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The Influencers

The Influencers 2019

Unconventional Art, Guerrilla Communication, Radical Entertainment

Festivals

Free

Every year since 2004 The Influencers festival has been inviting artists, hacktivists and researchers to share with the audience their experience with rebellious projects, inventions and adventures in the unstable realm where everyday technology and collective imagination collide, often times with unexpected results.

We've been talking about art and networks, new and old pranksterism, fakes and hoaxes,  online user cultures, radical memetics, critical engineering, up to urban exploration and hacking, touching upon general topics as the materiality of the internet, mass surveillance, the symbolic efficacy of images, the power of fiction in the age of social media realism, collective intelligence and the role of the artist, innovation through remix and hacker culture, among many many others.

Also, at The Influencers there will be always room for fringe, visionary, crazy ideas. An example? Zero gravity theater, a tall bike gang, setting up a bot to buy stuff on the darknets, collecting patches of US army secret missions, or sculpting radioactive materials (among many many others). More than ten years since its first edition, the festival has grown to become a renown cultural event in Barcelona and Catalonia, with an increasing international repercussion.

 

Friday October 25

 

Talks, lectures and project presentations

19.00 - 21.00 / Free admission. English with Spanish translation.

Jaromil. Author of what has been dubbed as “the most elegant forkbomb ever written”, he is also an expert in the politics of technology, especially regarding the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Cyber Security. In the last couple of decades planetary-scale computation precipitated the ongoing transformation of existing jurisdictions and disciplinary realms, a trend that is both depicted and tackled by the notion of algorithmic sovereignty. Jaromil’s work is currently devoted to approaching such transformations with practical and strategic solutions.

Clusterduck. They will present their most recent research about the bizarre and often awkward ways internet cultures are making politization visible, and how it mutates into something unrecognizable or obscene. Clusterduck will introduce these topics in a lecture and, on Saturday October 26th, in an open think-tank session. The Clusterduck collective is also the author of the visual image of The Influencers 2019, together with a network of anonymous badass collaborators from the depths of the internet.

Mitra Azar. At The Influencers 2019 he will introduce a new project called DoppelGANger , whose first installment is the result of a collaboration between the festival and the renowned Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland). DoppelGANger is a research about human faces automatically generated by a GAN system, a field in artificial intelligence in which two neural networks compete against each other to learn and autonomously produce an output.

Adam Harvey. Machine vision, privacy, surveillance are the key fields of Adam Harvey's artistic research and speculative design. His projects include CV Dazzle (camouflage from face recognition), the Anti-Drone Burqa (camouflage from thermal cameras), SkyLift (a geolocation spoofing device), and the recent MegaPixels (interrogating face recognition information supply chains).

Monira Al Qadiri. How about a future without oil? That is the main theme of Petrochemicals in Purgatory , the research that Monira Al Qadiri will perform at The Influencers . Born in Senegal, raised in Kuwait, and educated in Japan, Al Qadiri adopts a range of imaginative strategies to shape histories both personal and political: Arab soap operas, Gulf War–era images of burning Kuwaiti oil fields, traditional elegiac songs, decontextualized industrial artifacts, and science fiction all figure in her manifold work, which subtly puts otherwise unnoticed networks of capital and labor into the foreground.

 

Workshop

12.00 - 17.00 / With registration.

— Algorithmic faces. An experiment in reverse engineering GAN-generated images and facial recognition systems / With Adam Harvey i Mitra Azar.
This workshop aims at crossing the research done by Mitra Azar’s DoppelGANger about algorithmic facial generation and recognition, with Adam Harvey’s Megapixels project, an investigation on the unregulated and politically opaque use of AI and face datasets by the academia, corporations, and governments.

 

Screenings

17.30 — 19.00 / Free admission, limited seats.

— Me @ the Zoo / Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch, EUA, 2012, 85 min, Original English Version
With almost 300 million hits to date, video blogger Chris Crocker is considered the Internet's first rebel folk hero and at the same time one of its most controversial personalities. From small town Tennessee to his infamous “Leave Britney Alone” video to appearances at Los Angeles strip clubs, Crocker has made a name for himself beyond the confines of his bedroom to become the personification of the blurring of the line between fame and notoriety. This unconventional documentary reveals a deeply personal journey written on the Internet.

 

Saturday October 26

 

Talks, lectures and project presentations

19.00 — 21.00 / Free admission. English with Spanish translation.

