FREEPORT: Critical

Curated by Nathan Jones (Lecturer in Fine Art, Digital Media at Lancaster University)

FREEPORT: Critical was a programme of talks, podcasts and pamplets aimed at unpacking and building on the rich research and technical implications of the artworks shown at FREEPORT: Terminal MCR

In the talks programme, curator Nathan Jones invited world-leading thinkers from sociology, media, cultural histories, and the ‘hard’ sciences, to offer up terms and ideas fundamental to artworks in FREEPORT: Terminal MCR. The unconventional pairings of disciplinary perspectives present at each event, and the hybrid terminologies that result, indicated the radical opportunity such artworks offer for rethinking the way we structure our current knowledge of the world.

Terminologies for CryptoRave – RaveEnabler
With Dr Rachel O’Dwyer (Lecturer in Digital Culture, National College of Art & Design, Leader of Dublin Art and Technology Association and Curator of Openhere)
and Ollie Zhang (Writer, artist and musician)

!Mediengruppe Bitnik / Omsk Social Club’s RaveEnabler invites prospective attendees to a rave to ‘mine’ their own tickets and fictional identity using cryptocurrency technology. This pair of talks prepare us for understanding such a proposition. What does the RaveEnabler say about the future and current conditions for underground music? What do niche subcultural uses such as this have to do with the direction of currency, value and economics more broadly?

Terminologies for Framing Territories
With Mitra Azar (Artist, Philosopher and PhD candidate at Aarhus University)

Geocinema’s proposition is that global sensor networks and the data they produce constitute a new formal mode for cinema. This pair of talks will introduce in more detail what ‘global sensor networks’ are and how they operate, and survey their position in amongst the increasingly politicised territory of cinematic perspective.

Terminologies for Networks of Trust
With Dr Christy Constantakopoulou via video link (Reader in Classics and Ancient History, Birkbeck, University of London)
and Dr Emmanouil Tranos (Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Birmingham and Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute)

The Aegean archipelago in Greece is the setting for Kiriaki Goni’s speculation on the future of internet-like communications networks. Why this island network is so culturally and geographically suitable for this mode of speculation is the topic of this pair of talks. Two Greek-nationality scholars join us to discuss the ancient depictions of the islands as a network of communication and isolation, and the present-era cabling-and-broadcast technologies that echo and overlay them.

Dr Rachel O’Dwyer is a lecturer in the School of Visual Cultures in the National College of Art and Design, Dublin where she lectures in digital cultures. Her research focuses on the intersection of cultural and digital economies with a particular interest in art and the blockchain.

Ollie Zhang is a writer and musician, currently based in Berlin. As a freelance writer and editor, their work has appeared in publications including The Quietus and CTM Festival Magazine. Much of their work takes place at the intersection of music, technology and politics. 

Mitra Azar is a young artist with an eclectic formation. As a philosopher, his research spans across cultural studies, critical theory and media philosophy, within a strong political commitment. His research focuses on the idea of borders as fluid, flexible, amorphous entities between media, languages and identities.

Christy Constantakopoulou is an ancient historian. Her published work focuses on the history of the Aegean sea and its islands in the period between the 8th and the 3rd century BC. She is currently a Reader in Classics and Ancient History in Birkbeck College, University of London. 

Dr Emmanouil Tranos is an economic geographer and his research focuses on the spatiality of the digital economy. He has published on the geography of the internet infrastructure, the economic impacts that this digital infrastructure can generate on cities and regions and the position of cities within spatial, complex networks.

FREEPORT: Terminal MCR was commissioned and produced to Abandon Normal Devices. Supported by University of Salford, co-funded with support from the Creative Europe programme and with public funding from Arts Council England.

FREEPORT: Terminal MCR is part of The New Networked Normal (NNN) The NNN explores art, technology and citizenship in the age of the Internet, a partnership project by Abandon Normal Devices (UK), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (ES), The Influencers (ES), Transmediale (DE) and STRP (NL). This project has been co-funded with support from the Creative Europe programme.