Web Residents »Violent Consumer Media«

»Violent Consumer Media« looks into the role of digital consumer gadgets – such as mobile phones, action cameras, and toy drones – in warfare, terrorism, and other forms of what Slavoj Žižek calls »subjective violence.« Over the past two decades, the proliferation of self-generated digital content by soldiers, terrorists, and citizen journalists has increasingly complemented and influenced the narratives of mainstream media. At the same time, social media and other online platforms have facilitated the distribution of resources to build DIY weapons with consumer grade components.

Juror's Statement by Dani Ploeger — Jul 29, 2020

The four projects selected through this open call explore different areas within this shifting paradigm. They question the implications of the blurring line between military and civilian technology, the emancipatory potential of modified consumer devices, and representations of violence in relation to social and news media practices.

Ronnie Karfiol’s 1001 Drone Nights engages with weaponization of contemporary and historical leisure technologies, like the encounters between kites with small explosives flown by Palestinian civilians, and toy assault drones operated by Israeli civilians in the conflict around theGaza/Israel border. An online space will provide access to digital simulations of these battles, while an accompanying set of downloadable construction manuals for the modified kites and drones will pose as an ambiguous invitation for audiences to enter the physical battlefield themselves.

Miyö van Stenis also works with consumer-grade drones, but in her ongoing work VIGIPIRATE QUADCOPTER DRONEthese are not used as weapons but as means to escape from a site of violence. In the event of a violent threat to her person, a drone can be activated through reappropriated military software protocols. The drone will evacuate the artist’s personal data set, consisting of a digital archive of her artwork and a personalized collection of stored news footage about her country of origin, Venezuela, which she left as a political refugee. During the residency, Miyö will work on an algorithm based on the artist’s personal evaluation of trustworthy news sources.It willcollectand store news on the current conflict in Venezuela; footage that is under potential threat of erasure or obfuscation.

The use of AI processes to assess news media footage is also central to Leonardo Aranda’s Gore Devaluating Tool. Mexican news media regularly publish graphic imagery depicting the lethal consequences of gang violence. While providing news information, this imagery also becomes complicit in spreading fear – often the main motivation behind the documented acts. Leonardo’s app will detect graphic gang violence-related images in online news reports and substitute these for violent scenes from famous paintings. Thus, the valorization of representations of violence in terms of enhanced status for its perpetrators is substituted for another paradoxical framework of value and representation: the »high-end« art world.

Pursuing the theme of violence and its representation with mobile technologies in a somewhat different direction, Kosta Tonev made selfie videos at public sites in Moscow where acts of terrorism have taken place in the past. While these sites currently appear innocent, memories of past events seem to contribute to the experience of a certain aura surrounding such spaces. Kosta’s Late Night in Sorrento (working title) will connect his collection of seemingly innocent selfie footage with digital simulations based on historical data and violent imaginaries. The project proposes a radical investigation of the implications of narcissistic social media practices by connecting these to proto-fascist fascinations with violence as a formative social principle.

Dani Ploeger

Dani Ploeger is an artist and cultural critic who explores situations of conflict and crisis on the fringes of the world of high-tech consumerism. Through a combination of technological objects, video, software applications and performance he emphasizes both the fragility and rawness of materiality in digital culture. Thus, his work questions myths of progress and their implications for local and global power dynamics.

In this context, quasi-journalistic journeys often form the starting point for the development of his work. He has been embedded with frontline troops in East-Ukraine, travelled to e-waste dumping sites in Nigeria, stole barbed wire from the Hungarian anti-immigration fence, and interviewed witnesses of United States drone attacks in Pakistan about sound and technologies of violence.
Dani’s artwork has been shown at transmediale, WRO Biennale, ZKM Karlsruhe, V2_Lab for the unstable media, and many other places. His texts have been published in Leonardo, The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination, and the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, among others. His curatorial projects include exhibitions at Stadtgalerie Bern (CH) and the Maritime Museum of Flushing (NL). Holding a PhD from the University of Sussex (UK), he is currently a Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, Artistic Researcher at Leiden University and Associate Research Fellow at De Montfort University in Leicester. He lives and works between London, Berlin, and Flushing (NL), mostly on trains and ferries.

Ronnie Karfiol

Ronnie Karfiol holds a BFA from Shenkar college of Art (IL). She has also studied Animation; Media Technology at the H.A.W. Hamburg (DE). Her work has exhibited in Petach Tikva Museum; Nahum Guttman museum and in SPEKTRUM Berlin (DE), Galleria R+ (PL); CCA Tel Aviv (IL). Her films screened on festivals like DocAviv (IL) EMAF (DE), KFFK (DE) and Currents (USA). She is the recipient of the Robert-Geisendörfer-Preis für Crossmediale Programminnovationen (DE, 2016) Council for Arts grant (IL, 2018) and the Independent Artists’ grant (IL, 2019). In 2018, she was resident at Cripta747 (IT).

Miyö Van Stenis

Miyö Van Stenis is an artist and curator specialized in New Media Art, currently based in Paris. Her work explores in the technological field: interfaces, operating systems, softwares and devices involved in the Internet as an performative action where the value is the human pursuing the error or the limit but also has a series of projects related to the socio-political crisis in Venezuela. Her curatorial work is centered in the criticism and the aesthetics of new medias/technologies; such as DeOrigenBelico since 2010 and Beautiful Interfaces since 2013 and founder member of the activist group: Dismantling the Simulation.

Kosta Tonev

Kosta Tonev (*1980) received a BA from the National Academy of Art in Sofia and an MA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His recent solo exhibitions include This Land Is Your Land at CU29 in Plovdiv (2019) and EXPO at Kluckyland in Vienna (2018). Amongst others, he has participated in Red Vienna at the Wien Museum MUSA in Vienna (2019), So Far, So Right: A Study of Reforms and Transitions Across Borders at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts in Taipei (2018), Black Quarry at Corner College in Zurich (2017), I and the Others at Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Salzburg (2014), the 5th Biennial of Young Artists in Bucharest (2012), Contemporary Icons at the Webster University in St. Louis (2012) and Why Duchamp? at the Museum for Contemporary Art in Sofia (2012). Tonev lives and works in Vienna.

Leonardo Aranda

Leonardo Aranda is an electronic artist from Mexico. He is the director of Medialabmx. His work focuses on the use of new media and its intersections with politics and participation. He has exhibited in Mexico and countries such as Russia, Austria, USA, Spain, Canada and Brazil. He worked as a researcher in the Multimedia Center. He participated in IDEAS CITY by the New Museum. He also was part of Interactivos at Medialab-Prado, as well as Radical Networks in NY. He is currently a PhD candidate in Media Study at SUNY Buffalo.

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