Forderungen [Demands]

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A conversation on financial feudalism, self-governing intelligent objects, and a possible future without money, with Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich.

Financial feudalism reigns over our economy. It requires that massive amounts of wealth be concentrated in the few, and precarity and poverty for the rest. Forderungen (2015, Merve), Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich’s recently published follow-up to Mehr Geld (2008, Merve), considers our dystopian future and contests it with three utopian solutions: one based on state power; one rooted in the current financial regime; and one emerging from algorithms and networks. State-based Keynesian interventions call for a job guarantee that can ensure full employment. The financial sector’s solution uses helicopter money to create wealth in the face of falling yields. Networks call for a very different solution. If economics is a question of the allocation of work and the distribution of goods and services, its task can be reformulated as a problem of the network. The medium of money then only represents one possible solution. Since the capacity of databases allows the tracking of all transactions, we may invent algorithmic solutions without money and even, more generally, without any need for a general equivalent. This entails asymmetrical transactions, i.e., non-exchange-based transactions, by self-governing intelligent objects that create the impossibility of accumulating disproportionate wealth in the hands of a few.

Ralph and Stefan will give an introduction to the core concepts of Forderungen, which will be followed by a conversation. This event follows a public editing session of the book that took place at A Public Library last February. This event will also be the first launch of Forderungen and there will be copies available for purchase. The event will (mostly) take place in English.

Ralph Heidenreich

(*1957) lives in Biberach an der Riss, where he is a member of the town council for Die Linke. He works as a programmer.

Stefan Heidenreich

(*1965) lives in Berlin. Fields of research include economy, media, network theory, and arts. He had research or teaching positions at Lüneburg University, Kunsthochschule Kassel, ETH Zürich and Basel University. He regularly contributes to the German weekly Der Freitag and art-agenda.com.


Ein Gespräch über Finanzfeudalismus, ökonomisch autonome Objekte und eine mögliche Zukunft ohne Geld mit Ralph und Stefan Heidenreich.

Wir leben im Finanzfeudalismus. Den großen Vermögen einiger weniger steht das Präkariat und Armut all der anderen gegenüber. “Forderungen” (2015, Merve), das neue Buch von Ralph und Stefan Heidenreich und Folgeband zu “Mehr Geld” (2008, Merve), beschreibt unsere dystopische Zukunft und drei utopische Lösungen: die erste eine beruht auf Staatsmacht; die zweite auf dem aktuellen Finanzsystem; die letzte geht aus Algorithmen und Netzwerken hervor. Die keynesianische Lösung fordert Vollbeschäftigung durch staatliches Eingreifen. Die Lösung der Finanzwelt will mit Grundeinkommen (anderswo auch “Helicopter Money” genannt) die Vermögen erhalten. Netzwerke bieten eine ganz andere Lösung. Wenn Wirtschaft eine Frage der Verteilung von Arbeit und Waren und Dienstleistungen ist, kann ihre Aufgabe als Netzwerkproblem beschrieben werden. Geld als Medium stellt dann nur eine von vielen möglichen Lösungen dar, und wohl nicht die beste.

Wenn sämtliche Transaktionen in Datenbanken nachvollzogen werden können, sind wir in der Lage, eine algorithmische Ökonomie ohne Geld zu verwirklichen, womit auch die Notwendigkeit eines allgemeinen Äquivalents entfällt. Transaktionen werden asymmetrisch, beruhen also nicht mehr auf Austausch. Ökonomisch autonome Objekte handeln selbst. Große Reichtümer in den Händen weniger anzuhäufen, wird so gut wie unmögllich.

Im Februar diesen Jahres haben Ralph und Stefan während der Arbeiten an der Endfassung zu einer öffentlichen Korrektur bei A Public Library eingeladen. Nun führen sie in die Kernaussagen der gerade veröffentlichten Publikation “Forderungen” ein und stellen sie im Gespräch zur Diskussion. Dies ist die erste Buchpräsentation von “Forderungen”, Exemplare sind vor Ort erhältlich. Die Veranstaltung findet (hauptsächlich) auf Englisch statt.

Ralph Heidenreich

(*1957) lebt in Biberach an der Riss, sitzt für Die Linke im Stadtrat und arbeitet als Programmierer.

