Stay in school. Forever!

Photo credit: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)

From June 8th to 30th in Filodrammatica gallery space, we present the works of two designers and artists – Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg – who have for years been collaborating in projects that explore the relationships between technology, design, education and entrepreneurship, and the ways networked technologies shape our realities.

The exhibition will open on Friday, June 8th at 8 pm, when its authors will take us through the exhibited works. Admission is free.
 
Visit the exhibition from Monday to Friday, from 5 to 9 pm. (If you want to visit the exhibition in a different time, feel free to contact us!)

 

Video report by Moja Rijeka web portal

As its title says, the show will be framed within the idea of lifelong learning, a highly ideological concept that speaks of the constant need of optimization required nowadays from everyone.

In the exhibitions setup, Lorusso and Schmieg will loosely reference the architecture / furniture of the playground as it connects playful learning during childhood with military training and with team-building events.

Before you read more about the exhibited works, don’t hesitate to spend a minute or two on reading this message to you from the artists:

 
Dear Reader,
 
let us be honest: we cannot easily put into words why this show is entitled “Lifelong Learning”. For this to become clear, it’s best to start from the beginning since Lifelong Learning is the material manifestation of endless conversations we have had for years.
 
Almost seven years ago, while we were sharing a studio in art school, we started taking screenshots of every single captcha that we had to solve while surfing the web. We didn’t really know why… all we knew was that we couldn’t agree on how much work it would take —or wouldn’t— to pass those so-called “reverse Turing tests”. Now, years later, you can browse a selection of our archive of captchas as part of this show. Strange how things develop in ways one cannot foresee, isn’t it?
 
Apart from those three months at the end of 2011, we’ve never lived in the same city or even country. Still, we’ve been collaborating regularly, although remotely. During this time our practices developed by moving into different areas, taking different directions and allowing us to strengthen —or hoping to do so— different skills. For us, making art together has always been a way to meet up, even if only online, in order to share and discuss issues that kept us busy. Hence, it is not a surprise that two of our collaborative pieces are print-on-demand books, objects that neither of us has ever touched before they were shown for the first time in an exhibition.
 
However, working and learning together has never been an all-smooth process for us. While an invitation to a show in Canada provided us with the rare opportunity to actually spend some IRL time (but not AFK), it resulted in a series of heated discussions about what we thought to have learned since graduation. A bit embarrassing in hindsight.
 
This show, Lifelong Learning, is yet another way for us to meet up, collaborate and “play around”. In an age when Lifelong Learning has become an economic imperative, we invite you to a playground ​​​​​​​meant to overcome the need to invest in ourselves, or yourself. While visiting the show you might experience the enthusiasm, inner conflict, and exhaustion that Lifelong Learning, as a regime, a way of coping and a loosely collaborative practice, can bring about.
 
We’re looking forward to seeing you on the 8th of June at Drugo More in Rijeka (Croatia).
 
Best,
 
Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg
 
Sent from a CryptPad

 

ABOUT THE WORKS

Lorusso’s piece Shouldn’t you Be Working is based on the text that StayFocusd, a browser plugin with more than 600,000 users, prompts when your allotted time on social media and other procrastination sites is over. The piece takes the slogan from the digital world and turns it into physical stickers and banners.

Silvio Lorusso: Shouldn't You Be Working

 

In our everyday use of computers, we often bump into so-called CAPTCHA tests (an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), a type of challenge–response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human, in order to prevent access to malicious computer programs. Typical form of Captcha test requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen. Because the test is administered by a computer, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is administered by a human, a CAPTCHA is sometimes described as a “reverse Turing test”. Five Years of Captured Captchas is a series of five leporello books that span a total length of 90 meters, chronicling every single captcha that Lorusso and Schmieg have solved over the course of five years.

Lorusso & Schmieg: Five Years of Captured Captchas


Networked Optimization is a series of three crowdsourced versions of popular self-help books. Each book contains the full text, which is however invisible because it is set in white on a white background. The only text that remains readable consists of the so-called “popular highlights” – the passages that were underlined by many Kindle users – together with the amount of highlighters. Each time a passage is underlined, it is automatically stored in Amazon’s data centers.

Lorusso & Schmieg: Networked Optimization

 

Exploring the oddities of crowdfunding on the online platform Kickstarter, in 2014 Silvio Lorusso created Kickended, an archive of Kickstarter’s $0-pledged campaigns. Kickended is the place where campaigns with no backers live a second life.

Silvio Lorusso: Kickended

 

In a speculative video entitled I Will Say Whatever You Want In Front Of A Pizza, made by using the Prezi presentation software, Sebastian Schmieg explores digital workers as software extensions. The piece also speculates about the possibility of “covert interventions” on gig platforms and inside algorithmic systems by means of manipulated training data or by placing Easter Eggs.

 

In a similar vein Schmieg came up with the piece Hopes and Deliveries (Survival Creativity), starting from Fiverr, a global online marketplace for gig work where each task and service begins at a cost of $5 per job performed. He downloaded thousands of videos from the website that were produced by gig workers for their clients, exploiting the gig platform’s missing security precautions. From this archive a selection is shown on two smartphones that are strapped to an empty sweatshirt, using cellphone armbands. In the videos, mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation become visible as a performance of survival creativity: coming up with whatever idea it takes to survive in a competitive field.

Sebastian Schmieg: Hopes and Deliveries (Survival Creativity)

 

Lorusso’s piece Fake It Till You Make It is a video featuring excerpts of interviews, talks, and pitches by Jody Sherman, CEO of Ecomom, and Austen Heinz, CEO of Cambrian Genomics. United by the burning desire to make the world a better place, they both committed suicide while leading their tech startup.

Silvio Lorusso: Fake It Till You Make It

 

*    *    *

Finally, as an introduction to the exhibition, let’s recall the interesting lecture entitled Welcome to the Entreprecariat, given by Silvio Lorusso in Filodrammatica in April of 2017:

 

Silvio Lorusso is a Rotterdam-based artist, designer, and researcher. He’s currently interested in the relationship between entrepreneurship and precarity, i.e. entreprecariat. His work was presented at Transmediale (DE), Vögele Kultur Zentrum (CH), NRW-Forum (DE), MoneyLab (NL), Impakt (NL), Sight & Sound (CA), Adhocracy (GR), Biennale Architettura (IT). ##### Sebastian Schmieg examines the ways networked technologies shape online and offline realities. In particular, his practice reflects on humans as software extensions, and on machine vision as a global infrastructure. His output encompasses videos, websites, books, lecture performances, or online interventions. his work has been exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Art Center Nabi, Seoul, South Korea; Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA; and Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands. He lives and works in Berlin.
Lorusso Schmieg

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