States of Consciousness in Cognitive Capitalism
Building upon our past four year engagement with topics concerning estrangement, individuation, collectivity and art and politics in cognitive capitalism, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art 2019 will focus upon states of consciousness.
As we have witnessed firsthand in the 2016 U.S. election, the political potential stored in the complex networked analytics of information and their neural analogues are now being fully engaged as apparatuses of control. Economies of attention and dis-attention, click bait, cloud analytics, memes, social media and fake news have now taken center stage in the process of subjectivation and the interiorization of domination. Could the spreading wave of Populism worldwide be the result of forms of embodied and extended cognition linked to contemporary neoliberal apparatuses? The central thesis of this year’s program posits that these are the initial constituents and first signs of an impending crisis that define a later stage of cognitive capitalism. New technologies on the horizon, such as brain computer interfaces, cortical implants and optogenetics, provide an imminent threat and could create the core technologies that instigate, track, measure, and record the brains’ capacities to generate electrical signals (or brain waves) during wake and sleep which then might be linked to the Internet and virtual platforms. Companies funded by DARPA, like Neuralink and Kernel, are at the forefront of these efforts to produce “total subsumption”. On the other hand, perhaps these new technologies will make brain power obsolete as humans are replaced by AI and robots and are no longer necessary for military regimes or physical and mental labor. As such, the nightmare of science fiction and right-leaning accelerationism might become reality.
SFSIA 2019 asks what effect these transformations might have on human consciousness and its various social and cultural expressions and permutations as defined in the fields of neuroaesthetics, psychology, politics, philosophy of mind, queer and gender studies, popular and visual culture, cultural and decolonial studies, art history, visual and sound art, film studies, as well as, sociology and economics. How might we together understand these changes in the context of artistic research programs that (already) use the lenses of post-humanism, transhumanism, and speculative materialism? Through discussions, workshops, deep readings and performative lectures, we aim to co-create new pathways of understanding and dissensus.
Claire Bishop, Patricia Clough, Suzanne Dikker, Coco Fusco, Agnieszka Kurant, Sanford Kwinter, Joseph E. LeDoux, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Yann Moulier-Boutang, Warren Neidich (founder/director), Reza Negarestani, Alva Noë, Luciana Parisi, Christiane Paul, Daniel Pinchbeck, Florencia Portocarrero, Barry Schwabsky (co-director), Martha Schwendener, Sensorium (John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser), and Laura Wexler.
Applications for SFSIA 2019 | New York City are open to students, practitioners and scholars from the fields of art (including video, photography, installation and multimedia), design, architecture, critical writing, science and technology studies, critical theory, cultural studies, film and media studies, and beyond. Please see our application for more information.
Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is a nomadic, intensive summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory. SFSIA stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between art and politics. SFSIA originated in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in 2015 and migrated to Berlin, Germany in 2016 where it is currently hosted by Spike. In 2019, this additional program will be hosted by Performance Space New York.
The Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art was founded and is directed by Warren Neidich and is co-directed by Barry Schwabsky. Sarrita Hunn is the artistic coordinator.
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