Vertical Atlas: From Malevich to Telegram

This afternoon program is the second iteration of Vertical Atlas series and focuses on Russia and its technocultural traditions. With presentations by Benjamin Bratton (live on Skype), Ksenia Fedorova, Benjamin Peters and a film by Anton Vidokle. Organized by Benjamin Bratton, Arthur Steiner, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Leonardo Dellanoce

Admission: Museum ticket + €3
Location: Teijin Auditorium
Language: English

15.00 Welcome and introduction by Benjamin Bratton (live on Skype)
15.15 Talk by Benjamin Peters
15.45 Talk by Ksenia Fedorova 
16.15 Panel Discussion & Q&A with Benjamin Peters, Ksenia Fedorova, Ksenia Tatarchenko and Metahave. Modarated by Katia Krupennikova
17.00 Screening of ‘The Communist Revolution was Caused by the Sun’ (2015) by Anton Vidokle 

Russian technological developments are often associated with the interference in the 2016 American presidential election, cyber warfare attacks and the dissemination of disinformation and propaganda and internet surveillance. However the history of Russian technology is much deeper than propaganda trolls and electoral hacks. As a matter of fact, the internet could have been Russian. In the Soviet Union, ideas and designs for a nationwide cybernetic network had already been developed in the late 1950s, inspired by a long tradition of artistic and philosophical speculations about the possibilities of technology. Cultural movements like Cosmism, Suprematism and Constructivism and their experimentation with metaphysical models derived from mathematics and mysticism informed these techno-scientific developments in unexpected ways. During ‘From Malevich to Telegram’ we will delve in the cultural, artistic, philosophical and technological traditions that shaped the current interface of the Russian Stack.

BENJAMIN BRATTON is Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Director of The Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also Professor of Digital Design at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is a sociologist, architecture and design theorist who is well known for combining philosophical and aesthetic research, organisation planning and strategy, and for his publications on the cultural consequences of digitalisation and globalisation. In The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2016) Bratton outlines a new theory for the age of global computation and algorithmic governance. 

KSENIA FEDOROVA (PhD) is a media and media art researcher and curator. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Art and Image History at Humboldt University in Berlin, working on a manuscript of her book “Tactics of Interfacing. Encoding affect in Art and Technology”. She is the co-editor of Media: Between Magic and Technology (2014, in Russian). In 2007-2011, she was an initiator and curator of the “Art. Science. Technology” program at the Ural branch of the National Center for Contemporary Arts (Ekaterinburg, RU). Ksenia’s research interests encompass media art theory and history, aesthetics, philosophy, techno-cultural and science and technology studies, Russian studies, as well as visual culture and curatorial studies, with a specific focus on the affects of new technologies on human perception and interaction.

BENJAMIN PETERS is an author and media scholar. He is the author of How Not to Network a Nation: the Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet and editor of Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society & Culture. An Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tulsa and an affiliated fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, he is currently working on the stupid history of smart media in the global North. 

ANTON VIDOKLE is an artist and editor of e-flux journal. He was born in Moscow and lives in New York and Berlin. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, the 65th and 66th Berlinale International Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Gwangju Biennale, Center Pompidou, Tate Modern, Garage Museum, Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and others.

Ksenia Tatarchenko is a lecturer at the Global Studies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. She was affiliated with the EUSP project “Russian Computer Scientists Abroad.” Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. 

The work of Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, design, and installations, and is united conceptually by interests in poetry, storytelling, digital superstructures, and propaganda. Films by Metahaven include The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda) (2015), Information Skies (2016), Possessed (2018, with Rob Schröder), Hometown (2018) and Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018). Publications include Digital Tarkovsky (2018), PSYOP (2018), Black Transparency (2015) and Uncorporate Identity (2010). Their work is screened, published, and exhibited worldwide.

Katia Krupennikova is a curator and art critic. She is currently a member of artistic team of Bergen Assembly 2017—2019 in Bergen, Norway and a docent at MA Artistic Research, HKU in Utrecht. Her recent exhibitions amongst others include Dialogues with People co-curated with Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler (Württembergische Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 2018—2019); It Won’t Be Long Now, Comrades! co-curated with Inga Lāce (Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 2017); Post-Peace (Württembergische Kunstverein, Stuttgart and Nest, den Haag, 2017); Women Commentators: Russia and Ukraine (National Museum Krolikarnia by invitation of Katarzyna Kozyra foundation, Warsaw, 2014).

This project is initiated by Benjamin Bratton, Leonardo Dellanoce, Arthur Steiner and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, and is developed and produced by Het Nieuwe Instituut, Hivos Digital Earth and Stedelijk Museum.

Image by Kevin Bray

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Museumplein 10,

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