In 30 years, will robots do all the unpleasant work for us? Or will they subjugate us to become submissive slaves? The debates on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change our lives move between these extremes. There is no doubt that the change will be dramatic. Maybe now is just the right time to start interfering. This pioneering comic essay on AI invites you on an illustrated journey through the dimensions and implications of the groundbreaking technology. Discussing important chances and risks associated with AI, this work is a creative stimulus for insiders of the subject as well as an invitation for newbies to get informed and join the debate. With a doctorate in economics, Julia Schneider appreciates data and code as tools for solving complex puzzles – and loves comics as a medium for telling complex stories. Coming from the opposite direction, artist Lena Kadriye Ziyal loves encrypting complexity with associations and thereby expands the meaning of a theme with her perspective.
Throughout art history, some artworks have been lucky enough to be understood not simply as art, but as useful tools, public spaces, cultural phenomena, or memes. Line Rider is one such artwork. Originally created in September 2006 by Slovenian artist Boštjan Čadež (also known as “fšk”) when he was still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Line Rider is a classic sandbox game where you draw a track for a boy on a sled to ride on. The concept is simple and the aesthetics are minimal, yet the possibilities are endless. The line you draw can be a simple line or evolve into an elaborate drawing. Depending upon your attitude toward the character, you can try to make him ride indefinitely or make a drawing that will make him crash or fall in a spectacular way. As a drawing board, it offers basic tools to edit, delete, or remake parts of the drawing. The board exceeds the space of the screen, allowing the user to draw large landscapes. This, together with the perfectly simulated physics (the track must be sufficiently smooth to prevent the character from falling off the sled or the sled from falling into pieces) and the possibility to record and share the final animation, made Line Rider oddly addictive and easily turned it into an internet phenomenon. After it was published on DeviantArt in September 2006, the original game was featured on many popular websites (from Yahoo! to Time Magazine), appeared in several McDonald’s commercials, was discussed in game magazines as well as in the New York Times, and was even used as an educational tool to teach physics. It was downloaded more than 34 million times and reached number seven on Google Zeitgeist’s search query chart (source: Wikipedia). It was plagiarized and became the subject of a number of variations and remakes. But, more importantly, it became the subject of a number of online videos, where hundreds of users shared their tricks and their epic performances – or epic fails – with the game.
While the original game can still be played for free on the website linerider.com, or as a smartphone app, Čadež is currently working on a 3D version playable in virtual reality, a preview of which will be publicly presented at the MFRU festival in Maribor. The new game will be released in 2021.
Boštjan Čadež (1979) studied industrial design at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. As an intermedia artist, he’s lately been focusing mostly on the fields of computer, real-time-generated and generative graphics and robotics, presented in the form of performances and installations. He’s received several prestigious awards and prizes for his innovations in design and programming. His previous artistic endeavours include graffiti, street art and VJ-ing. In 2013, he received the Golden Bird Award in the category of intermedia art.
Author: Boštjan Čadež
Production: Aksioma – Institute of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2020
Supported by: The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, European Regional Development Fund of the European Union
The publication is a part of the installation 0.004 Hz which examines an event that for several months in 2018 almost imperceptibly affected everyday life in an area of Europe comprising 25 nations, by slowing down some electrical clocks for 6 minutes over the 2-month period.
The publication collects mostly found fragments that are indicative of the potential in, and are essential or tangential to this delay. Official announcements, news reports and interpretations of the incident are juxtaposed with literary, artistic, theoretical, philosophical and scientific texts. These include fragments by Karen Barad, Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Brian Massumi, Adriana Cavarero, Marcel Duchamp, Mladen Dolar and Simone de Beauvoir among others.
Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec: 0.004 Hz Concept, editing, introduction, entries, images: Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec Editing: Janine Armin, Tea Kačar Slovenian translation: Maja Lovrenov Graphic design: Luka Umek with Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec Software design frequency deviation graph: Jurij Rejec Produced and published by: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana Supported by: Ministry of Culture of Republic Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department of Culture, Slovenia and Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands Thanks to: ELES d.o.o., Kleitia Zeqo, Tomaž Grom Printed in: MegaDruck.de Edition: 1000 COBISS.SI-ID 23895555 ISBN 978-961-95064-0-0
The new work by the duo Nika Oblak & Primož Novak entitled Infinity (Digital) focuses on the influence of contemporary means of communication on one’s life. Their artistic practice over the past fifteen years has continuously addressed the position of humans in the clenches of consumerist doctrines, media cacophony and popular culture. Along the same lines, in their latest work they have created a spatial video installation consisting of screens, cables and other heralds of everyday modern life.
Employing a good measure of humour and self-irony, the artists focus once again on the human being that is – no less than in the past – caught up in the absurdities of daily routines and subjected to the conventions of tradition and the patterns of dominant culture. Infinity (Digital) shows the motif of running, symbolised by an ordinary man involved in the multilayered mechanisms of today’s neoliberal reality. The image of the protagonist running in an infinite and senseless loop from screen to screen can thus be seen as a manifestation of the myth of Sisyphus who, by means of divine punishment, was condemned to repeatedly roll a boulder up the same hillside. With this gesture, the artists point out people’s self-evident attitude to technological progress, show the imperative of adapting to all kinds of changes and call attention to the loosening of basic humanistic values. Even though, in the last few decades, society and technology have advanced to the degree that there is seemingly less and less monotonous work and jobs, the abundance of everything that is available in the material and virtual world can still make one feel caught in the metaphorical aimless run. Contemporary society worships constant fulfilment, whether through work or leisure activities. Subjected to all kinds of stimuli, people today are consequently overloaded with activity. Regardless of whether it relates to one’s job or one’s vacations and travels, activity is ever-present, such as on social media networks where there is a constant absorption of information.
That is why the video’s protagonist, dressed in casual clothes, who persistently and endlessly runs through the screens, can symbolise precisely this inevitable entrapment of individuals in the shackles of prescribed lifestyles and activities, which they cannot resist – at least not without the risk of extreme social deviation or ostracisation, The monumental, white, spaceless environment of the video, into which the runner moves in an even straight line, metaphorically suggests the self-evident fact that an individual is always subordinate to the collective – that is, to society – and always has to adapt to it, for his or her own comfort. The infinity examined by the artists is highly abstract and formless. But, at the same time, it is very familiar since people are consciously or unconsciously prone to repeat patterns, which actually fulfil them and provide them with a feeling of security. The infinite run and its monotonous sound could thus be a lucid depiction of the artists’ relation to the world and their own position in it.
Nika Oblak & Primož Novak have been working collectively since 2003. In their art practice they examine the influence of media and capital on contemporary society, dissecting its visual and linguistic structure. Oblak & Novak have exhibited worldwide, in venues like the Sharjah Biennial (AE), Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo (JP), Istanbul Biennial (TR), Biennale Cuvee, Linz (AT), Transmediale Berlin (DE), FILE Sao Paulo (BR), among others. They have received numerous grants and awards, including the CYNETART Award by the Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau in Dresden (DE), an honorary mention of art critics at Biennale WRO, Wroclaw (PL), the White Aphroid Award for artistic achievement by MMC KIBLA, Maribor (SI) and a Rihard Jakopic honorable mention, awarded by the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, Moderna galerija and the Slovene Association of Art Critics (SI).
Authors: Nika Oblak & Primož Novak Accompanying text by: Miha Colner Translated by: Maja Lovrenov
Co-production: Aksioma – Institute of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2020
Supported by: The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana
Can doing nothing be the ultimate form of labour in the age of automation? By employing the same technologies that make us actually work all the time, such as biometrics, the Oblomo platform turns inactivity, motionlessness, laziness into an economic value. It democratizes once privileged values and changes our perspective on idleness from something despicable into something worthy, thus turning laziness into a productive activity with purchasing power.
