2021 ELO Conference and Festival - Posthuman Exhibition
The first of several exhibitions in the 2021 Electronic Literature Organization Conference and Festival debuts this Thursday, March 4th.
The 2021 Electronic Literature Organization Conference and Festival - Platform (Post?) Pandemic debuts the first in a series of virtual and physical exhibitions this Thursday, March 4th: "Posthuman."
"Posthuman" features digital art and electronic literature that engages with the posthuman condition: enactments of complex human-technical assemblages in which cognition and decision-making powers are distributed in both aesthetic and literary systems -- what Hayles describes as "cognitive assemblages" and what Laura Shackelford and Louise Economides call "surreal entanglements." During the 2020-2021 pandemic, several conceptions of the posthuman have felt particularly material: the co-evolved relationship of humans and technology has perhaps never been so apparent as during long stretches of lockdown time, when for many of us technologically mediated human relationships became the only kind we had.
The works in "Posthuman" showcase a variety of different media formats and types of artistic interventions interpreting the posthuman condition, from a work of recombinant cinema about machine intelligence attempting to process, narrate, and mimic sentient being (Luers' Distant Affinities) to a web app that autonomously prays for people by searching Twitter for expressions of need (Booten's To Pray Without Ceasing). Pieces with indefinite virtual presences are presented alongside limited-time installations (like Montfort's Book Post, where computer-generated books by himself, Bertram, Läufer, and Parrish are chained to a table and projected onto a screen in the Humanities library -- a meditation upon the functional yet obsolete) and performances (like Mustatea's Voidopolis, a loose retelling of Dante's Inferno informed by the grim experience of wandering through NYC during a pandemic, currently unfolding over Instagram and set to be deleted after its completion). Explore the interconnections between Auden, Ashbery, and Stevens using a cutting-edge machine learning-based poetry generator (Gallagher's Gnarly Posthuman Conversations), create an uncanny new language using a text of your choice and a little help from artificial intelligence (Donnachie & Simionato's A.I. seems to be a verb), and grapple with the phenomenology of algorithmic, authoritarian censorship in real-time (Soon's Unerasable Characters II) -- among many others.
Together this group of artworks comprise a posthuman portrait -- a snapshot of our present moment situated between human subjectivity and whatever comes afterwards. We hope that you will enjoy reading and experiencing these compelling works of electronic literature as much as we have in the process of assembling them for this show.
Physical exhibitions can be found at the KMD JOY Forum, Rom 61 and the Humanities Library (HF), University of Bergen. Please note that the library exhibition is only accessible to UiB students and staff due to COVID-19 restrictions.
KMD - Møllendalsveien 61, 4-6 March - 12.00-16.00
HF Library - Haakon Sheteligs plass 7, UiB, M-F, 4-31 March 10.00-14.00