Online Imaginaries

With the theme Online Imaginaries, m-cult invites artists to work towards a new political imagination on the internet and beyond.

The early promises of the internet - sharing, empowerment and freedom of expression – have faded and it may seem that there is no escape from the monstrous logics of surveillance and algorithmic profiling, propaganda and fake news typical of today's internet.

Within the programme, m-cult supports and presents work by media artists who dare us to expose and challenge the workings of the online world and envision its other futures.

Smiley with tears on broken smart phone screen

Realised in context of the European Media Art Platform EMAP in 2018-21, the theme has been developed at m-cult since 2018, evolving in a series of residency productions, conferences and workshops.

Artistic responses to the effects and affects of online propaganda and platform capitalism were shared with a wide audience at Network Effects, an international media art exhibition at Helsinki's new Oodi Central library in 2019.

In 2020-21, the programme focuses on economic and organisational imaginaries, especially those arising in the blockchain and crypto scenes. In collaboration with Economic Space Agency ECSA and the Institute of Network Cultures, m-cult organised MoneyLab#9 Playgrounds for Post-Capitalism in 2020.

Speaking at the Media Art Worlds conference in 2018, Sarah Cook reminded us of the early imaginaries of online art:

Early intermedia and information-based arts often found its own means of production and presentation - niche artist-led networks, publications, servers, and ad hoc temporary installations and events.

Today's new media and digital art has absorbed the capitalist structures of the museum and contemporary art market, for better and for worse. Yet in this current age of 24/7 cloud working and the marketisation of individual creativity, can renewed celebration of niche networks and ad hoc methods help us sustain the origial peer-to-peer ethos of media art?