Due to the Berlin-Marathon, there are traffic delays until September 25. More information...

2017, Sat, Jun 24

The Proxy and Its Politics - On evasive objects in a networked age

With Tom McCarthy, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kodwo Eshun, Goldin+Senneby, Alexandra Heimes, Brian Holmes, Nicholas Houde, Doreen Mende, Sondra Perry, Robert Rapoport, Hito Steyerl and participants of the lensbased-class at UdK Berlin

Goldin+Senneby, Zero Magic with Malin Nilsson (magician), Théo Bourgeron (sociologist of finance), Kevin Keener (patent attorney), Johan Hjerpe (designer), 2016. Magic box. Installation view: ‘Standard Length of a Miracle’, Tensta konsthall c/o Stockholm School of Economics. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger.

Goldin+Senneby, Zero Magic with Malin Nilsson (magician), Théo Bourgeron (sociologist of finance), Kevin Keener (patent attorney), Johan Hjerpe (designer), 2016. Magic box. Installation view: ‘Standard Length of a Miracle’, Tensta konsthall c/o Stockholm School of Economics. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger.

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-democratic political age, one increasingly populated by bot militias, puppet states, and communication relays. Thus, the proxy works as a dialectical figure that is woven into the fabric of networks, where action and stance seem to be masked, calculated and remote-controlled. The proxy thrives within a habitat defined by sameness, characterized by constant monitoring of human and non-human actors. This homogeneity comes as a technological precondition for effectively blending in, the proxy emerges as a symptom of our prevalent condition. Considering the current political situation, are proxies needed more than ever, or do proxies rather confirm the status quo?

The conference looks at proxy-politics on both a micro and a macro level, exploring proxies as objects, as well as networks as objects. What is the relation between the molecular and the planetary? How to fathom the computational regime? Yet, whilst being a manifestation of the networked age, thinking like a proxy offers loopholes and strategies for survival within it.

In cooperation with the University of the Arts, Berlin
Funded by BMBF, organized by RCPP
Concept: Vera Tollmann, Boaz Levin