CYLAND Media Lab is one of Russia’s most active New Media art nonprofit organizations. CYLAND houses the largest archive of Eastern European video art online, organizes exhibits around the world and is the force behind CYBERFEST (Russia’s largest annual New Media art event.) CYLAND was cofounded by Marina Koldobskaya and Anna Frants. Centro Studi sulle Arti della Russia (CSAR) is the first university center in Italy which aims to carry out systematic research and dissemination of the cultural heritage of Russia. Its activities include permanent and temporary workshops, international conferences, film festivals and supporting Performing Arts.

Capital of Nowhere exhibition: Cyland Media Lab

Panel curated by: Marco Mancuso

Lectures by: Marco Mancuso, Alessio Erioli, Bertram Niessen, Domenico Quaranta, Valentina Tanni


CYLAND Media Art Lab (St Petersburg, Russia) & Centro Studi sulle Arti della Russia (CSAR), Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, togheter with Digicult presents a panel curated and introduced by Marco Mancuso with the partecipation of Alessio Erioli, Bertram Niessen, Domenico Quaranta, Valentina Tanni.

L’idea di questo incontro nasce da una serie di considerazioni e riflessioni fatte alla ricerca di un possibile set di paradigmi eterogenei che possano descrivere, in maniera cross-disciplinare, i cambiamenti meno evidenti ma al contempo più energetici in atto in ambito artistico, progettuale e sociale in seguito alla crescente massificazione e consapevolezza nell’uso delle tecnologie hardware, software e di rete

Panel
We’re on the road to Nowhere

..and we’re not little children, and we know what we want, and the future is certain, give us time to work it out – David Byrne

We are on a road whose final destination is unknown. We can barely distinguish its edges, its borders, its rules of travel. But in the end we do not care that much. We are jauntily adapting our professionalism, our interests, our fields of research and analysis, in order to understand the complexity of contemporaneity.

We are not worried, we are not confused. We observe art, culture, markets, design in our Information Age, envisaging future scenarios and comparing them with past experiences, noting overlapping elements between disciplines, materializing in the folds of possible differences between research areas. We are living in a mature age, aware of the social, economic and creative limits of technologies, but also looking at their development and impact on society through a professional and curios perspective.

So, we are on a road of inconsistencies, of sudden changes, of at times destabilizing extremes. We live its complexity and are not only keen to analyse it, we try to make it part of our lives and work. We seek to illustrate it through exhibitions, meetings, articles, round tables, readings, educational activities. We are no longer children and we know what we want, we know out of which material our future is made and which kind of technology it will adopt in order to acquire a new shape, a shape which we still do not know. But give us the time to find this out: our curiosity is everybody’s curiosity, and reflects that aspiration to understand the society we live in.

Alessio Erioli, Bertram Niessen, Domenico Quaranta and Valentina Tanni will guide us along this road. They will tell us about the dynamics related to information dissemination, about networks and channels promoting professional and artistic collaborations. They will explain to us how to observe nature and landscapes around us, for us to replicate their shapes, approaches and parameters. They will lead us towards technological complexity and variety of styles, expressions and languages ​​that characterize contemporary art, while reflecting on the meaning of identity and medialisation which is part of us, men and women of the XXI Century. Jump on board, the journey has just begun …

Sono stati evidenziati 4 differenti processi rappresentativi del contemporaneo:

DECOSTRUZIONE: la morfologia della cultura contemporanea è un territorio complesso caratterizzato da una progressiva decostruzione di strutture espressive, disciplinari, linguistiche, creative e progettuali, a discapito di quel processo di progressiva apparente omologazione di codici (sociali, politici, produttivi) ed estetiche (visive, sonore, espressive in senso ampio) che caratterizzano l’universo online e offline nel quale operiamo e viviamo

COMPLESSIFICAZIONE: gli sviluppi tecnologici, i network, le scienze moderne, contribuiscono a un progessivo assottigliamento dei paradigmi quasi dogmatici che governavano (e in parte ancora governano) la creazione di significato nelle società Occidentali: separazione, specializzazione, caratterizzazione sono parole chiave di un passato che tende rapidamente a scomparire a favore di un linguaggio nuovo e complesso, i cui confini sono ancora sconosciuti e che sottende il mondo dell’arte, del design, della scienza e della società contemporanea

NON IDENTIFICAZIONE: nell’ambito dei mercati contemporanei, quello della cultura, dell’arte o del prodotto, i soggetti in gioco hanno ruoli professionali meno caratterizzati, determinati e modellati da differenti esperienze ibride, studi transdisciplinari e ricerche cross mediali. Creativi, artisti e designer, critici, curatori, esperti ed operatori culturali in senso ampio, interiorizzano e modellano il concetto di brand, sia esso estensione del modello corporate, di quello cultural-istituzionale o persino di quello reputativo-personale. Aiutati in questo dalle dinamiche di valutazione collettiva su internet, dalle reti sociali condivise, dalle strutture produttive in network