Stefan Heidenreich

(*1965) lebt in Berlin und forscht zu Ökonomie, Medien, Netzwerk-Theorien und Kunst. Er forschte und unterrichtete unter anderem an der Universität Lüneburg, Kunsthochschule Kassel, ETH Zürich und der Universität Basel.

Library Sprint

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A presentation and discussion by Martin Conrads and Franziska Morlok with participants from their 2015 seminar at the Berlin University of the Arts Visual Communication department.

*The event will take place in German and English. Die Veranstaltung findet in deutscher und englischer Sprache statt.


Martin Conrads’ and Franziska Morlok’s 2015 seminar at the Berlin University of the Arts Visual Communication department turned the UdK Berlin library into a post-digital machine. In the seminar, each student designed a publication using materials and systems of production that existed on-site.
The students also collectively designed a zine entitled “A Book with a View”—a contribution to the international conference “Tiergarten, Landscape of Transgression (This Obscure Object of Desire)” which took place in July 2015 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. The zine includes material related to Tiergarten assembled from the collections of the University Libraries of the Technical University Berlin and of the Berlin University of the Arts, both situated on grounds which were formerly integral parts of Tiergarten. Given the fact that the side of the building facing Tiergarten hosts the office sections of the libraries, thus blocking the view of Tiergarten for most of the readers, “A Book with a View” aimed to add an imaginary window in that direction.

The event at A Public Library will comprise of a presentation of the results of both projects, combined with readings by students from some of their papers, which include specific theoretical reflections on libraries.

Participants: Björn Giesecke, Timm Hartmann, Judith Holly, Marion Alina Kliesch, Victoria Knabe, Lucas Liccini, Katharina Nejdl, Philipp Schäfer and Julia Schubert


Das von Martin Conrads und Franziska Morlok im Sommersemester 2015 geleitete Seminar im Studiengang Visuelle Kommunikation an der Universität der Künste Berlin untersuchte den Themenkomplex „Bibliothek“ und fand zu diesem Zweck im gemeinsamen Gebäude der Universitätsbibliotheken der UdK Berlin und der TU Berlin statt. Ziel für die Studierenden war es, ausschließlich mit den dort verfügbaren Inhalten (Büchern, Zeitschriften, Datenbanken) und Produktionsmitteln (Scannern, Kopierern, Druckern etc.) jeweils eine Printpublikation zu konzipieren und zu gestalten. Als weitere – gemeinsame – Arbeit entstand das Zine „A Book with a View“. Als Beitrag für die von der TU Berlin organisierte internationale Konferenz „Tiergarten, Landscape of Transgression (This Obscure Object of Desire)“, die im Juli 2015 im Berliner Haus der Kulturen der Welt stattfand, enthält das Zine „A Book with a View“ ausschließlich auf den Tiergarten bezogenen Inhalt aus den Beständen der Universitätsbibliotheken der UdK Berlin und der TU Berlin. Das Bibliotheksgebäude befindet sich auf ursprünglichem Gelände des Parks, wobei sich in dem an den Tiergarten angrenzenden Teil Büros befinden und so den meisten LeserInnen der Blick in den Park verstellt bleibt. „A Book with a View“ ist als imaginäres Fenster in diese Richtung zu verstehen.

Die Veranstaltung bei A Public Library umfasst eine Präsentation der Ergebnisse des Seminars und Lesungen aus Textarbeiten der TeilnehmerInnen über spezifische Überlegungen zu Bibliotheken.

TeilnehmerInnen: Björn Giesecke, Timm Hartmann, Judith Holly, Marion Alina Kliesch, Victoria Knabe, Lucas Liccini, Katharina Nejdl, Philipp Schäfer and Julia Schubert

Which book would you take to the square today?

image by María Castelló CC BY-NC-SA

image by María Castelló CC BY-NC-SA


Bookcamping is an online collaborative library that was initiated during the occupation of Spanish city squares on the days following the 15th of May, 2011 demonstrations. These occupations have become known as the 15M movement. At the time, the aim was to trace a bibliographical itinerary of the words and ideas that influenced the social and political context which gave rise to the protests. The initial motto was: “Which book would you take to your square? Because we don’t come out of nothing”.

Much has changed in the past four years since the wave of mobilization against austerity and social and economic inequality. Many of the demands of 15M and other similar movements have impacted debates and created cracks and shifts in the social and political landscape across the world, but have at times also been severely crushed under the relentless march of neoliberalism.

