jonathanwaring.net Est. January 2010 (v1.0)

16Jun/110

Stuart Tait and I will be presenting on Reactor at the Virtual Futures 2.0 conference

18-19 June 2011, University of Warwick

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Stuart Tait and I have been asked to make a presentation on Reactor at the Virtual Futures 2.0 conference. Here are some details of the conference from their website, and a little on what we have planned:

Cyber Conference on Art, Performance, Philosophy and Emerging Technology

Virtual Futures is an interdisciplinary conference. This year‚ highlights will include presentations on artificial intelligence, bioengineering, bioethics, cybernetics, net security, performance art, social media, the future of copyright and virtual reality. Returning speakers will be joined this year by a fresh array of world-renowned practitioners.

The list of main speakers is here:
http://virtualfutures.co.uk/vf2011/speakers/

The full programme is here (we're 15:20-15:40 on Sunday):
http://virtualfutures.co.uk/vf2011/programme/

And here's our abstract:
http://virtualfutures.co.uk/vf2011/programme/reactor-assemblages/

The presentation will discuss the work of UK-based art group Reactor from the perspective of one ‘guest’ member, Stuart Tait, and one ex or virtual member, Jonathan Waring. The presentation will take the form of a dialogue between Tait, who will be present at the conference, and Waring, who will be presenting via video projection.

Reactor’s practice creates ‘microcosmic worlds’ that thematically draw upon recognisable social forms, such as totalitarian states or self-help groups, in what artist and writer David Burrows refers to as ‘performance fictions’. These new collectivities are then performed or enacted in collaboration with audience-participants who take up positions within the work.

The presentation will begin by considering Reactor projects as ‘assemblages’, drawing upon the writing of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and Manuel DeLanda’s development of their work in his Assemblage Theory of society. Erving Goffman’s concept of ‘role adjustments’ will then be used to discuss the way participants’ change positions within a project as it is enacted. The presentation will explore the relationship between the project, as it is actualised, and its virtual dimensions, such as the characteristics of a particular role, back-story for the project, memory, or project planning. Finally, Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the diagram will be discussed in relation to Bergson’s cone diagram and the counteractualisation of the project back into the virtual of co-participants’ minds.

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7Oct/100

Total GHAOS: 5th Anniversary

On this day, five years ago, following a campaign of street actions, 'raleighs' and worldwide stickering, the Dark Arts regime was finally overthrown. Cousins around the globe engaged their I.C.S. [Inner Conceptualising Space] and worked together to achieve the collective ideals of GHAOS and the ‘Reactor Party’: Total GHAOS was realised.

Total GHAOS was a microcosmic society built from scratch, a multi-storey scaffolding utopia (inside an otherwise unassuming—but spacious—light-industrial unit), and absolute replacement for the old world outside (which no longer existed).

Total GHAOS, Reactor (2005)

Entering Total GHAOS cousins left behind their old identities, timepieces, and mobile phones in order to begin their new lives. As GHAOS Actors [i.e. the audience] they sacrificed their own opinions to become cogs in the GHAOS machine. Hundreds of GHAOS Actors were required to perform simultaneously in order for the system to function, eliminating the last traces of REXist non-participation.

GHAOS Sticker Action, Toronto, Canada

GHAOS Sticker Action, Toronto

Following an interview and bureaucratic processing, new cousins each received their workpass, badges and Party manifesto. They were then given their first role: perhaps it was the mundane but essential function of ‘unit clock’, counting out—by hand—the units of time that regulated work and play within the microcosm; or maybe their task was to replace the person who had interviewed them—the dynamics of authority becoming suddenly reversed, as they were themselves charged with interrogated newer arrivals (whilst bluffing through their own limited knowledge).

Total GHAOS encompassed hundreds of interlinked roles in its hierarchical system. Cousins could find themselves in the lower levels: working on the potato farm, or drafted into the army. Or perhaps, as a result of hard work in the badge-making factory (making badges for new cousins), they found themselves moving upward, gaining access to higher strata jobs and cultural activities: becoming curator of the Museum of GHAOTIC Artefacts; or a student at the GHAOS Art Institute (KIVPA). For the most committed GHAOS Actors even a seat on the Supreme Council was a possibility.

Total GHAOS: Group Exercises

Group Exercises

But the dark suspicion of REXist deviance and non-participation was ever present. Taking their cue from the unblinking eyes of the ever-watchful LYNX (totem animal and emblem of the Reactor Party), cousins remained ever vigilant for the influence of Skepticus REX and the dark taint of REXimalism. Nobody was beyond suspicion, and cousins guilty of REXist behaviour risked re-education in the Arkwright Asylum.

Total GHAOS ran for three days, and when it finished it brought an end to the ‘Reactor Party’ and the two-year long—rhizomatically developed—GHAOS project. If you weren’t there, then our apologies cousin, but Total GHAOS was reached without you.

Total GHAOS: 6 Unit Hate

6 Unit Hate

I first worked with Reactor during the ‘Reactor Party’ campaign in the lead up to Total GHAOS. Following my experience working with Reactor on Total GHAOS I joined the group, initially as Secret Member (2005-2006) and then as a core member of the collective from 2006 until my departure at the end of 2009.

For the purposes of historical analysis, the GHAOS project website can be viewed at: www.ghaos.org

Reactor's more recent and current projects are documented over at: www.reactorweb.com

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