SCI FI SESSIONS #1

Climate change, the refugee crisis, burn-outs and flex jobs, the global rise of populism, capitalist elites and politics, the ongoing dismantling of institutional sexist and racist structures – many different domains seem on the verge of systemic collapse. What, then, if we think of these collapses as potentially productive? What if we conceive of the breakdown as something that takes the burden of the status quo off our shoulders? What kind of alternative instituting does this enable for the fields of culture, education, welfare, economy, or ecology? What kind of tools, vocabularies, forms of (self)organisation or value systems can we speculate on?

The SCI Fi SESSIONS are part of an ongoing conversation and collaboration between Netwerk Aalst and De Appel. Organized with the co-curated exhibition of Tamás Kaszás as a meaningful backdrop, both institutions invite artists, scholars and thinkers from different fields of expertise to respond to these questions and collectively think through alternative futures.

The first SESSIONS will take place at De Appel on March 31st and will revolve around presentations and speculations by dr. Barnita Bagchi and Jacob Lillemose. On Friday April 27th, we welcome philosopher and nuclear scientist Gaston Meskens, the UK-based Autonomy Institute and the Ex-Artist Collective for the second series of SESSIONS at Netwerk Aalst.

Programme SCI FI SESSIONS #1 March 31 @ De Appel (free entrance)

13:00 Collective lunch

13:45 Keynote: Literary scholar Dr. Barnita Bagchi will bring some immanent, everyday, feminist, and potentially revolutionary utopias (fictional utopias playing with real-life experimental social dreaming) into resonances with Kaszás.

14:15 Prompt & breakout sessions: Curator Jacob Lillemose from X AND BEYOND, an exhibition space dedicated to presenting, investigating and engaging with contemporary disaster culture, will give an introduction to the afternoon breakout sessions, which will explore the potentialities of systemic collapse and its possibilities for the future of instituting. These sessions will be based on scenarios from the science-fiction stories The Drowned World (1962) by J. G. Ballard; Night Of The Living Dead (1968) by George A. Romero and The Three-body Problem (2008) by Liu Cixin.

15:30 Collective round up: Post-collapse Instituting

16:15 Coffee break

16:30 Walkthrough of the exhibition SCI FI AGIT PROP with Tamás Kaszás and Niels Van Tomme

17:30 Launch of a special edition by Tamás Kaszás, followed by drinks and snacks

Barnita Bagchi

Dr Barnita Bagchi teaches and researches Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. With affiliations to the Netherlands, India, and Bengal, working between the languages English, Bengali, Dutch, and French, Barnita is a transnational academic whose work is informed by feminist activism. Educated at Jadavpur University, India, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, she has published widely on utopia, histories of transnational education, and women’s writing in comparative perspective in western Europe and south Asia. She directs the Utrecht Utopia Network (utrechtutopianetwork.nl), which, for example, recently hosted an international workshop in Utrecht on ‘Urban Utopias: Memory, Rights, and Speculation.’

Jacob Lillemose

Jacob Lillemose lives and works in Berlin and Copenhagen. In 2011 he received his PhD from the Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen with a dissertation entitled Art as Information Tool. Critical Engagements with Contemporary Software Cultures. Since the mid 1990s he has worked internationally as a freelance curator, lecturer, and writer. Working within the tradition and legacy of conceptual art he has curated a show with the films of Gordon Matta-Clark. His curatorial work in the field of media art includes exhibitions with Heath Bunting, UBERMORGEN.COM, Technologies to the People, and Cornelia Sollfrank. He has co-curated (w. Inke Arns) the travelling retrospective exhibition on the works of the web collective irational.org. His writings have appeared in a number of contexts, in including Le Monde Diplomatique, frieze, and kunstkritikk.no as well as catalogues on David Lamelas, William Anastasi, Daniel Garcia Andujar, Cornelia Sollfrank, and Jesper Just. He is a member of the Danish net art collective Artnode and has edited the anthology We Love Your Computer. An Anthology on Net Art (2008) that was published by Artnode and The Royal Art Academy Copenhagen.

SPECIAL BUS TOUR FROM AALST

Netwerk Aalst organises a bus tour from Aalst to Amsterdam and back again! The bus will depart at Netwerk Aalst, Houtkaai 15, at 9 AM and will go back to Aalst from De Appel at 7 PM. A place on the bus will cost you €20. On demand, the bus can make a stop in Brussels-South railway station (we'll be there around 9:30 AM). Please send us an e-mail if you are interested via info@netwerk-art.be

This project was made possible with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brussels.