May 12

Eric Kluitenberg (NL)

De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam

Theorist, writer, and organiser working at the intersection of art, media, and politics. He is head of the media program at De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam. He lectures and publishes regularly on culture, new media, and cultural politics throughout Europe and beyond. Previously, he taught courses on "Culture and New Media" at the Institute for Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and at the University of Amsterdam, "Media Theory" for the post-graduate education programs in art & design and new media at Media-GN / Frank Mohr Institute and Academy Minerva in Groningen, the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, and worked on the scientific staff of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.

Recent publications of his include, Delusive Spaces - essays on culture, media, and technology (2008), the Book of Imaginary Media (2006), the theme issue Hybrid Space of Open - Journal for Art and the Public Domain (2006).

As an organiser he has among others been involved in the first two editions of ISEA - International Symposia on Electronic Art, the Next 5 Minutes Tactical Media festival - editions 3 & 4 (1999 / 2003), World-Information.Org Amsterdam (2002), the mini-festival An Archaeology of Imaginary Media (2004), and most recently the ElectroSmog Festival for Sustainable Immobility (2010) .


Imaginary Media Imaginaries: Reflections on art, media, and imagination

  • "Imagine media with gigabytes of imagination, instead of memory!"
    Peter Blegvad - On Imaginary Media

It would be an absolute fallacy to limit imagination to the realm of the arts. When looking at the histories of media and technology close scrutiny reveals that imagined and actually realised media (technologies) continuously weave in and out of each other. Taken in a more common sense way, the histories of media and technology turn out to be far more 'artistic' than often thought. Imagination itself always threatens to cross over the boundaries with mysticism. Similarly, the believe-systems invested both in historical as well as in contemporary technologies can never be fully understood when looked at within an exclusively rational frame.

The Archaeology of Imaginary Media project shifts attention deliberately from the actually realised to the visionary imaginaries of possible, impossible, and desired media, the dreams of an ultimate communications medium, the deep longing for technological transcendence. Surprisingly, highly similar media narratives and imaginaries appear time and again across different historical and cultural settings. These recurrences, obviously, have no fixed structure. They do not point at a supposedly cyclical nature of human, technological, or for that matter cultural development. Instead they hint at generally hidden desires underpinning the drive for technological and media development.

With media archeologist Siegfried Zielinski I very much agree that artistic subjectivity has a role to play here: to drive out these technological media and conditions to the extreme, to reveal the hidden machineries of desire and the secret pathways in (technological) history that may help us to find our way into the future.


next: → Margarida Carvalho (PT)

previous: ← João Fernandes (PT)