Protocols of Killings

Protocols of Killings

Editor:
Tintin Wulia

The role of the US government in the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66 has been researched for decades. However, a large collection of US government documents from the Jakarta US Embassy was recently declassified, providing clearer insights into the extent of US awareness and involvement. This Protocols of Killings PARSE theme is an evolving platform for an eponymous artistic research project exploring these recently declassified archives through various ongoing collaborations.

The platform’s core material is the once-classified cables that passed through the US Embassy in Jakarta, spanning the years 1964-1968. These 35,642-page archives were declassified in 2018 through an initiative of the National Security Archives, a non-profit research institution at the George Washington University. The archives—which this platform’s editor came to call the Protocols of Killings archives—provide a comprehensive record of communications during the critical period surrounding the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66. The artistic research documented in this platform—titled Protocols of Killings: 1965, distance, and the ethics of future warfare—aims to analyze patterns of group dynamics within the 35,642-page archives, and reimagines them as the patterns of communication between swarm drones, a future technology of warfare currently being developed and discussed as unprecedented distant killings.

Things for Politics’ Sake

Things for Politics’ Sake

Editors:
Geovanna BravomaloÖzgün DilekTintin Wulia

Many believe that art can transform society and politics. Things for Politics’ Sake is a platform to discuss the critical potentials of aesthetic objects within this transformation. The platform follows the archival analysis  and fieldwork of the research project “Things for Politics’ Sake: Aesthetic Objects and Social Change,” running from 2023 to 2028. This is where we make public a repository of field notes, chronicling the processes and ongoing discussions as part of the project.

Ecologies of Dissemination

Ecologies of Dissemination

Editors:
Eva WeinmayrFemke Snelting

Abstract

Ecologies of Dissemination aims to develop a politics of re-use that acknowledges the tensions and overlaps between feminist methodologies, decolonial knowledge practices and principles of open access.

Invested in collective art and knowledge practices, we are concerned with how the current drive to openness in dissemination policies might overlook relational aspects. If we consider authorship to be part of a collective cultural effort, how can we invent a politics of sharing and re-use that does not buy into a universalist approach to openness.

Open Access policies (regional, national and international) tend not to recognize that knowledge practices are situated in contingent social and historical conditions, nor that there might be ethical reasons to refrain from release and re-use. Therefore, it seems important to develop a politics of re-use that complexifies the binary between open (Free Culture, Open Access) and closed (IP, copyright) while being attentive to power differences embedded in practices of re-use. This includes taking into account the situated conditions for production and an understanding that the defaults of openness and transparency have different consequences in different contexts.

Furthermore, Ecologies of Dissemination, i​​​n conversation with a community of practitioners and theorists aims to understand, describe and exhibit the intricacies and porosity of feminist decolonial art and knowledge practices that don’t fall back on a modernist concept of the artist as an original creator, based on individual expression. Here art-making would not be understood as an act of intentionality (self-expression) but as an act of relating.

Ecologies of dissemination is a collaboration between HDK-Valand, the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University (UK) and Constant, a non-profit, artist-run association active in the fields of art, feminism, media and technology in Brussels (BE). It is funded by the Swedish Research Council (2023-24).

Our Methods

Our methods are based on feminist and decolonial thinking which for us means that we consider authorship as a relational practice that intersects with multiple axes of power and oppression. We do this by interlacing conversations, prompts and rewritings as a way to involve a network of interlocutors, references and sources.

One core method consists of compiling a collection of situated cases that speak of the complexity and conflictuousness of Open Content as a decolonial, feminist practice. They are based on situations we experienced ourselves, that friends and comrades spoke to us about or cases we encounter in media and literature. This collection is one of the multiple ways in which we intentionally keep the edges of the research open, because it is crucial to approach Ecologies of Dissemination across academic, artistic and activist practices that are differently situated, in terms of politics, geography and culture.

