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Media, performance and participation
Author: Marcos P. Dias

The machinic city investigates the role of performance art to help us reflect on contemporary urban living, as human and machine agency become increasingly intermingled and digital media is overlaid onto the urban fabric. This is illustrated by several case studies on performance art interventions from artists such as Blast Theory, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Rimini Protokoll, which draw from a rich history of avant-garde art movements to create spaces for deliberation and reflection on urban life and to speculate on its future. As cities are increasingly controlled by autonomous processes mediated by technical machines, the performative potential of the aesthetic machine is analysed, as it assembles with media, Capitalist, human and urban machines. The aesthetic machine of performance art in urban space is analysed through its different – design, city and technology actants. This unveils the unpredictable nature and emerging potential of performance art as it unfolds in the machinic city, which consists of assemblages of efficient and not-so-efficient machines. The machinic city pays particular attention to participation, describing how digitally mediated performance art interventions in urban space foreground different modes of subjectivity emerging from human and machine hybrids. This highlights the importance of dissensus as a constitutive factor of urban life and as a means of countering machinist determinism in present and future conceptualisations of city life.

Author: Katia Pizzi

This is the first interdisciplinary exploration of machine culture in Italian futurism after the First World War. The machine was a primary concern for the futuristi. As well as being a material tool in the factory it was a social and political agent, an aesthetic emblem, a metonymy of modernity and international circulation and a living symbol of past crafts and technologies. Exploring literature, the visual and performing arts, photography, music and film, the book uses the lens of European machine culture to elucidate the work of a broad set of artists and practitioners, including Censi, Depero, Marinetti, Munari and Prampolini. The machine emerges here as an archaeology of technology in modernity: the time machine of futurism.

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Marcos P. Dias

Another type of machine I have argued for the importance of the aesthetic machine – in particular digitally mediated performance art – as a form of deliberation on contemporary urban living. This type of aesthetic machine is not situated in opposition to technical machines, nor does it confer a higher degree of agency to its technical components. The aesthetic machine is assembled from several other machines as it traverses other ‘Universes of value’ (Guattari, 1995 : 105). In this chapter I analyse these machines to understand how they operate and how they

in The machinic city
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The ethics of violent technologies
Author: Elke Schwarz

As innovations in military technologies race toward ever-greater levels of automation and autonomy, debates over the ethics of violent technologies tread water. Discussions about whether lethal drones are the most moral and effective tools to combat terrorism, or whether killer robots could kill more ethically than humans, often end up conflating efficiency with morality and legality with ethicality. Such conceptual confusions raise urgent questions about what is at work in the relationship between lethal technologies, their uses, and the ethical justifications provided for technologised practices of political violence. What enables the framing of instruments for killing as inherently ethical? What socio-political rationale underpins these processes? And what kind of ethical framework for violence is produced in such a socio-political context? Death Machines reframes current debates on the ethics of technologised practices of violence, arguing that the way we conceive of the ethics of contemporary warfare is itself imbued with a set of bio-technological rationalities that work as limits. The task for critical thought must therefore be to unpack, engage, and challenge these limits. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, the book offers a close reading of the technology-biopolitics-complex that informs and produces contemporary subjectivities, highlighting the perilous implications this has for how we think about the ethics of political violence, both now and in the future.

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Marcos P. Dias

man in Bangladesh. Gibson’s argument suggests that we should consider how certain practices, territorial arrangements, technologies, biotechnological developments, visionary concepts and alternative modes of living can provide us with a fragmented vision of the future and unequal access to its potential benefits. Many of the performance art projects that I have analysed so far reflect on how digital communication technologies are reconfiguring current modes of social engagement with the machinic city. However, an important role that performance art can fulfil is

in The machinic city
Katia Pizzi

Italian futurism and the machine 20 1 Futurismo and the machine During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. (M. McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964) The historian is but a captain in the war of time. (P. Virilio, Speed and Politics, 1977) This chapter explores a range of cultural, geographical and technological contexts of Italian modernity. I begin by outlining the shifting semantics of the term ‘machine’ and its development across time and follow through with a concise overview of conceptual positions and debates concerning machine

in Italian futurism and the machine
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Scott Wilson

9 Rage of the machine Changing into something less than human No longer part of this machine (Static-X ‘Machine’, 2001) Mecanosphere An episode of MTV’s Celebrity Death Match illustrates one of the many misconceptions concerning the relation between rage and the machine. In this episode, pioneering rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine were pitched against ‘the machine’, a giant robot. Singer/rapper Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, drummer Brad Wilk and guitarist Tom Morello proved to be no match for the machine, and the MTV audience were treated to

in Great Satan’s rage
Marcos P. Dias

Aesthetic machines and their discontents In this chapter I will outline some of the key historical manifestations of the aesthetic machine, from its origins in ancient theatre where the stage and audience were clearly defined, to more recent aesthetic machines where art is embedded in the city, and where there are no clear boundaries between stage and audience. Some of these machines, such as the Futurist movement, sought to foreground the technical machine as an autonomous actant. While this might seem counterproductive in the light of my argument for a

in The machinic city
Darrow Schecter

a machine which they aspire to steer for their own purposes, and since they did not design the machine themselves, they tend, on the whole, to steer it badly. A viable alternative to liberalism has to begin by venturing to the centre and periphery of the liberal machine, though without immediate political aspirations to take it over and operate it for ostensibly non-liberal aims. This investigation is undertaken in this

in Beyond hegemony
The New Playwrights Theatre and American radical Constructivism
Barnaby Haran

2 The mass and the machine: The New Playwrights Theatre and American radical Constructivism A New Masses Theatre For all that the American avant-garde followed cultural developments in the Soviet Union, there was little attempt to reproduce Constructivism in the visual arts as a politically revolutionary cultural strategy. However, a putative ‘American Constructivism’ did emerge in the theatre in the late 1920s, and it marked the clear and conscious reception and adaptation of Russian postrevolutionary theatrical innovations by directors, playwrights, set

in Watching the red dawn