What do you get if you mix equal parts cutting edge continental philosophy, voodoo, psychedelics, underground dance music, cybernetics and multimedia experimentation? The notorious Orphan Drift!
Happening this Thursday, 25 July, from 20h00, Bolo’bolo Anarchist Info Shop and Vegan Cafe are delighted to announce an evening of Orphan Drift, featuring several short films from founding member Mer Roberts as well as a talk by UWC cyberculture theorist Delphi Carstens, followed by an almost certainly lively open discussion.
In the mid-90s, the legendary Cyber Culture Research Unit at the prestigious Warwick University was formed: their university-funded activities included producing collaged texts of Deleuze and Guattari, William Burroughs and binary code, theorising the occult underpinnings of markets, composing abrasive electronic music and, ostensibly, consuming inhuman doses of psychedelics as often as possible, much of this via the ORPHAN DRIFT collaborative artist project. A few years later, the CCRU was no more; founding member Nick Land – a genius philosopher and agent provocateur – had achieved full meltdown / deterritorialization and Sadie Plant, author of the well-known Writing On Drugs, had disappeared from sight.
The legacy of the CCRU is very much alive today though, a subterranean influence for the very latest movements in philosophy.
ABOUT ORPHAN DRIFT
Mer co-created the collaborative artist and hive mind 0rphan Drift in London in 1994. Although it was predominantly made up of visual artists, it also involved sound designers, concept engineers and media activists.
As an artistic entity, 0rphan Drift is known for immersive and visually complex works which use the sample and the remix extensively, treating information as matter and the image as a unit of contagion. The art produced is science fictional and immersive. It complicates the distinctions between material and immaterial phenomena and dimensions, both in content and media. Much of its work explored mimetic patterns of desire, production and consumption- particularly in relation to the rapid technological changes happening at the time- drawing heavily on cyberpunk fiction, polyrhythmic electronica and the underpinnings of African religious systems. This was the social context in which its shifting layers of frightening, disturbing, abject, schizophrenic, beautiful, deconstructive, poetic and fragmented frequencies were able to take affect.
0rphan Drift is cross-contextual and made extensive contributions from 1994 – 2004 in the social arenas around contemporary art, underground music and cyber-feminism/post-structural philosophy. 0D has participated internationally in over a decade of exhibitions, screenings and performance, exhibiting extensively in the UK, Europe, Canada and the States, including at the Cabinet Gallery and Tate Modern in London; writing the Scifi-theory text ‘Cyberpositive’, and featuring in DJ Spooky’s ‘Sound Unbound’ in the ‘Renegade Academics’ chapter. It contributed cybervisuals to the set of Stephen Speilberg’s ‘AI’ and ‘Minority Report’ features and Leftfield and NIN world tours, worked frequently with Kode 9 and participated in 10 years of international Video art and AV Electronica art events in Norway, Germany, Canada, UK, South Africa and USA.
We now collaborate between Cape Town and San Francisco and continue to make science fictional work which is guided by a neo-futurist sensibility and clearly a progression from our earlier work. Our new video work ‘Wilderness of Elsewheres, Colony 1’, which maps contemporary global concerns with survival, insecurity and the unknown, has been shown in Santiago and San Francisco and we subsequently produced a series of Post Apocalyptic postcards for Shadowshop; Stephanie Syjuco’s parasitic shop at SFMOMA. Recently we made video for Delphi Carsten’s Capetown Tedx Talk, ‘Hyperstition’, and were commissioned make ‘You Its Eyes 94-13’ for screening at CTM13, Berlin.
WHAT WE’LL BE SCREENING / HOSTING THIS THURSDAY EVENING
1: You Its Eyes. 1994-2013, 30 minute video remixing 0D’s earlier work
0D employs different frequencies and overlapping rhythmic patterns to activate submerged regions of the brain and create intimacy and proximity through video-sonic signal. The goal of 0D, writes Simon Reynolds (1996), is “the liberation of texture from its environment, of energy-flux from contoured form with the goal to recreate the intensity of being lost”. 0D describes the individual ‘self’ haunted by a sensory cross-talk of signals from realms beyond the physical. Voices from imagined futures haunt the contemporary technological landscape. Feedback from the machines evolves into an unfamiliarity of speed and complexity, coding the textual body and imagination as tools for change. The invisible, fantastical, and anarchic called upon here are what Deleuze and Guattari define as the essence of virtuality. These intensities carry the sorcerous forces that technology and science unleash as they delve further into the quantum, the chaotic and the abstract.
“Surrounding the human self and its island of experience lies a raging sea of intensities” (D&G). All journeys into this space involve a succession of becomings autistic, mimetic, contagious and machinic.
2: Hyperstition – A talk by Delphi Carstens
Delphi is a lecturer at UWC, as well as half of the duo which makes up Groovy Troopers Productions – creators of temporary autonomous zones in the form of art & trance festivals. Delphi is currently completing a doctorate thesis, and will present on: “hyperstition” — a neologism coined by Nick Land that combines the words ‘superstition’ and ‘hype’ to describe how fictions become fact and how our narratives (stories) shape our world. It also describes, particularly, the narrative of capitalism, which is driven by hype and speculation and, which more importantly, turns fictions into facts. One very important fiction that Delphi will be discussing is the fiction of the apocalypse. Focusing on the current secular meaning of apocalypse as well as how popular culture views our current global crisis and the importance of imagining ourselves differently. Hyperstition also describes the nexus where myth or magic and science meet. Delphi explores the world of hyperstition to describe the manner by which hype and speculation become facts in contemporary society. The future is looking uncertain and how we imagine this future may be more important than we realise. This talk will be both an intellectual and a felt experience.
3: A Wilderness Of Elsewheres. 2009, 10 minutes
A two-screen installation in which dark abstract video spaces flow into bright photographic landscapes (the raw desolate tundras of southern Africa), populated and de-populated by animated collages of architecture and fashion, cut and scanned from contemporary print publications. A deliberate rhythmic awkwardness creates an alien time frame. The screens share a soundscape, made from a wide variety of samples including glaciers melting and rocket launches, composed into a sonic ‘event’. The work is imbued with post-apocalyptic sensibility, urges to the neo-romantic and the science fictional blending of first and third world materiality. At once immersive and deconstructive, the work is collision, co-habitation, evolutionary fever-dream.
Join us in mapping the outer edges — and do come earlyish if you want to sit down while doing so ;) !