Based on a blockchain with its own cryptocurrency and machine learning software, the Oblomo platform rewards users for being inactive. When the application detects the user’s non-activity, it rewards it by sending Oblomo coins to their electronic wallet. Users can spend coins on the platform’s market which is at its core a non-work for work exchange platform, where users goods and services are being exchanged and sold.
The Oblomo platform is a web application that works in a browser, so anyone can use it on their phone, tablet or computer, practically on any device with an internet connection and a webcam.
The project was initiated in November 2019 when the first coins were created in the Oblomo ecosystem. In the performance Om for Coin, three individuals – the “miners” – performed the meditation mantra “Om” in front of a machine learning software surveillanced by a live audience. This created around 2 000 000 new coins which are now available to the public for mining and trading.
The Oblomo project got its name after the 1859 novel Oblomov, by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov. In it, the main hero Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, undoubtedly the laziest hero in world literature. Although he spends most of his time in bed, Oblomov isn’t really lazy — or at least he is only slothful in the physical sense. Intellectually, he is a fizzing ball of energy. Oblomov is a visionary representation of the individual in the 21st century, in which physical work is soon to be done by artificial intelligence and robots. And due to the devastating impact of continuous human effectiveness on the environment and lack of reflection, the project also carries an environmental and health message. Laziness is organic, ecological and healthy.
Sašo Sedlačekholds a BA in sculpture and video from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Ljubljana (UL ALUO). Since 2015, he works as an associate professor in UL ALUO’s Video and New Media programme. His work has been awarded various grants, including the Trend Award for exceptional achievements in visual culture (Ljubljana 2012) and the VIDA 11 (Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, 2008), and is featured in various private and public collections, including the Museum & Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML). Since 2001, his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at various venues, most recently: Aksioma | Project Space; City Art Gallery of Ljubljana; Espace Apollonia, Strasbourg; Contemporary Art Palazzo Torriani, Gradisca d’Isonzo; Autostrada Biennale Prizren; Handel Street Projects; UGM, Maribor; +MSUM, Ljubljana; AND Festival, Grizedale Forest; Wro Art Center; Ars Electronica; transmediale. In 2020, his project Oblomo, featuring an alternative cryptocurrency based on laziness, will be featured at Dopolavoro within the Rijeka 2020 ECoC.
Thanks: Uroš Hercog, Nebojša Živković, Ruth Catlow, Max Dovey, Franc Solina, Borut Batagelj, Dominik Hudoklin, Florijan Germovšek, Matjaž Duh
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2019-2020 Co-production: Drugo more Partner: TAM-TAM
This project is a co-production in the framework of the Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, with support from the City of Rijeka – Department of Culture, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.
As algorithms ripple through and integrate further with our work and daily lives, the future of work projections note creativity, flexibilty and innovative thinking as forecast skill demands that will be required of employees. These skills, which have traditionally also been attributed to the profession of the artist, are supposed to be among the ones most resistant to or the least exposed to automation. Many people think that what they do requires creativity, and that cannot be expressed in the form of executable code or emulated by a machine. Contemporary perception usually sees creativity as something new, divergent and original that takes people by surprise. And yet, many tasks which might entail human faculties such as intuition, empathy, and creativity, are already being outsourced to increasingly capable automated and automatising systems that just perform them in differently.
There are many ways to distill something into data points. In her recent work, Sanela Jahić converted her labour as an artist – her works, research and interests of the past 14 years – into data. As data, the features of her artworks become tables of numbers; each creative decision emerges in a row of digits. The artist then turned the decision making over to a predictive algorithm. The machine uses the dataset to sift through and identify patterns in her artistic labour in order to predict the content and aesthetics of her next artwork. The first stage of this multiyear project was presented at Aksioma in 2018 with the exhibition The Labour of Making Labour Disappear.
