Marian Kaiser has been elected as the curator-in-residence within the framework of the AIR Wro, a program of residencies, study visits and international cooperations, organised by the Culture Zone Wrocław. During his stay, Kaiser was working with the WRO Archive, searching for political fictions and imaginations of possible futures within media works developed in the last 30 years. His research was based on the WRO Collection as a part of the 30th anniversary of the WRO Biennale, dealing with the breakthrough of the year 1989 as a starting point to focus on the possible worlds and the future impact of new technologies “encapsulated” in artistic practices.
Presentation of the research results of the residency project took place on 29 May 2018 at noon in the WRO Art Center. However, this is not the end of our collaborative research. We will host Marian Kaiser again soon and continue the archive’s query in the context of forthcoming 18th Media Art Biennale WRO 2019!
Marian Kaiser (DE), media theoretician, curator and author of texts. He studied Cultural Studies, Literature, Philosophy and Southeast Asian Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and lectured in Berlin, Dresden, Yogyakarta and Giessen. In 2013, he completed a doctoral course, “Transnational Media Events”, at the Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen. In years 2013-2014, he was an Assistant Professor at “FAST – Framing Art, Science, Technology”, a collaborative project between the Academy of Arts, the Technical University and the University for Applied Science in Dresden.
8919 – ALWAYS CRASHING IN THE SAME CAR
SYNTHETIC FABULATION AND THE OPTICAL SUBCONSCIOUS
1989 has become a quasi-mythical date of political and social change in European history. 2019 marks its 30-year anniversary – as well as the anniversary of the WRO Art Center in Wrocław. The project would like to take these coinciding anniversaries as a starting point to focus on political fictions and imaginations produced by media art works in the last 30 years. It aims to do so by employing and activating the archive of the WRO Art Center to investigate the fictions and imaginations encapsulated in the historic media art works as forms of critique, subversion and affirmation. Rather than exhibiting these historic works again, the project aims to revisit, employ, and reconfigure the sounds, processes, and images stored in the archive in collaboration with contemporary artists and theorists to create a collective synthetic fabulation: 8919.
Media Art has often been marked by a tendency to employ the future to critique the present. A specific form of Science Fiction that imagines possible worlds and the future impact of new technologies. Paradoxically, ever since the advent of media art archives and the resulting historicization of works of media art, the pieces have also become time capsules that tell us of past futures – bygone imaginations and fictions of political struggles to come in new technological environments.
The year 1989 was loaded with prospects of the future, rather symbolizing a potential than an actual reality. In the last 30 years, the promises and hopes attached to this year have become “outdated”, overtaken by a history that, as so often, has taught us that the only future worth that name is the one that cannot be predicted. Still, the potentials that hum in the mere pronunciation of this number and date haunt collective imaginaries and political agendas to this day. 8919 is interested in this “afterlife” of futures that never came to pass and nestle in the realm of fiction and imagination. Instead of historicizing the year 1989 from the perspective of 2019, 8919 would like to ask, what can be synthesized in their merging. To thoroughly misquote Walter Benjamin: We would like to encounter the 21st century as a dream from the 20th.
by Marian Kaiser
I have been here for a year, now. Watching my decision demons on autopilot. Extreme inner states emerge and disappear. I’m my future’s very own electromagnetic material. I eat, I sleep, I train. A movement a day. A different one every day. For 5 days. Then a 2-day recap. The next week, another 5. For 5 weeks, then 2 weeks of recap. After 357 days, I have an arsenal of 255 possible movements.
Pre-cognition. Pre-sentiment. Sure. But what does it mean to pre-enact? There is a German word, I cannot translate. Vorahmung. If there is Nachahmung, there has to be Vorahmung. To anticipate a movement that might be enacted in the future, to pre-serve it. Move like you might have to move, without enacting the movement. Train your body for a state to come in an environment, you can’t yet enter. A potential gesture. A contingent twitch. Minimal.
Two days, before I locked the doors, the examiner told me, how the research had started back in the day. About the famous Israeli dancer, who had invented a notation system that would address every single limb. And how the first American space suits were developed on the basis of her system. The astronauts were the first to train possible future movements for an environment, they could not simulate. But they were still training for a surrounding they could anticipate. These days, you have to be your own environment. Take yourself to the stars. Or wherever. There is no outside.
In the first NASA report on the possibility of mining rare earths and new elements on Mars from 1959, there is a chapter on green houses, in which the bodies of the astronauts are themselves described as “mines”. Small graphics show, how to attach your body to the on-board system to fertilize the plants and to produce electricity in a reaction that turns phosphates you excrete into pure P4. To mine the stars, you have to mine your body.
To mine the future, you have to mine your brain. The primary motor cortex and the area for Visuo-motor Coordination and Multimodal Association are centered around, what used to be known as Brodman area 7. It serves as a point of convergence between vision, movement and proprioception to determine where objects are in relation to parts of the body, and to anticipate, where they will be a second later. If treated over longer periods of time with regular doses of phosphate, this area of the brain develops arsenals of Phosphocreatine, a phosphorylated creatine molecule that provides brain cells with high, fluctuating energy demands in short, intensive boosts.
I watch my brain waves enter future states on the screen and take posture. It’s a bit like method acting. Only, you don’t look for an experience from your past, but one you haven’t yet made. If you substract pattern recognition and the decoding system from your perception apparatus, what remains, is the bliss of the real. Noisy, a rush, everything at once. Plug in and drop out of the world. To prepare for the experiment, we would inject ourselves with a subnarcotic dose of an anaesthetic, originally developed to be used on animals. Once we did, we understood, what an-aesthetic is. To exist in a space without images or structures. In an-aesthetics, all you do, is play. The dream of a world outside the world, a place that is truly empty. Retreat. Become the world.
The misunderstanding about oracles has always been, that they might provide an answer. But a movement is not about arriving in a position, but what happens in-between positions. There used to be a common crab oracle. You sit on a stony beach, formations of black rock run into the sea, warped like a manic parking space, consisting mainly of holes. You drop a gleaming white stone into one of the curvy tunnels. Within an instant, thousands of crabs shoot out of the stone, in curves and circles, over one another, into the water. Three days later, you do it again.