Open call: Dark Society

BRUME - Michael Kugler & Sebastian Wolf (Dark Science exhibition, January 2017)


Curated by Alfredo Ciannameo

The media construct of Reality is something which is not easily approachable even through technological means of what is perceived, measured, and to be understood. The truth of a model, the efficiency of a system, our living together all encompass some hidden aspects that, by definition, are creating an obscure shadow which subtly influences and effects our visible world. The open call Dark Society questions artistic processes of building media works which unfold relationships with those ´hidden sides´ made available to us by looking at their extreme effects and consequences.

Even though sophisticated instruments in Physics are not yet able to directly observe phenomena such as dark matter or dark energy, we are still indirectly able to think and elaborate on the nature of these hidden forces of the Universe by measuring, for instance, consistent shifts of the light spectrum on celestial bodies. In the techno-imaginary, those dark dimensions see themselves expressed through extreme impacts such as human biological reconfigurations, proposed by the theory of Singularity, and/or the ecological collapse of our planet, predicted by the Anthropocene movement, building awareness fundamentally on the poetic of techno-apocalipse. Technophobia (or for some trends towards the desired distopic future) is plaguing the public imagination when experiments like the Large Hadron Collider risk producing a black hole that would end all of mankind as we know it.

Dark dimensions are increasing in many levels and becoming more perceivable proportionally a state of anomy within the complexity of scientific and technological possibilities opened up in the contemporary Society and translated in new loops of human-to-machine interaction.

Four exhibitions will be organized by looking at this main concept articulating different aspects complementary to one artistic question of obscurity in Science, Body/Identity, Technology and Environment which are interviewed realities funding our basic interface of Society. 

  • DARKSCIENCE: deadline 1 Jan 2017 Exhibition for Transmediale Vorspiel (26 to 29 Jan 2017)
  • DARKBODYDARKIDENTITY: deadline 20 Feb 2017 - Exhibition (17 to 19 March 2017)
  • DARKTECHNOLOGYDARKWEB: deadline 1 April 2017 - Exhibition (21 to 23 April 2017)
  • DARKHABITATDARKECOLOGY: deadline 1 May 2017 - Exhibition (ß to 11 June 2017)

Dark Society invites all artistic works questioning those hidden aspects through reflecting processes in the intersections of Science, Technology and Society that, when brought to extreme consequences, can create a tangible experience of their effects on our everyday life in terms of memory, informations, environment, politics/activism, body and habitat, sexuality and/or on our general but specific way to sense reality. The open call aims to collect projects approaching all technological media and type (such as installations, performances, screenings, lectures). Beside invitation, all the relevant proposals will be included in the open-call on-line catalogue. 

You can apply by sending your proposal including description of the work and AV-documentation to mentioning the subject Proposal: Dark Society




Human societies are based on the exploitation of resources. It has always been that way and there is no realistic way around. Within our generation it seems that humanity is reaching a point were the planet might be running out of essential resources that feed us all and let us live the life we used to have.

As part of Dark Society, this exhibition focuses on the organic cycles of life and how artists, activists and counter cultures envision new ways of living and literally start growing in the shadows and backyards of their crowded urban centers.

The OPEN CALL for this exhibition calls projects of all kind that discuss how we can close the circles of matter, oppose and disconnect from industrial methods and increase more sustainability in the system.

Proposals: (deadline  May 2017)

– text by Matthias Fritsch 
- video by Acci Baba


While smart is the keyword of the omni-connection through the internet of things and social media, dark is the state of our relation with the user-oriented technology that operates the data collection of our online choices and issues our privacy and self determination in the web.

Like never before, we are spectators of an effort of sense-making within the massive amount of data available, which is in urgent need of being interpreted by controversial intelligent machines, such as hackers do when they call them systems of surveillance. In this digital space, the Dark Web extends into grey-zone territory: banned by society as a container of illegal activities while serving as a genesis of new subcultures.

The open call for this section of Dark Society aims to gather works that unveil these technological dimensions while questioning the ability and necessity for users to stay anonymous, hide their tracks or obfuscate their surrounding systems of surveillance.

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– coedited with Pedro Marum

In the fundamental state of media obliquity, re-interpreting Boris Groys: if techniques of mechanical reproduction gave us (sub)jects without aura, digital production generates aura without (sub)jects, transforming all its materials into vanishing markers of a self-advertised present as a constant imperative ruling the online comedy.  

The contemporary interaction trough social media means to quantify the cultural desire of self in terms of user-clicks and offers, as condition of success, easy availability to pre-defined aesthetics. But, on the other side, dark entities and activities happen to contaminate bodies and perceptions, bending the limits of social norms while infesting the world with new social manifestations.

From the dark web to furry sex clubs, virtual megalopolises and chimeras, cyber-subcultures grow in parallel, and on the margins, of the expansive dragnet of digital surveillance. If latter monitors interacts by means of obscure algorithms and normalizing forces, dark-embodiments allows the rupture of the crystalline morals, bursting with tentacles and petrochemicals that comprise new ontological memories, expanding our conceive of the body as an open-architecture, redesigning situations where the urgency of physicality can be discussed through technology and science.

In The Queer Art of Failure, Jack Halberstam refers to darkness as being crucial in the queer aesthetics. In the shadow, worlds lie the disruptive potential to the existence and expansion of non-normative forms; the glitch is what allows the resistance to the gaze, the struggle to the stratal power, it is the noise in the protest. 

VIDEO: Christian Sawalski | Disembodied Momentum

This video work references to Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” specifically to the cultural phenomenon of photographing and recording videos excessively and by that making these documents an additional form of memory. The intention is to explore an iconography of the body and its movements, captured by this digital process of memory, in a condition of information being corrupted, altered and, ultimately, destroyed. 

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The exhibition Dark Science will present works approaching specific phenomena focusing on their physicality by means of the paradox underlaying our human relation to them in terms of states of absence, immateriality, evanescence and void. This pushes the boundaries of our imagination and reflects a constant need to sense and understand levels of the physical world in an observable and measurable matter. Traces and shadows of those transitory presences become the territory of exploration for artists with different approaches from an intentionality on presenting a direct experience of the phenomena to the impact of these elements produces indirectly in our culture and society.

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