Yet such predictive power is limited in its forecast of future outcome, because it gives a selection from among ready-made choices. And even though this may be an original selection, as calculating predictor of the future it is still weighted down in the past. At every step of the way, the capability to create new choices is heavily constrained by choices that came before. In other words, conceiving artworks from the same conceptual depository is not really imagining something new, but a narrow alteration of existing inputs. To break away from the machine algorithm rolling out combinations of prior existing data, and to avoid sparking a feedback loop, the artist – in the final stage of this project – provides the machine a look at her contemporary investigations as an early window into the present disorganization of her thoughts. The algorithm then determines tomorrow’s artwork based on observations today with the past flickering in the rear–view mirror. On the basis of the predictive model, Pataka was created, a work that listens to what our voices tell machines about us.
Sanela Jahić (1980, Kranj) graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana in 2008, and received her master’s degree in 2010 in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Jahić is an intermedia artist, who constructs visual and technologically supported kinetic objects and installations. Her artistic practice often involves collaboration with specialists for mechanical engineering, automation, software and electronics. She lives and works in Škofja Loka. Jahić has exhibited her work in numerous shows in Slovenia and abroad.
Author: Sanela Jahić Technical support: Andrej Primožič Graphic design: Vasja Cenčič Development and programming of the predictive model and data visualisation: Iztok Lebar Bajec Development and programming of the predictive model: Jure Demšar Research insight and assistance: Nicholas Cummins, Jude Dineley Dynamic data visualisation design: Peter Primožič Assistance in filming and picture post-production: Toni Mlakar Sound post-production: Julij Zornik
Production of the exhibition: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2020
Realized in the framework of the Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, with support from the City of Rijeka – Department of Culture, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.
In 30 years, will robots do all the unpleasant work for us? Or will they subjugate us to become submissive slaves? The debates on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change our lives move between these extremes. There is no doubt that the change will be dramatic. Maybe now is just the right time to start interfering.
This pioneering comic essay on AI invites you on an illustrated journey through the dimensions and implications of the groundbreaking technology. Discussing important chances and risks associated with AI, this work is a creative stimulus for insiders of the subject as well as an invitation for newbies to get informed and join the debate.
With a doctorate in economics, Julia Schneider appreciates data and code as tools for solving complex puzzles – and loves comics as a medium for telling complex stories. Coming from the opposite direction, artist Lena Kadriye Ziyal loves encrypting complexity with associations and thereby expands the meaning of a theme with her perspective.
Dr. Julia Schneider is an independent consultant for Artificial Intelligence and a member of the scientifi c committee of VDEI Association of the Exoskeleton Industry e.V. She received her doctorate in economics from the Free University Berlin for her research on the effects of the 2005 German labor market reforms on welfare recipients` behavior and health. After that, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the fi eld of empirical labor market and innovation research and as senior data strategist.
Lena Kadriye Ziyal is part of the collectively run content and graphic design agency Infotext in Berlin. She creates design concepts, infographics, icons and illustrations. Lena studied visual communication and graphic arts at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, the University of Arts (UdK) in Berlin and at the Marmara University Istanbul. Before joining Infotext she worked as a freelance graphic designer and visual artist.
Exhibition: Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana 2020 Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana
Publication: Published by: Aksioma – Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana 2020 Co-published and distributed by: Mladinski kulturni center Maribor In the framework of: konS – Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art The project konS – Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art was chosen on the public call for the selection of the operations “Network of Investigative Art and Culture Centres”. The investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.
0.004 Hz examines an event that originates from a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, which for several months in 2018, almost imperceptibly affected everyday life in an area of Europe comprising 25 nations. Due to the complex and unresolved political relations in which Kosovo and Serbia (and the Serbian minority in Kosovo) were – and continue to be – embroiled, there was a deficit of electrical power in the region from January to March 2018. This caused the mean electrical frequency in the entire Continental European Power System (from Istanbul to Santiago de Compostela, from Rome to Copenhagen) to decrease from 50 to 49.996 Hz. For the many electric clocks that keep time according to the frequency of the power grid, instead of quartz crystal, the 0.004 Hz drop resulted in a cumulative delay of 6 minutes over the 2-month period.
