A Guide to the Conference Themes


Friday 12 May 2017 - De Brakke Grond

Friday 12/05 | 10:00 – 12:00 | Expo zaal
Alchemical Making and Thinking: exploring the history of alchemy and its relevance for the contemporary age

In the early modernity, alchemy and the arts were closely connected. Just as any other other art form, alchemy was seen as a way of imitating and even improving nature. How does the legacy of alchemy relate to contemporary art & design practices? And what can we learn from their ways of thinking as they apply to contemporary issues?

Talks by: Cis van Heertum, Thijs Hagendijk, Denisa Kera, Thought Collider

Friday 12/05 | 13:00 – 14:30 | Expo zaal
Deep Time: minerals = media, media = minerals

Deep Time, a concept of media scientist Siegfried Zielinski, offers an alternative history of media and technology by applying non-human timeframes and scales that lets us think about the often hidden material and archeological side of media. The presentations pose different perspectives on how our technological culture is connected to Earth’s history, geological formations, and ecological processes.

Talks by: Jussi Parikka, Femke Herregraven & Semiconductor

Friday 12/05 | 15:00 – 16:30 | Expo zaal
The Transmutation of Matter

Just like the ancient alchemists, contemporary artists conduct various experiments to transmute various media with digital processes into hybrid forms. With 3D printing, audiovisual compositions and revealing the fundamental workings of computing, these artists explore the expressive possibilities of hybridisation and reflect on the intrinsic natural processes that ground them.

Talks by: Ralf Baecker, Nick Ervinck

Friday 12/05 | 17:00 – 18:00 | Expo zaal
The Irony of Efficiency: a philosophical view on ‘natural’ and technical processes that structure our lives

We perceive technology in essence as something that makes us more efficient–better able to achieve a specific goal, with an optimal use of resources. But thinking in terms of efficiency is historically speaking a relatively recent phenomenon. As “natural” as it is for humans to want to achieve goals, there are different ways of defining and experiencing this process–the alchemistic view being one of them.How does this relate to the mineral and material properties of the world? Yoni van den Eede introduces a new philosophy of technology with the help of British cybernetic Gregory Bateson. Cecilia Jonsson will extend this thought with a presentation about her investigations into the physical and ideological properties of the raw materials that are fundamental to human existence.

Talks by: Yoni van den Eede, Cecilia Jonsson


Saturday 13 May 2017 - De Brakke Grond

Saturday 13/05 | 10:30 – 12:00 | Expo zaal
Magical Thinking and Visionary Algorithms

More often than not, we do not fully understand the technologies that shape our life. Although they are the fruits of rational science, their workings have become so complex that we perceive them as esoteric powers. In response, people expect technology to have all sorts of magical and predictive qualities. This cluster sets out to discover how people incorporate new technologies and media into their daily life and habits.

Talks by: Tobias Revell, Nicolas Nova, David Benqué

Saturday 13/05 | 13:00 – 14:30 | Expo zaal
Enhanced Sensibilities & Coded Matter

Networked technologies,  big data-sets, and sensors enable us to augment the build environment and the experience of our surroundings. As alchemists of our time this selection of speakers will explore how these tools offer an increased sensibility and enhance our sensibility of time and space.

Talks by: Quadrature, Refik Anadol and ScanLAB Projects

Saturday 13/05 | 15:30 – 16:30 | Expo zaal
Ora et Labora: critical making as a model for art practice in the digital age
Ora et Labora was the ancient motto of the alchemists: work and pray. Their experiments set out to understand the workings of the universe, and by doing so they believed to enlighten their spirit and become better man. What is the critical potential of current practices in art, design and technology? Does ‘the maker’ have the potential to enlighten us in times of creative industries policy?

Talks by: Critical Making Research Consortium and Stefanie Wüschitz

Saturday 13/05 | 17:00 – 18:30 | Expo zaal
The Homunculus: creativity in the age of intelligent machines
Recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence have made this technology accessible for artists and designers. According to AI expert Danny Hills, humans are entangled with nature and technology this augmented status will lead to new forms of beauty. Artists and designers are just like the the ancient alchemists recreating life in their labs, they are training neural networks to function as an autonomous creative agents. What is the aesthetic potential of these artificially intelligent ‘companion species’? And how does this change our idea of creativity?

Talks by: Darius Kazemi, Elisa Giaccardi and Memo Akten