This is an assemblage of notes, texts, images and other resources for the 'Prophecy and Prediction' workshop due to take place at Goldsmiths college on the 15th November 2011 for the Interactive Media MA students, and subsequently at Furtherfield on the 10th December.
The workshop is one of a series planned that will contribute to the performance artwork 'The Moving Forest' by AKA The Castle in July/August 2012.
Moving Forest is a 12 hour, five act, visual, sonic, digital, electronic and urban performance collectively realized by AKA The Castle, a temporal performance troupe bringing together visual artists, writers, soundists, silk threaders, codedecoders, macromikro, boombox mass, mobile agents, wifi fielders and urbanites. 12 hours of sonic, coded action map an imaginary Castle and camouflage forest revolt onto a given modern day metropolis.
The Moving Forest is an image originally conjured by the play Macbeth in which Birnam Wood is seen to move in siege against Macbeth's castle, as prophesied by the Witches, leading to insurrection and the death of Macbeth. The witches represent figures of communication that have the ability to influence the course of events. Their conferred power as oracles is much like that of the contemporary networked media mechanisms.
There are several dimensions to this reading of 'Media as Witches' leading towards different avenues of analysis around networked media, including both broadcast and Internet media. One is the principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy or 'feedback' loops. This has been a feature of the information economy both in the boom and bust of the technology markets and, later that of the financial markets.
A creative movement exploring the Olympic machine
The significance of The Moving Forest project for me is the principle of Movement, momentum, mobilisation, at a time when political and economic conditions have created signs of growing mass resistance on the streets and in public squares. The Moving Forest offers a rich imaginative vehicle, a metaphor, in which to experiment creatively with electronic, physical and psychological mobilisation. Is it possible to apply the metaphor in a mass critique of the 2012 Olympics, currently the most securitised and protected publicly funded Castle in the land?
The story of Macbeth began with a witches prophesy and ended in a revolt. Did the witches predict a future already seen or did they merely plant some well-placed psychological seeds to trigger a self-fulfilling prophesy? In doing so were they able to influence reality? What prior information did they need to have? Is it the magical, spectral appearance of the witch that lends the prophesy its power, or their insertion into everyday life?
The workshop will discuss the histories and rituals surrounding prophecy and prediction (Greek oracles, biblical prophets, African voudou, Chinese I-Ching, etc), and take inspiration from depictions in theatre and film. It will look at modern prophecy and prediction businesses, through the lens of network media theory, and how are they influencing or manipulating reality, specifically in relation to the Olympics. We will also reference a number of artist and hacktivist projects and methodologies that deal with information, disinformation, propaganda, (science)fiction, systems, psychologies and belief, including Stephen Fortune, Paolo Cirio+Alessandro Ludovico, Fran Illich, the Yes Men, Ubermorgen, Ellie Harrison, psychogeophysics,org. The aim is to provide conceptual material for students to work up projects that respond to the discourse of media theory, prophesy and prediction, The Moving Forests' (potential) textual mapping of the Olympics, and the current political moment.
Kayle has devised a game which students are invited to participate in and co-develop:
In relation to the three witches prophecy and prediction work, I propose to work with tools and techniques of divination to make a game called '3-keys'. The game intends to illuminate insurgent mobilisation strategies for moving forest, revealing how the forest is to move. The game will be played and developed firstly in the streets of New Cross, beginning with mapping and identifying key relational powers within New Cross territory and matching/twinning, them with the essential Macbeth elemental and physical conditions - we could also overlay the Olympic map… Next we’ll create a pack of cards out of 21 of the identified components. The game is then to be played by selecting three of the cards and constructing experimental insurgent strategy plans that center around them. Out of this workshop we could then discuss ways to further construct oracle, divination tools and techniques that enable ones actions to be fated or influenced by these processes. Students could Research: I Ching, Tarot, Rune stones.
Partner Projects The Moving Forest moving-forest-500-slogans-workshops Artists Projects xname - The Oracle Machine Fran Illich - Spacebank Stephen Fortune - Data Mining and Divination Paolo Cirio - Hacking Monopolism trilogy Psychogeopysics Summit Jim Woodall's installation Reading List Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age (New York: Pluto Press, 2005) 14. Jodi Dean, Affective Networks Premediation blog Call, Tiqqun Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection Individuation, Relationality, Affect: Rethinking the Human in Relation to the Living Couze Venn Science Fiction Ursula Le Guin 'The Lathe Of Heaven' E.M Forster 'The Machine Stops' Phlip K Dick 'The Minority Report' Olympics Iain Sinclair's essay - http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n12/iain-sinclair/the-olympics-scam Research project and forthcoming book on the Olympics and artist projects http://themilitantcity.wordpress.com/ Films 'Oedipus Rex' by Pasolini 'Throne of Blood' by Kurosawa 'Inception' by Christopher Nolan Theatre Macbeth by Shakespeare