The interesting thing is – almost nobody noticed.
This project embraces the event as an opportunity to encounter and contemplate the temporal gap – the cranny, loss of time– or delay that disrupted the (measured) flow of time itself. The result is something that Sambolec calls an ecstatic interval: an interval that amplifies fuzzy and unstable relations between the understanding, measurement, representation and experience of temporality. It is a gap that also illuminates the invisible, involuntary and unexpected ‘shadow connectivity’ that the continent-wide electrical power grid enables between distant people, places, cultures, political spheres and everyday life.
How does the shared grid connect political institutions in the Balkans to the kitchens and bedrooms of Denmark? How does this affect and inform the contemporary human condition and relations between experience, factuality, distance and visibility? How does it (trans)form the notion of territoriality, autonomy and statehood? And, what are the potential relations between this event and the poetic, philosophical and artistic articulations of the evasive, ephemeral and imperceptible?
The installation consists of a sound, a graph of the Continental European Power System mean electrical frequency deviations from January to March 2018, and a newspaper-style publication. Sound is at two frequencies – 50 Hz and 49.996 Hz – amplified by subwoofers and transducers attached to Tupana drum membrane. This drum is a version of traditional Turkish Davul and is still widely played in the region. In Serbian it is called Tapan and Tupana in Albanian. The publication collects mostly found fragments that are indicative of the potential in, and are essential or tangential to, the ecstatic interval. Official announcements, news reports and interpretations of the frequency deviation described above are juxtaposed with articulations of the ecstatic interval across literature, art, theory, philosophy and science. These include fragments by Karen Barad, Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Brian Massumi, Adriana Cavarero, Marcel Duchamp, Mladen Dolar and Simone de Beauvoir, among others.
Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec(SI/NL) is artist and researcher with a particular focus in sound, new media, real-time interaction, and questions of contemporary mediation in relation to the sense of (bodily) presence. His recent work consists of spatial and sound installations, events and interventions, where (un)mediated sonic events act as central element that affectively evokes human bodily presence, while signaling its physical absence. Addressing the visitors through sound, tactility, kinetic movement and vibration, such experiential artistic works ultimately intend to question in what way human bodily presence can be felt and sensed beyond the directness of visuality and vicinity, and further, what kind of new poetics these re-articulations can form.
His works have been presented internationally at various museums, galleries, project spaces and contemporary art biennales and festivals.
He earned his PhD in Artistic Research from Faculty of Fine Art at University in Bergen, Norway, where he was the recipient of Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship (2013 – 2016). He is currently the recipient of Mondriaan Fund Stipendium for Established Artists, The Netherlands (2018 – 2022). In 2017 he took part in Research Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. In 2010 his work was awarded at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz – Austria.
In 2018 he became a member of artistic committee of puntWG Project Space in Amsterdam and a member of artistic committee of DNK – Amsterdam, a series of experimental contemporary music and sound art concerts, events, lectures and exhibitions.
What impacts will the potential mass implementation of Artificial General Intelligence have on society? Régine Debatty talks with award-winning film director Tonje Hessen Schei about iHuman, a documentary that explores super-smart machines, social control, lack of transparency in decision-making and possible regulations.
Special guests: Pika Šarf, Marko Grobelnik, Boris Cergol
Value is classically said to stem from human labor, and money to represent this value. Although those theories have been made obsolete by, among other things, the subjectivization of value which opened the door to the narratives of financialization, the idea that value should be objectively linked to the steps of its production endures in our economic imaginaries. Whether ‘labor was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things’ or whether its value was indexed to the profit derived from it—the consequences of which we can see now more clearly than ever when it comes to the wages of ‘essential workers’—the production of value with regards to labor still stands as one of the most pressing issues of the digital evolution.
