Long before a clandestine military-academic collaboration created the 1960's ARPANET the speculative mechanisms of conspiracy theories have fueled global events. Much like our yearnings for desire, mystery and unpredictability, conspiracy is a human condition used to decipher the way in which we read an increasingly chaotic world of manipulated disinformation. The Internet and its associated Web 2.0 counterpart have begun to move beyond communal and user driven realms of information exchange towards mechanisms fuelling and fanning all forms of popular speculation. They are indicative of a loss of control and a growing sense of surrender to perceived hidden forces and secret societies where mythologies of world domination, corporate control and government induced fear fetishism emerge. Examining the means with which we use and understand contemporary networks, be they digital or interpersonal, the conference will discuss the notions behind conspiratorial acts, structures and speculation, and consider the mechanisms therein as new forms of cultural, technological or political strategy. 

Wednesday 30/1

Session 1: The Chilean Network Experiment: From Poetics To Systemics

Respondent: Alejandra Perez Nuñez [cl]

Looking into the origin of contemporary communication structures Cybersyn, the ‘Chilean Network Experiment' was a play between technical systems and the poetics of the Chilean road to socialism. The relationship of technology, politics and culture found in Cybersyn's construction reflected Chile's history of socialist change during the early 1970s and differed from the origins of the ARPANET, the Internet's predecessor. With ARPANET, we find the U.S Department of Defense engaged in building a decentralized network for communication during the height of the Cold War. In Cybersyn we find a different meeting of culture and technology during a politically precarious time. Its design included some of the ethical, cultural and participatory considerations that defined Chile's socialist experiment. On September 11th, 1973 the two diametrically opposed philosophies that shaped these networks confronted each other ...

The conference takes place at Auditorium.

Keynote event: Lecture Timothy Druckrey: The ‘Real’ Conspiracy

Introduction: Andreas Broeckmann [de]
Featuring: Timothy Druckrey [us]

With Turing machines that think the world, with Lacan’s language that thinks the ‘real’, with Barthes’, language that signifies the world, with the optical apparatus’ images that witness the ‘real’, with the gramophone – the sound of the ‘real’, and with the computer pictures that simulate the ‘real’, the legacy of modernity's obsession with representation and its apparatuses resides between illusion and alibi. As Zizek reminds us, the issue is not between reality and simulation, but within the reality of illusion itself. This talk will take aim at the 'reality principle' as the core tragedy of a culture inebriated by a desperate illusion.

The event takes place at Auditorium.
Thursday 31/1

Session 2: Embedding Fear: The Internet And The Spectacle Of Heightened Alert

Respondent: Thorsten Schilling [de]

The Internet's ‘open system’ makes it not only the world's most powerful tool of conspiratorial narrative generation but also creates the broadest ‘extranational’ platform for the creation and dissemination of political, military and corporate propaganda. Any form of authorship. Any group (or individual) whether legitimate, clandestine or fraudulent with access to the net may proclaim any act, real or imagined. Within the current atmospheres of induced security, economies of fear and pending ‘terrorist’ action, what are the key roles played by the Internet in defining the legitimacy of a perceived threat? How are the complex issued of identity and culture corrupted when freedom of access and communication become entangled in an ill-defined international 'war on terror' fought to a large extent online?

The conference takes place at Auditorium.

Keynote event: Prof. Dr. Otto E. Rossler: The Paradox of the Big Bang: Reducing Fear by Accelerating Danger

Introduction: Julian Oliver [nz]
Featuring: Prof. Dr. Otto E. Rossler [de]

Due to their ambivalent existence between physical paradox and mythical space black holes generate such an awesome fascination that they invite unrelenting speculation of every kind. Whether they stabilize the solar systems by constituting a network of meta gravitation fields, whether they are wormholes into another dimension or whether we consider them giant mechanisms of the compression and destruction of matter, they raise more questions than responses. On the eve of one of the most significant scientific experiments in history – the simulated creation of micro black holes in the depths of the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ in Geneva, Switzerland Prof. Rossler will raise a flag of caution on this speculation by pointing to his own research, and evidence prevalent in the scientific community.  Whereas the participating scientists are unable or unwilling to attach value to the danger of this spectacle, Rossler warns that the scientific community claims the success of the experiment may result in the black hole destroying the planet within 50 million years. His own calculations indicate that this time frame may in fact be closer to 50 months ... and that here, the game with the diffuse and perpetual fear intrinsic to scientific discourse may be no joke.

