Digital Talk: March – May 2020
Text: Lucas Bartholl, Javier Acevedo, Alberto Kanin
As the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic brought public life around the world to a halt, LU’UM had to rethink it’s practice that relies on physical encounters in public space. At this particular moment the collective wanted to turn to it’s friends and accomplices around the world to learn together how to cope with the socio-political changes taking place at an accelerated pace. Everybody was confined to their apartments under the stay at home paradigm to slow down the spread of the virus. At this moment the only possibility to share your thoughts as a group were online platforms.
LU’UM holds weekly gatherings as a collective to discuss ongoing and upcoming projects. These are open for people that are interested in collaborating or potentially even becoming part of the collective. Usually the people attending are from Hamburg. The pandemic hit at a moment shortly before a new season of projects for the collective started and as a result some of the members felt the need to start an exchange about the effects of the crisis on our practice in public space. Now where we could not meet in physical space, we felt like we wanted to use the opportunity to contact our friends and accomplices from around the world to start a discourse under the framework of this new urgency. For a short time in the beginning of the crisis it didn’t matter anymore if the people you talk to are in Hamburg, Amsterdam or Mexico City, as physical distance gave way to digital closeness.
Inspired by LU’UM’s work with the artist Michael Dudeck, the collective chose the name Digital Temple for the weekly gatherings in cyberspace. To use a seemingly so preoccupied term but at the same time vague notion is intentionally starting some potential unease in the people joining the meetings. In order to shake up the meaning of the belief systems (religious, ideological, idealistic) we have to challenge ourselves to question them. Only by going to a deep reflection of our thought system, reaching a conscious state of mind of our position in relation to others, can we reach towards finding a common ground. This is a process that needs to be always in motion, never resting. The greatest challenge is to balance a certain naivety with a sensitive mind for deconstructing belief systems. Especially for many of us that have an academical background and are used to certain patterns of knowledge production it is hard to learn to be naive in a positive sense again. The french situationists in the 1960’s were following the question of how to research the way of how the geographical environment influences the emotional behaviour of the individual. The dérive as “a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiance”’ required a certain naivety and impartiality from the psychogeographer (Situationalist Internationale). The way the Digital Temple has been started giving space for experimental behaviour and a certain naivety gave the attendees the possibility to build the temple in a conceptual sense from the scratch. The presentations and discussions became the construction material for building the temple.
According to anthropologist Mary Douglas It is in human nature to yearn for rigidity, hard lines and clear concepts, but we have to face the fact that some realities elude them (Mary Douglas). The reality we are facing now with the pandemic is one of these moments where humankind’s drive for clarity is blurred and the absence of a clear vision is driving people mad. Conspiracy theorists try to find the one truth in explanation patterns that are denying the complexity of reacting to a virus, we are only in the early stages of getting to know. People driven by angst are happily following a potentially authoritarian style of politics. Dissenting opinions of epidemiologists are not seen as what they are: A scientific discourse that is bringing different results in a dialogue. Accepting uncertainty, not in a passive sense but in a sense of critically reflecting on our actions and words and understanding the multiplexity of truth, might be one of the biggest challenges we as a society are facing now.
Architect and theorist Pier Vittorio Aureli describes how the temple originally was not a building but simply a space separated from everything else. Temenos, from the Greek temno, “to cut”, enclosed a space whose emptiness signified a zone of respect where everyday activities were suspended (Aureli 2016). In these chaotic days of the pandemic, one loses oneself scrolling through the social media feeds, becoming numb over the sheer amount of information. Everybody seems to be scared of missing out and at the same time producing content like never before, desperately trying to keep up to speed with the accelerating change around us. The Digital Temple has to be seen as part of this phenomena, but the illusion of separating its space from the chaos of information and the everyday and accepting uncertainty together comforted us.
Digital Temple I.
Panosmico (Mariana Mañón, Manolo Larrosa from Mexico City): Hydrographic Auscultation Circuit / more info: https://panosmico.cargo.site
LU’UM (Lucas Bartholl from Hamburg): The open archive and the coronacene map
Digital Temple II.
LU’UM (Marcelo Javier Acevedo Pardo, Alberto Kanin from Hamburg): About the practice of the collective and the idea of tempeling / more info:
Mariana Martinez Balvanera (from Amsterdam): The space in between us / more info: http://www.marianambalvanera.com
Digital Temple III.
Andreas Mallouris (from Nicosia): Virtual studio visit / more info: http://www.mallourisandreas.com
LU’UM (Lucas Bartholl from Hamburg): Purity and Covid-19
Digital Temple IV.
Seyi Adelekun (from London): Architecture to promote circular designing using recycled materials / more info: http://futurearchitectureplatform.org/projects/635464be-b817-4e55-93c4-df1e834ca561/
Andrea Romani Lopez (from London): On Aristotle’s catharsis. The relation between mimesis, eleos, phobos and catharsis in Aristotle’s Poetics / more info: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/andrea-romani-lopez(cf20289a-84a9-4379-b82b-36ff341a554b).html
Digital Temple V.
Workshop Constructing a temple in cyberspace
Digital Temple VI.
Karina Gobulenko (from Moscow): New Urgency platform and the virtual russian pavilion for venice / more info: https://new-urgency.net, http://russianpavilion.space, https://strelka.com/en/education/people/karina-golubenko