Sunday, April 23, 2017, Roaming Assembly #13 at Dutch Art Institute. The Navigation Principle: Double hydrologics



With Ayesha Hameed, Tom Holert, Kevin B.Lee, Marianna Maruyama, Doreen Mende, Rory Rowan, Vera Tollmann & DAI-students

“Where does the world end?” asks the female voice in Harun Farocki’s Parallel 2 (2014) while the subjective shot perspective directs the viewer on the continuous flight across a digitized blue matter with geometric islands popping up, and disappearing again. The sequence offers a horizon for our proposition to enter the Navigation Principle through a double dimension of what we might call, following hydro-feminist Astrida Neimanis, ‘hydrologics’.

One dimension addresses the data logical condition of digitized matter. It takes us towards an investigation of a computer-generated image that operates through digital liquidity and algorithmic cultures.

A second, parallel dimension takes us towards the ancient art of navigation that is revisited as a mode of inhabiting the contemporary political condition. It opens the prospect of what it means to think with and from ‘water’.This is a feminist concern that rethinks received understandings of planetarity and globalization.

How can we think the entanglement of this kind of ‘double hydrologics’? What practices of articulation and inter-animation can be invented for the present and future?
How can we politicize that new image-regime which fosters the “industrialization of thought” (Farocki) through action, operation, and embodiment? What happens to the production of knowledge in the navigational landscape of ‘double hydrologics’?

How and in what ways does ‘navigation’ offer a method, a practice, a politics, an aesthetics, an epistemology and an ontology?

Roaming Assembly#13 takes place in conversation with the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin and the CCC Research Programme in Geneva.

Program Sunday, April 23
13:30 Word of welcome by DAI-director Gabriëlle Schleijpen

13:35 -13.50 Doreen Mende: THE NAVIGATION PRINCIPLE: Notes on Double Hydro-logics

13.50-14.10 Tom Holert: After Montage?

In one of the last public lectures preceding his premature death in 2014, filmmaker, artist and writer Harun Farocki pondered the question
to what extent, in the age and realm of the digital image, the foremost visual methodology of political modernism, namely montage, has given way
to the paradigm of navigation. Already in Parallel I-IV, his inquiry of computer game visuality, Farocki had raised the issue of the epistemological and aesthetic consequences of such a shift. In his talk Tom Holert will attempt to continue this interrogation of the condition of contemporary digital visual cultures, mobilizing the notion of “navigation” to trace the terrain of operational image production and usage. Particularly interested in the fate of the idea of the political or dialectical image, this line of questioning aims at addressing the modes through which images are being converted into data spaces to be traveled as well as the instrumental life of images as tools of navigation (from neurosurgery to targeted killings).


14.10-14.30 Ayesha Hameed: Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene

To begin with, Black Atlantis is a long-term investigation. Its several iterations take the form of a live audio-visual essay that looks at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in illegal migration at sea today, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dance floors and sound systems, and in outer space. Black Atlantis combines two discourses: Afrofuturism and the Anthropocene. As a point of departure, it explores Drexciya, the late twentieth-century electronic music duo from Detroit, and their creation of a sonic, fictional world. Through liner notes and track titles, they take the Black Atlantic below the water with their imaginary of an Atlantis comprised of former slaves who have adapted to living underwater. This wetness brings a sense of the haptic, the sensory, the bodily, and the epidermal back to the table. What this ‘below-the-water’ and Atlantis bring back are the bottom of the sea, the volume of the water, the materiality of the space of the ocean, and the other protagonists that inhabit it. This contribution for the Navigation Principle session will present the beginnings of the fourth chapter of the ongoing performance / live audio-visual essay Black Atlantis. We will be visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade, and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.


15.20-15.45 Coffee break

15.45:15.50 Doreen Mende: intro to the second part of THE NAVIGATION PRINCIPLE

15.50-16.10 Rory Rowan: Rethinking Geo-Politics in the Anthropocene – Notes on the Oceanic and the Computational

The concept of the Anthropocene has been understood by many to have unsettled some of the fundamental assumptions of modern thought, including within the political domain, requiring a radical re-imagining of the material grounds of politics and establishing the planet not simply as a stage for the political but a dynamic actor within it.
However, even amongst those attempting to critically think through the ramifications of the changes the Anthropocene announces – and the stakes of the concept itself – have for the most part remained wedded to a terrestrial imaginary of the Earthly, leaving little room for thinking about, with or from the oceans and the constitutive role they play in the now deeply entangled and co-constitutive social and bio-geophysical processes of the planet. The division between land and sea that Carl Schmitt argued lay at the foundation of modern global political order – what he referred to as the ‘nomos of the Earth’ – remains today fundamental to international law and lies at the heart of some of the most contentious geopolitical disputes, whilst serving to conceal the ocean as a site of capital accumulation, environmental destruction and ecological inter-dependence with terrestrial dynamics, both social and ecological. Yet the concept of the Anthropocene, and indeed that of the planet as a set of complex systems rather than as the image of the globe or a mythical Earth, is the product of a vast technical appendage, at once material and virtual, produced from the vast network of orbital satellites, multiple data streams and computational models that conjure the Earth as a coherent object of science available for analysis and intervention. If the Anthropocene can be understood to demand a rethinking of the geo in geopolitics what happens when we approach this planet from the perspective of these two registers: the oceanic and the computational? How might the attempt to rethink geo-power and geopolitics – or perhaps think them for the first time – be shaped by setting sail from the epistemological grounds of the terrestrial and the imaginary of the globe as a singular object that can be apprehended without the work of computation?

16.10-16.30 Kevin B Lee: Life Navigation

This talk will reflect on a work-session with DAI-students on April 22, 2017, where participants practiced methods of “life editing” and “life navigation” through personal technology, to reflect critically upon their own everyday practices of personal media production. Using “desktop documentary” and other innovative approaches, we learn to understand better and explore the nature of contemporary social media narrative and self-representation.

16.30-16.50 Vera Tollmann: The Disembodied View

Technoscientific image-regimes create a view that is disembodied from the human perspective. For example, the view from elsewhere in ‘outer space’ breaks with the standard partial perspective on mesoscale, a local position which seems habitual to human vision. How different is a picture taken by an astronaut in the International Space Station? Viewers have been trained in the objective view from above. How does machinic vision contribute to the construction of a ‘disembodied view’ and what does it mean for our relation to the image? When do we speak of embodiment and what do we mean with a universal view? Are formerly opposing concepts blending into hybrids? In her seminal essay “Situated Knowledges” from 1988, Donna Haraway reclaims the “sensory system” and critiques what she calls “the god trick of seeing everything from nowhere”. Thinking with Haraway, is it possible to advocate for a universal view from below? And to update Haraway, can a contemporary feminist position succeed in transiting between scales? How could a critique of the Anthropocene concept get involved with humans on an embodied sense of self-scale?


17.40-18.00 Doreen Mende: Closing Thoughts with the results from Kevin B.Lee’s desktop work-session including the DAI-students and Marianna Maruyama

18.00-18.30 SCREENING of works by the artist, writer, and video essayist Ursula Biemann

18:30 Drinks for all – in the foyer at Huis Oostpool


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