The 8th Annual Conference of Network Society
Resetting all (im)possibilities of Technology
China Academy of Art (CAA)
School of Intermedia Art (SIMA)
Institute of Network Society (INS)
Prof. Huang Sunquan
Cui Yu, Liu Yisi, Zhu Yan, Zheng Yeying, Zhang Duohan, Cai Zerui, Xu Yushan, Tang Qiuyu, Yuan Mengru, Bian Zicheng, Wang Siyun, Ma Ya, Zhang Yubin, Tong Zhaoxiang, Jiang Yizhu, Han Jiaxin, Ruan Luxin, Li Chengjin, Xu Ke, Jiang Ziyi, Chen Suyuan, Ren Binglin, Li Yi
Han Jiaxin, Zheng Yeying
The emergence of AI and ChatGPT has marked a significant milestone in the history of natural language, both in terms of linguistic corpora and the utilization of natural language through prompts. AI stands as a manifestation of human general intelligence（particularly in the Marxist sense）and serves as a means for individuals to engage in a dialogue with the broader cultural milieu. Culture is inherently intertwined with the history and geographical struggles of technology’s development. This holds the significance of “counter-culture,” not as an alternative, but as a contrasting existence that once harbored the full spectrum of possibilities.
Ever since the advent of the printing press as a means of textual transmission, the invention of phonographic devices for sound storage, and the realization of optical representation through cinema, history can no longer be encapsulated within a single grand narrative. History has diverged into the realms of acoustics (phonograph), optics (film), and literature (typewriter). From a media perspective, after modernism, text printed on paper, grounded in natural language, no longer serves as a continuum, a repository for the collective human memory. There is no longer a continuous and translatable hermeneutics. Instead, it has become a cryptology of displacement, one that can only be transposed. This marks a zenith of inter-media dynamics, where transposition, borrowing, assemblage, and mutual translation have become darlings in the marketplace.Contemporary art, distinguished by its unique aesthetics, merely showcases the technological evolution delivered to humanity’s civilizational mission. It inherently carries a form of political awakening, serving as a counterforce to this civilizational mission.
The advent of electronics marked a new era in history, as information theory emerged, and digital technology brought an end to the history of media. This is because everything can be digitized, from literature to digital film, digital painting, digital art, and more. In this sense, the computer becomes the “medium of all media,” ending not only the history of media but also “history” itself. As Friedrich Kittler said, “Digital technology has brought a kind of messianic endpoint.” After the digital revolution, there was no revolution left to be had.
Nonetheless, culture remains the pursuit of the humanities, not determined by individual intentions but by the possibilities offered by all media based on natural language. Each technological development is embedded within a specific culture. “Counter-culture” not only opposes the singular perspective of technological development but also serves as a medium for expanding, transforming, and propagating the technological environment. The humanities were once on the verge of surrendering to modern machines (computers) that could read letters and numbers. Therefore, we need to establish a new “counter-cultural” site that goes beyond mere resistance, alternative, hippy or escape routes; it should be a foundation of opposition.This site should encompass broader political-economic critiques, gender critiques, media critiques, class critiques, philosophical reflections on technology, and perspectives from the Global South. In other words, it aims to challenge the monolithic linear perspective of technological development, allowing the humanities to once again become a fortress that upholds the heights of human thought while embracing all the possibilities of speculative technological development. In this year’s conference, we have invited scholars, artists, and engineers from Taiwan, France, Brazil, Portugal, the United States, and Russia to jointly embark on a new “counter-cultural” endeavor!
Over the years, the Institue of Network Society (INS) has hosted Annual Conferences, featuring over a hundred scholars who have delivered keynote speeches. More than five hundred artists, curators, and young scholars have shared their ideas through open submissions, creating a platform that amalgamates creativity and critical thinking from around the world. This year’s Conference will commence with an AI hackathon, followed by the China premiere of Zheng Shuli’s film, the annual conference itself, a thought experiment workshop, and the release of a film essay. All are welcome to participate!
(See the end of the article for related series of activities)
Nov 08-09 2023
(Detailed agenda will be announced later!)
