December, 2018

The Influencing Machine – The Reader – You need a copy of this

Get yourself an early Christmas present and enjoy this exceptional reader which supports and develops themes of The Influencing Machine. In fact, get yourself six copies, as images from my website are wrapping the inside covers in six different ways. I’ve only seen a couple of preview copies, and it looks like it might be the last word in all things bot vs hand.

The Publication addresses the exhibition’s various questions, extending its focus to historical continuities and social contexts, with contributions by Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Simone Brown, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kashmir Hill, Lilly Irani, Lee Mackinnon, Tahani Nadim, Lucy Suchman, Cher Tan, and Neli Wagner.


The Influencing Machine at nGbK, Berlin – an update

The Influencing Machine at nGbK, Berlin – an update

Get along to this brilliant show if you’re in Berlin… Such great work, so perfectly installed – thank you to everyone at nGbK and the curatorial team of The Influencing Machine. What a belter to be involved with.

neue Gesellschaft
für bildende Kunst


The Influencing Machine

Saturday, 01 December 2018 — Sunday, 20 January 2019

Adress: nGbK, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Open: Daily 12:00-19:00, Wed-Fri 12:00-20:00

Entry: free
Organized by: neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst

(The exhibition is closed on 24, 25, 26 and 31 Dec 2018 as well as on 1 Jan 2019)

Artists: Anna Bromley, Kajsa Dahlberg, Egemen Demirci, Fabien Giraud & Raphaël Siboni, Fokus Grupa, Eva & Franco Mattes, Mimi Onouha & Mother Cyborg, Sascha Pohflepp & Chris Woebken, Tactical Tech, Jane Topping, Sarah Tripp, Clement Valla, Laura Yuile

Bots (from robot and Czech robota, socage, forced labor) are inconspicuous computer programs that perform tasks automatically.

Bots manipulate the masses, turn fake news into facts, supersede human labour, colonise our objects and lead us into temptation: Based on digital code, bots perform thousands of minute routines which supplement and at times displace human agency and labour, thus shaping virtual and analog structures. They are often given human features––names, voices, bodies on occasion. Yet even when remaining invisible, they are increasingly becoming part of our everyday.

The Influencing Machine examines these diffusions and formations. Clustered around a series of famous bots, the exhibition assembles contemporary artistic positions examining the automation and datafication of our life worlds and work environments. Here, bots are understood as socio-technical phenomena; their efficacies requiring and provoking novel and manifold relations and imaginations:

How do bots and data form politics? In what ways do they transform political orderings of participation, accountability and knowledge? Why do racist or sexist logics reproduce and intensify on digital platforms, social networks, and data-driven expert systems? What does it mean for the value of labour and, more generally, human agency if transactions, communication, and decisions are increasingly carried out by fully automated devices? Which cultural imaginations shape the design and function of human-machine interfaces?

The exhibition provides insights into the socio-material ecologies of this new influencing machine and seeks to problematize the figure of the bot beyond the dominant narratives of society and technology.

nGbK project group: Vladimir Čajkovac, Kristina Kramer, Bettina Lehmann, Sophie Macpherson, Tahani Nadim, Neli Wagner

Supported by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage(CARMAH) – especially Tahani Nadim, Juniorprofessor for Socio-cultural Anthropology and head of the Department Humanities of nature (MfN)



  The Influencing Machine
ISBN: 978-3-938515-74-7

Further Dates

30Friday, 30. November 2018, 19h
Opening: Exhibition
8Saturday, 08. December 2018, 16h
Guided tour: in the exhibition with the curators
13Thursday, 13. December 2018, 19h
Book launch: The Influencing Machine
29Saturday, 29. December 2018, 16h
Guided tour: in the exhibition with the curators
12Saturday, 12. January 2019, 16h
Guided tour: in the exhibition with the curators
19Saturday, 19. January 2019, 16h
Series of events: Bots and Politics
20Sunday, 20. January 2019, 16h
Series of events: Bots and Labour

Sue Zuki & Amor LP launch at The Blue Arrow

Thanks to a Vernon tip off, I saw a great set by Sue Zuki, my new favourite band. Listen to Boring af and more here, and be not bored.

Sue was supporting Amor’s LP launch. Sinking into a Miracle had some early smooth, silky, yacht moments which were a little Beloved and a little Blue Nile. Phenomenal drumming – something that takes more than two weeks to perfect, I’d say.

Newspaper or (Memoirs of a Spacewoman)

Here’s the front page of Alex Hetherington’s Newspaper or (Memoirs of a Spacewoman), written in response to Peter (2014). It’s not a collaboration, this is all Alex, but I wrote a bit of text and choose the images. Contact Alex if you’re after hard copy…

All these images by Alex Hetherington.



She Was a Visitor – No.35 Project with Alex Hetherington

She Was a Visitor – No.35 Project with Alex Hetherington

Thank you to everyone who came along to She Was a Visitor, the last No. 35 project by Alex Hetherington. Alex used my work and imagery as a jumping off point, writing and designing a gorgeous text which was launched (in very limited edition) while we played around with, 

watched Peter, nou and Disaggregated Industries.

More on Alex’s work here.


