Everyday Voices and Voids: Reclaiming and Transcoding our Data as Performance
Afroditi Psarra & Audrey Desjardins / Seattle, WA, USA
by Paolo Podrescu / Berlin, Germany — Nov 12, 2019
The CiTiZEN KiNO project proposes a multi-dimensional approach to exploring how Health and Care may be affected and shaped by the rapid acceleration of new technologies and hyper-capitalist expansion into all corners of our fragile human existence, and within an already-volatile social order.
One aspect is to investigate (and collect media on) the futurist trends and marketplaces that are poised to unveil all sorts of new products and services in the medical-meets-computation-meets-surveillance industries. Secondly, through a series of performative + cinematic presentations, the research is shared with the intended public / consumer targets. This will allow for more public discourse on health care (and technological disruptions) prior to their radical, and often exploitative implementations. And thereby the »good« technologies (and their applications) can be sorted out from the messy mix of dubious enterprises. Thirdly, the methods of public interaction and feedback provide local interactions that can help re-imagine how we can – together – CARE for our futures, relatives and neighbors, rather than leaving them vulnerable to a wild array of experimental visions spawned by insurance companies, for-profit schemes and de-humanizing global + transnational market forces. Finally, by going to those locations where care services are currently being provided, we create a model for an expanded community praxis and participation, which can provide a new form of attention to those in need, while illuminating the importance of care-givers and their livelihoods.
In this way, the analytic or diagnostic approach attempts to implant a more restorative and nurturing culture, where through an artistic collaboration we can look for ways to increase community support, collaboration and respect for a whole field of medical and care professions, as well as the engineers who are developing the new technologies. And this format reveals the social responsibilities at stake, and ways for all of us to consider participating to improve the quality of life and care for all.
C-KiNO is a cinema + performance series which investigates, and sometimes intervenes, in social situations that require careful and multi-faceted analysis. Primarily, the platform and methodology are based on the social gatherings that (curated) screenings and social media environments can become when utilized in the full-spectrum context of face-to-face participatory + feedback-rich events. In this sense we are cinema + media hackers, upgrading the technologies + communication tools. And the beauty of its versatile function is that it can be used to build better understanding of any topic we wish to feed into it.
Most often in the last years we have been focused on analyzing the technological dystopian environments which permeate and exacerbate our social crises today. The issue of »Engineering Care« presents an ideal opportunity to explore these challenges in a specific context, and to seek more constructive praxis to move things in a constructive direction.
This proposal offers to take the already widely-tested practices of C-KiNO screenings + forums into the field for public research. I will take one or two sample territories – senior citizens and/or child care, and bring a couple sample events into those locations, such as a senior care facility, a Kita group or a perhaps a Nachbarschaftsheim. (Locations to be researched)
There are a few reasons I feel particularly connected to this topic, and worth mentioning in the proposal. I have family members who worked in the medical profession. One of them, who was very passionate about providing care as a doctor (Gastroenterology) retired early (and went into public education) out of exasperation with how insurance companies began to meddle in the processes and determine the options for treatment.
Another pertinent personal anecdote: In the 90s, I became a freelance employee at the UC San Francisco Medical School in an unusual department called Empact, which organized arts and culture events for the university and its very large public/private/partner hospital. My role was assisting in setting up things like lunchtime concerts, lectures, performances and film screenings. And this was all part of an initiative on campus which included a health + fitness + cultural center. This provided a whole range of holistic and social services to doctors, students, corporate researchers and care workers, and also – to some extent – the neighboring Parnassus community. Holistic, also because it brought these different sectors of society together through cultural events.
An extraordinary feature in hindsight, this job provided me with a very crucial support network at a time in my life that was under very difficult pressures to survive as a self-employed artist, activist and sound engineer in a city that was becoming increasingly competitive »under the political spell of predatory neoliberal shifts and technological disruption strategies of the Big Tech Industries«. This introduced a whole viral spectrum of changes that did NOT care about the impacts on the working class, people’s professions and livelihoods, nor citizens in general. This integrating social center served in part as my own personal »health care« at a time when i could not afford any official health plan. And the experience led to working with other arts and culture centers in the city.
With this as background, CiTiZEN KiNO delivers some new cultural experimentation that could bring together the different players and subjects of the Care Industries… and thereby provide diverse community gatherings which become the means to self-reflect, dialogue, debate and interact in the midst of all the technological changes that appear to be coming down the »factory« pipe, in a potentially threatening industrialized + futurist acceleration.
In addition, »Engineering Care« provides the CiTiZEN KiNO project a chance to investigate further a very central and recurring theme what we have been analyzing for several years: the technological environments, and their impacts on humans, society and eco-systems. And we are currently developing shows which critically investigate the implications of the so-called »4th Industrial Revolution« and its impacts on Green New Deal concepts which aim to heal our troubled terrestrial habitat. As we are all now beginning to understand more clearly how industrialization + Big Tech agendas have severely wounded our well-being, social fabric and the earth. We would be wise to look for new ways to avoid the expanding hubris of »move fast and break things« ideologies as they enter into the fields of medicine and social work. Tactical media and education are urgent !
1. All C-KiNOs are described in an essay / blog at XLterrestrials.org and are available there for public input and response.
2. C-KINO performances are public performances at chosen venues. No one is turned away for lack of funds. And we accept donations.
3. I have been commissioned by the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest to publish a book about the C-KINO platform in 2020. C-KiNO #86/87, if accepted by Schloss Solitude, will likely be included in our list of performance topics.
For more information on the XLterrestrials and CiTiZEN KINO productions :
© 2023 Akademie Schloss Solitude and the author