find ourselves entangled within.

About the curator

Benjamin Fallon is an independent curator, writer and designer currently based in Stockholm where he is part of the CuratorLab programme at Konstfack. He served as co-director of Embassy Gallery between 2008 and 2010, was a member of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s Artistic Programme Committee from 2006 to 2008, and ran his self-initiated project ONEZERO between 2005 and 2008. Ben is an occasional visiting lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh College on the Contemporary art practice course.

http://www.theopenseas.org

Contact

i@m-o-t-b.net

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refuse
15.06.2013

Refuse Rent, Become Animal

The Bureau of Melodramatic Research
Mattin

Chaired by Michele Massuci
Hemliga Tradgarden, Johannesbergsgatan 6, Stockholm 126 35
14:00 - 16:00

A series of presentations and a conversation on what might new strands of thought in eliminative materialism, speculative realism and object oriented ontology mean when they interface with the idea of activism and questions of labour.

Of late there has been an increase of interest in more ‘pure’ philosophy through the emergence of ‘speculative realism’, taking its name from a 2007 conference bringing together Ray Brassier, Ian Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman and Quentin Meillassoux. In the intervening 6 years there has been a significant increase in interest in this but still there is no adequate definition for the term. In very broad strokes it is concerned with the critique of correlationism, the dominant mode of thought since Kant that suggests the world is entirely relational to human thought. The term has quickly gained hold in the art world, possibly due to the slipperiness of its meaning, being used as an easy justification for the return of object based practices.

Post-marxist discourse has long held the hegemony on discourse within a sphere of political and critically engaged cultural and activist practices. From this perspective it would be easy to dismiss this move as at best a passing fad with nothing to say for practice and at worst an act of academic navel gazing. With this event it is intended to instead face it and open a partial conversation.

To potentially address some of these questions:

What does it tell us about the world that feminism, marxism, post-colonialism and other discourses grounded in an idea of emancipation?

How does a non human conception of the world show the deficiencies of these ideas?

If we are to adopt a position of rational nihilism then where does it leave us in the conversation on immaterial labour?

Does it negate what we have learnt from these other discourse?

How can we make use of/ weaponise this knowledge?