”If you should think this is Utopian, then I would ask you to consider why it is Utopian”, demanded Bertolt Brecht in ”Radio as a Means of Communication” (1932/33), where he argued for the restructuring of radio into a gigantic web of two-way communications, or, as he phrased it, ”a vast network of pipes.” In 1970, Hans Magnus Enzensberger quoted Brecht’s comment as the motto of his influential essay on the emancipatory potentials of decentralized networks, ”Constituents of a Theory of the Media”. Can this vision be defended in an age of networked monocultures and distributed monopolies?
In this multichannel, polyphonic lecture, which takes place during the Royal Institute of Art’s Research Week, Lars Bang Larsen and Kim West will outline some of the topics and problems central to the E2-E4 program series at Rutiga Golvet. In a spirit of interrupted reflection and short-circuited speculation, the lecture will seek the points of intersection between radio clouds, ghosts, switchboards, the Skarpnäck hippie invasion, pipelines, glitching cell phones, Uniqlo, and the Swedish left.
”A Vast Network of Pipes” will also include interventions by artists Jin Mustafa and Christian Nyampeta. The lecture will be held against the backdrop of the ongoing exhibition With Energy Beyond These Walls, curated by Stefanie Hessler, which features a selection of videos and drawings by the Chilean artist Juan Downey. The exhibition showcases different stages in Downey’s career: the techno-enthusiast, the anthropologist, the video semiotician.
E2-E4 is the name of the most common opening move in chess, the one that sets the game in motion. E2-E4 is also the name of a program for theoretical activities, exhibitions, and publications at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. “Theory” is here conceived not as academic superstructure or epistemic authority, but as orientation, as that first grasp of our own situation, and of its location in a wider system, network, or totality, which may allow us to begin, to go from the disorientation of undefined possibility, to the provisional determination of practice. The program will explore the use values of the exhibition as a critical information system, in the service of education, aesthetic experience, and public dissemination.
The E2-E4 program is created by guest professors Kim West, Lars Bang Larsen, and curator Stefanie Hessler.