SONIC ACTS FESTIVAL 2019 – HEREAFTER
Sasha Litvintseva, Beny Wagner – Universal Syntax
22 February – De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This talk will introduce a long-term collaborative project, Universal Syntax, by Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner which seeks to untangle the human tendency to read the natural world as a text. The long and remarkably consistent history of the use of text as a metaphor for the interpretation of the natural world, present from ancient Babylonian observational practices, to Galileo’s reading of the solar system all the way to the human genome project, is ultimately the history of the human inability to experience the world unmediated. This is as much a history of media and technology as it is of science, culture and philosophy. As an entry point into the project, Litvintseva and Wagner will unpack some predominant theories of narrative structure and the metaphors they are based on, as a way to elaborate on alternative narrative models capable of responding to the complexities of contemporary perceptual realities.
Sasha Litvintseva is an artist, filmmaker and researcher. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including at Berlinale, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Videobrasil and Wroclaw Media Art Biennale, as well as solo presentations at Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Berlinische Galerie, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Courtisane Film Festival, Ghent, among many others. She is a lecturer in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London and is currently completing a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her academic writing has appeared in special issues of Environmental Humanities and Transformations journals, and numerous book volumes.
Beny Wagner is an artist, filmmaker and writer. His research themes include the cyclical regeneration of media technologies, history of science, thresholds of human and nonhuman life, affective feedback, agricultural production and politics of waste. He has presented his work internationally, including at International Film Festival Rotterdam, Berlin Atonal, Media Art Biennale WRO, Movimenta Biennale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Eye Film Museum, Impakt Festival and Venice Biennale, among many others. His work has been featured in Artforum, Spike Art Magazine, Frieze, Kaleidoscope, Flash Art and Die Zeit. Wagner graduated from Bard College in 2008. He was a researcher at Jan van Eyck Academy and is currently a senior lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. He is working with Sasha Litvintseva on a long-term collaborative project Universal Syntax.