Contra Internet
31. 12. – 31. 12. 2022
Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033

Contra Internet

Zach Blas

PYLON-Lab is excited to present the online screening "Contra Internet: Jubilee 2033" (2018) by @ZachBlas as a special New Year's Eve event.

Zach Blas (b. Point Pleasant, West Virginia, USA) is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose practice spans moving image, computation, theory, performance, and science fiction.

Blas engages the materiality of digital technologies while also drawing out the philosophies and imaginaries lurking in artificial intelligence, biometric recognition, predictive policing, airport security, the internet, and biological warfare. The Doors (2019) is an immersive environment that imagines a new psychedelic age fueled by AI, nootropics, and tech culture. SANCTUM (2018) is a sex dungeon-cum-detention center that recasts security and surveillance through BDSM. A film installation, Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 (2018) follows author Ayn Rand on an acid trip, in which she bares witness to a dystopian future of the internet. im here to learn so :)))))) (2017), a four-channel video installation and collaboration with Jemima Wyman, resurrects Microsoft AI Tay to consider the gendered politics of pattern recognition and machine learning. Facial Weaponization Suite (2012-14) consists of amorphous masks that demand opacity against biometric facial recognition systems.

Blas has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings at venues internationally, including the de Young Museum, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center, 2018 Gwangju Biennale, the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, Matadero Madrid, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art in General, Gasworks, Van Abbemuseum, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, e-flux, Whitechapel Gallery, ZKM Center for Art and Media, and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo. His practice has been supported by a Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields, the Arts Council England, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

His work is in the collections of Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Blas’s practice been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, ArtReview, BBC, The Guardian, and The New York Times.

Blas’s writings can be found in the collections You Are Here: Art After the Internet, Documentary Across Disciplines, Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art, as well as e-flux journal and various exhibition catalogues. With Melody Jue and Jennifer Rhee, he is co-editor of the anthology Informatics of Domination, forthcoming from Duke University Press. His artist monograph Unknown Ideals is published by Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst and Sternberg Press.

Blas is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto.

The online screening is part of PYLON-Lab's program COLLATERAL EXTINCTION, funded by @kdfs

Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.

Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033

Consisting of a queer science fiction film installation that includes live action and CGI, blown glass sculptures, and a single edition publication, Contra-Internet confronts the transformation of the internet into an instrument for state oppression and accelerated capitalism. Invoking a practice of utopian plagiarism, Contra-Internet utilizes queer and feminist methods to speculate on internet futures and network alternatives.

Jubilee 2033, the short film centerpiece, is a re-imagining of scenes from filmmaker Derek Jarman’s 1978 queer punk film Jubilee, starring Susanne Sachsse and Cassils. Jubilee 2033 follows author Ayn Rand (Susanne Sachsse) and members of her Collective, including economist Alan Greenspan, on an acid trip in 1955. Guided by an artificial intelligence named Azuma, they are transported to a dystopian future Silicon Valley. As Apple, Facebook, and Google campuses burn, Azuma reveals that Ayn has become a celebrity philosopher to tech executives, as her writings foster their entrepreneurial spirit. Amidst the wreckage, Rand and The Collective are introduced to the internet, observe techies being captured by anti-campus groupies, and bear witness to the death of Silicon Valley elite. Once inside an occupied office of Palantir Technologies, the group encounters Nootropix (Cassils), a contra-sexual, contra-internet prophet, who lectures on the end of the internet as we know it. Seeking respite, Rand and The Collective find themselves at Silicon Beach, where chunks of polycrystalline silicon mix with sand and ocean.

Jubilee 2033 was nominated for a Teddy Award for Best Short Film at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival. The film is distributed by Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. and Video Data Bank.

Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 is the prologue to Blas’s Silicon Traces trilogy, a series of moving image installations that contends with the beliefs, fantasies, and histories influential to Silicon Valley’s visions of the future.

2018 | 00:30:52 | United Kingdom / United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video