Feedback: 2-day International Symposium
Moment of Truth: for a Reasonable Ecology between the Media
28 and 29.09.2017
Download press release as Word in Dutch or English.
Feedback: International Symposium
‘Moment of Truth: for a Reasonable Ecology between the Media’

2-day Symposium
Thursday 28 and Friday 29 September

Royal Academy of Art
The Hague
Prinsessegracht 4
2514 AN Den Haag

€ 25,00/10,00
get tickets

With Jasper Bernes (USA), Josephine Bosma (NL), Florian Cramer (NL), Richard Cavell (CA), Garnet Hertz (CA), Dmytri Kleiner (CA), Ganaële Langlois (CA), Geert Lovink (NL), Willem van Weelden (NL) and moderated by Baruch Gottlieb (CA).

Program Symposium

Thursday 28 September 2017
10:00-11:00 Registration
11:00-11:10 Welcome by Marie-José Sondeijker (director West Den Haag)
11:10-11:45 Thematic introduction and plan for the day: Baruch Gottlieb
11:45-12:15 Presentation: Florian Cramer — Understanding the Medium as the Message
12:15-13:00 Introduction to all participants: Baruch Gottlieb & Josephine Bosma
All participants: Synthetic discussion: Understanding the Medium as the Message


Lunch break + Exhibition visit Feedback #1: Marshall Mcluhan and the Arts

14:30-15:00 Welcoming re-cap conversation: Josephine Bosma & Willem van Weelden
15:00-15:45 Presentation: Richard Cavell — McLuhan and Composed Theater
15:45-16:45 All participants: Synthetic discussion: McLuhan and Composed Theater


Coffee Break

17:00-17:30 Conversation: Geert Lovink & Garnet Hertz: Utopias then and Now
moderated by Josephine Bosma
17:30-18:15 Synthetic discussion: Utopias then and Now and Synthesis of the first day
18:15‑18:30 Round-up


Snacks & drinks

19:00‑20:30 Concert: Peter Blegvad and Slapp Happy

Friday 29 September 2017
11:00‑11:15 Welcome, introduction to the day’s plan
11:15‑12:00 Presentation: Jasper Bernes — Value and Planning in the Age of Algorithms
12:00‑13:15 All participants: Synthetic discussion: Value and Planning in the Age of Algorithms



14:00‑14:30 Welcoming re-cap conversation: Josephine Bosma & Willem van Weelden
14:30‑15:00 Presentation: Ganaele Langlois — Textiles as Anti-Media
15:00‑15:45 All participants: Synthetic discussion: Textiles as Anti-Media


Coffee break

16:00‑16:45 Introduction: Synthetic Exercise: Dmytri Kleiner facilitated by Baruch Gotlieb
Audience and participants come together to condense their thoughts and concerns
16:45‑17:45 Presentations: Synthetic Exercise with synthetic discussion
17:45‑18:00 Round up
18:00-19:00 Drinks: West in Huis Huguetan, Lange Voorhout 34
19:00-23:00 2 Exhibitions open: West in Huis Huguetan, Lange Voorhout 34 & Groenewegje 136

The recursive exhibition project Marshall McLuhan and the Arts is a series of exhibitions and symposia examining the changing role of literature and the arts as guides in times of accelerated technological progress.

In the electronic age, where our sciences have produced machines of extreme precision and complexity, we observe with irony, especially in political spheres, that the edifice of disinterested reason is crumbling. Several fundamental questions arise from this. To what extent does it still make sense to rationally criticise or analyse our condition? Regarding the techno-environmental crisis, do we find a way out or a way in? How to cultivate autonomy in an automated social sphere, a ‘society of control’? Has art been sublimated into the production of cyber-society or can it still push us out into the space where all probabilities have not already been calculated? In our symposium we would like to help tease out the potential for synthetic aesthetic practices to help us address the urgent concerns of our time, when mere reason seems to falter.

