‘Digital Earth’ is a 6 month-long fellowship for artists and designers based in Africa or Asia, working across a variety of media, who would like to investigate our current technological reality. It is a unique research support programme, which supports experienced artists to reflect, research, experiment and produce work. The fellowship consists of a monthly stipend for work and production costs, mentorship and other various resources. The final results will be exhibited in a roaming exhibition.
‘Digital Earth’ refers to the materiality and immateriality of the digital reality we live in – from data centers to software interfaces, and rare minerals to financial derivatives. Earth is dug, excavated, and ripped apart to extract the fundamental materials that keep the computational machine running — oil, coltan, sand, rubber, lithium form the material basis on which digital reality is built. At the same time, digital technologies enable new modes of circulation and extraction, of information and data.
Algorithmic regimes regulate the movement of goods and people around the world in relatively smooth fluxes enabled by increasingly sophisticated surveillance systems. These algorithmic regimes generate, track and accumulate such a mass of data that is already referred to as the ‘digital twin’ of Earth. The existence of a physical planet and its ‘datafied’ counterpart generate a discrepancy between the reality on the ground and what is recorded and broadcasted — often leading to violent socio-political, economic, ecological and cultural frictions.
In this lecture Leonardo Dellanoce and Arthur Steiner, co-initiators of the Digital Earth distributed research fellowship, will explain in the conceptual framework of the project, from the early Geoscope project by Buckminster Fuller to the recent notion of cosmotechnics by Yuk Hui.
Leonardo Dellanoce is an art historian who explores technological realities using art and design as navigational tools. Collaboration is at the core of his practice, as he works with artists, spatial designers and theorists on a variety of projects. Among others, he is co-curating the research series Vertical Atlas: a Techno-political Cartography, on show at Het Nieuwe Instituut and Stedelijk Museum from Fall 2018 to Summer 2019. Currently, he is also editor of Volume magazine where he co-initiated the long-term research project Trust in the Blockchain Society.
Arthur Steiner is an art historian working at the crossroads of contemporary arts, design and technology. He is researching and fascinated by aesthetics in relation to petrocultures and the strategies that artists have employed in order to investigate oil and petro-modernity. He is the founder of New Silk Roads Foundation. Through his work he has supported and helped to set up more than 20 art, design and technology spaces in old medinas and industrial zones along the spice, oil and data routes that are now connecting Asia and Africa.In his hometown, Amsterdam, he is actively involved with the art space W139 and is organizing and curating exhibitions and lecture series in the Netherlands and around the world. The most recent one will be the Vertical Atlas research series, at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and Stedelijk Museum from Autumn 2018 to Summer 2019.
The lecture is held in English.