I. The End

10–11:30 AM

Chair: Everett Kane

Panelists: Jennifer Krasinski (freelance art critic: Art Forum, Village Voice), Tommy Hartung (visual artist), Blake Carrington (artist), Rachel Steinberg (curator and Gallery Director of Soho20 Gallery, Brooklyn)

This panel addresses themes of death, tragedy and apocalypse as strategies for meaning in art. Our overriding question will be how does "The End" function these days and how does technology condition it? 

Presentations will touch on the aesthetics of terror, depictions of death and suicide, the affective turn in the art world, the role of religious subject matter, communication systems in disaster scenarios, and the implications of socio-political strands within contemporary art practices.

Sarah Charlesworth, Unidentified Man, Ontani Hotel, Los Angeles, 1980. Photograph: Art Institute of ChicagoSarah Charlesworth, Unidentified Man, Ontani Hotel, Los Angeles, 1980, Photograph: Art Institute of Chicago

II. Infrastructural Aesthetics

11:30 AM–1 PM

Chair: Tyler Coburn

Panelists: Shannon Mattern (Associate Professor Media Studies at the New School), Nicole Starosielski (Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU), Ian Hatcher (poet), and Lance Wakeling (filmmaker)

In the recent past, we’ve seen art projects exploring sophisticated (often covert) systems, from military black sites to the electromagnetic signals that suffuse our everyday life. While their subjects vary, these works speak to a broader concern with contemporary “infrastructure”—a term, geographers Steven Graham and Simon Marvin note, that doesn’t just describe what “runs ‘underneath’ actual structures,” but the “multiple, overlapping and perhaps contradictory infrastructural arrangements” of politics, technology and economy. “Infrastructure” here departs from its conventional definition, becoming a relational field that various agents can potentially influence.

The neologism “Infrastructural Aesthetics” is a prompt to consider the artist’s position within this field and the strategies available to her. How, for example, can art engage with systems that rarely have singular forms, but concatenate physical, immaterial and asignifying processes? Is the efficacy of representation thrown into question, and what forms of artistic practice might better speak to our imbrication in contemporary infrastructure? Finally, can art play a role in fostering literacy about this subject, to greater political effect? Panelists Shannon Mattern, Nicole Starosielski, Ian Hatcher, and Lance Wakeling will address these and other questions, drawing on their work in Media Studies, poetry, and film.

Lance Wakeling, Field Visits for Chelsea Manning, 2014, Video, 49 minutesLance Wakeling, Field Visits for Chelsea Manning, 2014, Video, 49 minutes

III.  Patterns of the mind, digital tribalism in contemporary art

2–3:30 PM

Chair: Anna Frants

Panelists: Alexandra Dementieva (artist), Carla Gannis (artist/Assistant Chair, Pratt DDA) Lev Manovich (Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY), Peter Patchen (artist/Chair Department of Digital Arts, Pratt Institute), Natasha Kurchanova (art historian, Eastern European Art Critics Society)

With the explosion of globalization and cutting-edge communication tools, there has been an emergence of the phenomenon of digital tribalism when artists unite into groups not on the grounds of geography, but rather according to their interests.

The predominant characteristic of art tribes throughout time has been the need to share and to communicate ideas, thoughts, observations and views.  Digital networks achieve this objective by connecting like-minded members of such new tribes across the continents.  As the principal players move around the arena, a self-assembled dynamic network structure emerges that no single player can control.  

IV. Redefining Women in Technology: Tools, Agency, and Representation

3:30–5 PM

Chair: Faith Holland
Panelists: Kimberly Drew (independent researcher), Seung Min Lee (artist), Mendi Obadike (artist/Assistant Professor, Media Studies Department, Pratt Institute), and Martha Wilson (artist /Director, Franklin Furnace/Associate Professor, Pratt Institute)

In what ways can women mobilize digital media toward political and artistic agendas? This panel will explore the way women, as an intersectional group, can deploy technology to create new pathways to agency and (self-)representation. Technology is not new and the panel will look at multiple generations of artists and their approach to various media. Panelist Martha Wilson was an early adopter of video technology as a way to document her performances that challenge the constraints of femininity. Seung Min-Lee's work, on the other hand, uses live performances and installation to reflect our varied relationships to technologized food across races and classes.

Seung Min-Lee “I-Turkey’’Seung Min-Lee “I-Turkey’’