Thinking Under Turbulence Geneva Colloquium

Monday 7 December 2015

The Anthropogenic Image

With response from Gene Ray for The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva

HEAD, Boulevard Helvétique 9
seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor 
at 7 pm

How can we read planetary effects of human activities by visual means? What does the image look like that tries to render visible global infrastructures which cannot be captured in a single shot? What are the responsibilities of the artist as a filmmaker, photographer, conference observer, traveler, reporter, researcher and/or collaborator to make public the complexities of living inside of environmental change? Why do we need to re-think the image and image-technologies when we try to understand the role of the image as situated between means of science, NGO-politics, multinational corporations and political institutions? Do images of environmental change of anthropogenic conditions bear any special capacity to pry open the grip of “spectacle,” understood as a totality of images become system of social control? Is there a possible image, at all and after all, that enables us to read the Anthropocene of a city like Geneva? Armin Linke will present his exhibition “The Appearance of That Which Cannot be Seen” which is currently on display at ZKM Karlsruhe and part of the GLOBALE project. For “The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen”, scientists, theorists and cultural anthropologists were invited to engage with Linke’s photographic archive, now comprising more than twenty thousand images documenting the effects of globalization, the transformation of cities into megacities, and the interconnectedness of post-industrial society resulting from digital information and communication technology. By making their image-selection process transparent, the project thematises both the readability of photographic archives and the subjective treatment of themes such as globalization and digitalization, considering the individual nature of research approaches and interests. At the interface between the physical and digital world, between exo-evolution and infosphere, Linke’s contribution, presented in the exhibitions Infosphere and Reset Modernity! by Bruno Latour, focuses our attention on pivotal topics such as smart technology, big data, climate change and Industry 4.0. Furthermore, Linke will briefly elaborate on questions emerging from his new individual film project that departs from the collaborative long-term project “Anthropocene Observatory” (with Territorial Agency and Anselm Franke); part of his research work is the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) currently taking place in Paris, where Linke is registered photographer. 

Armin Linke’s presentation will be commented by Gene Ray from The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva, a research project reflecting on the interactions between social and biophysical systems and processes. Articulating methods and gathering practitioners from the disciplines of art, philosophy and architecture, the research project studies the processes and contexts by which anthropogenic global environmental change is represented in Geneva as the most cosmopolitan Swiss city as a global infrastructure. 

Armin Linke was born in 1966 and lives in Milan and Berlin. As a photographer and filmmaker he combines a range of contemporary image-processing technologies in order to blur the borders between fiction and reality. His artistic practice is concerned with different possibilities of dealing with photographic archives and their respective manifestations, as well as with the interrelations and transformative powers between urban, architectural or spatial functions and the human beings interacting with these environments. He was Research Affiliate at MIT Visual Arts Program Cambridge, guest professor at the IUAV Arts and Design University in Venice and is currently professor at the HfG Karlsruhe. Solo exhibitions (selection): ZKM Karlsruhe (2015); MAXXI, Roma (2010), Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen (2009). Group exhibitions (selection): KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin (2015); BAK Utrecht (2015); Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade + Centre Pompidou Metz (2014); Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art + Haus der Kunst, Munich (2011); International Architecture Biennale, Rotterdam (2010) + Bienal de São Paulo (2008). Prizes: 9. Biennale di Architettura, Venezia + Graz Architecture Film Festival. During 2013 and 2014, Armin Linke, together with Territorial Agency and Anselm Franke, was executing the Anthropocene Observatory video series at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.

Gene Ray, associate professor, has taught Critical Studies at CCC since 2008. He is currently leading the research project The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva (TAAG) that is affiliated with the trans-disciplinary research-based study program at the HEAD. The project investigates into the forms of representation in the era of the Anthropocene with particular focus on Geneva. Holder of a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Philosophy, Art History, Comparative Literature and Film Studies) from the University of Miami (1997), Gene Ray writes on the intersections of art, critical theory and radical politics. He is author of Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005 & 2010) and co-editor of Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique (Mayfly, 2009) and Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the ‘Creative Industries’ (Mayfly, 2011). His essays have appeared in Third Text, Historical Materialism, Yale Journal of Criticism, Brumaria and other journals. A former German Chancellor’s Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he has taught at University of Hawaii and New College of Florida and has lectured widely in Europe and North America. 

The evening is the public part of the one-year colloquium “Thinking under Turbulence” that frames the curriculum during the transition of the CCC Master Programme in 2015/16 at Haute école d’art et de design in Genève. Contributors to the Colloquium are invited guests in conversation with CCC-students and faculty members. The one-year Colloquium takes place at a transitional moment of CCC, the research-based programme on curatorial concerns in globalizing times and in techno-politics under new direction of Doreen Mende. It will offer time to think how such a programme can process itself further and against itself in times of accelerationist imperatives brought by financial global capitalism. The Colloquium departs from literally “a speaking together”: from com- “together” + -loquium “speaking”. A speaking together outside/inside the academy. Therefore, the concept of the Colloquium does not propose thinking to be a philosophical method to study a subject matter but departs from a moment under conditions of turbulence when knowledge is in crisis that makes it necessary for us to think, to think differently.

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Museum, drawings of the Tower of Babel, Babylon Iraq 2002
© Armin Linke