OSSERVAZIONE: si dice che l’artista osserva, traduce e interpreta il mondo e la società che lo circonda. Mai come in questa epoca contemporanea, grazie alla diffusione di tecnologie software e hardware, di dinamiche open e peer-to-peer, gli artisti e i progettisti di oggi sono quasi “oltre” il ruolo di tramite, vivendo una completa identificazione di mezzi espressivi, linguaggi e dinamiche di lavoro che sembrano replicare e identificarsi completamente con la complessità di dati, informazioni, strutture che caratterizzano il panorama, naturale, urbano o sociale che viene osservato e interpretato

Come si ricolloca il concept in un panorama culturale più ampio

Le tematiche e gli ospiti selezionati,  in funzione delle loro ricerche e percorsi professionali, riflettono una serie di considerazioni che collocano il corpus teorico, nell’ambito di un contesto culturale i cui punti nodali sono stati così individuati:

CRITICA UFFICIALE: la necessità di categorizzare, identificare, racchiudere dentro confini linguistici, espressivi e culturali precisi e definiti, la difficoltà di comprensione degli strumenti tecnologici utilizzati e dei loro codici rappresentativi fa si che la critica ufficiale, i media generalisti, gli spazi espositivi, le istituzioni facciano spesso un po’ di fatica a comprendere il livello di complessità raggiunto nell’espressione creativa contemporanea

PROFESSIONISMO: il contesto contemporaneo spinge spontaneamente verso l’ibridizzazione, la collaborazione, la condivisione di esperienze, studi, capacità tecniche e linguaggi. Gli ambiti non solo della media art, ma quelli del cinema, dell’audiovisivo, del design, dell’interaction, delle tecnologie elettroniche e diy, delle stesse scienze moderne, conoscono oggi un momento di estrema compenetrazione e collaborazione

FORMAZIONE: si rivela una certa difficoltà degli istituti formativi, dei corsi accademici sulle nuove tecnologie, degli stessi workshop di artisti e designer, nel focalizzare l’attenzione sulle complessità tecnologica, sulle dinamicità nei linguaggi nonché su un tipo di progettazione ibrida (teorica e pratica) a favore di un tipo di formazione basata su dinamiche standardizzate e ancora troppo settorializzate di un insegnamento iper-specializzato a livello hardware e software o altresì teorico sugli studi dell’arte mediale

Bertram Niessen

Digitally based forms of production and reproduction are disrupting our consolidated ways to think at culture, art, information and science. Each of this sectors is witnessing a phase of continuous and accelerated transformation marked by an increasing of the gap between traditional, institutionalized forms of knowledge elaboration and new collaborative networking practices that are redefining the boundaries of social action. At different levels, this is affecting the notion of society as a whole, producing an increasing segmentation of meanings, common senses, systems of values, believes and behaviors. The talk will depict some of the main development paths for this trend at crossroad between culture and technology.

Alessio Erioli

The contemporary framework has finally recognized complexity and emergence as the dominant paradigms of our era as we have finally stepped out of linear deterministic paradigms (i.e. the machine paradigm: man as a machine, Fordist models of society and labor, la machine à habiter, etc.), and physics of matter put information at the core of our reality.  In such framework and with the power to program information not just as abstract but as the constituent part of living matter and direct our own evolution, what consequences and opportunities open for creative disciplines? More than observation and imitation by repetition, there is an urge to call for creative projection: an imagination that does not embraces only the narrative (such as utopian/dystopian visions did so far) but also the aspects linked to processes, costs, information/matter and the energetics involved, joining design and making in a simultaneous, intertwined ongoing process.

Domenico Quaranta

A common view of the net describes it as a place of relations, interactions and exchanges. This perspective has been translated in software by what is called today “social web”. And yet, the way internet works privileges monologue over dialogue. Identity construction over the development of social relations. In a context in which relations are mediated and happen “out of the body”, as Douglas Rushkoff suggests, the digital identity needs to be constructed, and the data that we circulate in social networks, the relationships we develop therein and the way we manage them, all concur to this process. At the very core of this never ending flow of tweets, likes, reblogs, given and accepted friendships, images and videos there is not the other, but the self. We are not constructing relationships: we are painting self-portraits.

Valentina Tanni

We’re living in an age of great changes. The ultimate loss of a definite cultural center – the end of mainstream culture and mass market as we know them – is the final stage of a long historical process, started several decades ago. The splitting of our culture into a collection of tribes is something that might sound scary, but really opens up an ocean of possibilities for knowledge, education and creativity. The biggest challenge we’re facing today is finding the right way to deal with this non stop interaction with diversity and complexity, a new “condition” made possible by the Internet. The available tools are curiosity, creativity and the courage to be different. And in this quest, art can be a useful guide.

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