by Maja Kuzmanovic

When engaging with Art, AI and Everything Else, start from not knowing, start from where you are. A suggestion, a talk, and a series of questions for the 20th anniversary of the Art Center Nabi.

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Start from not knowing

All I know, is that I know nothing — Socrates (as quoted or paraphrased by Plato)

Starting from not knowing is one of the cornerstones of the creative process, in the arts, science and technology. Creativity emerges from not knowing where you’ll end up, or how to get from here to there. AI, and the computational processes associated with it, also start their existence not knowing. Understanding of the world gradually builds, based on programmers’ decisions, and the programme’s interactions with its environment. And as for “everything else”? …


By Maja Kuzmanovic

In the proliferation of graphs and curves (exponential, flattening or otherwise) in recent months, finding meaning isn’t always easy. Watching the curve of Covid-19 infection rates creep up and down (and up and down and up again) has become a popular pastime for many of us. Deaths are abstracted and economic indicators take on sinister forms. And yet, calculation methods and subjective interpretations can hide a forest in the trees. Never has the phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” been so present. …


By Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

‘Stay home’, ‘Shelter in place’, ‘Self-isolate’. Such instructions can only make sense with an appropriate place to stay. So, what would constitute a good shelter during a pandemic? A shelter that could become a home? Alongside the usual practicalities of location, cost or available services, what are some of the less tangible aspects to pay attention to?

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Due to a series of legal and logistical conundrums, we were required to move several times during the initial Covid-19 pandemic. …


By Maja Kuzmanovic

Ever since the Yugoslav war in the 1990s, I’ve got border issues. Especially borders that are closed or closing.

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When the borders began closing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic I had a strong sense of déjà vu. A familiar grief, an existential sense of loss. In June 1991 my childhood homeland was breaking apart. In March 2020, the world was shutting down. The rhetoric used to turn away those who “don’t belong” was the same. Go home. No entry. You will be turned away. Citizens Only. We must protect ourselves. Understandably justified to curb the spread of a virus. …


By Maja Kuzmanovic and Kate Rich

Tracing our paths in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic led us to challenge what or where is considered ‘home’, and what our homes could become.

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Home can be everywhere and nowhere. What the dash for cover and the often jarring moments of transit brought home to us is that home is as much a mode as a place. It’s grounding, elemental, a real, practiced state of being. It might be vested in relationships of hospitality, the spirit and practice of reciprocity between host and guest, or generated through the routines and rituals of a temporary habitat. Home might be makeshift or transitory but always provides a refuge, able to accommodate both solitude and conviviality. It’s built through co-occupation, its existence anchored and celebrated through the acts of homing amongst the entities involved — humans, plants, construction materials, sunlight, wireless internet. While temporary and sometimes fleeting, such relationships can be more foundational than any residence contract. …


By Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

A condensed remix of some our thinking around care and uncertainty. Dedicated to all the carers near and far. In hospitals and quarantine, on delivery trucks and behind the grid, on the emptying streets and inside their homes…

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To all those providing essential services and all those in isolation or lockdown. To all who care. To all…

“I can’t help but worry when the scrap metal will run out, and whether there will be enough other stuff in the ruins to make continuing survival possible. And while not all of us enact such a literal figuration of living in ruins, we mostly do have to work within our disorientation and distress, to negotiate life in human-damaged environments. …


By Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

How to land in a place is a perpetual question for those of us who live and work nomadically or trans-locally. The fleeting moment of landing can be easily missed on your way somewhere. Whether you step off a boat, cross the threshold of someone’s home, or start a new collaboration. Yet how you land matters. It acknowledges that the place in which you’ve landed has an agency of its own and a history that you have been apart from. Landing could be seen as a ritual beginning with a place and those who call it home.

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For us landing includes listening and observing, sensing and attuning, sharing stories and experiences. Getting to know a place, however briefly and incompletely.


By Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

Drawing on the dark arts, the domain where magicians and fortune-tellers commune with unknowable, faceless entities, we explore economic and cultural grey areas to reclaim tools of business administration as an artistic medium.

The text is adapted from a lecture performance by Maja Kuzmanovic at RADMIN: Festival of Administration on 15th February 02019

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Disclaimer: This article discusses works and techniques that are often frowned upon in our techno-materialist society. So if some of this content appears dubious, feel free to substitute our words with others that you might feel more comfortable with. Magic, for example, can otherwise be referred to as “advanced technology”. Those who resonate with baroque ceremony may be comfortable with spirits and spells, while those of you who align yourselves with more pragmatic lineages might prefer naming these things “clear mind” or “prayer” or “contemplation”. …


Unknown, Unknowable and Uncertain.

Introducing Futures for artists and culture makers, by Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

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Vegetal City by Luc Schuiten

Unknown, unknowable & uncertain

This article is intended to provide a brief introduction to working with futures as artists and culture makers. One of the central concerns is how and why Futures can provide useful methods for increasing agency and encouraging co-creation of our collective futures. It is about why futuring is important for everyone, not just corporations and governments. It describes what we at FoAM understand by futuring, our interpretation of the (pre)history of Futures and a few suggestions about where it might be able to take us. …


Based on a lecture for students, engineers and technopreneurs presented at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) on the 27th of March 2019 by Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney

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Innovation focuses on creating radical change in existing fields. Innovation aspires to shape the future using the tools of the present. While innovation is one of the ways we can “invent the future”, it is also shaped by existing circumstances and changes in the world. With increasing environmental, economic and political uncertainty, it should be apparent that technological innovation alone cannot “fix” things. Simple “solutions” usually create unintended consequences. Creating anything in such turbulent times brings with it a sense of agency, but also responsibility. When we intervene in complex systems, our future-shaping actions are hard (or perhaps impossible) to predict. How can engineers, entrepreneurs and technopreneurs embrace complexity and uncertainty, in order to act in meaningful ways, whatever the future may bring? This article includes a series of suggestions, propositions and open questions. …

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FoAM

transdisciplinary, interstitial, resilient...

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