At the same time, the libraries that fed, and still feed us, contain more than books. They are made of relationships: between people, ideas and words. Of all the things we learned back then, there is still the impulse of sharing knowledge to help circulate thought and propel initiatives and relearn forms of political participation. But, what would it mean today to go back to the city squares? Which books would we take today? Which book would you take?


Bookcamping and Lorenzo Sandoval, along with A Public Library, invite you to choose one book or text based on this premise and join us on Wednesday August 5 for a collective reading. Starting at 7pm visitors will be sharing short passages from the book they brought along, tracing a new possible square of the here and now.

If you wish to participate please send a short email to info@apubliclibrary.org. Walk-ins are also welcome, but please bring along a book!

For more information on Bookcamping, see www.bookcamping.cc.

Aufstand aus der Bibliothek

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Diskussionsveranstaltung mit Karin Aleksander und Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen. Mittwoch, 8. Juli, 18:00.


Die Namensgeberin der Bona-Peiser-Bibliothek hat ab 1895 als erste deutsche Frau hauptberuflich in Bibliotheken gearbeitet, unter anderem in der ersten öffentlichen Lesehalle in Berlin. Peiser war nicht nur eine Pionierin der Frauenarbeit, sondern auch der Bücher- und Lesehallen-Bewegung in Deutschland und entwickelte grundlegende Methoden der Bibliotheksorganisation. Die Diskussionsveranstaltung befragt die Institution der Bibliothek im Hinblick auf ihr Verhältnis zu Bibliothekarinnen und Nutzerinnen und vor dem Hintergrund von Berufsgeschichte und Berufsalltag.

Die Aspekte Arbeit und Sprache sollen Ausgangspunkt der gemeinsamen Diskussion sein: Wie haben Bibliothekarinnen das Berufsbild geprägt? Die Kataloge sind Grundlage der Nutzung einer Bibliothek, aber auf welcher Sprache beruhen sie? So befasst sich die Bibliothekarin und Autorin Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen im ersten Teil der Veranstaltung mit der Entwicklung der Bibliotheksarbeit zum Frauenberuf im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts. Im Anschluss widmet sich Karin Aleksander, Bibliothekarin der Genderbibliothek an der Humboldt Universität, mittels einer Auswahl an Beispielen aus Bibliothekskatalogen der Frage nach gendersensibler Verschlagwortung.

Die Veranstaltung findet in deutscher Sprache statt.


Counter-Planning from the Library
Discussion with Karin Aleksander and Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen. Monday, 8 July, 18:00.


Bona Peiser, the first German female librarian, opened the first public reading hall in a German library in 1895. A pioneer in female labor and in the book and reading hall movement in Germany, Peiser developed methods that are still crucial for the organisation of libraries today. This event at the Bona-Peiser-Bibliothek is dedicated to the institution of the library regarding its relation to women librarians and users against the background of the profession’s history and its day-to-day operation.

Parting points of the discussion are the aspects of labour and language: How did woman librarians shape the profession? Catalogues form an integral part of any library, but what language are they based on? In the first part of the event librarian and author Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen sketches out the development of the library profession into a career for women in the course of the 20th century. In the second part Karin Aleksander, librarian of the Gender-Library at the Humboldt University in Berlin, presents a selection of examples taken from library catalogues in order to address the question of gender-sensitive indexing.

The event will take place in German.

becoming book, becoming animal, becoming Anthropocene

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A conversation on books, beings, and other becomings with Ho Tzu Nyen, Vincent Normand, Katharina Tauer, Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin, and the SYNAPSE International Curators’ Network.


The Anthropocene thesis has become both a cultural cipher for any number of all-too-human obscenities and a collider of previously staid disciplinary concerns. While the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences continue to debate the scientific merits of a geological reformation called the Anthropocene Epoch, the cultural meaning of the Anthropocene challenges artists, curators, designers, editors and writers to locate the social and ethical significance of this debate in other registers and by other means.

A Public Library will host a conversation to consider how becomings-book/animal/and Anthropocene are challenging the forms by which knowledge is embodied, shared, and relayed. The event will ask of the epoch of the anthropos: should we make books? art? exhibitions? Should we read? edit? curate? What do these practices mean and how do they transform as they encounter mass extinction and environmental collapse? The entangled becomings of books, animals, and knowledge production in the Anthropocene will serve as preliminary ways of approaching questions of cultural literacy in an era of anthropogenic devastation.