Shanghai｜Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park
Zhangjiang Science Hall 6F
👇Scan the QR Code:
The annual meeting is open to the public.
Participants who sign up can receive simultaneous interpretation headsets at the venue.
There will be no simultaneous interpretation for online live broadcasts and those who have not registered.
👇Slido Question Box
Nov 08 2023
|Opening Speeches: Min Han, Huang Sunquan
|Issue: “From Unconditional ‘I’ to Unconditioned ‘We’ to Conditional ‘You’? Variants of Joint Action in the Arts and a Plea for an Economy of Friendship”Speaker: Siegfried Zielinski
|Issue: “VIRUS BECOMING as a Tactical Resistance”Speaker: Shu Lea Cheang
|Issue: “Non-Science Fiction Imagination for Those Incapable of Sustained Upgrades”Speaker: Chen Chieh-jen
|Issue: “Work and Technology：In the Past and in the Present History of Capitalism”Speaker: Franco “Bifo” Berardi
|Issue: “Capitalism with a Transhuman Face”Speaker: Ana Teixeira Pinto
|Issue: “A Letter to a Young Artist: How to Survive in Generative AI Era?”
Speaker: Lev Manovich
Nov 09 2023
|Issue: “From Agora to Virtual Commons of Information: Tracing the Roots and Future of Social Media”Speaker：Lee Felsenstein
|Issue: “From Links to AI: Multimedia and its Roots in Hypermedia Dreams”Speaker：Marc Weber
|Issue: “Counterhistories of Computing”Speaker：Rodrigo Ochigame
|Thought ExperimentPlease see the registration page for event details👆
Each guest will speak for approximately 30 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of audience interaction time.
The official agenda is based on the day of the meeting.
(Arranged in order of the speeches)
Photo: Zimmermann, AdK Berlin
University of the Arts, Michel Foucault Professor of Media Archaeology & Techno-Culture at the European Graduate School (EGS) and visiting Professor at Tongji University Shanghai. He was founding rector(1994–2000) of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, director of the Vilém Flusser Archive (1998–2016), and rector of the Karlsruhe University of Arts & Design (2016–2018). Zielinski has published extensively on the archaeology and variantology of the arts and media. In cooperation with Peter Weibel, head of the ZKM Karlsruhe, he also worked as a curator for exhibitions on Vilém Flusser, “Allah’s Automata” and “Thinking Machines: Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria”. Together with musician and composer F.M. Einheit he recently produced critical-poetical sound pieces for Teodor Currentzi’s platform musicAeterna and diverse German radio stations. Zielinski is elected member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and the Northrhine- Westfalian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Shu Lea Cheang
Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker who engages in genre bending gender hacking art practices. Celebrated as a net art pioneer with BRANDON (1998 – 99), the first web art commissioned and collected by Guggenheim Museum, New York, Cheang represented Taiwan with 3x3x6, a mixed media installation at Venice Biennale 2019. Crafting her own genre of Scifi New Queer Cinema, she made 4 feature length films, FRESH KILL(1994), I.K.U. (2000), FLUIDø (2017) and UKI (2023). In 2023, she is touring UKI at festivals and museums including LAS Art Foundation (Berlin), Centre Pompidou (Paris) , MoMA (New York) and ICA (London) among other venues.
Born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Chen Chieh-jen currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. Since 1996, he has collaborated with unemployed laborers, day workers, migrant workers, foreign spouses, unemployed youth and social activists. Together, they have occupied capitalist-owned factories, slipped into areas cordoned off by the law, and utilized discarded materials to build sets for his video productions. In order to visualize contemporary reality and a people’s history obscured by neoliberalism, Chen embarked on a series of video projects in which he used strategies he calls “re-imagining, re-narrating, re-writing and re-connecting” to further his goal of generating dissent and starting a second wave movement.
Starting in 2010, Chen began actively focusing on the fact that many people around the world have been reduced to working temporary jobs and lost sense of existence due to and lost sense of existence due to the corporatocracy’s pervasive control technology. Chen calls this universal situation “global imprisonment” or “at-home exile.” Based on these ruminations, Chen has considered how pervasive control technology can be qualitatively changed by transforming desire with alternative forms of desire and detoxifying illusion with māyā.
