Organized around a set of terms, or key words, that have defined the NOME's conceptual and theoretical commitments over the past five years, the exhibited artworks provide overlapping, at times oppositional, ways of entering and grappling with these concepts.
In this light, NOME, a lexicon is both a poly-vocal examination of topics related to black sites, copyright, greenhwashing, finance, and queer culture, among other topics-as well as a form of autocritique.
Working across a broad array of media-including photography, video, drawing, painting, and sculpture-the artists presented in the exhibition share a commitment to re-envisioning the contours of our world, both the visible and the invisible, through techniques of documentary, appropriation, mapping, visualization, and humor.
Curated by Luca Barbeni and Jesi Khadivi
Kameelah Janan Rasheed proposes different poles of truths in a world where there are no longer any certainties, as suggested by walls teeming with quotations from mathematical equations, scientific formulas, or other supposedly objective ways to measure the world. These mathematical formulas are set in a relational conversation with poetry, and quotations from the Quran that evidence hope and belief placed side by side: testifying to Rasheed's commitment to proposing open-ended models of unlearning and learning through non-hierarchical entries to knowledge formation and world-making.Kathleen Reinhardt
Reading experimental poetry and thinking about vernacular, I began to be really interested in the idea of a sentence that rebels against itself, or leaks a bit, or refuses to be confined by a period. The work plays with grammar and the rules of how to write, which are also implicit rules about the correct way to exist in the world as well.Kameelah Janan Rasheed (as told to Audrey Wollen)
The thing that I love about poetry the most is how it is able to shift and have agility and move across a page, and also to move between meanings. For me, it has a lot to do with thinking through the ways that Black folks historically have used the opaqueness or illegibility of what's being said or done at a particular moment as a form of protection. Kameelah Janan Rasheed in conversation with Meg Onli at ICA Philadelphia
Trading Strategies is a series of confidential trading strategies that Goldin+Senneby have acquired in exchange for artworks. The strategies have been developed by experts within the field of finance who are also committed to the arts. Each of the strategies have been algorithmically implemented as part of larger performance works, where the trading profits have been used to pay an actor. The strategy documents are bound and sealed with cover illustrations by designer Johan Hjerpe, visually interpreting the main dynamics of the strategic content.
Donald MacKenzie is one of the world's leading sociologist of finance. He wrote the seminal book, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (2006), studying the performativity of Black-Scholes option pricing model from the early 1970s. Together with anthropologist and former equity fund manager Philip Grant they developed two complementary trading strategies.
This strategy is based on the VWAP or volume-weighted average price. The strategy is developed to test the hypothesis that share prices over a defined time period and under certain circumstances will "revert to their mean." Given that such dynamics can be accurately identified, it is possible to buy (long) below the mean and sell (short) above the mean.
Sociality documented over twenty thousand patents of socially manipulative information technology. In Sociality, Cirio collected and rated Internet inventions submitted to the US patent office. Subsequently, he invited the public to share, flag, and ban the technologies designed to monitor and manipulate social behaviors. Cirio obtained the patent images and data through hacking the Google Patents search engine. He then rated the patents and created thousands of compositions with images of flowcharts and titles of inventions, which were published on the project's website: Sociality.today.
The visual compositions on the website were printed in the form of posters and a coloring book that examine how devices enable discrimination, polarization, addiction, deception, and surveillance. By turning patents into vehicles for regulation, Cirio aims to exploit intellectual property law as a tool for democratic oversight. This work integrates both the dystopian aspects of technology and the utopia of its participatory governance through flowcharts of patents that take the form of documentary and protest art. Coloring Book
"It was around 2008 or 2007 when Facebook decided to run algorithms for their users' feed. So there was an exact moment when they used one of those patents. They applied it to your feed, and from that point on, you couldn't see everything that was happening that you wanted to see. They started to decide what you were seeing. And so that changed everything completely-the idea of social networks and all related rhetoric, which to me it's not a utopia; because those ideas could still work, but not this notion that the social media will help us to improve society with these terms created by a centralized authority manipulating communication." Conversation with Christiane Paul
At the core of the project is the Sociality website, a searchable database where users can browse, rate, and "ban" patents. Other than providing much needed oversight, does rating or banning have any real-world consequences? The database is an attempt to make potentially harmful patents visible and democratize the evaluation process; everyone is welcome to flag patents they find objectionable-or to submit new ones for the public to examine. The "ban" option allows you to alert regulators, researchers, and legal experts to a patent's existence and its troublesome qualities via an automated email. Interview with Alexander Scholz
How is one to visualize social emancipation, particularly in geographies of indignation, injustice, and oppression? Imperial Insignia examines bereavement and the irony of how military forces seem to serve the ruling class rather than the one they are meant to protect-the people. In Dayrit's hands, art is folk and activist in a contemporary sense: it carries remnants of the past into the future.Kenneth Paranada
My work investigates notions of hegemony and identity and interrogates how these are represented and reproduced in various institutions like museums and monuments and maps and other institutionalized media. Interview at Gasworks
Waterboarded Documents presents a series of research documents surrounding the operation of websites and domains linked to the British Indian Ocean Territory, an archipelago forcibly depopulated in the 1970s and subsequently used as a US base during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a CIA black site and rendition transit point.
