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) 04/02 2016  10:30 @ Raum 115

Networked Maps and Artistic Territories

Brian Holmes

On the first day of this workshop theorist and mapmaker Brian Holmes will present both the results and the underlying techniques of his recent cartographic work on political ecology issues in Chicago. Then he will show participants how to set up a multimedia web-map interface that they can use. Together we will dream up some kind of theme or metaphorical structure to fit participants’ desires, then everyone will have a week to begin artistic processes at specific points or around Berlin. Holmes will return a week later and help participants integrate the documents of their work to points on the map (images, texts, audio or video files). The workshop will be both theoretical and practical, open to aesthetic questions beyond the specific techniques employed. No programming skills are required but whoever wants to begin learning how to work with a flexible and sophisticated map interface (Openlayers 3) will be able to do so.

Brian Holmes is an art and cultural critic with a taste for on-the-ground intervention. A polyglot living in Paris from 1990 to 2009, he collaborated with political art groups such as Ne Pas Plier, Bureau d’Etudes, and Makrolab. With Claire Pentecost and the 16 Beaver Group he co-organized the Continental Drift seminars. His books include Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society (2009) and Unleashing the Collective Phantoms: Essays in Reverse Imagineering (2007), as well as Volatile Smile (2014) in collaboration with the photographers Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann. In Chicago where he now lives he is a member of the Compass group and teaches intermittently at the University of Illinois.