[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3: MODERNITY'S SPELL

margaretha haughwout margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Tue Nov 19 05:51:25 AEDT 2019

Dear -empyre-

Many thanks to the Week 2 participants -- Ciclón, Lucia, Lucian,
WhiteFeather, and Estephania -- We had a sluggish start to the week due to
some technical hurdles, so I'm hoping Week 2 discussants will want to
continue the conversation on the existing threads as we move into Week 3,

This week we welcome Fabi Borges, Ricardo Dominguez, Tony Discenza, and
Rhonda Holberton to tell us of their ongoing work with, and thinking
around, *Magic and Technology*. The title MODERNITY'S SPELL is meant to
invite thinking around how the joint projects of science, state, and market
invoke ways of knowing (and dreaming) that seem, at first blush, entirely
counter to that of magic, or as operating to deligtimize magical practice
-- but over time may be seen as (often disempowering) spells of their own.
This may be a thread you all will want to pick up, but you may have your
own approach to the week too.

I am excited to learn more about Ricardo's take on Zapatista and Mayan
technology, Fabi's approach to how 'we' may all be dreaming the same dream
within Modernity, and Tony and Rhonda's thoughts on ways that technology
and magic may not be all that different -- and what the implications of
this is in capitalism. And all the things I haven't thought of, that has
made this month so rich so far.


Fabi Borges (BR) she/her/hers
Fabiane M. Borges: Acts at the intersection between clinic, art and
technology. She works as a Psychologist (in person and online) and as an
essayist, having written and organized publications between academic
journals, collections and personal books. She articulates two international
networks/festivals: Technoshamanism (technology & ancestry) and
Intergalactic Commune (art & space sciences). Since July 2019, she
organizes SACIE (Subjectivity, Art and Space Sciences) a research program
and artistic residencies in the Brazilian space program (INPE), where she
develops a series of activities focused on Space Culture. She is the
organizer of Extremophilia magazine, launched in 2018.

Some of her actions have been supported by institutions such as Goethe
Institute, SESC, MAC, MAST, MAR, Museum of Tomorrow, Valongo Observatory,
Ibirapuera Planetarium, Nucleus of Arts and New Organisms PPGAV / UFRJ -
(Brazil), Center for Contemporary Art (Ecuador), Aarhus University -
Department of Information Studies & Digital Design (Denmark), STWST / Ars
Electronica (Austria), SenseLab Concordia University (Canada), XenoEntities
(Germany), Transmediale (Germany), Grow Tottenham, Si Shang Art Museum
(China), etc. She lives in São Paulo in a collective house that plants
organic, organizes parties, concerts, meetings, workshops, etc (Casa
Japuanga, SP).

Ricardo Dominguez (US) he/him/his
Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater
(EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with
the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998. In 2007 Electronic
Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab with Brett Stalbaum, micha cardenas,
Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand initiated the Transborder Immigrant
Tool (a geo-poetic cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Anza-Borrego
desert at the edge of the U.S. and Mexico border): https://tbt.tome.press/.
The project was the winner of “Transnational Communities Award” (2008), an
award funded by Cultural Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–US and
handed out by the US Embassy in Mexico. It was also funded by CALIT2 and
the Center for the Humanities at the University of California, San Diego
(UCSD). The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the 2010
California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), The Van
Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), ZKM, Germany (2013), as well as a number of
other national and international venues. The project was also under
investigation by the US Congress in 2009-2010, UCSD, UC Office of the
President, the FBI's U.S. Cyber-terrorist Division and was reviewed by
Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S.
border with its poetry. Dominguez is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at
the UCSD, a Hellman Fellow, a Society for the Humanities Fellow (Cornell
University), a Rockefeller Arts & Humanities Fellow (Bellagio Center,
Italy) and a Principal Investigator at CALIT2/QI at UCSD.

Tony Discenza (US) he/him/his
Anthony Discenza is an interdisciplinary artist whose work subverts the
production and distribution systems of mass media and the narratives it
generates. In the late 1990s, Discenza began investigating the omnipresence
of mediated imagery in contemporary life, using destructive processing of
appropriated TV and film to create a series of immersive, projection-based
works that amplify the affective space produced by these avenues of mass
culture. This inquiry has expanded to include explorations of the
relationships between textual, auditory, and visual systems of
representation, in projects that have taken the form of street signage,
digital photography, audio, sculptural installations, and writing.

Deeply influenced by speculative fiction, Discenza’s practice frequently
employs descriptive language, incomplete or fragmentary information, and
unreliable narrative to direct viewers towards absent or imagined
experiences. Over the past several years, his focus has turned towards
various production systems of cinema as well as the problematic conditions
of artistic practice; interwoven with these investigations is an increasing
use of parafictional gestures that situate projects in a zone of ambiguity
and play. In 2018, Discenza completed a large-scale commission for the de
Young Museum in San Francisco, working in collaboration with sound
designers Gary Rydstrom and Josh Gold of Skywalker Sound to create a sonic
re-imaging of a lost science fiction screenplay from the 1980s.

Discenza’s work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern
Art, V-A-C Foundation, the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai, MOCA
Cleveland, Objectif Exhibitions, the Wattis Institute for the Contemporary
Arts, the Getty Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among
others. His work is held in the collections of Kadist Foundation, SFMOMA,
and the Berkeley Art Museum. He currently splits his time between
Massachusetts, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Rhonda Holberton (US) she/her/hers
Rhonda Holberton holds a MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from
California College of the Arts. Her multimedia installations make use of
digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of
art production.  In 2014 Holberton was a CAMAC Artist in Residence at
Marnay-sur-Seine, France, and was awarded a Fondation Ténot Fellowship,
Paris. Her work is included in the collection of SFMoMA and the McEvoy
Foundation and has been exhibited at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, FIFI
Projects Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; The Contemporary
Jewish Museum, SF; Berkeley Art Center; San Jose Institute of Contemporary
Art; and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Holberton taught experimental
media at Stanford University from 2015-2017 and is currently an Assistant
Professor of Digital Media at San Jose State University. She lives and
works in Oakland.


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