Transmediale Exhibition Conference Wed 30.01.2013 – 16:00
The panel is discussing the installation project Evil Media Distribution Centre by Graham Harwood (uk) and Matsuko Yokokoji (jp/uk) (YoHa).
The installation is an artistic response to the recently published book Evil Media (2012) by Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey, in which the two authors argue for an expanded notion of media or forms of mediation and a deeper, more complex understanding of their effects on how we act, perceive and think in our daily lives. They focus on the pervasive presence of so-called “gray media,” whose mediations “facilitate and amplify the creation of troubling, ambiguous social processes, fragile networks of susceptible activity, opaque zones of knowledge—the evil of media.” The argument takes the form of a series of stratagems that, “rather than simple recipes to be followed, might better be understood as operative constructs in the sense that they have to be taken up, used, worked with …” It is this anticipation of the stratagems’ involvement in experimental practices beyond the pages of the book that YoHa meet. The artists have invited 66 contributors to choose and write a short text about a gray media object, and these texts and objects are then presented in the setting of a curiosity cabinet designed as a distribution center (the presentation media—the pallets, forklift, plastic bags, clipboards and projectors—are also accompanied by a text). With this close proximity between text and object, ideas and materiality, the installation demonstrates a mindset and method where the amalgamation of theory and practice is not a point in itself, but becomes a working condition for developing reflective engagement with the evil of media.
In the panel, the two authors discuss the notion of “evil media,” their “stratagematic” approach, the areas of focus that structure the book (Intelligence, Togetherness, Algorithms, Structures, Technicalities, Productivity, and Excellence), as well as respond to YoHa’s response to the book. Moreover, using examples from the book and installation, discussion addresses the question of the complex cultural significance of media beyond its straightforward instrumental value.