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.

(Seminar) 17/01 2016  11:00 – 16:00 @ Raum 115

Proxy Wars and Proxy Politics

Oleksiy Radynski

In 2003, Harun Farocki concluded his documentary War at a Distance by stating that current wars are no longer fought between the equals: rather, they are outsourced and exported to the already degraded, downbeat and devastated parts of the globe. In post-2008 era this formula needs to be revised, as zones of total impoverishment, permanent crisis and collapse of state sovereignties sprout into areas formerly known as ‘First’ and ‘Second’ worlds. While Russia is deeply entangled into the undeclared war in Ukraine, planting the post-sovereign militarized para-states in the East of Europe, France is declaring a war on an ephemeral and elusive entity that is Islamic State. It seems that the central figure of today’s warfare is a proxy gone rogue. Is the proxy war merely a continuation of proxy politics by other means? This seminar will trace the emergence of ‘proxy’ subjectivity through the reading of texts by Nick Dyer-Witheford (Cyber-Proletariat, 2015) and Giorgio Agamben (Stasis, 2015), as well as a number of visual artefacts. On a second day of the seminar, three films by Oleksiy Radynski made between 2013 and 2015 will be screened and discussed.

Oleksiy Radynski is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. He is a participant of Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge and politics founded in Kyiv in 2008.


About Oleksiy Radynski