Marshall McLuhan was exemplary for his synthetic practice. He was a thinker of technology, a historian of literature and a publisher of the present. He eschewed peer-review to get his ideas, ‘probes’, out into the public for debate as part of a radical experimental media-arts practice.
The crisis of the status of Truth today calls us to retrieve the dialogic forms of the pre-Socratics all the while remaining cognisant of the tradition of disinterested reason which got us here. The academy itself seems to be undermined by the technologies it helped bring into being. The meaning of ‘culture’ can no longer be thought in opposition to ‘nature’, but rather, to borrow a concepts from Karen Barad, culturenature is a locus of ‘intra-action’.

Building on our experimental colloquia of last year:
in the frame of our project on the thinking of Vilém Flusser, we have brought together experts from the communication studies, aesthetics, art history, IT, literature and transdiciplinary practices to join a colloquium format designed to work out useful meeting points where we work out strategies to engage with the transformations brought on by rapid technological change.

Despite the promises of an open technological society with industrial bounty equal opportunities for all, our age still struggles gravely with problems that it seemed we were on the verge of surpassing 50 years ago. How is such an apparent stalemate still possible in the age of supercomputers and AI? Is it a question of, in Benjamin Bratton’s phrase ‘all computation along the wrong curve’? How are we to know? And who are ‘we’ anyway? Increasingly apparent since McLuhan’s time is that a society is not a stable construct but rather consists of emergent relations, relations conditioned by economic concerns. McLuhan proposed a research path towards a ‘reasonable ecology between the media’, which would allow us to preserve the techniques we still need from the past, such as critical reason and literacy, allowing these to take on new purposes and roles within a apocalyptic planetary household of anthropogenic effects.

Dr. Jasper Bernes (US) is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Stanford University, USA, and author of a collection of poems ‘Starsdown’ (Small Press Distribution, 2007), ‘We Are Nothing and So Can You’ (Commune Editions, 2015), a book-length poem of revolts past, present, and future for the 21st century to come, and a scholarly book, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization’ (Stanford University Press, 2017), that examines the relationship of postmodern poetry and art play within postindustrial capitalism. Professor Bernes’ critical work focuses on 20th century American literature, Marxism, labor theory and new media. Besides poems and essays his writing on contemporary politics and political economy can be found in venues such as ‘The New Inquiry’, ‘LARB’, ‘Endnotes’, ‘Viewpoint’ and ‘e-flux’. With Joshua Colver and Juliana Spahr, Bernes edits the press Commune Editions.

Josephine Bosma (NL) is a journalist and critic specialized in art in the expanded context of the Internet as well as external PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam and on the advisory committee for digital culture (e-culture) of the stimuleringsfonds for Creatieve Industrie. She co-edited the Nettime book ‘README’ (Autonomedia, 1999), the ‘Next5Minutes3 workbook’ (N5M organization, 1999) and her work on net art and net culture appeared as radio reports and interviews, from Ars Electronica, Telepolis, Mute and DU to Metropolis M and Frieze D/E. In 2011 her book ‘Nettitudes – Let’s Talk Net Art’ (NAi/Institute for Network Cultures) appeared – Bosma became one of the key figures participating in and advancing the sphere of critical Internet discourse (and practice) taking place in email lists such as Nettime and Rhizome.

Dr. Richard Cavell (CA) is professor of English at the University of British Columbia and has dedicated his academic research to an integrative approach to the study of culture. He is author of ‘McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography’ (University of Toronto Press, 2002), in which he focusses on the spatial turn in media studies arguing that space is the most consistent concept in McLuhans body of work. Professor Cavell has published the critical performance piece ‘Marinetti Dines with the High Command’ (Guernica Editions, 2014) and ‘Remediating McLuhan’ (Recursions, 2016) and is amongst others joint Founding Editor of the award-winning ‘Cultural Spaces’ series at the University of Toronto Press (1999-2009), founder of the UBC International Canadian Studies Center; a Founding Board Member of the UBC School of Journalism and curator of the website He has been a faculty member of the universities of Padua and Bologna.