Then, we are convening a monthly reading group Limits to Openness, in which we are trying to come to terms with issues of universalism related to the idea of “openness”, as often presented in Open Content, Open Access, Free Culture and so forth. Does Free Culture perversely repeat here the colonial gesture of creating a ground zero for the circulation of knowledge as a “free” object? What could decolonial, feminist conditions for re-use look like, that would acknowledge entangled notions of authorship? (Everyone is welcome to sign up eva.weinmayr@akademinvaland.gu,se)

We are planning assemblies in Gothenburg, Brussels and Coventry, for example a rewriting session of “Collective Conditions for Re-use“(CC4R), which is an attempt to continue the experiment to reformulate Free Culture with decolonial and feminist politics.

​​​​​​​For the rewriting of CC4r, we will work with a group of practitioners and theorists to prepare a series of prompts to activate and enrich the process of rewriting. The prompts are a way to support the (currently unspecified) group of persons who will take on the task of rewriting. A prompt, as we understand it, is a device to make something happen. It invites a response. A prompt purposefully triggers the “prompted” to consider a specific angle, points towards potential gaps, invites saying something about a specific issue. Prompts can take many forms or shapes. And we hope for a wide range of formats and approaches: from rudimentary questions and provocations to suggestive imagery, to audio or video, to subtle sonic pulses. The kinds of prompts we are interested in, spark mutual reflection and are not constraining in terms of outcome.

In line with feminist methods we think of dissemination in terms of slow and growing, potentially scattered  ways to connect people and connect their concerns to the project. This means its very dissemination is therefore already happening on many different levels during the activities: in informal conversations, the open reading groups sessions, assemblies, and recorded interviews.

Powers of Love

Powers of Love

Editors:
Tawanda AppiahAnders CarlssonKarmenlara ElyJessica HemmingsOle Lützow-HolmJyoti MistryYuka OyamaElena Raviola

Powers of Love: Enchantment to Disaffection, fifth PARSE biennial research conference.

The fifth PARSE biennial research conference from 15–17 November, 2023 at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden will explore the scope of love in its meanings and manifestations. From its occidental institutionalisation to its transformative potential as expressed in wider cultural contexts, the conference will engage with modes of art making, literary practices and scholarship with a focus on love as enchantment, as an entangled power in politics, as friendship, as eros, as intimacy, as queer potentiality and as disaffection. The powers of love have transformative affective registers in labour, learning collectives, economies of humanitariansim, ecosophy and ecosexuality yet within the powers of love also persists the sediments of historical, contextual, institutional and discursive formations. Love is arguably indispensable for human and planetary survival, and yet universalizing narratives of the intersubjective, immanence, communal harmony, and mastery of the earth may be seen to propose an all-encompassing narcissism.

The Right to design

The Right to design

Editors:
Onkar KularHenric Benesch

The Right to design is a practice-based platform by Onkar Kular and Henric Benesch. The platform has the dual aim of understanding the entangled historic and contemporary relationship between design and rights and further claiming ‘design’ itself as a special kind of right that is accessible beyond class background, gender, race, age and disability. The platform aims to understand design as a form of readership, whereby ‘design literacy’ can be regarded as a prerequisite for informed and active citizenship which cannot and should not be limited to formal institutional settings. Through a ‘scale 1:1’ approach the platform currently serves as the base for activities such as assemblies, (mis)readings, broadcasting and educational initiatives with partners inside and outside academia.

Imaginaries of Value

Imaginaries of Value

Editors:
Erling BjörgvinssonElena RaviolaDave Beech

Imaginaries of Value: Articulating, dis-articulating and re-articulating economic and aesthetic value in contemporary art and design work.

 

This theme investigates imaginaries of value in relation to the “globalisation-from-above” of art and design. We explore how value is imagined, performed and given material form in the globalised world of art and design work, by focusing on paper as a creative and administrative material interface used to produce and circulate value norms, ideas and practices. Two themes, titled Site and Mobility, reflect the two sides of globalised art and design. In different cases we explore on how paper is used to produce aesthetic, organizational and economic value and their imaginaries of value will be re-articulated through the artistic production of microhistories throughout the whole research process.