It is interesting to bear in mind that, in the Western European region, work doesn’t seem to have been socially valued until relatively late—around the 18th century—but has then been largely glorified by the nascent modern education system of the 19th century. An activity traditionally devalued, or even at times condemned, since antiquity, work was then opposed to the spiritual meaning of life (and actually, to military activites too). Human beings were to find self-fulfillment with otium (meditation, reflection, poetry and politics…)—or war—, and not with its negation, negotium (trade, business…).
After centuries of direct workers exploitation, the late 20th century saw otium and negotium merge in a new knowledge economy that extracted value from intellectual and cultural work. What some view as a path towards a sort of ‘dotCommunism’ unfortunately mostly led to a ‘data is the new oil’ state of mind. The situation and the history that produced it are of course more complex and it’s an attempt at mapping them through the lense of the massification of interest in cryptography that Martín Nadal and Cesar Escudero Andaluz propose with Economy, Knowledge and Surveillance in the Age of the Cryptocene.
Not only did data extraction turn each and every internet user into an unwitting worker by turning otium into negotium, but it is also heavily damaging everyone’s attention capacity to the point of seriously reducing our critical thinking ability. This is the question addressed by Ishtar Gate, a blockchain-based micro-economy-in-the-arts platform devised by the writer and visual theorist Penny Rafferty together with Nascent, designed to reward the reading of critical content and its comment with tokens exchangeable in real life. One step further in this return to valuing otium, Sašo Sedlaček turns some data extraction technologies—such as real-time pose estimation—against themselves, and allows the users of its Oblomo platform to mine cryptocurrencies while standing still, and to exchange the product of those physically inactive moments for the workforce of other people willing to, for instance, mow your lawn or wash your car. And what if, in this age of ever-expanding automation, we could evaluate the machinic workforce and transmit it through a currency? Embedding the classical labor value theory in a rational digital cryptocurrency, the Haket designed by Telekommunisten is intended as a criticism of the Bitcoin architecture and as way to rethink it as a stable currency thus usable as a currency.
Like many technologies, the radical potential of blockchains and cryptocurrencies to revolutionise the way we work, trade, cooperate and exchange has narrowed as major banks, corporations, and other powerful interests claim this potential for themselves. What has happened to those alternative futures lost along the way? What about the paths not taken in the development of this technology? Or was it fated to be this way? Was this technology cursed from the beginning? This panel seeks to explore the ghosts and spectres of alternative possibilities, of the radical imagination, that haunt today’s landscape of blockchain experiments. In an era when blockchains are being used for the purpose of increasing corporate power, of consolidating inequality, or for new forms of surveillance and exploitation, are other blockchain futures possible?
The panellists will seek to recover the political economies of the hacker-engineers, whose stories start with an affiliation to “decentralisation” that emerged out of experiences in pre-Bitcoin cypherpunk, hacker and peer-to-peer network cultures as well as consider money’s long history of “epic failures”, in which schemers, dreamers and tricksters have tried, and failed, to steal monetary fire from the economic Gods. Together they will question the task for a truly revolutionary money that would not only bring about a redistribution of wealth, but also a reimagination of value. Among the propositions, we’ll hear about exploring how blockchain tech could be used not for “fixing” property-based value systems, but for refusing such systems entirely. Instead of financialising creative practice and further commodifying aesthetic artefacts, can “crypto” resist property as such? How might an unownable digital artefact function on the blockchain?