Lev Manovich is an artist, writer, and one of the most influential theorists of digital culture worldwide. After studying painting, architecture, and filmmaking, Manovich began using computers to create digital art in 1984. His projects have been exhibited in 12 solo and 120 international group exhibitions at many prestigious institutions, such as the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), the Centre Pompidou, The Shanghai Biennale, and The ZKM | Center for Art and Media. Manovich is currently a Presidential Professor of Computer Science at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and the Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab. Manovich played a key role in creating four new research fields: new media studies (1991-), software studies (2001-), cultural analytics (2007-) and AI aesthetics (2018-). Since 1991, he has published 190 articles that have been translated into 35 different languages and reprinted over 800 times. He authored and edited 15 books, including Artificial Aesthetics, Cultural Analytics, Instagram and Contemporary Image, Software Takes Command, and The Language of New Media, which has been called “the most provocative and comprehensive media history since Marshall McLuhan.”
Franco “Bifo” Berardi
Franco “Bifo” Berardi was born in Bologna in 1949. He is a leading figure in philosophy, media, and digital culture. He played an active role in the ’68 student movement, was part of the Potere Operaio (Worker’s Power) group until 1972, and founded A/traverso magazine in 1975. In 1976, he co-founded Italy’s first free radio, RADIO ALICE. He worked as a music writer in New York City from 1980 to 1983 and began teaching at the School for Adults Aldini Valeriani in Bologna in 1987. From 2004 to 2017, he taught Social History of the Media at the Art Academy of Brera in Milan and obtained a PhD from Aalto University in Helsinki in 2016. He is an accomplished author with around twenty books translated into multiple languages. His notable works include Phenomenology of the End (2014), Heroes, Mass Murder, and Suicide (2015), Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (2017), and The Third Unconscious (2022). He has been a longtime collaborator with magazines such as Metropoli (since 1978), Archipelago (since 1998), and e-flux (since 2008).
Ana Teixeira Pinto
Ana Teixeira Pinto is a writer and cultural theorist based in Berlin. She is a professor of art theory at the HBK Braunschweig and a theory tutor at the Dutch Art Institute. Her writings have appeared in publications such as Third Text, Afterall, e-flux journal, Artforum and Texte zur Kunst. She is the editor of the book series On The Antipolitical, published by Sternberg Press and the author of the forthcoming publication Entropy and Chronopolitical Allegory.
Lee Felsenstein, born in 1945 in Philadelphia, is an electronics and computer pioneer. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and played a key role in the development of personal computers, including the Osborne-1. He also initiated the “Community Memory” system, an early form of social media.
Throughout his career, he focused on making technology accessible and even attempted to provide wireless communication to refugee villages in Laos. He has received prestigious awards, including the Computer History Museum Fellow (2016) and Pioneer of the Electronic Frontier (1994). Felsenstein resides in Redwood City, California, and has authored a forthcoming book.
Marc Weber is curatorial director of the Internet History Program at the Computer History Museum (CHM). The program explores our connected world through publications and events, and builds on the Museum’s leading collection of networking history materials. He pioneered Web history as a topic starting in 1995, with crucial help from the Web’s main inventor Sir Tim Berners Lee and other pioneers. He co-founded two of the first organizations in the field, and has curated over a dozen galleries or exhibits on networking, mobile, and AI. Weber speaks and consults on related topics to major media, patent firms, and filmmakers. He was a software and biomedical consultant for over a decade in Silicon Valley and near Geneva, Switzerland. He has taught at the University of California and holds bachelors degrees in Neurobiology and in Creative Writing from Brown University.
Rodrigo Ochigame is an anthropologist who writes about computing and artificial intelligence, and an assistant professor at Leiden University. Their research examines unorthodox models of computational rationality, such as nonclassical logics from Brazil, nonbinary Turing machines from India, and frameworks of information science from Cuba.
Their teaching specialties include contemporary social and anthropological theory, the history and anthropology of science and technology, and the social dimensions of digital technologies. Ochigame received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from MIT.
The 8th Annual Conference of Network Society Series Activities
2023/ NOV 03 – NOV 05
2023/ NOV 06