The theme is articulated in a series of overarching conversations developed at the intersection between the notions of imaginaries and value, in relation to art and design work. These conversations develop through interdisciplinary encounters between fine art, design, cultural studies, economics, organization studies, legal studies.

Hurricanes and Scaffolding

Hurricanes and Scaffolding

Editors:
Tarsh BatesLuis Berríos-NegrónYlva FernaeusMichael LukaszukLisa NybergDaniel ShankenYong Suk Lee

This themed issue will revisit works presented at the Hurricanes and Scaffolding: Symposium on Artistic Research, organized in Umeå in December 2024. The selected works will explore and represent different aspects of the dynamic interplay between more-than-human forces and culturally resilient structures, from a perspective of artistic research. Drawing inspiration from Nora N. Khan’s contrasting concepts of “hurricanes and scaffoldings” as developed in her essay “Towards a Poetics of Artificial Super Intelligence”, artistic researchers have been invited to identify the frameworks, practices, perspectives and themes that their practice can bring to the broader discourses of society, environment, technology and politics. Organizers of the event are Swedish Research Council in collaboration with UmArts, a Umeå University’s partnership between Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå Art Academy, the Department of Creative Studies in Education and Bildmuseet.

Fabulation

Fabulation

Editors:
Jyoti MistryRam Krishna Ranjan

Fabulation has been conceptualised and applied under various names depending on the social, epistemic and artistic context. Abram (2005) speaks of fabulation in terms of “experiments with subject matter, form, style, temporal sequence, and fusions of the everyday, the fantastic, the mythical, and the nightmarish, in renderings that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, horrible or ludicrous, tragic or comic.” For Piérola (2022) fabulation straddles “history and fiction, fact and imagination to tell stories.”

In the last two to three decades, the term fabulation has gained pertinence in both scholarly and artistic arenas and its meaning, usage and critical potentialities have undergone a major shift to include speculative fabulation (Haraway, 2016), critical fabulation (Hartman, 2008), afro-fabulation (Nyong’o, 2019), afro-futurism (Dery, 1994; Nelson, 2002), and feminist fabulation (Barr, 1992). All of these interpretations have invited artists and scholars to address imaginative capacities that foreground what is otherwise conceived of as irrecoverable and unrepresentable. Fabulation as a theoretical and artistic practice does not merely attend to the gaps in history but provides possibilities to imagine alternative futures.

This issue of PARSE aims to explore and interrogate the affordances of mobilising fabulation in artistic practices.

Open Call Forthcoming

01 October 2024

Workshop with contributors scheduled for:

Spring 2025

Encounters in the Archive

Encounters in the Archive

Editors:
Nina MangalanayagamJyoti Mistry

With this issue we aim to reconsider ways that artists and researchers have rethought, reimagined and reworked histories and experiences in their encounters with materials in archival repositories. The dialogic exchange between researchers and artists and, artists as researchers affords opportunities for experimentation across disciplines towards decolonial approaches and methods that make it necessary to highlight the iterative process of “re” – processes that invite a constant return to the archive. As Jacques Derrida has described the return to the archive is “compulsive and repetitive” as ways to “open to the future.”

Developing from the practices and scholarship of theorists (Saidiya Hartman, Mark Sealy and Temi Odumuso) who encourage assemblage and polyphonic practices within archival research, we will facilitate conversations between scholars, practitioners and artists who address relations and tensions between dominant and elided histories. Rather than simply replacing the dominant narrative with counter narratives, this issue will activate latent experiences and make counter narratives visible as touch points between prevailing hegemonic discourses and revised histories and experiences. By revitalizing archival sources drawn from various perspectives and disciplines this issue seeks to identify decolonial strategies in art practices that use archival sources as “return to commencement” (Derrida).

The content of this PARSE issue will be garnered from a series of seminars and roundtable discussions with a focus on dialogic encounters and exchanges on artistic practices and projects and, scholarship that reflects on research strategies that destabilizes power in the archive.

PARSE invites artists and scholars working with archive sources to describe and reflect on methods used to challenge institutional structures of power ascribed through archives.

Inaugural Seminar:  Autumn 2024