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2020/07/10: Book Publication: Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork  (Sternberg Press, 2020)

 

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HEBA Y. AMIN

The General’s Stork

Edited by ANTHONY DOWNEY

 

In 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork for espionage. This incident is the focus of Heba Y. Amin’s The General’s Stork, an ongoing project that investigates the politics of aerial surveillance—against the backdrop of biblical prophecies, drone warfare, and colonial narratives—from a bird’s-eye view. The research that informs The General’s Stork looks at how conquest from the sky—through land surveying, mapping, bombing, and drone technologies—has effectively transformed Western power into a spectacle of high-tech weaponry. Through the lens of the paranoia that led to a bird being accused of spying,  and with contributions by Adam Harvey, Adel Iskandar, Haitham Mossad, and Laura Poitras, this volume also reveals the extent to which military techniques of visualization both define and, ultimately, delimit the topography of the Middle East.

For further details of the book, see here.

Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork is volume 02 in the Research/Practice series, edited by Anthony Downey and published by Sternberg Press (2019-ongoing). Each volume focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems. Drawing on preliminary material such as diaries, notebooks, audiovisual content, digital and social media, informal communications, and abandoned drafts, the series examines the interdisciplinary research methods that artists employ in their practices. Each volume endeavors to ask: In their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to generating research, what forms of knowledge do artists produce?

For further information on the Research/Practice series, see here.

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2020/01/10: Curated Show: Heba Y. Amin: When I see the future, I close my eyes, Mosaic Rooms, London.

 

 

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The Mosaic Rooms announces the first UK solo exhibition of artist Heba Y. Amin. Amin investigates how the elusive narratives of regional politics in the Middle East relate to global concerns. Her research-based, multimedia works take speculative, and sometimes satirical, approaches to understanding these historical events and processes.

This exhibition presents the latest iterations of three distinct and evolving bodies of work by the artist: Project Speak2Tweet, The General’s Stork and Operation Sunken Sea. All stem from real life subjects; from the new technological formats that were instrumental in Egypt’s revolution, to a migratory bird turned international ‘spy’, and finally a proposal to ‘solve’ the migration crisis by draining the Mediterranean Sea.

Alongside performances and interventions, Amin’s research integrates film, photography, and digital technology in order to think through present-day issues and the potential future significance of occluded stories and archived, largely overlooked, material. The research incorporated within these works will be added to by the artist as the show unfolds.

The exhibition is curated by Anthony Downey.

For further information, see here.

2020/02/20: Algorithmic Anxieties: Trevor Paglen in conversation with Anthony Downey, Digital War, Vol. 1, No. 1.

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In September 2019, I met with Trevor Paglen as he prepared to present a new project at the Barbican Curve in London. “From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’” explored the images—so-called datasets—that are used to train algorithms. In a subsequent far-reaching conversation, recorded at the Barbican Centre on 26 September 2019, Paglen presented an extended overview of the ideas behind this work, observing how artificial intelligence and “machine learning” utilise datasets to recognise different objects and, more problematically, produce classificatory systems for “recognising” individuals. For full interview, see here.

Cite this article: Paglen, T., Downey, A. Algorithmic anxieties: Trevor Paglen in conversation with Anthony Downey. Digital War (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s42984-020-00001-2

Download full interview here: PDF

Download edited extract of Trevor’s presentation and the interview: PDF

2019/15/11: Book Launch: Research/Practice 03: Larissa Sansour: Heirloom, Copenhagen Contemporary, December 12, 2019

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12.12.2019

Copenhagen Contemporary is pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition Heirloom by the Danish-Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour. On the occasion of the opening, there will be free admission, and CC will be serving a glass of wine when the exhibition opens.

The evening starts with an Art Talk, where you can experience the artist in conversation with curator Nat Muller. We will also present the book Larissa Sansour: Heirloom edited by Anthony Downey, which focuses on the research and preparations for the exhibition.

Afterwards, the director of CC, Marie Nipper and chair of the Project Support Committee for Visual Arts, Lisette Vind Ebbesen, will give their welcome speeches, before we open the doors to the exhibition and DJ’s Atusa and Angel Wei will create the soundtrack of the evening. Vinhanen will serve you at the bar.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Program

17.00: Art Talk with Larissa Sansour and Nat Muller along with the book launch of Larissa Sansour: Heirloom
18.15: Welcome greeting by director of CC, Marie Nipper and chair of the Project Support Committee for Visual Arts, Lisette Vind Ebbesen
18.30: The exhibition opens & DJ’s Atusa and Angel Wei
21.00: Thank you for a great evening

For full details of show and book launch go to here.

For further details fo book, see here.

2019/10/30: Book Publication: Research/Practice 03: Larissa Sansour Heirloom (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)

Larissa Sonsour Heirloom Cover
Research/Practice 03: Larissa Sansour Heirloom (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)
Editor: Anthony Downey
This volume includes an essay by Nat Muller and an in-depth interview between Sansour and Lindsey Moore.

 

Heirloom documents the development of the artistic research for Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour’s project for the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. It explores how recurrent notions in Sansour’s oeuvre, such as memory, trauma, identity, epigenetics, and belonging, intertwine with the discourses of science fiction and environmental disaster narratives. The volume also examines what it means to produce work from within contested geographies, specifically considering how, through research and the process of production, the artist grapples with complex issues of national representation. In keeping with the focus in this series on the research that informs the elaboration of an artist’s work over time, the material for this publication has been collated in parallel with its development over the past year.

Edited by Anthony Downey, Research/Practice focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems. Drawing on preliminary material such as diaries, notebooks, audiovisual content, digital and social media, informal communications, and abandoned drafts of projects, the series examines the interdisciplinary methods that artists employ in their practices. Each volume endeavors to ask: In their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to research, what forms of innovative knowledge do artists produce?

