The Influencing Machine at nGbK, Berlin – an update

Get along to this brilliant show if you’re in Berlin… 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

Install of rabbitcottontoothcottonrabbit at nGbK


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