The event takes place at Auditorium.
Friday 1/2

Session 3: The Greying Of The Commons: IP, The Law And The Street

Respondent: Volker Grassmuck [de]

When it comes to Intellectual Property, there is a widening gap, in Europe and elsewhere, between regulatory regimes and the everyday practices of millions of people. While recent legislation has strengthened formal IP rights, unauthorized use of protected content has sharply expanded. Uncontrolled remixing, editing and sharing of material is entrenched in digital mass culture. Attempts to control what people do with digital information, through law and/or technology, have so far proved ineffective. Referring to this gap between regulation and practice, the situation has been likened both to the American prohibition (1920-1933) and to current policies on (soft) drugs. The first analogy suggests that, sooner rather than later, legislation will have to acknowledge people's practices, whereas the second suggests a drawn-out period of repression with high social costs.

The conference takes place at Auditorium.

Keynote event: Círculo reflexivo with Dr. Humberto Maturana and Prof. Ximena Davila

Introduction: Matthew Fuller [uk]
Featuring: Dr. Humberto Maturana [cl], Prof. Ximena Dávila [cl]

Collaboration or obedience:  co(i)nspiration as the biological basis for human existence

A collaborative conversation between Doctor Maturana and Professor Dávila with the purpose of explaining the basis of human origins as a biological-cultural construct. They will speak about the origin of language and conversation to illustrate the type of worlds that are generated within our coexistence.
A ‘círculo reflexivo’ is a space constituted by people invited to reflect upon and converse, listen to each other, have opinions on a subject, in this case co(i)nspiration and collaboration as a conceptual, biological phenomenon.
Dr. Maturana and Prof. Dávila are the founders of Instituto Matríztico, where they develop an educational and research practice. They create learning relational spaces about our biological-cultural existence, conceived as experiential domains of reflections and interactions that evoke and realize the possibility of ethical responsibility in a world of collaborative co-existence.

The event takes place at Auditorium.
Saturday 2/2

Session 4: Techno-Historical Collusions: The Making Of A Trojan Horse

Moderator: Florian Cramer [nl]
Participants: Trevor Paglen [us], Eva Horn [de], Eva Horn [de], Pierre Lagrange [fr], Trevor Paglen [us], Pierre Lagrange [fr]
Respondent: Konrad Becker [at]

At first glance there may seem to be no link between the mystical worlds of witches and medieval Kabballah with the hightech-realities of the space program and ‘Data Trojans’. But – all of them mingle the unexplainable with politics and technology, and apply the fictionalisation of information to achieve narrative goals beyond the confines of their central practice. Space research conspires with military interests, which in turn unleash a multitude of events in the form of media, software and information Trojan Horses. Iconographies, a culture of the belief in speculation and an opacity of reason result where the unseen mechanisms behind an event take a dominant position over reality. Can we therefore challenge the inexplicable and rationalise the theory out of the perception of conspiracy?

The conference takes place at Auditorium.

Keynote event: Performative Lecture Einar Thorsteinn: Alchemy Of Objects

Introduction: Tanja Dückers [de]
Featuring: Einar Thorsteinn [is]

During his career, artist and experimental architect Einar Thorsteinn has conceived and produced hundreds of different models of space, architecture and mathematical structures. This tireless process of production and its driving forces are the starting point for his lecture-performance where, with more than 700 images, he will deliver an insight into the world of the objects he has created. The act of creating physical, tangible things and the related experience of personal activity and potency play a decisive role and lead to the existential question about who we really are and our destination in life. This question takes a centre stage in his performative lecture which is aiming to create in collaboration with the audience an imaginary space of thinking about what he is calls the ‘Physics of Human Life’. His performance is architectonic experiment in five dimensions.

The event takes place at Auditorium.
Sunday 3/2

Session 5: Web 3.0: Conspiring To Keep The Net Public

Moderator: Olga Goriunova [ru]
Participants: Seda Gürses [de], Felipe Fonseca [br], Fran Ilich [mx], Seda Gürses [de], Michelle Teran [ca], Fran Ilich [mx], Felipe Fonseca [br], Michelle Teran [ca]
Respondent: Simon Yuill [uk]

Web 2.0 has been heralded as a paradise of open access and user-friendly community building by shifting software and web applications to a browser platform. Although many see this as a form of upgrade, hence the '2.0', in fact this shift has been primarily a form of compartmentalisation of the Internet where user data and creative property rights become a form of commodity. The true spirit of freedom of expression and movement are threatening to enter the realm of commerce and trade raising speculation as to who controls the rights, identities of the users therein. What are the alternative models and strategies keeping this intrinsically quasi-private structure a public domain, and ultimately prevent the Internet from becoming a victim of its own conspiratorial tendencies?

The conference takes place at Auditorium.

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