[spectre] Fwd: Activist Neuroaesthetics in Cognitive Capitalism: call for applications

Saas-Fee Summer Instituteof Art info at sfsia.art
Wed Apr 7 09:11:22 CEST 2021

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Art & Education (

April 05, 2021


Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art

Warren Neidich. The Statisticon Neon, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

July 1–16, 2021

Priority application deadline: May 2

sfsia.art (
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This year’s Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art program will take place
online in collaboration with Activist Neuroaesthetics (
), a celebration of the 25th anniversary of artbrain.org (
). Activist Neuroaesthetics is a year-long festival of events curated
by Warren Neidich, Susanne Prinz and Sarrita Hunn including a
three-part exhibition (Brain Without Organs, Sleep and Altered States
of Consciousness, and Telepathy and New Labor), conference,
screenings, lectures and publications, developed by lead institution
Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
e.V. with various local partners that will take place online and in
Berlin over the course of 2021. In July, an Activist Neuroaesthetics
conference will be held in collaboration with Saas-Fee Summer
Institute of Art as this year’s free public lecture series to invite
conversation, debate, and inquiry across communities.
Activist Neuroaesthetics
The brain and mind are the new factories of the twenty-first century
in what is referred to as cognitive capitalism, where workers have
transitioned from proletariats to cognitariats. Here, the brain not
only refers to the intracranial brain consisting of neurologic matter,
but also the situated body and the extracranial brain composed of
gestalts, affordances, linguistic atmospheres and socially-engaged
interactions. Just as the pioneers of cognitive capitalism (such as
Tony Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato, and Mario Tronti among others)
realized the coming digital economy would have serious consequences
for labor and the production of subjectivity, the transition from the
information economy to the neural-based economy (or neural capitalism)
is a new moment of crisis with even greater challenges. Activist
Neuroaesthetics questions what neuro-enhancing drugs, new technologies
(like brain-computer interfaces that link the brain to the internet
currently explored by companies like Facebook and Neuralink), and the
transition from artificial neural networks to artificial intelligence
will do to our sense of self and freedom.
Activist Neuroaesthetics understands that our capacity to consciously
and directly affect our complex environment of evolving relations
through artistic interventions is key to an emancipatory ethics. By
consciously refunctioning and estranginging the environment, we are
estranging and refunctioning our material brain’s neural plastic
potential—literally enhancing its capacity to "think outside the
box." This cognitive activism forms the basis of Activist
Neuroaesthetics which resists new forms of subjugation at work in
neural capitalism. Activist Neuroaesthetics is more than simply an
aesthetic response, but is also a way of reengineering what aesthetics
as a philosophical concept means. As such, Activist Neuroaesthetics
pro-actively forms a counter-insurgency against the tactics of the
neural economy which attempts to privatize and normalize the
suppression of free thought and produces a regime which further
weakens the cognitariat and makes obvious neural capitalism’s
totalitarian tendencies.
Elena Agudio, Ramon Amaro, Kathryn Andrews, Marie-Luise Angerer,
Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Yann Moulier Boutang, Juli Carson, Shu Lea
Cheang, Yves Citton, Arne de Boever, Matthew Fuller, Katie Grinnan,
Agnieszka Kurant, Cecile Malaspina, Anna Munster, Abdul-Karim
Mustapha, Reza Negarestani, Warren Neidich (founder/director),
Florencia Portocarrero, Tony David Sampson, Lorenzo Sandoval, Tino
Sehgal, Anuradha Vikram, Charles T. Wolfe, and more to be announced.
Applications for SFSIA 2021 are open to students, practitioners and
scholars from the fields of art (including video, photography,
installation and multimedia), philosophy, design, architecture, art
criticism, science and technology studies, critical theory, cultural
studies, film and media studies, and beyond. Please see our
application (
) for more information.
Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is a nomadic, intensive
summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory.
SFSIA stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the
relationship between art and politics. SFSIA originated in Saas-Fee,
Switzerland in 2015 and migrated to Berlin, Germany in 2016 where it
is currently hosted by Spike. Additional programs have been hosted by
Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, and Performance Space New
York. SFSIA was founded and is directed by Warren Neidich and is
co-directed by Barry Schwabsky. Sarrita Hunn is the artistic
Please see our website (
) or contact info at sfsia.art (
) for more information.
This project is supported in part by a NEUSTART KULTUR grant from
Stiftung Kunstfonds.

Art & Education (


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