Talks

Archived/upcoming talks on miscellaneous topics.

Weaponising Weather [Talk]

The Space Keet. Image by Dennis de Bel.

Talk given as part of the Space Keet programme, during the Zero Footprint Campus festival, University of Utrecht. Statement and pics below:

In the mid-20th century, the practices involved in the task of weather forecasting were undergoing a transformation. This transformation–surmised as a shift from the “art of forecasting” to the “science of meteorology”–is bound with the broader turn towards rationalism, systems-thinking, and digital technology in American post-war science. In the context of the tense geopolitical order of the Cold War, the capacity to accurately forecast the weather offered the possibility to perhaps control it, raising the question: would it be possible to employ it as a weapon in war? For some, the answer to this question lay in the new technology of the satellite.

Drawing on declassified administrative documents, operations reports, and technical manuals, this talk will provide an account of experiments in satellite technology and weather control research in the United States during the early decades of the Cold War. In doing so, I ask: What interests were involved? What were the political connotations of the satellite during this era? And what was the legacy of this research?

Weaponising Weather talk. Image by Dennis de Bel.

Satellite image collected by the Space Keet.

[Cursor] Resistance Training, w. Karen Gregory, Rumi Josephs, Simone C Niquille

Cursor: Resistance Training

Cursor is a forthcoming publishing platform and corresponding Android and iOS fitness-tracking app that will critically explore the political and economic relationships between physical exercise tracking, data-production, and labour.

The Cursor team of Kirsty Hendry, Dave Young, and Jake Watts invite you to join them for a night of screenings, readings, and discussion. Resistance Training brings together works by artist Rumi Josephs and designer Simone C Niquille, who have both been commissioned to contribute to the Cursor app. These works will be accompanied by a talk by Dr. Karen Gregory who lectures in Digital Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

Resistance Training will explore how shifts in digital technology are shaping the social mechanisms that produce our conceptions of ‘wellness' and ‘health’. We’re interested in the persistence with which social norms structure technological practices, asking how these technologies condition the body’s interaction with ideas of ‘work’ and ‘leisure’.

Booking

Thursday 17th March 2016, 6pm.
Evolution House, 78 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE

Tickets via Eventbrite.

[Documentation] Localhost: Read/Write/eXecute

Images from RWX at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, ft. talks by Silvio Lorusso, Kirsty Hendry, Marc Garret and Aymeric Mansoux.

The ensuing two-day workshop proposed concepts of 'evil', 'situationist', 'baroque', and 'stupid' filesystems, and asked participants how such filesystems might function.

Full documentation, including audio recordings, transcripts, imagery, and video of the event is available on the Localhost site here.

This Thing is Deep in Finite Absolutes at Primary, Nottingham

As part of the Acting Out festival I will be presenting my talk This Thing is Deep in Finite Absolutes at Primary in Nottingham, on May 8th.

Dave Young will present This Thing is Deep in Finite Absolutes – A talk on cybernetics and techno-paranoia via out-of-control machines in Cold War cinema.

At a time when computers were often associated with systems of military command and control, Hollywood cinema both represented existing beliefs and cultivated new fears about the way technology would shape the future of society. Many films represented computers as a threat to human labour, as enablers of dystopian totalitarian regimes, or as artificially intelligent agents that could send the world into another war.

During the talk, Dave Young will present short extracts from a number of relevant films from the 1950s/1960s, providing a curious insight into a popularised reading of cybernetics: a pastiche of science-fiction, Cold War paranoia, and the imaginary future of human-machine interaction.

DRONES: Eyes From a Distance - Berlin, April 18-19

A talk on The Reposition Matrix workshop series will be presented as part of DRONES: Eyes From a Distance at the Disruption Network Lab in Berlin. Co-panelists include Jack Serle (from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism), and Tonje Hessen Schei (director of Drone). The panel will be moderated by Marc Garret of Furtherfield.

What is the politics and the regime of power beyond drone-systems? Which are the consequences both on militant networks and civil society of an increasing automatism of conflicts? Can we track down the hidden strategies that move target-killings? Can we understand better drone technology? This event combines reflections on the political and technological infrastructure of drone-systems, the use of them in massive and weaponised military programmes, and the artistic and activist response to this.

More information about the full programme available here.