Florian Cramer (NL) is a reader in 21st century visual culture at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, where he is affiliated to Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute. He is the author of the book ‘Exe.cut[up]able Statements’ (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2011) and the essays ‘Words Made Flesh’, ‘What is post-digital?’ (2013) and ‘Crapularity Hermeneutics’ (forthcoming). He also serves on the board of De Player, a Rotterdam-based venue and publisher for sound and performance art. His research ranges from cultural studies of computational poetics to practice-oriented research in the redefinition of the arts in 21st century. Cramer collaborated in various small publishing projects including Software Art repository, the Unstable Digest of code poetry, and the Zine Camp festival at WORM, Rotterdam.

Dr. Garnet Hertz is Canada Research Chair in Design and Media Arts and is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University. His art and research explores themes of DIY culture and interdisciplinary art / design practices. He has shown his work at several notable international venues in thirteen countries including SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, and DEAF and was awarded the 2008 Oscar Signorini Award in robotic art. He has worked at Art Center College of Design and University of California Irvine. His research is widely cited in academic publications, and popular press on his work has disseminated through 25 countries including The New York Times, Wired, The Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, NBC, CBS, TV Tokyo and CNN Headline News. More info:

Dmytri Kleiner (CA) is a software developer and founder of Telekommunisten Collective. His work investigates the political economy of the internet and the ideal of workers’ self-organization of production as a form of class struggle. With ‘The Telekommunist Manifesto’ (Institute of Network Cultures, 2010) Kleiner has published a key contribution to commons-based, collaborative and shared forms of cultural production and economic distribution, proposing Venture Communism and copyfarleft to embrace the revolutionary potential of the internet for a free society. Kleiner is a contributing artist to the Miscommunication Technologies continuing series of artistic projects by Telekommunisten, such as deadSwap, Thimbl, R15N and OCTO, that uncover hidden social relations embedded within communication technologies.

Dr. Ganaele Langlois (CA) is Assistant Professor in Communication studies at York University, Canada, and Associate Director of the Infoscape Centre for the Study of Social Media ( Her research interests unite media theory and critical theory, philosophy of communication and software studies, particularly with regards to the shaping of subjectivity and agency through and with media technologies. Professor Langlois is amongst others Publisher of ‘Meaning in the Age of Social Media’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), co-editor of ‘Compromised Data? From Social Media to Big Data’ (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015) and co-principal investigator on a SSHRC standard research grant to study the politics of social media platforms.

Dr. Geert Lovink is a Dutch media theorist, internet critic and author of Uncanny Networks (2002), Dark Fiber (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007), Networks Without a Cause (2012) and Social Media Abyss (2016). In 2004 he founded the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His centre organizes conferences, publications and research networks such as Video Vortex (online video), Unlike Us (alternatives in social media), Critical Point of View (Wikipedia), Society of the Query (the culture of search), MoneyLab (internet-based revenue models in the arts). Recent projects deal with digital publishing and the future of art criticism. He also teaches at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee/Malta) where he supervises PhD students.

Willem van Weelden (NL) is mentor and tutor at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, The Netherlands, where he teaches New Media Theory within DOGtime, the part time evening program for Fine Arts (FA) and Interaction Design Unstable Media (IDUM). With his background lying in social philosophy and visual art, he focuses on writing and teaching and has published on the topic of new media in various magazines and catalogues. As a supervisor of projects at IDUM (Interaction Design Unstable Media) he developed the "Kafka Machine: a three hours testament", for the exhibition "La Radio Siamo Noi" on invitation of the HEAD & Laptop Radio in Geneva.

Moderated by: Baruch Gottlieb (CA) is trained as a filmmaker at Concordia University, has been working in electronic art with professional specialization in public art since 1999. He is an active member of telekommunisten, arts & economics group and laboratoire deberlinisation arts collectives. He founded and curated the first Korean Sound Art festival SFX Seoul and initiated the perfomative archives series ‘McLuminations’ (on the work of Marshall McLuhan) and ‘Flusser Talks’ (on the work of Vilém Flusser), Gottlieb is the author of ‘Gratitude for technology’ (2009, Atropos) and ‘A Political Economy of the Smallest Things’ (2016, Atropos). He currently lectures at the University of Arts Berlin. In 2016 with Siegfried Zielinski and Peter Weibel, he curated the exhibition series Vilém Flusser and the Arts.