This event will also launch several recent books addressing these questions, including Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin’s edited collection Art in the Anthropocene (featuring Ho Tzu Nyen, Vincent Normand, and Anna-Sophie Springer), and Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin’s edited exhibitions Fantasies of the Library and Land & Animal & Nonanimal, both designed by Katharina Tauer and co-published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.


Biographies

Ho Tzu Nyen is a visual artist from Singapore working on neglected histories. He is currently in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship and a contributor to Art in the Anthropocene. Charles Stankievech is an artist and co-director of K. Verlag. He teaches in the Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto, Canada. Katharina Tauer is a graphic designer and typographer based in Berlin. Vincent Normand is an art historian, writer, and curator living in Paris. He is currently MFA teacher in charge of theory and research at ECAL, Lausanne and a contributor to Art in the Anthropocene as well as to the forthcoming intercalations 5. Anna-Sophie Springer is an independent curator, editor, and co-director of K. Verlag. Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and director of anexact office, Jakarta, Indonesia.


About the books

Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environments & Epistempologies brings together the work of artists, curators, art historians, and philosophers to critically engage with the Anthropocene thesis in the wake of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have carefully assembled the most comprehensive image to date of anthropogenic climate change and its consequences. The essays, interviews, and artistic interventions that constitute this second volume take the current environmental catastrophe of the Anthropocene as their starting point. Following the publication of Architecture in the Anthropocene, which attempted to develop design and architectural practices in relation to both climatic and geological change, we see this second volume – between the Fifth Assessment and the Sixth Extinction – as a way to expand the discourse on the geologic turn to include aesthetic, curatorial, and artistic strategies for confronting, criticizing, or otherwise engaging the Anthropocene thesis.

Contributors: Amy Balkin, Ursula Biemann, Amanda Boetzkes, Lindsay Bremner, Joshua Clover & Juliana Spahr, Heather Davis, Sara Dean, Elizabeth Ellsworth & Jamie Kruse (smudge studio), Irmgard Emmelhainz, Anselm Franke, Peter Galison, Fabien Giraud, & Ida Soulard, Laurent Gutierrez & Valérie Portefaix (MAP Office), Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson, Laura Hall, Ilana Halperin, Donna Haraway, Ho Tzu Nyen, Martha Kenney, Emily Kutil, Bruno Latour, Mary Mattingly, Natasha Myers, Jean-Luc Nancy, Vincent Normand, Richard Pell, John Paul Ricco, Tomas Saraceno, Sasha Engelmann & Bronislaw Szerszynski, Ada Smailbegovic, Karolina Sobecka, Richard Streitmatter-Tran & Vi Le, Anna-Sophie Springer, Sylvère Lotringer, Peter Sloterdijk, Pinar Yoldas, Marina Zurkow, Oliver Kellhammer, Fritz Ertl & Una Chaudhuri.

Art in the Anthropocene
Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environments & Epistemologies
Edited by Heather Davis & Etienne Turpin
Design by Sara Dean
Open Humanities Press, London
Published in June 2015
More information here
Open access PDF


Fantasies of the Library inaugurates the intercalations: paginated exhibition series. Virtually stacked alongside Anna-Sophie Springer’s feature essay “Melancholies of the Paginated Mind” about unorthodox responses to the institutional ordering principles of book collections, the volume includes an interview with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco; reflections on the role of cultural memory and the archive by Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; a conversation with media theorist Joanna Zylinska about experiments on the intersections of curatorial practice and open source e-books; and a discussion between K’s co-director Charles Stankievech and platform developer Adam Hyde on new approaches to open source publishing in science and academia. The photo essay, “Reading Rooms Reading Machines,” presents views of unusual historical libraries next to works by artists such as Kader Attia, Andrew Beccone, Mark Dion, Rodney Graham, Katie Paterson, Veronika Spierenburg, Andrew Norman Wilson, and others.

