Conjuring artifice and dark humour in the face of extraction, financial fantasies, and the illusions of techno-solutionism, abandon all hope ye who enter here explores the limits of refusal in a computationally ordered and altered world. Bringing together nine artists and collectives, the works in the exhibition materialise the strange realities and cruel attachments that are often obscured beneath the veneers of shiny, seductive interfaces, and inside algorithmic black boxes.
Aspirations and fantasies about technology are not new – whether it is the automation of work by artificial intelligence, or the possibility of artist wages from ledger technologies. The development and widespread use of digital technology impacts communities, desires, and shopping habits, and brings new forms of connection, misinformation, and entertainment. As everyday life is optimised and reorganised by logistical networks, the utopian promise of technological efficiency is increasingly falling short.
Despite optimism and belief in the many benefits of technological innovation and transformation, digital systems rely on increased surveillance, atomisation and oppression, causing massive harm when used ubiquitously through alluring financial scams, endless sprawling profit-oriented algorithms, and socio-political frictions and anxieties. Yet even with these deteriorating social, economic, and environmental conditions, our toxic attachments and need for technologies remain steadfast and in place.
From the generation of planetary heat to the tokenization of everyday life to unachievable utopian fantasies of democracy or immortality; how can the technological hellscapes we are producing – and the futures they are making – be refused or rejected? Taking inspiration from Dante’s Inferno, the exhibition brings these arrangements of technology and their strange realities into focus. The artworks show how hope and desire are leveraged to produce disorienting landscapes that can limit – or expand – possibilities for building alternatives in our collective present. Showing what refusal can look like in damaged worlds, the exhibition questions the organising principles of computation and the algorithmic values of classification, isolation, and reasoning, fostering solidarity out of despair and refusal. After all, aren’t we bound to become fearless once we’re in hell?
Alongside the symposium This is Not Anarchy, This is Chaos at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the exhibition is the concluding programme of transmediale’s year-long inquiry on refusal.
abandon all hope ye who enter here 26 January to 18 February 2022 Akademie der Künste, Berlin (Location Hanseatenweg) Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 11:00–19:00
Continuing our digital visiting programme, we will facilitate access to the exhibition through Proxy Visits . Visitors can connect via video call with a guide at the venue, and experience the exhibition together with them.
abandon all hope ye who enter here is a project by transmediale e.V. at Akademie der Künste, Berlin. The exhibition is supported by the European Union and is part of the Artsformation Project .