Reproducing the effects of water damage claimed by the British Government to prevent the release of information relating to the rendition program, the documents illustrate the complicity between contemporary technological networks and older forms of entrenched and imperial power.
The British government has consistently denied any illegalities in the expulsion. Moreover, in 2010, the British Cabinet announced that most of the archipelago would be turned into the world's largest Marine Protected Area, a move that will prohibit commercial fishing as well as oil and gas exploration in the area. Leaked documents seem to confirm Chagossians' suspicion that this MPA was created to prevent the islanders from returning to the islands.
The case has not been heard by any international court of law as no appropriate venue has been found to accept the case. The Glomar Response
Bridle says that the motivation was to illustrate the violence done to information and to the BIOT, "which ultimately and always leads to violence done to people."
"That violence includes not only the rendition and torture program, but the original depopulation of the islands, the ongoing refusal of the right of return of the native Chagossian people, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere that have used Diego Garcia as a base," says Bridle, as well as "the NSA [and] GCHQ violations of privacy and human rights which are also based out of Diego Garcia... Other documents also show how contemporary networks-satellite communications, internet routing, and the .io domain name-reproduce these imperial histories."
In this duel of greater transparency versus greater opacity, Bridle sees no clear winner. The two sides are locked into a dualistic view of the world and its technologies. Interview with DJ Pangburn
How can shifting between the macroscopic and the microscopic help us to imagine complex systems that are otherwise hard to grasp? Marjolijn Dijkman explores perception and human experience through the lenses of cultural and scientific production. Informed by research and collaboration, her work opens up categories of thought-geography, ecology, museology, cosmology-through fictionalization and humor. Her artworks can be seen as a form of science-fiction or speculative abstraction, combining different temporalities and geographies to form unconventional collective narratives.
Made in collaboration with Toril Johannessen, Reclaiming Vision focuses on aquatic life forms that are invisible to the human eye yet have been affected by human activity. Dijkman and Johannessen placed microorganisms and pollutants from Norwegian fjords under a light microscope in choreographed sequences, blurring the boundary between nature documentary and fiction. By exploring brackish water, its inhabitants, properties, and human traces, the film reflects upon our relationships with the "natural" environment, especially those we cannot see without technology.
Remaining and Expanding, 2016, a suite of thirty-six gouache-on-panel paintings is sourced from the fifth issue (November 2014) of Dabiq, the online propaganda magazine of ISIS. Khan-Dossos reproduced pages from the issue and mounted the results together as an editorial board might mock up a draft issue to check layout and pacing; however, the artist redacted all imagery and text by rendering each block into a mélange of abstract color fields featuring differing bars, bands, and circles.Adam Kleinman
Aniconism is something I often use as a go-to word to describe the essence of what I'm trying to paint, or not paint, but it's not really such an easy word to unpack. There are a lot of misunderstandings about figuration in Islamic art, and whether this produces an "abstract" art in the absence of these forms. The Quran does not explicitly condemn the depiction of human figures, but like the Abrahamic tradition before it, it does condemn idolatry. This is particularly important in places of worship such as the mosque and the Ka'aba in Mecca, where the emphasis is on the spoken and written word rather than the illustrative image. The absence of icons in this religious environment-aniconism-therefore generates a space that is summed up well by a thinker I read a lot in my early twenties, Titus Burckhardt. He was a writer with a great knowledge of Islamic art and Sufi poetry and one of the founders of the "Traditionalist School" of twentieth-century authors. In Mirror of the Intellect: Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art (1987), he says:
"By excluding all anthropomorphic images, at least within the religious realm, Islamic art aids man to be entirely himself. Instead of projecting his soul outside himself, he can remain in his ontological centre where he is both the viceregent (khalifal) and slave ('abd) of God. Islamic art as a whole aims at creating an ambience which helps man to realize his primordial dignity; it therefore avoids everything that could be an 'idol,' even in a relative and provisional manner." Information acts: Navine G. Khan-Dossos in conversation with Stephanie Bailey
CAPTIVATING, ALMOST by anonymous writer
Dabiq, the Islamic State's English-language periodical, has been at the forefront of the group's rhetorical assaults and entreaties ever since its first appearance on the morning of Saturday, July 5, 2014, just six days after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was declared the caliph and "ISIS," the organization, became "IS," the caliphate.
