Cultural Institute (project)
Cultural Institute. A performative space on access to culture and it's consequences.
The Google Cultural Institute (GCI) emerges in a time where publicly funded cultural institutions have to deal with various anxieties produced by the demands of digitalization, and the "democratization of art". GCI offers these faltering institutes services that are hard to refuse: scanning, indexing and publishing done with a solutionist engineering attitude on a scale that is unimaginable with public funds. By allowing CGI to extract information from the cultural sector as mere data, serving their imagery up in context-defying interfaces that allow no other form of interaction than scrolling under the terms stipulated by the megacorporation's Terms of Service, these archives feed a wide range of free and paid products (like Chromecast).
The GCI is a complex subject of interest since it reflects back the colonial impulses embedded in the scientific and economic desires that formed the very collections which GCI now accumulates in its database. By allowing megacorporations to turn everything into information through digitization, cultural institutions are degraded to a service industry, their archives reduced to mass digital data repositories and contributing to a society that can be managed in a cheap and scaleable way. The Cultural Institute we want to set-up during Transmediale is an attempt to deal with the frustrating lack of resilience and imagination of 'public' institutions when confronted with the challenges of digitalization.
At this ephemeral Cultural Institute we want to create the conditions for collaboratively interrogating the semantic cloud of "exploration" that both mirrors and reinvents the rhetoric of colonialism, where knowledge and its civilizatory benefits are employing their unique blend of violence, to justify the extraction of resources and the oppression of others. Through improvisation, performance and experiments we want to expand our vocabulary and methodologies in order to address the planetary wave of techno-colonialism that is currently being acted out on the territory of the cultural archive.
We want to set up a space where anxious archivists, restless researchers and stressed cultural workers can meet, compare notes, exchange tactics and use the opportunity to work through their shared troubles and archivalist anxieties by way of performance techniques, collaborative media training and strategic writing as a form of information group therapy. The Cultural Institute is a stage that will take many forms, inviting participants to use their bodies and voices to speak back to the way commercial archive practices are actively redefining the concept of access into 'browseability'.
Cultural Institute questions the fallacy of "access", of making cultural material available without intent or consequence. Supporting the emergence of knowledge as a relation that always depends on context, riddled with the overwhelming weight of the very idea of the archive, we propose Cultural Institute as a site for remedy.
Cultural Institute follows from the intersection between the research of Geraldine Juárez and Mondotheque (here represented by Jara Rocha, Nathan Labas and Femke Snelting).
- Jara Rocha (ES) is a cultural mediator and independent curator, currently developing learning programmes at Bau School of Design in Barcelona. She works with materialities of infrastructure, queering practices and both formal and non-formal ways of being in contemporary interfaced cultures. With Seda Guerses, Miryam Aouragh and Femke Snelting she participates in The Darmstadt Delegation and is an active member of the Euraca and Objetologías research zones
- Nathan Labas (UK) His practice focuses on the technological and therefore political elements that influence life and cultural production. As a specific interest, he is looking into the tensions that surround cultural appropriation, in relation to dubbing techniques, copyright laws, colonial narratives.
- Femke Snelting (BE) investigates interrelations between digital tools and creative practice, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminism and free software. She is a core member of Constant, an association for arts and media active in Brussels since 1997. The collective work of Constant is inspired by the way that technological infrastructures, data-exchange and software determine daily life. Constant generates amongst others performative publishing, curatorial processes, poetic software, experimental research and educational experiments.
- Geraldine Juárez(MX/SE) is an artist working with media, contexts and histories to understand the conditions in which economic and cultural resources are distributed in the present.
- Mondotheque is a loose band of artists, archivists and activists concerned about the state of infrastructures for knowledge production. Mondotheque was triggered by the complicated entanglements of an Internet giant searching for European roots, local governments in need of a future, and the wanderings of the historical archive of The Mundaneum.
Guests wish list
From this list, we want to invite 2-3 guests to join Cultural Institute:
- Laurence Rassel (BE) Artes Combinatorias http://www.fundaciotapies.org/site/spip.php?rubrique916
- Paul Preciado (NY) Decolonising the Museum http://www.macba.cat/en/decolonising-museum
- Sophie Springer (DE) Fantasies of the Library http://hkw.de/media/texte/pdf/publikationen_2/2015_4/intercalations1_fantasies_of_the_library.pdf
- Shinjoung Yeo (NY) Powered by Google: Widening Access and Tightening Corporate Control http://www.leoalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/LEA_Vol20_No1_SchillerYeo.pdf
- Palle Torsson (SE) - Artist and Lecturer at Konstfack. Researcher on Digital Revolution Stockholm
The final format may vary but we imagine to work in three interconnected spaces. Each space has different activities and levels of access.
The Archive: Abundant materials produced by the Google Cultural Institute; relevant bibliography, communiques, press releases, archive materials.
