Event·Livestream·PopUp T.V.

THE VOID x REMIX FEST | Report and Stream Archive

April 14th, 2024

///This is a report and archive of THE VOID’s livestream at REMIX Fest///

Organized by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision, REMIX Fest took place on the 5th of October 2023. It was a day devoted to students (and educators) of film and art schools, focused on what audiovisual archives have to offer for your creative ambitions. THE VOID was invited to create a hybrid stage where we hosted conversations with a media artists and practitioners about their work with archives and databases.

Hosted by Klara Debeljak, Giulia Timis, Jordi Viader Guerrero, and Tommaso Campagna, we managed to stream around 6 hours of in-depth conversations featuring Archival Consciousness, the Visual Methodologies Collective,, Pablo Núñez Palma and Ignacio Rojas, and belit sağ. Apart from discussing the different ways in which  they approach archives as a medium for artistic research, our conversations simultaneously worked as a live video compositing session with three different inputs: a camera recording our conversation in front of a green screen, a computer at our disposal to display audiovisual material (pictures, videos, websites, etc.), and the combination of the two inputs (keying the computer’s desktop on the green screen behind us).

Archival Consciousness

Archival Consciousness, design duo composed of artist and researcher Mariana Lanari and graphic designer Remco van Bladel, joined us in the pop-up studio to discuss their project Biblio-Graph. Mariana and Remco work with cultural institutions to “implement methods and infrastructure to turn their collections into data“. Bblio-Graph is a project for archiving cultural institutions’ archives – an application to create digital representations of physical or digital collections and, in the future, to re-translate them once again into physical print.

While archives are an infrastructure to preserve media, archives themselves are not as subject to preservation in the same way as the content they store. During our conversation, Mariana commented on the vast amount of manual work and organizing that goes into creating, annotating, and preserving an archive, as well as how these are precarious infrastructures vulnerable to political and economic change.

Bilbio-Graph is then meant to be a tool for preservation: translating and abstracting the networks of relations structuring an archive from the physical to the digital and back again to the physical. Through an apparently simple and visually appealing tagging system,  Biblio-Graph brings to the foreground the relations, processes, and labor that goes into organizing data. In many ways, Biblio-Graph transforms archives from seemingly static data-bases into a public and constantly evolving activity. This idea of publishing and making archives alive and visible brought about the question of how to read an archive. What activities, tools, methods, tactics, and strategies can we use to engage with archives–complex objects composed of a multiplicity of objects and the relations around them?

Visual Methodologies Collective with Carlo De Gaetano

Carlo de Gaetano is a information designer, artistic researcher, and a member of the Visual Methodologies Collective, a research group specializing in visual and digital research for social and cultural issues. Carlo uses digital and participatory methods to study how climate change is discussed online, with a focus on using visual representations as data. For REMIX fest, Carlo facilitated the third iteration of the workshop “It Happened Tomorrow“, part of the ongoing research project Climate Imaginaries at Sea. Curated with his colleagues from the Visual Methodologies Collective, the workshop invited participants to use images from a collection part of the Sound and Vision archive to imagine future climate imaginaries. The collection, composed by a set of 400 water-related videos, was used as starting point to imagine our future relationship to water. Set to Suzuanne Ciani’s Seven Waves, with this relaxing workshop Carlo invited participants to complete screenshots from the archive–traces from the past preserved in digital format– by expanding on the picture with their own hand-drawn climate future. After that, participants used AI image generators to repeat the same process. This exercise prompts conversations on how our future is informed by our past and how looking at the past (i.e. archival research) can be a participatory and creative act. It also highlights the possibilities and limitations of AI visual tools to either break us free from or further confine us to repetitive apocalyptic imaginaries of the future.

Our conversation with Carlo also touched upon his latest project “Queer as the Ocean” for which he used Midjourney to generate portraits of interspecies high-fashion models.  This artistic research project imagines the implications of merging with the other; of making kin with other species. Using this synthetic image generator, Carlo produced “images to think with”. Images that make us reflect on how a more-than-human future would look like, but also on how to push the limits of image generators to create queer outcomes.

The project was initially conceived as an alternative pavilion to the Belarusian exhibit during the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). Since then, this project has rapidly evolved to include and present anti-war artworks from a wide range of countries, including Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and others. The group consists of a fellowship of Belarusian curators –Valentina Kiselyova, Anna Chistoserdova, Antonina Stebur, Lena Prents, Maxim Tyminko, and Aleksander Komarov– and two Ukrainian curators, Tatiana Kochubinska and Natasha Chychasova.

The platform is part of the European Pavilion, a pan-European, multidisciplinary art program launched by the European Cultural Foundation in 2020 with the aim of bringing the issue of Europe and its future to the forefront through commissioned art projects. was born with the idea of giving support to those in Ukraine and beyond who are affected by military aggression, colonial, patriarchal and imperialist repression, and those who resist terror.

Typologies of Delusion

Artists Pablo Núñez Palma and Ignacio Rojas sat down with us to chat about their project, Typologies of Delusion, presented at Remix Fest. Typologies of Delusion is a collection of AI generated images produced with a retrained model of Stable Diffusion. Pablo and Ignacio used Polygon Journal, a collection of newsreels spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, as raw material to explore the potentials and limitations of image generators and, hopefully, get to see how an AI experiences or reads an archive.

Their project is then the intertwining of multiple layers: a large data set (and the hidden data labor behind it) used to originally train Stable Diffusion, its machine learning model, and a curated archive of images from the 20th century. This is all presented in a website displaying a stunning overflow of machinic 20th century delusions (c.f. 21st century delusions ): from “sick nurses” to “sensual babies”, a flood of tropes dreamed by an (all too human) AI. Against this (literal) background, Pablo and Ignacio’s project triggered discussions on the notion of typology and its relevance when talking about AI-generated imagery, AI remixing as non-human experience and its relation to media history, as well as the politics of open culture, copyright, ownership, and labor in the face of these new tools for visual production.

belit sağ

Artist, activist, film-maker and pedagogue belit sağ was last to join our marathon of discussions. Their practice is dedicated to using fragmented archival imagery and footage with the aim of contextualizing under-represented stories often within a wider political framework. Starting in Turkey, where they co-founded collectives such as Kara Haber and, and anchored in anti-censorship, for belit video activist practices have always been collective. At REMIX fest belit led a workshop which was a continuation and essential part of their current work, providing a space for collective research by articulating connections together. The workshop questioned the ethics of working with archival imagery, distance and proximity, and (expanding on Saidiya Hartman’s term of ‘critical fabulation‘) the difference between found and archived imagery.

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Institute of Network Cultures · THE VOID x REMIX FEST

THE VOID is a research project on tactical video and an audiovisual publishing venue for practice-based research. Hybridity and collectivity are essential for the way THE VOID functions: we propose to reframe modes of media production into collective acts of broadcasting. By setting up hybrid pop-up streaming studios, we merge production, distribution and archiving into a single event. In order to practice audio-visual criticality, our streams display the on-site social and technical infrastructure with all its glitches. We see our hybrid pop-up studios as tactical video: an occasion to pollute online spaces with offline encounters and, vice versa, to rearrange how we physically exist together to create new ways of inhabiting a stagnating online media landscape. ​​​​

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