New Commission at Transmediale

Premiering at The Eternal Network – Transmediale 2020, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Jan 28-1 March, Berlin Germany

100 Year Old Quicksilver Cloud is the first work in High Fidelity Wasteland – a trilogy experimenting with decomposing sound reproduction technology. Wading into the toxic haze of early transmission infrastructure, this installation sonifies the decaying atmosphere inside a thyratron – a 100 year old vacuum tube radiating a cloud of blue ionized mercury. Vacuum tubes generated, amplified and controlled some of the earliest flows of electrons signalling the start of widespread communication networks – radio, tv, telephony, computing. Produced prior to practices of planned obsolescence and outliving industrial lifecycles of technology today, decommissioned liquified metals of the thyratron are a ruinous substrate of post industrial ecology.

100 Year Old Quicksilver Cloud is commissioned by Transmediale 2020. Audio produced in collaboration with AGF (aka Antye Greie-Ripatti). Further sponsorship provided by Weltfirma Martion – Audiosysteme.

Currently on View

* 20.07.-06.10.2019 // Computer GRRRLS // Shimmer Generators + Sideman 5000 Adventure // MU // Curators: Inke Arns, Marie Lechner // Eindhoven NL

* 09.03-18.08.2019 // Carbon + Light: Juan Geuer`s Luminous Precision // Electrostatic Bell Choir // Ottawa Art Gallery // Curator: Caroline Langill // Ottawa CA

Salon für Ästhetische Experimente // 23.10.2018

Deconstructing a Socialist Lawnmower: (un)obscuring narratives embedded throughout technology from the German Democratic Republic

German Canadian physicist, feminist and activist Prof. Dr. Ursula Franklin suggested that to critically examine technology, it must be looked at as a practice akin to domesticity, culture or democracy. When looking at material culture from a period and a place that no longer exists, what ideas, truths and imaginaries can be drawn out to think critically about the human dimension of technology from the GDR?

In the context of her fellowship Social Breaking Points: Reimagining Technology of the German Democratic Republic in the Age of Planned Obsolescence at the Berlin Center for Aesthetics, Darsha Hewitt along with Nadja Buttendorf, Sophia Gräfe present a panel discussion and works centering on the idea of uncovering hidden narratives expanding throughout technology from this historically significant state. The events revolves around positions that trace familial histories from electronic components, decode arcane architectures of knowledge from archival film footage and coax imaginary histories out of household technology.

Darsha will introduce her research that focuses on the standard GDR household lawnmower and its connection to the culture of repair, recycling, militarism and notions of idealized feminism that proliferated the social state. Nadja Buttendorf presents “Robotron – a tech opera”, an ongoing DIY YouTube sci-fi soap opera that explores the development of technology in East Germany, everyday life in the GDR and the Stasi. Sophia Gräfe discusses her video essay Ende der Überspielung (End of Copy) that deconstructs archival training footage from the Ministry for State Security of the former GDR, as a means to question the visuality of security discourses and the medial foundations of the bureaucratised perception of deviating behaviour.

//Participant Biographies//
Nadja Buttendorf is a transdisciplinary visual artist based in Berlin. Buttendorf is specialized in questions of cybernetic enhancements of the human body, alien speculative scenarios and posthuman jewellery. She is a founding member of the Cyborgs e.V. Berlin and is known to have coined the term ‘Explants’.

Sophia Gräfe is a media culture scholar, curator and editor based in Berlin. Her academic work explores the sociological and epistemological meaning of pictures within cultural processes. This includes work within the fields of video and digital art. As an assistant curator she has worked with various media and experimental film festivals such as the transmediale festival, Werkleitz festival and Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen as well as galleries and artist studios. She is currently working as a research assistant at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and at Philipps-Universität Marburg.

23.10.2018 // 19:00
Archive Kabinett
Müllerstraße 133
13349 Berlin

In context of Graduale 18 – What if it won´t stop here? Exhibition

The event will be held in English and German.

The event is co-funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin.

Fall Exhibitions: Berlin // Montreal // Nürnberg // Dortmund

* 26.09.-18.10.2018 // Requiem for a Failed State // The Watch+ Armour // Curator: Michael Artz //  Auf AEG // Nürnberg

* 03.10.-26.10.2018 // Amplification // Eastern Block //Curators: Martín Rodríguez & Eliane Ellbogen // Montreal (CA)

* 18.-28.10.2018 //Graduale 18: What if it Wont Stop Here? // New Work(s) Premier // Archive Kabinett // Curator: Jan Verwoert

* 26.10.-24.02.2019 // Computer GRRRLS // Shimmer Generators + Sideman 5000 Adventure // Hartware MedienKunstVerein // Curators: Inke Arns, Marie Lechner // Dortmund

Fellowship // BAS – Graduiertenschule UdK Berlin

I am presently a Fellow at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences (BAS) / Graduiertenschule Universität der Künste Berlin.

I will be carrying out my studio research project titled Reimagining Technology of the German Democratic Republic in the Age of Planned Obsolescence until the end of 2018.

Here are a couple questions that are presently guiding my art-making adventures:

Can deconstructing socialist era media technology and connecting it to present day digital culture offer alternative readings of our critical entanglement with technology? This research proposes to develop media-based artwork and a text that centres on the study of technology manufactured and lived with during the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).

What kind of patterns and juxtapositions immerge when domestic electronics and the commonplace attitudes, cultural practices and techniques that surrounded technology from this historically significant socialist period inhabit the digital realms capitalist culture?

Review // Neural Magazine

20 Oscillators in 20 Minutes – Radically Performing Electronics

“The time element is obviously critical to this performance as it demonstrates a scale of forced human production that translates into a minimal orchestra of synthetic sounds.”

Review of 20 Oscillators in 20 Minutes at Chaos Computer Club 2015 – Neural Magazine by Aurelio Cianciotta. Download pdf // Read online

Impressions from Resonate Lecture

“Darsha Hewitt, a hilarious new media artist from Canada, showed her electromechanical sound installations based on junks and discarded machines/electronics, describing her attitude as opening the box and discovering how machines work.”

4th day at Resonate 16 with Squarepusher, Atau Tanaka and Darsha Hewitt
Article in SounDesign Magazine
by Carlo Ascrizzi
Read here


Eds. Christof Migone (Curator), Martin Arnold

Vinyl Recording / Exhibition Catalogue
Published by Blackwood Gallery
More info