Since its pilot issue "The Return of Khilafah," there have been fifteen editions, which have become progressively more ambitious with time; a trajectory pursued by the rest of the Islamic State's propaganda that seems to have been, if anything, spurred on by its waning insurgent prospects in Iraq and Syria. [...]
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of 1968, 366 Liberation Rituals comprises a series of staged interventions and performances in public space in which the artist works through his experience in the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. Over the course of one year between 2008 and 2009, Grubić performed micro-political actions and interventions on a daily basis.
Structured as a series of photographs that riffs on the editing principle of the jump cut, Igor Grubić's 366 Liberation Rituals document guerilla actions, straightforward encounters with the streets, performativity, civil disobedience, and poetic terrorism. Grubić takes on a quasi-heroic role in these performances, adopting the identity of an overall-clad street hero determined to correct the irregularities of a post-transitional society.
"The sad clown burst into tears, thus joining the mourning over the world economic crisis."Text in the artwork Sad Clown
"I do not separate art from everyday life. By taking on the role of an artist, I am aware that I am stepping out into the public sphere, where the eyes of the public are on me and therefore all my actions need to be responsible."Igor Grubić
How is evidence best presented or, in this case, re-presented? In her ongoing series Monsanto Intervention, Stolle alters and redacts mid-century Monsanto Magazine advertisements pointing out a wrinkle in time. The Monsanto ads were ubiquitous, seen everywhere from Life Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Fortune, and Time to many other popular magazines. Using primary and secondary source materials including twentieth-century medical books, agricultural magazines, archival photographs, US Department of Agriculture promotional videos, and print advertisements, Stolle's work challenges the dominant public narrative, reflecting the artist's concern with industrial food production and the influence of biotechnology.Mary Anne Redding
For more than one hundred years, the name Monsanto has engendered both faith and fear, loyalty and loathing. The corporate leader first made a name for itself in the early 1900s as a maker of artificial ingredients, moving over the years into a maker of industrial compounds and synthetic chemicals and eventually taking on Mother Nature herself as a corporate creator of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto Exposed by Carey Gillam
Plummer-Fernandez's triptych The Codification of Leadership (2014) uses graphically distorted images showing former US president George W. Bush at the signing of far-reaching legislation: the Patriot Acts, the Homeland Security Acts, and Intelligent Reform Acts. These three acts were signed into law by the Bush administration over the course of the fight against terrorism and include, among others, the large-scale surveillance of American citizens in the name of public safety. The scope and complexity involved in the execution of these laws mean their implementation is increasingly taken over by algorithms that are more and more beyond the control of humans.Sergey Harutoonian
The focus of this work is the non-human interpreter: the algorithm. Quayola subjects Adoration of the Magi by Sandro Botticelli to readings by custom software to examine its visual characteristics. He then allows a visible version of the readings to be produced by the computer: the predicate relating to the painting presented in a quasi-verbal form. It is by all means a language that should be familiar and understandable to humans. On the contrary, an inaccessible translation appears.
The aesthetic intent of such hermeneutic operation becomes evident when the artist uses it to unfold a temporal dichotomy and puts into dialogue as prints exhibited next to each other-two complementary interpretive forms. On one side the human one: a classical, meaningful and carefully worded composition of sentences by the father of Renaissance art criticism Giorgio Vasari. On the other side the computer one: a hyper-contemporary and illegible flow of technical verbosity.
Do the "originals" and Quayola's iterations legitimize each other, lending each other historical authority? Perhaps more importantly, we ought to ask ourselves what we would see in these iterations if we didn't know they were inspired by classic iconographic representations? What do our eyes look for? Where do they linger? On what does a computer pause? What does it think when it sees? How does it understand?Sabin Bors
Ingrid Burrington's large-scale lenticular prints show politically and technologically significant sites-data centers, air bases, space stations, downlinks-captured by high-resolution aerial photography. The lenticulars show two versions of a single location at different points in time, to reveal the instability and shifting realities of satellite views. We see sites before and after data centers' construction, building details camouflaged by filters, and whole locations blurred out in censorship. Onizuka Air Force Station was built in 1960 to support early aerospace operations. Referred to locally as the "Blue Cube," Onizuka was the longtime home of the Air Force Satellite Control Facility, which supported many renaissance satellite programs. The aerial views show the station before and after its demolition in 2014.Hannah Gregory
In Reconnaissance Ingrid Burrington's lenticular printed satellite imagery combines a kitsch dime store technology with a multibillion-dollar military one. The series connects high-resolution aerial photography with the conditions of its production and redaction. Presenting downlinks, data centers, air bases, and calibration targets as seen from hundreds of kilometers above the Earth's surface, the images refer to the infrastructure that made them. They offer traces of the satellites launched and glimpses of the machinery circulating the data captured by those machine eyes. By presenting two versions of each image, which the viewer can toggle between, shuffling from one side to the other, Burrington reanimates the infrastructures and processes that have been or are becoming obscured. Reconnaissance by Whitney Mallett
In the installation Contaminated Belief (2007), Hafez presents a specific but opaque space in which the notion of tool, prop, and sculpture coexist, reinforcing but also negating one another. Three glass vitrines sit atop pedestals draped with fabric in red, white, and black. Each vitrine contains an object cast in solid bronzed copper: a gun (red), a hammer (white), and a knife (black). These objects were previously props in the corresponding video Revolution (Liberty, Social Equity, Unity) (2006). The presentation of such objects of oppression addresses the 1952 coup d'état in Egypt, as well as their role in the histories of war and technology more widely.
