Scaling Connections IIII - Brain without Organs
Participatory intervention, lecture provocations & discussion,, 01 February 2019, 19:00-21:00
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Cafe Stage, 10557 Berlin
What will we use our brains for? Such question can be interpreted into how the future of our brains—in the role of a constitutive element of freedom of choice—could look against the backdrop of a deeper understanding of our history specifically in relation to today's ever-closer wiring with technologies. A specific mentality corresponds to a specific age and if we want to understand the proliferating scope and reach of technologies, we need to understand the fuse between natural and mental evolution. Like the earth, our brain works with a multitude of bioelectric vibrations, and it reacts sensitively to those affecting it from the outside. How do we unlock the history of experience and value, the shifting ground of what it means —how it feels— to be human?For the final event of the series Scaling Connections, provocative lectures, a participatory intervention, and discussion will give insight to notable observations on the complex constellations of bodies, objects, entities, and spaces.

For the official cooperation program of transmediale 2019, Import Projects presented four evenings of lecture-performance, installation, spoken-word performance, discussion, voice & instrumental improvisation, film screening and participatory intervention in dialogue with the festival key question ‘What Moves You?’—referring not only to an emotional response but also to the infrastructures and aesthetics that govern how affect becomes mobilised as a political force today. Foregrounding the continuum which links rare-earth elements, raw materials, hardware, software, and even cognition, the event series Scaling Connections turns around the blurred boundaries between organic and inorganic, intelligence, artifice, art, and resistance. Curated and moderated by Anja Henckel
PARTICIPANTS in running order - start 7pm sharp

ALANNA LAWLEY is a Berlin-based, UK artist addressing the tension of the public-private space, where our desire to connect with technologies developed to assist our wellbeing and connectivity is a conscious decision to separate from our present, taking us further away from our natural biological rhythms. Her site-specific installations address the lack of psychological security in our culture and the impact of our environment on our well being.

> 10 minutes blue-light without Mail, Message, Tweet and Like

Tensions in public space grow rapidly through our attitude towards claiming it as a private common area – what engagement do we have with ourselves, others and our environment? Do you assess the impact your smart device has on your perception of space and self? Also, have you considered the impact of being online at all times? You are addicted to being online and can not help but disconnecting from your immediate surroundings. And how is your sleep? Is your phone keeping you awake at night?

Alanna Lawley's participatory interventions force the individual to consider how one takes an environment for granted. Her work explores problematic social disconnection and tension from being disassociated from biological reality. She reminds us to reflect on when becoming more present in space and to observe our body’s ability to realigning with our natural rhythm. The constant stimulation of the brain and provocation of a feeling of 'online' influences our sleep patterns, biological rhythms and intensifies common mood swings during winter months. You are invited to receive 10 minutes of 468nm blue-enriched white light, a therapeutic treatment that simulates natural sunlight; supporting the regulation of your biological circadian rhythm necessary for stable sleep patterns, good mood and cognitive function – your memory, attention, and reasoning. <

BORIS ONDREICKA is a slovak artist, musician, curator at TBA21 and co-curates a long-term meta-educational project 'Class of Interpretation' at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He investigates the linguistical- political unfolding (and its possibilities) of the world of poetics through relation of word (written and spoken) and image. His techno-positive work grows out of multimodal pessimist, nihilist, occultural, anarchist-like modes with attachment to negative ecological thought.

> In terms of an interpreting human super-structures as a poetic extension of (Whitmanian) shareable atoms—and following 'The iron-sulfur world theory', a hypothesis that life on Earth had hydrothermal origins of German chemist and patent-lawyer Günter Wächtershäuser, Slovak curator and artist Boris Ondreička speculates around possibilities of mental and consequent linguistic ‘deorganicization’ of onto-/cosmological perspectives of humanity. In his poetic speech accompanied by flow of a vast image archive, Ondreička invites to climb (or better: dive) down to the deepest mines (as Verneian inversed mountaineerers do), to autochtonic, biosemiotic, pyrite abiogenetic, chemosynthetic tissues (primordial hydrothermal volcanic oikoses) of following pioneering bodies and speak or just exhale (archaeopsychically, hypnotically) versus an organic-inorganic-living-nonliving-undead-dead econo-communicative dogmas, beyond realms of the divinized slayer Sun. He considers that we might (anaerobically) reach that strata where our discoursive emanations meet murmurs of materials (flesh, bone marrow, cells) of machines—in productive interjections (≈ oscillation). We might need to understand / speak this language very soon. Ondreička´s ‘CHEMONTOLOGICAL’ hyperbola (and/or widely associative metaphor) wants to ignite some sparks (kinetic energy, polemos / pyr) of a resensitization of this beamy horrible world we all (minerals-vegetables-animals-machines, all undead) live on, at and in. <

