James Bridle in conversation with Thomas Keenan at OCA

Published 2016/09/07

James Bridle, Rainbow Plane (2014), Kiev, Ukraine


Resident artist James Bridle in conversation with Bard College Professor Thomas Keenan

Saturday 10 September 2016, 16:00

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo I

OCA is pleased to announce a talk with OCA ISP resident artist, James Bridle, who will be in conversation with Thomas Keenan, Director of the Human Rights Project and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Human Rights Program at Bard College, New York, NY, USA. The talk is organised by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in collaboration with Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 'After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence and the Ways We Stay in Transit' and The National Museum – Architecture.

How does artistic work intervene or make claims in the political realm? Which kind of role does it take in reaching such an objective?

Raising awareness, expanding imaginations, creating or providing evidence, and giving voice or visibility to otherwise unnoticed positions and subjects, are few of the forms and ways in which one can engage in these operations against the numerous conflicting political agendas of the world today. At a moment when many political campaigns and corporate projects self-consciously adopt ‘aesthetic’ strategies, with or without the participation of artists, to scrutinise the interrelation of aesthetics and politics becomes a civil task. The discussion intensifies when we talk about technology and art interlocked with human rights.

While studying the first Internet war coalescing technology advancements of military information at the turn of the century, almost 15 years ago now, Thomas Keenan wrote that ‘unpredictability and openness of the medium is what makes it a political space, and what exposes those who operate within it to decision, action, and responsibility.’

In his practice as an artist, writer and theorist, James Bridle has investigated modern network infrastructure, and technological surveillance at the intersection of art, science, and political activism. His work incorporates software programming, social media, photography, installations, architectural rendering and maps which unravel politics of surveillance, interstices of escape, and traces left mistakenly by technology, which create a different representation of our physical world.

During this upcoming conversation at OCA in Oslo, Bridle will speak about his practice in a conversation with Professor Keenan, who has analysed in great detail the role of communications technology, writing, imaging, and data storage especially in its effect on civil rights and our perception of possible futures, thus blurring the lines between the virtual and the real.

For more information, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Hassel.

About James Bridle
James Bridle is a British artist and writer based in Athens, Greece. His artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide and on the internet. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, the Guardian, the Observer and many others, in print and online. He lectures regularly at conferences, universities, and other events. His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines.

Bridle's residency as part of OCA's Studio Programme in March and September 2016 is organised in conjunction with his participation in the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016.

About Thomas Keenan
Thomas Keenan is an author, Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Law School, and Director of the Human Rights Project and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Human Rights Program at Bard College. He holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a Master of Philosophy and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the recipient of the following awards: Fellowship, Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, Rutgers (1991–92); Shorenstein Fellow, Joan Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard (1998). He is the author of Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics (1997); articles in PMLA, New York Times, Wired, Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, among others. He was the editor of The End(s) of the Museum (1996) and co-editor of New Media, Old Media (2005); (1988). He is an editorial and advisory board member of Journal of Human Rights, Grey Room, WITNESS, Scholars at Risk Network. (1999– ).

OCA ISP – International Studio Programme

International residents (artists, curators and critics) are invited to OCA’s International Studio Programme (ISP) for a period of up to three months. The length of the stay depends on the respective resident’s schedule needs. The resident is provided with a professional studio, an apartment at Ekely (an artists's colony where Edvard Munch built his studio where he lived and worked until his death in 1944) for their stay in Oslo, and additional research possibilities during his or her stay. The residency can be used for independent research, work on a project taking place in Norway, teaching purposes or for other activities in relation to Norwegian contemporary culture. OCA’s ISP programme guests are also invited to extend their residency participation into networked activities in the form of public talks, seminars and presentations organised by OCA and/or at the invitation of other institutions throughout Norway.

In 2016 OCA, under the umbrella of the project 'Thinking at the Edge of the World. Perspectives from the North’ has initiated a number of residencies and programmes of readings, performances, lectures and upcoming exhibitions for visiting artists, curators and critics in Northern Norway with the cooperation and support of local institutions.

Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) is the Nordic region’s biggest architecture festival, and one of the world’s important arenas for dissemination and discussion of architectural and urban challenges. Through exhibitions, conferences, debates, competitions, publications and events in different formats and media, OAT seeks to challenge the field of architecture, engage the public and inspire local, Nordic and international debates around architecture and urbanism. The Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 ’After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence and the Ways We Stay in Transit' is curated by a group of architects, curators and scholars based in New York, NY, USA, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands, composed by Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Ignacio G. Galán, Carlos Mínguez Carrasco, Alejandra Navarrete Llopis and Marina Otero Verzier.

The conversation between James Bridle and Thomas Keenan is part of OCA’s continuous programming Notations. OCA's 'Notations' unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that explore the desire for the institution to reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action.