My Delight on a Shining Night
20 February – 22 March 2019
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
In the framework of State Machines
During the Second World War, engineers working on the new top-secret technology of radar would see mysterious shapes bloom across their screens, shifting and moving in great strands across the sky. They named these phenomena “angels”. Only later did ornithologists working with radar manage to prove that these shadows were flocks of birds, and use radar to learn much more about the natural world.
“My delight on a shining night” is a line taken from the old English folk song, “The Lincolnshire Poacher”, which describes the pleasures of taking game from rich landowners. The opening bars of “The Lincolnshire Poacher” were also used as the call sign of a numbers station – a mysterious radio shortwave radio signal believed to be related to espionage – broadcast from RAF Akrotiri, in Cyprus, from the mid-1970s until 2008.
Akrotiri is the site of the one of the largest military radar installations in Europe and the Middle East, collecting intelligence on the Middle East and Russia far over the horizon. It is also home to a population of Greater Flamingos, who migrate around the Mediterranean. Since the 1970s, these flamingo populations have been tracked by the Station Biologique de la Tour de Valat in the South of France, whose database of half a million sightings over thirty years includes more than twenty thousand birds.James Bridle’s work is concerned with how political and social attitudes shape technology, and the ways in which new technologies in turn shape our understanding of the world. In My Delight on a Shining Night, he connects histories of surveillance and covert communication, data and visuality, migration and nationalism through video, and exercises in database recovery and storytelling.
Click HERE to read more about James’s research for this project.
New Dark Age
Technology and the End of the Future, Verso, June 2018
WED, 20 February 2019 at 5 pm
Moderna galerija Ljubljana
“New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about contemporary life.”– Mark O’Connell, The New Yorker
We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.
James Bridle is an artist and writer working across technologies and disciplines. His artworks and installations have been exhibited in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors online. He has been commissioned by organisations including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Barbican, Artangel, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and been honoured by Ars Electronica, the Japan Media Arts Festival, and the Design Museum, London. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Frieze, Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, and many others, in print and online, and he has written a regular column for the Observer. New Dark Age, his book about technology, knowledge, and the end of the future,was published by Verso (UK & US) in 2018. He lectures regularly on radio, at conferences, universities, and other events, including SXSW, Lift, the Global Art Forum, Re:Publica and TED. He has been a resident at Lighthouse, Brighton, the White Building, London, and Eyebeam, New York, and was an adjunct professor on the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at New York University.
Author: James Bridle
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2018
Drugo more, Rijeka
Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana
Realised in the framework of State Machines, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), Furtherfield (UK), Institute of Network Cultures (NL) and NeMe (CY).
Supported by: the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Aksioma’s programme is additionally supported by the Ministry of Public Administration as part of the public call for co-financing projects for the development and professionalisation of NGOs and volunteerism as well as by JSKD