Special guests: Martin Mihajlov, Miha Artnak, Marina Markežič
Tax havens are a popular topic for bar rants about The Others, those dirty scumbags who came to possess vast sums of money through means, networks, tools and methods an everyday earthling does not have access to. It is generally assumed the funds are a result of some money laundering/public corruption/criminal operation (as they often are), or of a “perfectly legal and legitimate” tax avoidance scheme. By law, only tax evasion is illegal, while the rest are legal methods of “cashing in” individual benefits, i.e., tax deductions for dependables. The public seemingly responds to revelations by authorities, journalists, and others about the millions in national currencies that have sunk into exotic offshore locations with the resigned realisation that everything will remain the same. This is true, but it also obfuscates the real consequences of tax havens: the millions of euros that never reach a country’s budget and are often a result of transnational crime. After the Panama Papers shook the global markets in 2016, some states fought back by installing registers of beneficial owners. Yet, they can hardly do anything about the flourishing offshore financial industry. To do so would go against the grain of the national economies of giants like the USA, where some states are “onshore” havens. Meanwhile the global public is complicit in this normalisation because, honestly, it is complicated to think about taxes and tax havens, right? Let this panel of investigative artists talking to an investigative journalist make it easier for you. RYBN.ORG will take you on an intimate ride aboard The Great Offshore, guiding you gently through offshore finance in infamous locations, like Malta, to help you identify with The Others. Then the Demystification Committee will show you how you can even become one of Them by receiving guidance from their Offshore Investigation Vehicle to set up your own global corporate structure.
Special guests: Maruša Babnik, Žiga Perovič, Sebastijan Peterka, Matej Zwitter
From empty luxury condos in London to slum clearance in Istanbul, from mortgage debt crisis in Spain to unaffordable rents in Slovenia, we are witnessing different local expressions of the global housing condition. These local crises stem from the real estate-financial complex that has transformed housing into an investment opportunity for an increasingly unequal concentration of global surplus capital. The commodification of housing thus offers lucrative financial opportunities for upper classes, while at the same time contributes to the increasing residential alienation, housing insecurity and expropriation of the commons. States have contributed to these developments by not only deregulating housing markets and privatising public rental stock, but also by employing different entrepreneurial strategies that support private investment strategies while limiting the development of non-profit alternatives. Housing is thus no longer a source of individual or social stability and security, but of constant tension, conflict and exploitation. How can communities, in current conditions of financial plunder and state removal, come together to construct other scenarios? How can we develop new mechanisms of communal control that will once again embed housing markets in local social relations, that will treat housing as a communal resource and human right? Can we imagine another system that will not be based on housing as an investment, but will see it as a home?
Special guests: Maša Hawlina, Uroš Mikanovič, Maruša Nardoni
Neoliberal policies have re-organised the basic care provisions previously considered cornerstones of democratic life – healthcare, housing, access to knowledge, right to asylum, freedom of mobility, social benefits, etc. – turning them into tools for surveilling, excluding and punishing the most vulnerable, reframing the family unit as the sole bearer of responsibility for dependents. In the light of these processes, a growing wave of initiatives has been questioning the political and economic framework of care and experimenting with its collective reorganisation. On this panel, Tomislav Medak will present the research project Pirate Care that is gathering diverse self-organised care practices currently opposing the criminalisation of solidarity and prefiguring models for commoning care infrastructures. Cassie Thornton, of the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), will discuss The Hologram, a three-person health monitoring and diagnostic system practised from couches all over the world, on the phone and by many names, to produce a three-dimensional image of each participant’s physical, psychic and social health, based on one of the free, experimental care models developed by health workers at Social Solidarity Clinics in Greece during the height of the financial and refugee crisis. Maddalena Fragnito will present the experience of Soprasotto, a parent-managed kindergarten based in Milan since 2013. She will discuss the concept of “commoning care” by comparing its specificities to the market-oriented “techno-solutionist” hope on digital technologies in order to help society address the reorganisation of care needs.
Special guests: Majda Hrženjak, Lea Aymard, Maja Ivačič
In his conversation with Domen Savič (Citizen D), Denis ‘Jaromil’ Roio emphasised that technology is only a means – we have to talk about problems and solutions. In building applications, we need to ask whether we build them in order for us to better understand individuals and society or in order for the applications to better understand us. In addition to decentralised tracking applications, we also focused on mutual credit system, which, according to the testimonies (at least) from Italy, where Jaromil joined the conversation from, might be more effective technological solutions than the systems for tracking infected individuals.
Special guests: Anja Blaj, Andraž Tori, Maja Založnik