Fantasies of the Library
Edited by Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin
Design by Katharina Tauer
K. Verlag and HKW, Berlin
Published in January 2015
More information here
Open access PDF


Land & Animal & Nonanimal turns the attention from the built space of cultural repositories to the postnatural landscapes of planet Earth. In his interview about urban soils of the Anthropocene, landscape architect Seth Denizen considers a history of land use practices that is also reflected in artist Robert Zhao Renhui’s photographs of Singapore as a scenario of continuous development. Inspired by a recent visit to the environment of Wendover in the Utah desert, Richard Pell and Lauren Allen of Pittsburgh’s Center for PostNatural History make a case for a postnatural imprint upon the geologic aspects inherent in the concept of the Anthropocene. By encountering “the last snail,” environmental historian and philosopher Thom van Dooren considers the meaning of hope and care in the context of species extinction. And while curator Natasha Ginwala’s paginated series with contributions by Bianca Baldi, Arvo Leo, Axel Staschnoy, and Karthik Pandian & Andros Zins-Browne turns to cosmological and ancestral human-animal scenarios, sound artist and researcher Mitchell Akiyama explores philosophies of consciousness against the background of the phonogram in nineteenth-century simian research.

Land & Animal & Nonanimal
Edited by Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin
Design by Katharina Tauer
K. Verlag and HKW, Berlin
Published in January 2015
More information here
Open access PDF

Afrofuturism 2.0: A Transdisciplinary Agenda for Africa and its Diaspora

AstroBlackness

A lecture and discussion with Dr. Reynaldo Anderson. Wednesday, 24 June at 19:00.


In the 20th century, afrofuturism was regarded as a medium of expression in speculative fiction, literary or music production. In the early 21st century, afrofuturism is now emerging as prominent cultural logic and aesthetic in Africa and its diaspora. This ascendant philosophical perspective provides a space to critique the link between rhetoric, gender, race, sexuality, technology, and the future as it effects the production of science fiction, techno-culture, politics, philosophy, art, and media.

Dr. Reynaldo Anderson will present his research at The Public School Berlin and A Public Library to examine how afrofuturism constructs race and identity, and how these constructions are both unique and inextricably connected to rhetorical acts and historical narratives of future, present and past. Afrofuturisum engenders a new understanding of how the contemporary techno-sphere engages, challenges and rearticulates “Black” cultural identity, political formations, experiences and futures between Africa and its diaspora in a global context.

Anderson’s lecture will be followed with a response from Beatrice Ferrara, Affiliated Fellow ICI Berlin, who has co-organized this event.

This lecture was precipitated by a class held at The Public School Berlin called Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy, which took place in February and March 2015. In addition to the texts discussed during that class, we have also posted new material that will provide a broader context to Anderson’s lecture. They can be found here. We plan to devote an hour to conversation so please bring questions and comments. We also hope to subsequently organize a class related to this topic over the summer.


Biography of Dr. Reynaldo Anderson
Dr. Reynaldo Anderson currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Humanities and Teacher Education, Assistant Professor of Communications, and is the chapter advisor for the NAACP at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis, MO. Dr. Anderson has published extensive research documenting the African American experience in the Communication Studies field and recently co-authored an essay on the topic of Afrofuturism and Kanye West in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. He is editor of the forthcoming book Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness to be published spring 2015 by Lexington Books. He is a past chair of the Black Caucus of the National Communication Association. Also, Dr. Anderson serves as an executive board member of the Missouri Arts Council and supports the inclusion of art in K-12 education, focusing on the importance of the arts in relation to the economic and intellectual vitality of the community. Dr. Anderson was recognized in 2010 for his efforts in the humanities with an exemplary community leadership award from Governor Jay Nixon. Dr. Anderson was recently appointed as a Development Ambassador for the Sekyere (pronounced Se-Sharay) Afram Plains District in the country of Ghana to support the U.N. Millennium goals and promote the socio-economic empowerment of women and youth.

Genre-fication: Meeting 1

The Public School Berlin will be holding a class called Genre-fication, triggered by an email titled “Artist Organisation Discomfort – a prologue” that circulated in Berlin early this year. The class will revolve around some of the following questions: “What would be a self-critical view of the relationship of cultural workers to their institutions? What does it mean if institutions, and their proxies, call for new “genres?” How can artists and others participate within existing institutional structures without compromising their own ethics and ideals? What forms of resistance are politically resonate and effective, both within existing artistic networks, as well as imagined ones? The idea of genre-fication is about legibility. But whom do we want to be legible to, or for?”

Please visit The Public School website for more information and to follow the conversation.