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    Black Box Feed-back: The Politics of Machines in Early Nordic Media Art

    EVA Copenhagen 2018 - Politics of the Machines - Art and After

    Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 - 17 May 2018


    Morten Søndergaard



    This paper show-cases and investigates two events in 1966 (Billy Klüver’s 9 Evenings and Knut Wiggens’ Visions of the Present) that both can be seen as feed-back from an advanced Nordic art-tech-scene to an international scene from which appeared (at least) two different visions for technology and art that are still with us today. One vision could be termed a ‘Nordic vision’, which wanted art to be critical of and find alternatives to an increasingly technologically dominated culture and society; the other vision could be called a ‘new American vision’, but its roots were the same Nordic context.

    However, in this vision art is seen as a vehicle to techno-creative experiments, good at testing and creating ‘new’ more effective machines and solutions (ultimately, playing into the politically motivated competition with the Soviet Union at the time, most symbolically carried out in NASA’s Apollo program and plan to land on the moon). Whereas the first vision remains a primarily North-European techno-critical discourse, the second gave birth to a ‘New Media Art’ and a pervasive design-driven discourse which dominates the global art-tech discourses today.


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