Type of project: seminars and workshops
Where: Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden
When: 03–07 December 2012
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona;
Karlskrona konsthall, Karlskrona, Sweden

Inter-Act! – Art and activism in social media

by Nicola Bergström Hansen

Marshall McLuhan began his book Understanding Media1 with the statement that every media always contains a different media. Although the book was written in the 1960s, it is more relevant than ever in today’s society. The digital world, with its abundance of information, has created a copy-paste culture where everything is reusable. Mash-ups, cut-ups, edits and remixes are just some examples which highlight the “paraphrase condition” manifested in today’s society.

The purpose of this workshop is to go one step further. Instead of creating new contexts and meanings by sampling two different materials, we will be using the same material to create something new. The only ingredient required for this is the popular and somewhat worn out concept of interactivity. We start with the record player (changing the pitch or playing a record backwards can change a gospel recording into a Satanic manifesto) and land in today’s advanced computer games. We will look closer at concepts like “counter gaming” and “culture jamming”, in which digital software in public space are used (or abused) to create social and political awareness. The purpose of the workshop is to get students to analyze a digital social media platform in public space (an app, a community, a game, etc.), and then use its interactivity to comment upon, develop or criticize the platform itself or its context.

The idea is that students are free in their choice and that the results will vary from the performative and practical to the theoretical and visionary.

Nicola Bergström Hansen has a BFA from The School of Photography in Gothenburg and a MFA from Konstfack. She has also studied at Hyper Island in Karlskrona.

1. McLuhan M. (1964), Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, New York.

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