March 20 // Conference
March 21 // Conference

Zach Blas, That Which Protects the Diverse

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam / Teijin Auditorium, 10:30-17:00 // Scroll down for the programme and click on the time!

With Shu Lea Cheang, Ricardo Dominguez, Isadora Neves Marques, Shaka McGlotten and Nelly Y. Pinkrah

‘Thus, that which protects the Diverse we call opacity.’

– Édouard Glissant

In 1985, feminist science and technology studies scholar Donna Haraway theorized the informatics of domination as a networked, computational reconfiguration of what Black feminist theorist bell hooks termed imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Now, almost forty years later, most of us live and die in the throes of this episteme, surrounded by informatic modes of control and injustice. But is there an outside? Are there informatics otherwise? What technologies might enable and nurture diversities of existence that exceed the informatics of domination? In response to these questions, this day of the conference-festival shares glimmers, desires, imaginaries, propositions, practices, theories, and lived experiences of an intergenerational, transnational gathering of artists and scholars committed to surviving in and beyond the informatics of domination. 

The programme engages philosopher Yuk Hui’s concept of technodiversity by staging an encounter with Caribbean philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant’s notion of the Diverse, that is, minoritarian existences on Earth relating through alterities that are unknowable and unpredictable to standardized, dominant orders. Throughout the day, we will experience the Diverse’s technodiversity, a range of critiques and constitutions, protections and celebrations, that are anticolonial, antiracist, feminist, and queer, including presentations on indigenous futurism, computational hexes, viral love, opacity in cybernetics, and gendered robots and vampires. The program will also reckon with the institutionalization of diversity under the informatics of domination, questioning the very diversity of diversity today. Relating and resonating through Glissant’s opaque Diverse, the artists and scholars gathered here demonstrate how to create, use, dream, and think with technodiversity, in code and text, image and sound, performance and protest, seeking protection and liberation from the informatics of domination, but also alliance and pleasure along the way.

Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker and writer whose practice draws out the philosophies and imaginaries residing in computational technologies and their industries. Working across moving image, computation, installation, theory, performance, and science fiction, Blas has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings at venues including the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, 12th Gwangju Biennale, and e-flux. His current exhibition CULTUS addresses a burgeoning AI religiosity in the tech industry and is presented at arebyte Gallery, London and Secession, Vienna. Blas’s book Unknown Ideals was published by Sternberg Press in 2021. With Melody Jue and Jennifer Rhee, he is co-editor of Informatics of Domination, forthcoming from Duke University Press. Blas is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto.


Welcome // BLOCK 1

Jorinde Seijdel (Studium Generale)


Zach Blas,

Pluriversal Disturbances (lecture performance)

Ricardo Dominguez,

Pluriversal Disturbances will sing the songs of micro-gestures that flow between critical codes, indigenous futurism, protective media, and speculative encounters in unworlds.

Ricardo Dominguez was a member of Critical Art Ensemble and a cofounder of Electronic Disturbance Theater 1.0 (EDT), a group that developed Virtual-Sit-In technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico, with Carmin Karasic, Brett Stalbaum and Stefan Wary. With Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) 2.0 (Brett Stalbaum, micha cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand) he co-created the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a GPS cellphone safety net tool for wandering over the Mexico–U.S. border. EDT 3.0 presented at the MexiCali Biennial: Land of Milk and Honey (BORDERLANDS): and He is a Creative Captial awardee, a Hellman Fellow, a Society for the Humanities Fellow at Cornell University, a Rockefeller Fellow (Bellagio Center, Italy), and a UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy Fellow. Ricardo is a professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts, a Principal Investigator at CALIT2/QI at UCSD, and his writings can be found at:

Coffee Break // BLOCK 2

Reproducing the Imagination: On the Gender of Robots and Vampires (online presentation)

Isadora Neves Marques

Both androids and vampires are creatures with a radically different reproduction to our own. Why then are they often cyphers for human gender and sexual categories? And what do they teach us about both the fiction and the reality of the many worlds that compose this one planet? The unbound possibilities of imagination?

Isadora Neves Marques (Lisbon, Portugal) is a film director, visual artist, poet, and writer. She was the Official Portuguese Representation – Portugal Pavilion at the 59th La Biennale di Venezia in 2022, and was awarded a Special Prize at the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize in 2022 and the Present Future Art Prize at Artissima in 2018. Her films have been screened at major film festivals, including Toronto and New York, receiving numerous awards such as the Ammodo Tiger Short Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2022. Her artworks have been exhibited globally, including the High Line, e-flux, and Anthology Film Archives (New York), Pérez Art Museum of Miami (USA), CA2M and Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid), CaixaForum (Barcelona), Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Gasworks, Tate Modern Film, and Wellcome Collection (London), HOME (Manchester), Berardo Museum Collection (Lisbon), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum and Guangdong Times Museum (China), as well as at the Gwangju Biennale, Guangzhou Image Triennial, and Liverpool Biennial. She is a co-founder of the poetry press Pântano Books, through which she published her poetry collection Sex as Care and Other Viral Poems (2020). Her critical writings are published regularly in e-flux journal and other magazines, as well as in publications by MIT Press, Sternberg Press, and Verso, among others. After a decade living in New York, she is now based in Hong Kong.

