Care, Caring and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism
SFSIA 2020 | Berlin

July 8 – 24, 2020

Faculty include: Eric Alliez, Marie-Luise Angerer and Anja Breljak, Julieta Aranda, Vittorio Gallese, Paz Guevara, Maurizio Lazzarato, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Warren Neidich (founder/director), Clio Nicastro, Benjamin Noys, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ahmet Ögüt, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Tobias Rees, Suely Rolnik, Barry Schwabsky (co-director), and Marcus Steinweg.

Please note that due to coronavirus this program will now be presented online.
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Building upon our past five year engagement with topics concerning estrangement, individuation, collectivity and art and politics, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art 2020 in Berlin will focus on care, caring and repair in cognitive capitalism.

In the past twenty years, the techno-scientific revolution has joined forces with neoliberal reformers to produce a generalized crisis in empathy and thought. Contemporary cognitariats – data workers laboring within the abstract conundrum of the infosphere – are prey to a number of distinct psychopathologies ranging from depression, attention deficit disorder, anhedonia, and alexithymia to alienation and panic. As Franco “Bifo” Berardi has stated in Breathing: Chaos and Poetry, “Neoliberal reformers have put competition at the core of the daily business of life, and digital connectivity has replaced physical conjunction in the sphere of social communication: so the psycho-cultural conditions of empathy have been undermined.” This crisis, as we know, has had related effects in the cultural, sociological, political and economic spheres; most notably with the destruction of human bonds and the resultant return of nationalism, the election of despots and the resurgence of fascism. These are symptoms of a disease in which our community is rotting from within. Trumpism and its worldwide correlates have led to a global condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The question then: How do we repair the social fabric and cure the disabled social mind? 

Care, Caring and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism is this year’s focus of Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art in Berlin. In the initial stages of cognitive capitalism, caring and effective economies were sites of subsumption – especially through reconfiguring what Sylvia Federici called reproductive labor. In the present day, cognitive capitalism has become another means of instrumentalizing subjectivities. A new powerful assemblage of apparatuses including sentiment analysis, biometric sensors, facial expression algorithms, and camera-imbedded smart dust, combine to create huge amounts of emotionally generated data that can be bought and sold as behavioral surplus and utilized by machine intelligence to fabricate prediction products. Furthermore, according to Shoshana Zuboff, “The means of production are subordinated to an increasing complex and comprehensive means of behavioral modification.” In the hope of creating awareness and addressing the causes of the factors that are breaking our social webs apart, we will interweave six broad categories of care, caring and repair: (1) Affective Labor (2) Cosmopolitanism and Hospitality (3) Curating (4) Solidarity (5) Theory of Mind and (6) Post-humanism in the Anthropocene.

Program Overview