The Meeting Room: Collaborative production of performance scripts and press releases, based on prior research of organisers, guests and participants.
The Press Room: Hosts two types of activities. We imagine short presentations of research by participants and invited guests that can act as information therapies, tactic sharing etc. interspliced with re-enactments of GCI press conferences and promotional videos, performance of interfaces, archives, access, context. Threading their history through their own words, we try to appropriate the format of the press release as the neo-liberal way par excellence of how corporations "communicate" with their subjects.
The Cultural Institute would open its doors for 2 days. Besides the organisers, we would like to invite 2 or 3 international guests. Participants/audience can join at any moment.
Technical needs: electricity, open room, Lights, Cameras, Tables, Microphones, Chairs, A stage, podium-like. Think a press center.
- Fathers of the Internet: http://areyoubeingserved.constantvzw.org/Fathers.xhtml
- Scraping Culture (Michael Murtaugh, Robert Ochshorn): http://www.mondotheque.be/wiki/index.php/Scraping_culture
- Nous ne vivons pas dans ce monde là: http://www.mondotheque.be/wiki/index.php/Nous_ne_vivons_pas_dans_ce_monde_l%C3%A0
- Interview with Mondotheque by Geraldine Juárez: http://www.mondotheque.be/wiki/index.php/Google_Cultural_Institute
- Geraldine Juarez
- Intercolonial Technogalactic: http://geraldine.juarez.se/intercolonial-technogalactic.html
- Palle Torsson
- Digital Revolution: http://www.mondotheque.be/wiki/index.php/Digital_Revolution
Press Releases / Promotional materials of GCI (for potential re-enactment)
- Evangelizing the ‘Gallery of the Future’: a Critical Analysis of the Google Art Project Narrative and its Political, Cultural and Technological Stakes - Alanna Bayer http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/2239/ (specific and extensive analysis of the press releases language used by GCI)
- Paul Otlet's doodle https://www.google.com/doodles/mundaneum-co-founder-paul-otlets-147th-birthday
- Gigapixels/GCI http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/01/google-art-project-offers-gigapixel-images-of-art-classics-ind/
- Europeana + Google: http://pro.europeana.eu/blogpost/reach-cultural-tourists-through-europeana-in-%20googles-field-trip
- Google CEO: A New Iraq Means Business Opportunities: http://pro.europeana.eu/blogpost/reach-cultural-tourists-through-europeana-in-%20googles-field-trip
- How to use the site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVpqTd2ndYY (the interface is not even like that. #postproduction. Interesting.)
- GCI Partners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2IUDZEDOSc
- The Story Behind the Historic Exhibits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goLinbUZM7o
- Behind the Scenes: https://youtu.be/jzZKMSMNjZ0
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsynsSWVvnM Launch GCI in London
- Transition from Google Art into Cultural Institute- Steve Crossan, director of GCI introduces GCI at 'Open Culture' (2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mz4oC-qJQo
- How will the latest innovations at the intersection of art and technology redefine culture: Paola Antonelli, senior curator of MoMA, and Steve Crossan discuss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXS4D2Bt0bY
- Google Documents Iraqui Museums Treasures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqtgtdBvA9k
- Dan Schiller & Shinjoung Yeo, Powered by Google: Widening Access and Tightening Corporate Control http://www.leoalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/LEA_Vol20_No1_SchillerYeo.pdf
- Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin, Fantasies of the Library http://hkw.de/media/texte/pdf/publikationen_2/2015_4/intercalations1_fantasies_of_the_library.pdf
- Irmgard Emmelhainz, Conditions of Visuality Under the Anthropocene and Images of the Anthropocene to Come by http://www.e-flux.com/journal/conditions-of-visuality-under-the-anthropocene-and-images-of-the-anthropocene-to-come/
- Ippolita, The Dark Side of Google http://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/no-13-the-dark-side-of-google-ippolita/
- Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen http://indexofpotential.net/uploads/46385/Steyerl,%20Hito%20-%20The%20Wretched%20of%20the%20Screen.pdf
- Mike Pepi, Is a Museum a Database?: Institutional Conditions in Net Utopia http://www.e-flux.com/journal/is-a-museum-a-database-institutional-conditions-in-net-utopia/
- ART PROJECT 2023 (2013) by João Enxuto and Erica Love http://www.sept6.info/art-project-2023/
- Paul Preciado, Decolonising the Museum http://www.macba.cat/en/decolonising-museum
- Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin: 125,660 Specimens of Natural History: Re-imagining the Practice of Collection Through Alfred R. Wallace’s Malay Expedition http://www.synapse.info/blog/125660-specimens-of-natural-history-anna-sophie-springer-and-etienne-turpin-present-curatorial-work-in-progress-at-the-collecting-geographies-conference-at-the-stedelijk-museum-amsterdam/