The Institute of Network Cultures is part of State Machines, featuring projects on art, work, and identity in an age of planetary-scale computation.

Today, we live in a world where every time we turn on our smartphones, we are inextricably tied by data, laws and flowing bytes to different countries, in which every personal expression is framed and mediated by digital platforms, and where new kinds of currencies, financial exchange and even labor bypass corporations and governments. At the same time, the same technologies increase governmental powers of surveillance, allow corporations to extract ever more complex working arrangements and do little to slow the construction of actual walls along actual borders. On the one hand, the agency of individuals and groups is starting to approach that of nation states; on the other, our mobility and hard-won rights are under threat. What tools do we need to understand this world, and how can art assist in envisioning and enacting other possible futures?

State Machines* investigates the new relationships between states, citizens and the stateless made possible by emerging technologies. Focussing on how such technologies impact identity and citizenship, digital labour and finance, the project joins five experienced partners Aksioma (SI), Drugo More (HR),  Furtherfield (UK), Institute of Network Cultures (NL) and NeMe (CY) together with a range of artists, curators, theorists and audiences. Workshops on blockchain technology, research into new cognitive models and forms of citizenship, and conferences on democratic participation and networked cultural production will be organized alongside art exhibitions, new commissions and publications, with the aim of building new kinds of literacy for digital understanding and participation. State Machines insists on the need for new forms of expression and new artistic practices to address the most urgent questions of our time, and seeks to educate and empower the digital subjects of today to become active, engaged, and effective digital citizens of tomorrow.

Update: Since May 2023 the website of the project moved to https://aksioma.org/statemachines/.

* state machine (n)

  1. 1. an ideal model of computation: a device consisting of a set of states and a transition function describing when to move from one state to another;
  2. 2. the interconnected structures and processes of government: to the extent that they may be conceptualized, analyzed, critiqued, and changed.

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.