For full details of the volume see here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/heirloom

For full details of the book launch see here: https://copenhagencontemporary.org/en/event/cc-opening-larissa-sansour/

 

2019/09/30: Public Talk: “Performing Rights”, Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL, London, 14 November, 2019

 

 

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Performing Rights: Contemporary Art, the Refugee Condition, and the Alibi of Engagement  

Professor Anthony Downey

Contemporary artists  are increasingly engaging with some of the most pressing issues facing our world today, from globalisation, migration and citizenship to conflict, sustainability, gentrification, and social activism. Anthony Downey will discuss the implications of this engagement in relation to human rights and conditions of displacement. If the disavowal or absence of legal and political representation is a feature of being a refugee, then what happens, he will ask, when artistic representation is inserted into this already compromised regime of visibility?  In an all too amenable substitution that can often reconfirm the absence of legal accountability, is it possible that cultural forms of representation are compensating for—if not replacing—the very systems and procedures of political and legal responsibility that are being denied refugees in the first place? Who, we need to ask thereafter, really benefits from the work of art?

To book tickets, see here.

 

Date And Time

Thu, 14 November 2019

16:00 – 18:00 GMT

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Location

Roberts Building, G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming LT

UCL Engineering Front Building, Torrington Place

London

WC13 7JE

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2019/08/22: Public Talk: Trevor Paglen in conversation with Anthony Downey, Barbican Centre, London, 26 September, 2019

 

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To coincide with the new Curve commission From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’, artist Trevor Paglen will be in conversation with writer and academic Anthony Downey.

Touching on themes of secrecy, surveillance and state, Paglen’s new installation of some 30,000 photographs invites a critical consideration of how we teach artificial intelligence to “see” and perceive the world, revealing the powerful, and often hidden, forces at play.

To book tickets, see here.

 

2019/05/10: New Book Series: Research/Practice, ed. Anthony Downey (Sternberg Press/MIT, 2019)

 

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What is meant by artistic research and how does it contribute to the formation of experimental knowledge systems? Drawing on material not usually given precedence in relation to the finished artwork, including diaries, notebooks, digital and social media, informal communications, and other miscellany, Research/Practice examines the inter- and cross-disciplinary research methodologies that artists employ in the development of their practices. Expanding on the formal and informal components that were involved in the evolution of diverse methods and strategies, as this series develops it will offer an accessible and timely enquiry into a core question: in their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to generating research, what forms of critical knowledge do artists produce?

Published by Sternberg Press

ISBN: 9783956794766160

pp. | 4.75 in x 7 in

90 color illus., 30 b&w illus.

Volume 01: Michael RakowitzI’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze

Editor: Anthony Downey

Essay: Anthony Downey

Volume 02: Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork

Editor: Anthony Downey

Interview: Laura Poitras and Heba Y Amin

Volume 03: Larissa SansourHeirloom (Published on the occasion of the 58th Venice Biennale)

Editor: Anthony Downey

Essay: Nat Muller

For more information on upcoming titles, see here.

2019/04/10: Keynote: “The Future of the Networked Image: Digital Archives in a ‘Post Truth’ Age”, IMMA Summer School, Dublin, June 11, 2019

 

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IMMA’s Summer School 2019 will feature talks and workshops by a range of national and international artists, theorists and critics who will focus on the connections between art and politics. Applications are invited from students of all ages and disciplines enrolled in an educational institution in Ireland in 2019. This week-long intensive programme, featuring talks and workshops by a range of national and international artists, theorists and critics, will focus on the connections between art and politics. Applications are invited from students of all ages and disciplines enrolled in an educational institution in Ireland in 2019.

Keynote 11 June, 2pm, IMMA

The Future of the Networked Image: Digital Archives in a “Post Truth” Age

Professor Anthony Downey

The extent to which the visual arts reflected upon and promoted social and political change during and after the Arab Spring increasingly gives rise to decisive questions regarding the future relationship between digital images and cultural activism. Throughout this time, digital archives — produced through video- and film-making, performances, and numerous media platforms — and their evidentiary contexts became closely associated with activist practices, leading to a number of prevailing assumptions about both cultural production in the region and the effectiveness of digital and social media as tools for enabling international political transformation. Taking into consideration recent revelations concerning the role of social media in surveillance technologies, political repression, and the proliferation of targeted disinformation, alongside the anxieties being expressed about the opaque power of algorithms, this keynote will explore critical frameworks for understanding the relationship between digitized media and cultural activism. The broader issue here concerns a perennial, indeed global, issue: how do cultural practices — through digital means — realign how we engage with the politics of historical events and images of revolutionary conflict?

For full details see here.

Public Talk: “Performing Rights”, TrAIN Open Lecture, UAL, London, April 24, 2019

Karl Marx Allee_Berlin_January 2019_image copyright ATPD (2019)

Karl Marx Allee, Berlin, January 2019 (image-copyright-ATPD)

Performing RightsContemporary Art, the Refugee Condition, and the Alibi of Engagement

Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today?
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1953

If the disavowal or absence of legal and political representation is a feature of being a refugee in an era of political exceptionalism, then what happens when artistic representation is inserted into this already compromised regime of visibility?  In an all too amenable substitution that can often reconfirm the apparent absence of legal accountability, is it possible that cultural forms of representation are compensating for — if not replacing — the very systems and procedures of political and legal responsibility that are being denied refugees in the first place?

Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Arts, Chelsea College of Arts 16 John Islip Street London, SW1P 4JU

6-8pm

For full details and registration, see here.