The countless sensors of ubiquitous digital and technological infrastructures have united the state, industry, body and technology into ever more complex “nervous systems,” since industrialization began. The nervousness and uncertainty of modern systems are revealed in particular where relationships of power and participation come to the fore, namely in the “social question.” Beyond cybernetic control, there is nervousness within disciplinary systems and today’s ideology of “total information awareness”, made especially evident by the gaps between the promise of information-based, solution-oriented “management,” security discourses and sociopolitical realities.
After the exhibition “The Whole Earth” (2013) and alongside the multi-year “Technosphere” project, with this exhibition the Department of Visual Arts at Haus der Kulturen der Welt continues its exploration of the present and past of cybernetics as well as the political dimensions of the global infrastructure in the anthropocene.
“Nervous Systems” is an essay exhibition with artistic works, newly commissioned productions and contextualizing materials curated by Anselm Franke in collaboration with Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski from the Tactical Technology Collective. Tactical Tech is an international NGO that helps activists and journalists understand and use digital technologies in their work. Since its founding in 2003, Tactical Tech’s work is guided by principles of freedom of information and expression. Worldwide they have supported thousands of human rights activists to creatively employ information and communication in their work towards social and political change. Tactical Tech works to show how digital traces are left behind in the mesh of power structures. For the duration of the exhibition, Tactical Tech will enable visitors to explore their own “digital shadows” in a walk-through installation. Visitors can also discuss subjects like data footprints and the politics of data directly with experts.