NATALIE KOERNER is an architect and Ph.D. candidate at the KADK in Copenhagen. Her research links the planetary imaginary to the archival modes of data centers and the cloud. She is interested in spatialities that extend beyond the Cartesian and negate binary systems. She studied at Cambridge University and at the ETH, Zurich. Combining research with architectural practice, she freelances and has worked for several firms, including Zaha Hadid and artist Olafur Eliasson.

> The digital cloud is an outsourced brain for most of us. Digital archiving and data processing facilitated by algorithms resemble nonconscious cognition (Hayles 2017). Although the nonconscious cloudy brain has life-sustaining organs safeguarded in data centers, these are often forgotten as neurosis and various versions of network—an archive fever sweep through the cloud. As a body without surfaces and a brain without organs, the cloud presents us with a new type of spatiotemporal species. We can only get to know by getting lost within the misty Great Outdoors of big data that it generates. Like meteorological clouds that constantly update their content and morphology to reflect everything that is happening in the world—from mushroom spores to car exhaust to volcanic eruptions—the digital cloud is a highly sensitive creature. <

WARREN NEIDICH is an artist and theorist working between Berlin and Los Angeles. Selected exhibitions include MOMA PS 1, The Ludwig Museum, Koln, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art. He is founding director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, NYC and Berlin and The Journal of Neuroaesthetics, 1996. He is the recipient of The Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Transmediale, 2010. His Glossary of Cognitive Activism, published by Archive Press, is forthcoming, 2019.

> We are on the brink of a neural technological revolution. On one hand devices that augment or substitute for the material substance of the brain and those that rather augment or substitute for the performance of the brain especially those that utilize brain waves and their distribution as well as monitoring its decisions on social media. Robotics, cortical implants, neural dust and optogenetics would be examples of the former and brain-computer interfaces and AI and superintelligence the latter. What is the common denominator of these two technological streams are their effects on cognitive labor? The brain is the central node in a distributed network that is both intra and extracranial and constitutes the core of the new and future economy. Will the effects of these new technologies that act to supplant and substitute for cognitive function make the human agent obsolete? Warren Neidich will entertain new concepts in cognitive neuroscience and retooled Marxist thought to hypothesize the evolution of new functions of the brain especially telepathy. <

LAURA KALTWASSER is a postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain investigating processes of empathy and (social) identity formation. Working at the interface between philosophy and cognitive neuroscience, she studies aspects of the self on a biological, clinical and social level. Her Ph.D. examined the influence of emotional processes on social decisions and their bodily mechanisms. Combining the paradigms of social interaction with neurophysiological methods she aims at understanding the biological and societal underpinnings of cooperation behaviour.

> I feel therefore I am? The sense of being one’s personal identity is deeply rooted in our experience of being in one’s own body. The design and functions of one’s body remain largely the same throughout one’s lifetime, yet the environments in which our bodies are living nowadays are changing fast. The interaction between body, brain and social environment leads to desires and needs, which are communicated non-verbally via emotions. Which functions serve emotions on a bodily, neurological and social level? How are they intertwined with our experience of having a SELF? Can we outsource processes as emotion recognition to computerized algorithms who are devoid of a bodily basis of emotion? Laura Kaltwasser will portray the concept of emotion on different levels of analysis ranging from processes in the autonomous and central nervous system to social behavior. <

Event at Haus der Kulturen der Welt
A cooperation between transmediale and Import Projects. Supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

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