The Research Center for Proxy Politics aims to explore and reflect upon the nature of medial networks and their actors, that is, machines and things as well as humans. The proxy, a decoy or surrogate, is today often used to designate a computer server acting as an intermediary for requests from clients. Originating in the Latin procurator, an agent representing others in a court of law, proxies are now emblematic of a post-representational political age, one increasingly populated by bot militias, puppet states, ghostwriters, and communication relays. During the period of the project (September 2014 to August 2017) the center will host a series of workshops at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, revolving around a wide range of relevant topics including the politics of digital networks, the political economy of crypto-currencies, the genealogy of networked thought, the mediality of physical landscapes and strategies of opacity. The center will also conduct material, experimental, investigations into the conception and construction of alternative networks, or alternets.

(Workshop) 29/01 2015  11:00 AM


Zach Blas

Contra-internet describes the emerging artistic militancies and political subversions of neoliberal, networked digital technologies. Recognizing the internet as a premier arena of control today, contra-internet is both a refusal of, or exodus from, the internet and also an attempt to build aesthetico-political alternatives to its infrastructures. Aspects of the contra-internet include the global proliferation of autonomous networks and development of encryption tactics.

Poised against the ever popular term “post-internet,” contra-internet is a conceptual, practical, and experimental framework for uniting explicitly political positions that understand internet technologies as bound to mechanisms that vehemently police and criminalize populations—biometric regulation, drone attacks, and data surveillance, to name but a few.

Inspired by Beatriz Preciado’s Manifesto contrasexual, contra-internet is feminist, queer, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist, addressing how non-normative, minoritarian persons are violently impacted by neoliberal network technologies.

Contra-internet practices involve:

Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo.

Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; the 2014 Museum of Arts and Design Biennial, New York; the 2014 Dakar Bienniale; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Queer/Art/Film LA, Los Angeles; quartier21 / MuseumsQuartier Wien; Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; transmediale, Berlin; and Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. In 2012 – 13, he was an artist/researcher-in-residence at the b.a.n.g.lab and Performative Nanorobotics Lab, University of California, San Diego. In 2013-14, Blas was a resident at Eyebeam in New York City, The White Building in London, and The Moving Museum in Istanbul.
Reading list:
Beatriz Preciado’s Contra-sexual Contract (Sample)