Shanzhai Lyric. Conceived by artists and researchers Ming Lin and Alexandra Tatarsky, the project takes inspiration from the experimental English of shanzhai (i.e. unofficial, bootleg) t-shirts made in China and proliferating across the globe, to examine how the language of counterfeit uses of mimicry, hybridity, and permutation to both revel in and reveal the artifice of global fashion hierarchies.

DIS. They work across a wide range of formats, most recently transitioning platforms from an online magazine to a video-streaming edutainment channel on dis.art. In a carrousel of always changing short formats, dis.art is the result of a collaboration between an international and intergenerational group of writers, innovators, and artists. As a place for radical, often weird, but always magnetic experiments in delivering contemporary critical thought, dis.art is a live example of the future of learning, in stark contrast to a media landscape muddled by pundits, fake news, soundbites, and alternative facts.

Shu Lea Cheang. "Cheang does with Internet technologies what Pasolini did with film, and Kathy Acker with literature: turn a medium against itself only to reconnect it with political history and social agency. In doing so, the post-Internet digital avant-garde, to which Cheang belongs, challenges the aesthetics of Internet global capitalism and the politics of identity construction fueled by social media and exploited by marketing and political control alike." (Paul B. Preciado).

Chim↑Pom. They are a Japanese art collective established in 2005 and emerged from the "lost generation", young people raised after the burst of the economic bubble in the early 21st century. Chim↑Pom develop ingenious forms of social criticism through paradoxical or absurd projects, drawn by everything that is considered marginal or dangerous as a catalyst to expose the paradox of social safety and consumer nihilism, from dissected Tokyo’s “super-rats” to American visitor centers at the Mexican side of the border, or an auction of remains of landmine explosions in war zones.

 

Workshops

11.00 - 17.00 / With registration.

— A Day in One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age / With Olia Lialina.
An exploration of the early “social” web through the GeoCities archive. This workshop offers to explore the early web through the unique interface of the GeoCities Research Institute, under the guidance of Olia Lialina, net artist, vernacular web researcher, and keeper of the archive.

— Way is one thew somehow actually love can be expedia / With Ming Lin i Alex Tatarsky (Shanzhai Lyric).
Possible translations of the shanzhai aesthetics as poetic-political tactics. A collective experiment in translating shanzhai lyrics, the evocative experimental english often found on counterfeit clothing manufactured in China and proliferating around the globe as an object of both desire and derision. Participants will be asked to expand their notions of poems, translation, and design as these forms meet and morph in graphic and sculptural interventions with the resources of local art, design, and activist community.

12.00 - 17.00 / With registration.

— Think-tank: Out of the funnel, back to the future / With Clusterduck.
A think-tank and workshop about memetic propaganda and socio-cultural imaginaries in the age of attention economy and post-truth. Can the digital tactics of far-right parties like Vox be grasped through the lens of the “online marketing funnel” concept? How can we re-appropriate contemporary digital propaganda instruments and use them for positive purposes? Clusterduck will also use the popular “political compass” meme as an instrument to foster the collective production of shared imaginaries about our common future, once again reopening the horizon of imagination – and thus, political agency.

 

Screenings

17.30 - 19.00 / Free admission, limited seats. Original English Versions with Spanish subtitles

— Thumbs that Type and Swipe / The DIS Edutainment Network.
It seems we’ve lost our heads — no need for a brain when we’ve got thumbs that type and swipe, seeking out knowledge from a glut of online information too expansive for any one mind to hold. The program correlates to the current iteration of DIS — a video network that hybridizes art-education and entertainment, mobilizing an intergenerational network around critical issues facing us today and tomorrow. A guide to this brave new world, helping us understand how to be and see our own bodies and societies under technological capitalism.

 

You can check the program, workshops and screenings at The Influencers 2019.

Related contents

DIS

They work across a wide range of formats, most recently transitioning platforms from an online magazine to a video-streaming edutainment channel on dis.art. In a carrousel of always changing short formats, dis.art is the result of a collaboration between an international and intergenerational ...

Shanzhai Lyric

Conceived by artists and researchers Ming Lin and Alexandra Tatarsky, the project takes inspiration from the experimental English of shanzhai (i.e. unofficial, bootleg) t-shirts made in China and proliferating across the globe, to examine how the language of counterfeit uses of mimicry, hybridity, ...

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