Group Statement

Transforming Critical Practices

In the progress of our ‘Transforming Critical Practices’ seminar, each of the participants has compiled an individual research file focusing on aspects around our personal interests situated in the field of art, the internet, its platforms, contemporary society and capital.

Our body of work focuses on:

Internet Censorship – focusing on Chinese Internet governance (Meng);

Overtourism and Art Movement (Changhee);

Food – the importance of body and physicality (Tomo);

Internet Memes (Kerrin);

The Power of A Community (Mirim);

The Age of Algorithm (Soojeong);

Common Value – based Art Organisations (Eloisa);

The Relationship between Instagram and Art Museums and Galleries (Naz);

Redevelopment and Displacement (Pooluna)

Now, we will attempt to bring these texts together to present them as a group statement. We decided to extract the concepts and keywords innate to our research that represented our concerns. We, then, began to connect common key points, which resulted in drafting a cognitive map of contemporary society. Visualizing it graphically, we decided to go a step further to create an online research platform in a blog format, which operates as a collective and interactive space for each individual analysis: each entry in the blog (including various multimedia materials) will open a space for every individual to expand their concepts and will connect with the rest of the content through hashtags that mirror the map nodes.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, connection is defined as ‘a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else’, or in other words, the ‘action of linking one with another’. Inspired by the concept of network, that we vastly explored while looking at different critical practices, we tried to envision our research as a web where they link and connect dynamically; every individual content grows in complexity and enlarges its observation onto geographical areas, technologies, platforms, political issues, and cultures. A web of links becomes a map, in which we search for common connections and new relations of meaning and causality.

We believe this practice will not only provide an opportunity to review diverse contemporary issues that are observed in society, but also expand an interactive understanding through practicing social integration and engagement. The process of working together has brought us to mix human interactions with online tools that allowed us to communicate, to organise, to interact, to map and organically to create content originating from our research. As we connect digitally, the concerns and social issues of the offline world are moving into the online sphere and vice versa. The internet enriched the mapping experience and helped us to stay connected through our common key points manifesting as hyperlinks or hashtags. This enables us to exceed traditional modes of communication, moving on to accessible data. This does not imply that the online and offline are independentinstead, those spheres overlap.

How can we visualize the internetan abstract accumulation of bits, bytes, and data? The internet is not a physical place but a vast complex, never visible in its entirety but through glimpses of interfacesa website or a search window. We navigate it through links, which creates an infrastructure of connections. Mapping is therefore a useful practice to visualize this infrastructurebe it the internet or just a small segment of it, such as the agglomerate of our individual research files: a map as a platform where we can locate where we are and where we are heading to. The common keywords make up an infrastructure through which we can navigate and move from one essay to the other. On the blog, the keywords become hashtags that we can move, expand and edit. As a result this leads us to find new connections as our research goes on.

We are standing at the centre of the shift and witnessing dynamic upheavals all over the world. By analyzing the elements that capture our sights and mapping them using an online platform, we had a chance to explore the concept of ‘Art and Politics in the Age of Platforms’ and to reach out to the aim of studying ‘Transforming Critical Practices’.