Iterations #2: I don’t know where this is going

23 June - 29 July 2016
Iterations #2: I don’t know where this is going

About d'Iterations

Iterations is a travelling exhibition and residency of each time a new group of 6 artists who are creating a collective media work. They are invited and guided by Constant and esc medien kunst labor. As a starting point for their work they take the artwork that is made in the previous edition of Iterations, by a different group of artists. This leads to a chain of 'iterating' artworks that aim to formulate a visual answer to the question in what ways artists collaborate in a technological era.

Iterations can be considered as an experimental arrangement with blurred boundaries. The project creates a situation based on art extending into other fields and disciplines: informatics, sociology, privacy studies, network theory or copyleft studies.

At the beginning of the Internet, networking consisted in an infrastructure that actually grew in a decentralized way, which necessitated, facilitated and also conditioned cooperation at the same time. This collective character of the web marked art and culture of this newly emerging virtual space with branches into realms created by fantasy and functioning on equal terms. The basic concept was the interleaving of various strands of knowledge and experience in order to gain insights into the present.

Software and hardware were aimed at facilitating the coexistence of collective and individual elements. With the developments around web 2.0, it was (almost) exclusively the users' individualization that was fostered through the simultaneous monopolization of the infrastructures. The individualized is thus the default (the "norm"), while even though collective forms are still present and possible, they rather exist in the background.

The two organizations that initiated this project, Constant and esc medien kunst labor, were founded at a time when the semantic web and web 2.0 were still well-meant, partly also utopian ideas. Today, not only technically accomplished activists, but also above all multinational companies are concerned with open-source and free software. The latter has transformed itself from the promising alternative into the digital mainstream. Terms such as "open", "sharing", "cooperation" are nowadays an integral part of the inventory of the on-line business. Iterations , however, suggests reconsidering the current use of these terms. Iterations deals with the processes and motivations that prompt artists to explore models of cooperation that make use of free digital tools.

Iterations #1 : The Tech Oracle

The Tech Oracle was the first in a series of Iterations. TTO reflects on the disproportionate confidence that we currently place in services of the WorldWide Web. Because it seems as if we would not only look for practical answers in the web, but also for instructions for the next steps in our lives. Where Internet companies don't want to burn their fingers on the suggestive, the inefficient, the absurd and mythical, TTO opens up the spectrum of search query technology to the realm of uncertainty, intuition and even magic.

The exhibition space of esc medien kunst labor in Graz was transformed into an accessible installation, in which visitors entered as beta-testers of the system, and left with a day planner for a "perfect" life.

With: Pascale Barret, Julien Deswaef, Heidrun Primas, Ushi Reiter, Agnese Trocchi, IOhannes m zmölnig

Coordination: Peter Westenberg (Constant), Reni Hofmüller (esc medien kunst labor)


Constant is a non-profit, artist-run organisation based in Brussels since 1997 and active in the fields of art, media and technology. The artistic practice of Constant is interdisciplinary and inspired by many themes that criss-crossed each other: collaborative work, technological innovation, pipelined networks, software infrastructures, data-exchange, algorithms, experimental archives, new forms of (re)presentations, copyright alternatives, (cyber)feminism and the ethics of the World Wide Web. Constant organizes different activities (work-sessions, residencies, workshops, exhibitions, presentations) on a regular basis for artists, creators and researchers who are interested in experimentations, discussions and exchanges. The thread running through Constant's program is the use and support of open source software.

esc medien kunst labor

esc medien kunst labor is a cultural organization and exhibition center based in Graz, Austria, since 1993. Its central task is the production of art. In this context the main focus is on the precise observation and seismographic recording of artistic processes that examine and deal with socio-political developments (information- and biotechnologies, socio-economic systems) and new technologies (hardware and software). The artistic activities of the laboratory derive from the notion that art is understood as subsystem of social and societal reality; the media-specific approach is based on the designation of this reality through "new" culture technologies ["new media"].