Ima Put a Computational Hex on You (lecture performance)

Shaka McGlotten,

Ima Put a Computational Hex on You is an experiment with data doppelgängers. Drawing on literary histories of the doppelgänger and emphasizing the ambivalent dis/enchantments of the algorithmic ordinary, I consider versions of ourselves and others that come to life in ‘data’ form, animated by usually invisible forces. Considering recent developments in AI, including data twins and ChatGPT, I emphasize some of the witchy, weird, and queer entanglements of identities, bodies, and the many other intra-actants that help comprise data doubles–the surveilling gazes of corporations and states, as well as the diverse affects induced by discussions with chatbots. How might the notion of the computational hex help us understand something about algorithmic sorting histories or the anxieties and pleasures attendant to digital rabbitholes?

Shaka McGlotten is Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College-SUNY, where they also serve as Chair of the Gender Studies program. An anthropologist and artist, their work stages encounters between black study, queer theory, media, and art. They have written and lectured widely on networked intimacies and messy computational entanglements as they interface with queer of color lifeworlds. They are the author of Dragging: Or, in the Drag of a Queer Life (Routledge, 2021) and Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality (SUNY, 2013). They are also the co-editor of two edited collections, Black Genders and Sexualities (with Dana-ain Davis, Palgrave, 2012) and Zombies and Sexuality (with Steve Jones, McFarland, 2014). Their work has been supported by Data & Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and The Andy Warhol Foundation.

Lunch // BLOCK 3

'Technology that we Represent.' Why Rethinking Technology and its Histories is Constitutive (lecture presentation)

Nelly Y. Pinkrah

Édouard Glissant has frequently been labeled as anti-technology or a technophobe in reference to an understanding of technology as these highly-specialized machinic entities of the last few decades. While for many readers, Glissant may not have engaged with technology in a straightforward way, his work, most prominently the concept of opacity, has resonated strongly in the last 20 years in film and media studies (and related fields such as STS, surveillance studies, etc.) which can be understood as a reflection of the media technological condition of the same time. However, Glissant’s work does offer another entry point. In my short talk, I want to invite the audience to think about technology with me, precisely in a sense that Yuk Hui has advanced through his concepts of «cosmotechnics» and «technodiversity», and to think through the experience of technological life today.

Nelly Y. Pinkrah is a research assistant at Technical University in Dresden, Germany with the Chair for Digital Cultures. She is interested in black studies, media & technology, poetics & politics, critical pedagogy & practice and speaks, writes and workshops for magazines, organizations and institutions. Her doctoral thesis about Édouard Glissant, histories of technology and cybernetics is finished at Leuphana University Lüneburg where she is also associated with the Centre for Digital Cultures and an alumna of the research training group «Cultures of Critique». In 2021, she was a lecturer at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, from October 2018 to May 2019 she was a Doctoral Fellow at the Global Emergent Media Lab at Concordia University, Montréal. Nelly is a Senior Fellow with Humanity in Action, part of the German Forum Antiracism Media Studies (FAM) and member of the DFG Network »Gender, Media, Affect«.

UKI, a Scifi Viral Alt-Reality Cinema (screening)

Shu Lea Cheang

Set your electric sheep free range. It is 2060. What do you do with expired humanoids?

UKI’s storyline unfolds as we follow a defunct replicant REIKO dumped on Etrashville—a vast dump for tech—who tries to pull themselves back together with the help of Etrashville's transgenic inhabitants. Parallel to REIKO’s trajectory is that of an infected city where we are made aware of the reckless schemes of the biotech enterprise GENOM Co.

The three narratives interweave in three film sets: (1) A virtual BioNet owned by GENOM Co. takes human bodies hostage to re-engineer red blood cells into nano-computing self-generated orgasms. BioNet collects enhanced orgasm data through handshake wet-data transmission and ultimately produces orgasmic red pills for mass consumption. (2) A besieged diner in the city where the infected congregate to exchange their own orgasm data for fresher, more intense, mutual orgasms. The diner is also the meeting-place for hackers who traverse time and space, bringing in news of protest and manifestation while uncovering GENOM’s bio-engineering scheme. (3) Etrashville, set in the Deep Continent, where REIKO awakens to find their glitched body undergoing a series of transformations as they encounter the transgenic queer creatures who inhabit Etrashville.

As the plot thickens, REIKO’s body is coded, recoded, and finally collapses to re-emerge as UKI the Virus. Setting back GENOM's plans, UKI the Virus seems on the brink of swarming through the infected city to liberate the red blood cells. Through virus-becoming and viral love, we find a way to reclaim our viral bodies.

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker who engages in genre-bending and gender-hacking art practices. Celebrated as a net art pioneer with BRANDON (1998–99), the first web art commissioned and collected by Guggenheim Museum, New York, Cheang represented Taiwan with the mixed media installation 3x3x6 at Venice Biennale in 2019. Crafting her own genre of Scifi New Queer Cinema, she has made 4 feature films, FRESH KILL (1994), I.K.U. (2000), FLUIDø (2017) and UKI (2023). In 2023, she toured UKI with screenings at LAS Art  Foundation (Berlin), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York), and ICA (London), among other venues. Her recent artworks RED PILL (2023) and UTTER (2023) are respectively shown at HOPE, TECHNO-HUMANITIES (Museion, Italy) and Attention After Technology (Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway). In 2024, she embarks on a series of art and technology initiated projects with Guggenheim Museum New York.   

Shu Lea Cheang and Zach Blas in conversation

Closing remarks

March 22 // Friday Night
Attendance // Ticket information
Preliminary programme
Reading Group
Workshop x Rietveld Uncut
Basicyear Project
Rietveld Uncut