Unconventional art, guerrilla communication, radical entertainment
A project by Bani Brusadin and Eva & Franco Mattes
THE INFLUENCERS 2018
October 25 - 27, 2018
Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona
Every year since 2004 The Influencers festival has been inviting artists, hacktivists and researchers to share their unusual projects, rebellious inventions and adventures in the unstable realm where everyday technology and collective imagination collide, often times with unexpected results.
During all these years we have been showing an incredibly wide range of approaches to art and the creative - or even controversial - use of popular communication technologies, including newer and older examples of pranksterism, fakes and hoaxes; the beauty of online user cultures up to radical memetics; creative forms of hacktivism and a whole set of practices of critical engineering; and even large scale visual interventions or explorations of the unseen side of the city.
Also, at The Influencers there has always been room for fringe, visionary, crazy ideas. An example? Zero gravity theater, a tall bike gang, setting up a bot to buy stuff on the darknets, collecting patches of US army secret missions, or sculpting radioactive materials (among many many others).
More than ten years since its first edition, the festival has grown to become a renown cultural event in Barcelona and Catalonia, with an increasing international repercussion.
Unconventional art and activism are actually unconventional tactics to gain agency and protagonism as citizens, empowering passionate - but not necessarily professional - agents to have a say on complex matters such as the materiality of the internet, state massive surveillance or corporate data factories, the power of fiction in the age of social media realism, as well as the symbolic efficacy of images under the pressure of standardization, circulation, and distributed creativity.
Productions & Experiments
In the last few years The Influencers produced several workshops, actions and experiments in public (or semi-public) online and offline space. More recently, we co-commissioned art projects, curated exhibitions and co-edited a book. For more information: The Influencers productions
The New Networked NormalUn proyecto 2017-2019 llevado a cabo en colaboración con Abandon Normal Devices (Reino Unido), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (Cataluña, España), The Influencers (Cataluña, España), Transmediale (Alemania) and STRP (Holanda).
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
From 2014 to 2016 The Influencers was part of Masters & Servers, a joint venture between Abandon Normal Devices (UK), Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art (Slovenia), Drugo More (Croatia) and Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age (Italy) and us. The project was the recipient of a European Union's Creative Europe fund for cooperation.
The Influencers aims at exploring the connections between post-studio artistic practices, the evolution in communication technologies and the always surprising paths of cultural change in an increasingly networked society. The prehistory of the project lies in the Digital Is Not Analog series of artist talks and conferences produced in Bologna and Campobasso (Italy) and Barcelona (Spain) between 2000 and 2002.
Our early interest in net.art and other ingenious forms of subversion of popular media soon evolved into The Influencers festival (Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, 2004), a passionate journey into a surprising, thrilling and yet mostly unacknowledged scene of artists, media-savvy activists and independent technologists in the age of digital media.
In the last decade, not only that scene became more and more popular and legit (hopefully thanks to our humble contribution, too), but deep technological, cultural and socio-economical changes on a global scale provoked a quick evolution in creative practices themselves, calling for new ways of sharing information, tecniques and strategies in an increasingly connected world.
Contemporary society is defined by a complex stack of communication technologies, cultural habits, circulating imagery, and invisible power structures. The Influencers sets out to show that this stack can be exposed and ultimately hacked through new approaches to art-making and post-digital invention, among other things. And that is precisely where unexpected and exciting alternatives to a mostly dismal future will be found.