• NEW (HU)MAN exhibition –

In the face of fierce acceleration, of population explosion, and of peaking fossil fuels, without which our modern networked society cannot run, humankind seems to be transforming itself. Society is made up of individuals interconnected by precautionary concern. We who live in the digital networked society generate permanent data together. As individuals input all their data to the network (Internet), they are externalising their entire essence (culture). The individual seems to play the role of a pure sensor in the swarm intelligence arising from the network. Humans create not just the rules of co-existence, but form their own selves — their physical bodies as well as their psycho-social bodies — the way a feedback loops does. The digital network society goes beyond traditional interests in coaction, which are preventative, curative and helpful, employing cooperation over and above cyclical meaning- and identity-conferring rituals. Through total and permanent connection the network society provides fulfilment of a mystical promise of happiness — a trancelike dissolution into the whole. The always-under-threat individual is safely havened in network society. Integration of the network with real life has increased to the extent that making a distinction between the two is moot. So-called new media are consistently used as a means of pure self-affirmation and self-understanding. What is recorded on the (mobile) device is unimportant; connection to the network alone is paramount.

Examination of the festival theme with questions on new humans has opened up three conceptual spaces: the human image, the swarm and the control. The exhibition is an attempt to make clear the threatened state of caring. Humans as beings, their bodies and their lives, exist in the interest of caring cooperation. In a digital network society, an individual who records their data and who has their data recorded is a measured point of reference for all other network participants. However, equal participation in communal existence is no longer achieved by individual physical presence. In today’s mass society, equal participation in communal existence is achievable only through media and media agents. Through permanent usage, borders, effects, and specific individuals’ characteristics are inscribed schematically in subjective perception. The technology, specialised to the extent that its scope of responsibility in the Panopticon has shrunk to that of a single, individual cell, mimicking the reduced accountability that gave rise to modern fascism, is today being implemented in such a way that, in the digital network society, search and destroy becomes the much less culpable search, point and click . The social networks that take on the role of the Panopticon split individual, central and controlling views with all network users; everyone watches their neighbour, thereby exposing themselves to permanent observation. The Internet of Things effects not only objects, animals, plants and our bodies. The network nurtures enforced conformity by simply connecting everything with everything while the individual, simultaneously, dissolves.

The immense data streams in the network cannot be comprehended by individuals, and nor are their complex relationships revealed to individuals. Lost. Computed human bodies, heaps of pure, useless  doohickey that no longer have names, and that envelope us in a sea of light and colour. The glass screen slides between us and nature; the opaque surface of brightly coloured displays mirror a collective, continually self-generating phantasma …