Resurface: Countercontrol – A reading group with Black Swan

Link to text – All Power to the {Historical} Imagination! by McKenzie Wark

FollowCollective Reading: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange

In this edition of Resurface, Black Swan shared their collective project researching and experimenting with ways of giving artists control over funding, value, and decision making. Artists and organisers Leïth Benkhedda, Laura Lotti and Calum Bowden (Black Swan / Trust) invited participants into a reading and discussion group, focusing on a series of texts read aloud and followed by conversations which explored new thinking about trans-local collaboration and sustainable economics.

We read and discussed extracts of All Power to the {Historical} Imagination! by McKenzie Wark, a summary of Kojin Karatani’s The Structure of World History, as part of this event.

Black Swan is an experiment designed to rethink the mechanisms that produce new generations of creative practitioners, proposing collaborative institutional forms to allow a redefinition of what art can be. The single observation of black swans in the 17th century invalidated the ‘fact’ that only white swans existed, only to later be rendered explainable and predictable, according to the theorist of probability Nassim Taleb. Black Swan has a utopian and conspiratorial edge: some day self-governed and self-curated funding organisations will seem so obvious that people will imagine they always existed.

Leïth Benkhedda is a (cloud-based) designer, researcher and service provider. His practice explores concepts of autonomy, cooperation, ownership and governance, both on and off-line. Leïth holds a BA in Graphic Design from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague and is currently completing an MFA at the Design Department of the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Laura Lotti is a researcher investigating the relations between technological, economic and cultural systems. She is a research partner at Other Internet, where she collaboratively explores headless dynamics in networked cultures. She co-founded Black Swan.

Calum Bowden creates stories, worlds, and platforms that reimagine relations between organisms and algorithms, humans and nonhumans, the Earth and the cosmos. He co-founded Trust and Black Swan. Calum took part in the post-graduate program at the Strelka Institute, Moscow. He has an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art and a BSc in Anthropology from University College London.

This event was part of Resurface, our conversation series looking at how we work together and reshape the future of art.