Each object is iconic and rich with connotations. With regard to the gun, the word "trigger" defines "a small device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism, especially in order to fire a gun," whereas the verb "to trigger" means "to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist, to provoke." Since its invention, the hammer has been used as a symbol for many actions: from the idiomatic "to nail something"-to secure something, to achieve something-to the Italian saying "tra l'incudine e il martello" ["between the hammer and the anvil"], which in English can be compared to the saying "between a rock and a hard place"-to be in a situation where one is faced with two equally difficult alternatives. This latter idea would be a good anticipation of the meaning behind Revolution (Liberty, Social Equity, Unity). Triggering / Nailing / Cutting: The Idiomatic Practice Of Khaled Hafez by Nicola Trezzi
Paper-cutting was first introduced in the ancient worship of ancestors and gods. Hung on the panes of windows and doors as symbols of luck and happiness, paper-cuts filter dancing shadows into the home. Archaeological records show this folk art originating in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), though many believe they date to the Warring States period, around 3 BCE. "Sometimes I imagine cutting the vault of the night's black sky into a flaming sun. Sometimes people like to fight with nature. Sometimes you have to work with it," Xiaydie commented on working in this medium.
In Gate (Tiananmen) (2016), male lovers intertwine between the open Gates of Heavenly Peace-an illicit love at the main site where the legal love of the nation is performed. A version of China's Open Door Policy, Xiyadie's lovers embrace. It was in this square that Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and it is here that generations have protested: in 1919 during the May Fourth Movement, in 1976 after the death of Zhou Enlai, in 1989 when thousands were murdered in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Now, mass gatherings take the form of military parades.Hera Chan
Sajan Mani describes the performance #MakeinIndia' as an "act of resistance through a black Dalit body to draw attention to historical and current injustice. My body is a site for the powerless, the untouchable, and the unspeakable. My performance will attempt to evoke pain, shame, power, and fear. I carry the bodies of Dalit grandfathers who were used as cows/beasts of burden in the fields and killed. I question collective memory and knowledge systems."
Everything that concerned the true nature of the Dinosaurs must remain hidden. In the night, as the New Ones slept around the skeleton, which they had decked with flags, I transported it, vertebra by vertebra, and buried my Dead.Italo Calvino, The Dinosaurs
The most complex feature of the dinosaur totem is the cluster of taboos and rituals that surround its excavation and display. These form the core of public dinosaur fascination and "dinomania," the set of emotional and intellectual associations that give dinosaurs "magic" and "aura" in mass culture. Here we must note a few salient differences between dinosaurs and traditional totem animals. The traditional totem was generally a living, actually existing animal that had an immediate, familiar relation to its clan. The dinosaur is a rare, exotic, and extinct animal that has to be "brought back to life" in representations and then domesticated, made harmless and familiar. The traditional totem located power and agency in nature; totem animals and plants bring human beings to life and provide the natural basis for their social classifications. By contrast, the modern totem locates power in human beings: we classify the dinosaurs and identify ourselves with them; we bring the dangerous monsters back to life in order to subdue them. The Last Dinosaur Book by W. J. T. Mitchell
Like paleontological resources on Indian lands, however, traditional fossil knowledge can be fraught with issues of ownership. Some oral knowledge is considered sacred or kept secret from outsiders. Deloria approaches the problem of sacred knowledge by trying to avoid being the first to publish oral material unless a comparable version has already appeared in print. This approach is generally accepted among Native Americans as they balance the tensions between revealing and sharing cultural wisdom. Juanita Pahdopony, a Comanche storyteller who related some personal memories about fossil-bone medicine in Oklahoma, remarked: "I would not like to be the first to reveal a tribal knowledge that is kept by our people. After all, what is left that hasn't already been taken from us?" Fossil Legends Of The First Americans by Adrienne Mayor