Beyond contemporary disclosures about mass surveillance by intelligence services, the promises inherent in “big data” determine discourses about future innovations and systems of classification in government and industry, which aim to increasingly transform political and systemic questions into those of technological management. The promises of participation and “digital democracy” stand in contrast to new forms of cybernetic control and the modulation of social behaviour on an unprecedented scale. The countless sensors of our ubiquitous digital and technological infrastructures have united the state, industry, body, and technology into ever more complex “nervous systems”. This nervousness is revealed in particular where relationships of power and participation come to the fore, namely in the “social question”. The publication assembles a combination of contemporary art — complemented by contributions from experts, theorists, and researchers, presenting contextualized historical documents, artefacts, and other objects. Nervous Systems appeared in conjunction with the exhibition at HKW Berlin (February to April 2016).
Contributions: Grégoire Chamayou, Avery F. Gordon, Orit Halpern, Ben Hayes, Tung-Hui Hu, Lawrence Liang, Noortje Marres, Matteo Pasquinelli, Nishant Shah, Mushon Zer-Aviv a. o.