On November 23, 2012 I participated as a keynote speaker with the lecture “The Nature of Technologies. Technologies as Nature. Towards the Third Life” to the lectures’ series, workshops, conference and exhibition “Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious”, organized by Kibla Cultural Center in Maribor, Slovenia, and curated by Dmitry Bulatov in occasion of Maribor European Capital of Culture 2012. The Conference proceedings are now published, both on paper and freely downloadable online.

From the curator’s text:

“Science and technology constitute the visible embodiment of our ability to discover and make use of the laws of nature through the workings of our rational mind. But why have we chosen this path? What methods do we turn to, and how might this pose a potential threat to our existence? Although science and technology are usually considered tools dependent on practical and utilitarian concerns, in fact the motivations driving technological progress are much less straightforward. Before these tools and techniques are woven into the fabric of social life, the logical judgements lying at their foundation (generated by our rational capabilities) must pass through the complex labyrinth of the psyche. To what extent do the discourse and contexts of contemporary techno-culture depend upon the anthropological matrix that has traditionally united belief and ritual, the real and the imagined, the subject and the object?” [Dmitry Bulatov]


Both the conference and the exhibition – on robotics, techno-body modification, evolutionary design, bio- and genetic engineering… – were very interesting, featuring speakers like Roy Ascott, Dmitry Galkin, Erkki Huhtamo, Jurij Krpan, Alla Mitrofanova, Špela Petri?, Andrew Pickering and Andrey Smirnov, and the artists Marina Abramovi? (RS/US), Suzanne Dikker and Matthias Oostrik (NL), James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau (UK), Tuur Van Balen (BE), Brandon Ballengee (US), Guy Ben-Ary and Kirsten Hudson (AU), Boredomresearch: Vicky Isley and Paul Smith (UK), David Bowen (US), Ursula Damm (DE), Joe Davis (US), Louis-Philippe Demers (SG), Stefan Doepner and Lars Vaupel (SI/DE), Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha (NL), Andrew Gracie (UK/ES), Floris Kaayk (NL), Kuda begut sobaki (RU), Seiko Mikami (JP), Neurotica (AU-US), Leo Peschta (AT), Maja Smrekar (SI), Stelarc (AU), The Tissue Culture & Art Project: Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr (AU), Polona Tratnik (SI), Bill Vorn (CA).

I had a very nice time there, with beautiful people, food and wine. I also was at the Koroška Galerija, a classical gallery in Slovenj Gradec, near Maribor, that hosted a large part of the exhibition. They were so kind to host my Skype intervention at “EduEDA – The EDUcational Encyclopedia of Digital Arts”, a simultaneous meeting at the Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci in Prato organized by Tommaso Tozzi, and patiently they waited until it was finished.

The video of my intervention:

and here my lecture in the proceedings.