From alien matter to The World Without Us

Inke Arns

TUE, 27 June 2017
City Museum Ljubljana, Slovenia

In this talk Inke Arns speaks about two exhibitions she recently curated: The World Without Us (HMKV Dortmund, 2016/17) and alien matter (transmediale festival, HKW Berlin, 2017). Alien matter refers to man-made, and at the same time, radically different, potentially intelligent matter. It is the outcome of a naturalization of technological artifacts. Environments shaped by technology result in new relationships between man and machine. Technological objects, previously defined merely as objects of utility, have become autonomous agents. Their capacity to learn and network throws into question the previously clear and dominant division between active subject and passive object. Within the alien matter exhibition 30 artists presented works about shifts within such power structures, raising questions about the state of our current environment and whether it has already passed a tipping point and is in the process of becoming “alien matter”. Content-wise, the works clustered around four thematic focal points: artificial intelligence, plastics, infrastructure, and the Internet of Things – subcategories that are deemed to merge into the nascent great machine and thereby, in the words of Günther Anders, are “future obsolete”.

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