Artist Talk – Moving Mountains Art in the Environment – Millom Palladium

Artist Talk – Moving Mountains Art in the Environment – Millom Palladium

Thank you to Moving Mountains artist and curator Irene Rogen, Phil of the vital Signal Film and Media, Frank (not Santa), Mary (who hung out with Norman Nicholson when she was a child!) and everyone who turned out of my talk in Millom the other week. Drinks were served and badges worn.

Pieces of You Are Here – Lorna Macintyre at DCA

Pieces of You Are Here – Lorna Macintyre at DCA

I was lucky enough to get along to Lorna’s opening at DCA last weekend, and had a tip top lunch with some long term favs to boot – thank you Lorna, Val and all at DCA. Pieces of You Are Here is delicate, detailed and full of beautiful surprises. An emotional thing for me – which I should have realised, as I was a little bit teary at the poster. Jeez. Go Macintyre and family!

NEWS FLASH – Lorna get’s a smashing review here.

The catalogue, designed by Val Norris, is the perfect accompaniment. And she builds a mean nest too.

Here’s what DCA says:

‘Scottish artist Lorna Macintyre uses a broad spectrum of influential touchstones in her work, from poetry and literature to archaeology and symbolism. These references often create an oblique structure underlying her photographic and sculptural artworks, lending a form for a composition or providing the impetus behind her choice of materials. This exhibition will mark Macintyre’s first solo exhibition in a major UK institution, debuting a new body of work commissioned for Gallery 2 at DCA.

Macintyre has long been interested in exploring the potential of the materials she uses within her practice, often pushing them playfully to develop in unexpected ways. Pieces of You Are Here will include silver gelatin photographs, cyanotypes, and digital prints on silk, installed alongside new sculptural forms such as crystalline structures grown from cyanotype chemistry on ceramic surfaces.

A significant focal point within this exhibition is a photograph of an archaeological artefact housed within The McManus museum in Dundee: a small terracotta tile excavated from the nearby Carpow Roman Fort in Abernethy that bears a paw print made by a dog who, centuries ago, walked across this clay surface as it was drying. Macintyre has been drawn to this fragment of our past, intrigued by the way it draws on specific ideas about time and historical record. What does it mean for us to consider an object such as this in a museum or gallery? How are fleeting, accidental moments in time now captured by raw materials in the world around us? Macintyre draws as much upon poetic imagination as historical fact to explore these questions in Pieces of You Are Here.

About Lorna Macintyre

Lorna Macintyre (b. 1977 Glasgow) is an artist based in Glasgow. Having studied for both a BA (1999) and MFA (2007) at the Glasgow School of Art, she now also works there as a visiting lecturer in Fine Art. Macintyre’s recent solo exhibitions include: Spolia, Cample Line, Dumfriesshire (2017); Much Marcle, Chapter, Cardiff (2016); Material Language or All Truths Wait in All Things, Mary Mary, Glasgow (2015); Solid Objects, Glasgow Project Room (2015); and Four Paper Fugues, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, part of GENERATION, 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, (2014). She is represented by Mary Mary, Glasgow.’


Margaret Salmon at DCA

Margaret Salmon at DCA

Margaret Salmon’s show at DCA is dealing with things my work has skirted around at times, but while I’ve come (ahem) at notions of love and intimacy by implying that the screen itself is both a barrier and a conduit of desire and touch, a semi-permeable membrane, a bad condom if you like, Salmon plunges us right into the bedroom on (digitised) 16mm. Fascinating to watch the audience react to this work as if they’re watching porn – at one point the entire room got up and left, post-orgasm. The notes on DCA website ask the right questions, on the work I’m still undecided…

‘Might it be possible for film to transcribe something as ephemeral as human warmth? Human affection? Human presence, trust and submission? What about love? Can film bear witness to love? Teach us about love? Express love? How can a lens invoke these very personal, subjective experiences? These are some of the questions posed by Margaret Salmon in her newly commissioned work for Gallery 1 at DCA.

Hole is about our bodies and the intimate human connections we seek with others. In an immersive installation that uses light, colour, heat and sound to envelop a viewer within the space, Salmon seeks to create an atmosphere of warmth, comfort and radiance to step into over the cold winter months. At the heart of this exhibition is a new 16mm work that uses a female erotic gaze to look for places where love might be found in contemporary life and to explore what might constitute supporting, loving relationships today.

Salmon is known for creating filmic portraits that weave together poetry and ethnography. Often focusing on individual subjects, her work captures the minutiae of the everyday human experience, infusing it with a sense of poignancy and subtle grandeur. Adapting techniques drawn from cinematic movements such as Cinema Vérité and the European avant-garde, Salmon’s orchestrations of sound and image introduce formal abstractions as well as environmental interventions into the tradition of realist film.

About Margaret Salmon

Margaret Salmon (b. 1975, New York) lives and works in Glasgow. She completed undergraduate studies at the School of Visual Arts, New York (1998), before going on to graduate from the MFA programme at the Royal College of Art, London (2003). Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at institutions including Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (2015); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, USA (2011); Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2007); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2007) and Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2006). Her work has been featured in film festivals and major international survey exhibitions, including the Berlin Biennale (2010) and Venice Biennale (2007). In 2006 Salmon won the inaugural MaxMara Art Prize for Women. She is represented by Office Baroque, Brussels.

Please note that this exhibition contains adult imagery that is not suitable for children: please see the advisory notes and/or speak to a member of staff for more information.’

From the DCA website