The New Anxiety
The 300+ year technologies built to capture, understand and connect the world - from maps through geostationary satellites to contemporary algorithms and big data collection - have been exposed as weapons-grade systems that pluralise reality and destabilise the present. How does living in this new anxious world feel, and how deep do these systems take root?
Over ten weeks and nearly 30 events - performances, screenings, discussions, video installations and workshops - all displayed in a new streaming-service-style format, VIRTUALLYREALITY SS21 addresses the knowing sprawl of a world that has been machinicly shaped and how we might rethink our worldly engagements during and after times of emergency.
SS21 was inspired partly by the unstable groundings expressed across realities, ecologies and computations in the shapeshifting research project Schemas of Uncertainty (initiated by Danae Io and Callum Copley) and online cross-disciplinary symposium Recursive Colonialism, Artificial Intelligence and Speculative Computation (organised by Luciana Parisi, Ezekiel Dixon-Román and Tiziana Terranova). Our five themes (The New Anxiety, Devotion, Antagonisation, Dystopian Thinking is No Longer Helpful, Symbiosis for Survival) although clearly demarcated are more intersectional, seeping and shifting into one another. One cannot be considered simply by itself – everything affects everything else.
Throughout much of SS21 text and voices splutter in an effort to calm, convey, convince, confuse and coerce. Voice memos, lyrics, soliloquies, confessionals, self-care advertisements, scripture, meditation guides, text scores, private e-mails, personal data and conspiracy theories all point towards what saying something – or the overwhelm of saying anything – means in 2021. Our first creative discourse programme winds its way through to point you towards ecological activism, the latent mystery of the algorithm, the geopolitics of Eurodance and decolonising the Digital Audio Workstation.
VIRTUALLYREALITY also partners with Manchester-based soloists Darren Gallacher (percussion) and Silvia Lucas (piano) for a programme of newly recorded versions of existing repertoire. Due to UK restrictions these will instead launch further into our SS21 schedule than initially planned.
Across ‘The Long Triumph’ expect a chorus of personal data leakers, monitored conversations, questioned realities, exiled princesses, dancing holograms, mourned lovers, burning trees, radicalised anime, human-insect genealogies, simulated wars, bioengineered krill, clones, doppelgängers and more. See and feel the interlinking of ecologies that transcend species, times, borders, technologies and realities.
VIRTUALLYREALITY SS21 is gratefully supported by: