A discovery into the ‘Cold World’

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A masterclass report by Kris Vleugels

‘S HERTOGENBOSCH – On January 30th 2018, students of AKV|St.Joost Master programmes had the opportunity to attend a masterclass given by Patricia Reed, a Canadian-born, Berlin-based researcher and webdeveloper.

A large number of fine art, graphic design and photography students were eager to participate. In the end, a group of 30 students gathered around Patrica to talk about the concept the ‘Cold World’.

In an elaborate presentation Patricia introduced us to her concepts and theories. In order to deconstruct the rather abstract concepts and theories of for example inhumanism, cosmotechnics and generic situatedness we created a lexicon during the process of the workshop.

Interesting definitions within in the lexicon included:
Alienation a disrupt from logical/ categorical perspectives
Naturalization norms and fact confusion
Denaturalization separation of norms from facts
Solutionism the belief that all difficulties have benign solutions, often of a technocratic nature
Complexity withdrawal the action of ceasing to participate in an complex environment.

By way of this lexicon we were able to look beyond the techno-fetishism versus techno-pessimism dichotomy and investigated how our current reality forces us to contend with a world where we are no longer what Patricia called “the radiant centre of activity” and how this fundamentally alters our self-understanding as human.

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Different graphic design, fine art and photography students were able to connect the masterclass to their own work.

For example Eric a second year photography student was able to step out of his own buble and find a new perspective up on his work. Eric: “Most of my work deals with understanding the relationship between certain events that happened in history and how they kind of structure and form the present or the present understanding of a topic specifically it is colonialism…”

“What I like about the masterclass is that it takes a deep dive into basically building a language or an index so to speak in terms of how we can understand how these things can affect the future and I think I am doing that with the history and the present so for me that is a nice bridge.”

“I think it is good to have that perspective and in that sense it than complements what I am already doing.”

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For Sarah, a first year graphic design student, it was an opportunity to get closer to a way of modern thinking and philosophy. Sarah: “I liked the fact that she was an artist but for me she was also a philosopher or at least a thinker. She talked a lot about the relationship between us and technology and let me to understand the topic and gave me the opportunity to get close to elements that were out of my comfort zone.”

“The contrary things between technology and humans interest me the most. they (machines) are built by humans but than the idea is to them better than human beings. To make machines that are thinking and the concept of putting us in a crisis. This was a breaking point for me.”

“I really like this and that will also be something I will bring into my work because right now I am discovering the code world the programma world. It was an interesting point of view on what I am doing and experimenting.”

We ended the day with a lovely drink that gave us the opportunity to re-evaluate the concepts, ideas and theories which were presented to us.

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