2022/02/02: New Journal: Memory, Mind and Media (Cambridge University Press)

Journal of Memory, Mind and Media (Cambridge University Press)

Editorial Board

Memory, Mind & Media (MMM) explores the impact of media and technology on individual, social and cultural remembering and forgetting. This agenda-setting journal fosters high-quality, interdisciplinary conversations combining cognitive, social and cultural approaches to the study of memory and forgetting in the digital era. The pervasiveness, complexity and immediacy of digital media, communication networks and archives are transforming what memory is and what memory does, changing the relationship between memory in the head and memory in the wild.

MMM offers a new home for a wide variety of scholars working on these questions, within and across disciplines, from history, philosophy, media studies, cultural studies, law, literature, anthropology, political science, sociology, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive and computational science and elsewhere.

For access, see pre-launch content and new video collection

Please follow @MMMJournal on Twitter, share your content with us and the journal, and amplify our articles and videos as they are released.

2021/06/06: The Future of Protest (Images) in a Post-Digital Age

Anthony Downey, “The Future of Protest (Images) in a Post-Digital Age”, in The Protest and the Recuperation, Betti-Sue Hertz and Sreshta Rit Premnath, Eds. (Wallach Art Gallery, 2021)

This essay was published in conjunction with the publication of The Protest and The Recuperation. The publication accompanied the exhibition, The Protest and The Recuperation, which opened in June 2021at the Wallach Art Gallery (Columbia University, New York).

To download the essay, see here

To learn more about The Protest and The Recuperation click here.

2021/07/04: Essay
Performative Research and Techno-Aesthetics, in Heba Y Amin: The General’s Stork (Sternberg, 2020)

“What are those?” asked the camera operator.
“Women and children,” the Predator’s mission intelligence coordinator answered.
“That lady is carrying a kid, huh? Maybe,” the pilot said.
“The baby, I think, on the right. Yeah,” the intelligence coordinator said.
—Transcript of a Predator drone strike in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, February 21, 2010

Technology is far ahead of humanity and ethics.
—Jonas Mekas

In September 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork that had arrived in Egypt after traveling from Hungary via, among other countries, Israel. Reportedly captured by a fisherman who viewed the bird with suspicion after noticing an electronic device attached to it, the unfortunate stork was handed over to the local police station in Qena (a city situated on the east bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt).

Read Essay for Heba Y Amin: The General’s Stork (Sternberg, 2020), here

2022/05/02: Essay: “Calculating Skies”, MIT Press Reader, April 2022

Images from “Topologies of Air” (2021), courtesy of Shona Illingworth

Can we deploy creative practices to critically address the fatal interlocking of global surveillance technologies, neocolonial expansionism, environmental degradation, and the lethal threat of drone warfare?

From the opening shots of “Topologies of Air,” Shona Illingworth’s three-screen video and sound installation, we are presented with a restricted view of the sky. Broadly associated with expansiveness, if not freedom, this distilled vista suggests an overdetermined environment that is subject to competing interests — be they national, military-industrial, or economic — that often remain impenetrable to observers.

This is a vision of a claustrophobic firmament, a partitioned dome of airspace that is endlessly quartered through the interventions of all-consuming, mercenary systems of power and control. Under these conditions, and to ensure that national, military-industrial, and commercial interests are preserved, the apparent immateriality of airspace needs to be rendered both material and calculable. Fought over, allocated, and reserved, the substance of air must be not only quantifiable but also an instrumental element in the production of data, the maintenance of hegemony, and the projection of power.

To read the full essay, please click here

2023/21/02 Article: Topologies of Air and the Airspace Tribunal

Shona Illingworth, Topologies of Air, 2021. Three-channel digital video and multichannel sound installation, 45 min. Installation view: Topologies of Air, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2022. Photograph: Toni Hafkenschied, Courtesy of the artist. Centre image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London.
Can we deploy creative practices to critically address the fatal interlocking of global surveillance technologies, neo-colonial expansionism, environmental degradation and the lethal threat of drone warfare? Throughout the following conversation, Shona Illingworth and Anthony Downey examine these and other questions in relation to the recent publication of Topologies of Air (Sternberg Press and The Power Plant, 2022).

To read the full article, see here

2020/04/11: Launch of the Journal of Digital War (Palgrave/ Macmillan)

Blueprint #6 (extract), 2020. Courtesy of Shona Illingworth in discussion with Andrew Hoskins and Renata Salecl.

Launch of new peer-reviewed Journal of Digital War (Edited by Olga Boichak, Anthony Downey, Andrew Hoskins, William Merrin)

Chaired by Andrew Hoskins, this online launch of the Journal of Digital War is presented by Heba Y. Amin, Anthony Downey, Shona Illingworth and William Merrin and brings together key thinkers from art, visual culture, media studies and sociology. Digital War refers to how digital technologies and media are transforming how wars are fought, lived, represented, known, and remembered. The new Journal of Digital War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) edited by Olga Boichak, Anthony Downey, Andrew Hoskins and William Merrin, identifies not so much a new form of war, but an entire, emergent research field.
The Journal of Digital War sets out to be a dynamic forum to address cutting-edge developments, rapid response methods to new wars, and asserts that digital war is now mainstream. Read the new article Contesting post-digital futures: drone warfare and the geo-politics of aerial surveillance in the middle east by Heba Y. Amin & Anthony Downey (Journal of Digital War, Issue I, 2020)Download here.

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


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The General’s Stork



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