Still from Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Talks around Post-Surveillance Art
With Suzanne Treister, Dr Daria Kuss and Dave Young
Saturday 9 May, 17:00-19:30

Suzanne Treister will talk about her recent project, Post-Surveillance Art (2014) in the context of HEXEN 2.0 (2009-2011)

HEXEN 2.0 looked into histories of scientific research behind government programmes of mass control, investigating parallel histories of countercultural and grass roots movements. HEXEN 2.0 charted, within a framework of post-WWII U.S. governmental and military imperatives, the coming together of scientific and social sciences through the development of cybernetics, the history of the internet, the rise of Web 2.0 and increased intelligence gathering, and implications for the future of new systems of societal manipulation towards a control society. HEXEN 2.0 specifically investigated the participants of the seminal Macy Conferences (1946-1953), whose primary goal was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. The project simultaneously looked at diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to advances in technology including the claims of Anarcho-Primitivism and Post Leftism, Theodore Kaczynski/The Unabomber, Technogaianism and Transhumanism, and traces precursory ideas such as those of Thoreau, Warren, Heidegger and Adorno in relation to visions of utopic and dystopic futures from science-fiction literature and film. Based on actual events, people, histories and scientific projections of the future, and consisting of alchemical diagrams, a Tarot deck, photo-text works, pencil drawings, a video and a website, HEXEN 2.0 offers a space where one may use the works as a tool to envision possible alternative futures.

Dr Daria Kuss will present her current research, which concerns the psychological aspects of internet and technology use. She is specifically interested in understanding potentially pathological and addictive online behaviours, their phenomenological experience, clinical presentation and treatment. She has recently published her second book, Internet addiction in psychotherapy (Palgrave). Her current research projects include, among other things, psychometric, interview, ethnographic and epidemiological studies into Internet and gaming use and addiction, cyberstalking and the use of online forums for mental health.

Dave Young will present This Thing is Deep in Finite Absolutes – A talk on cybernetics and techno-paranoia via out-of-control machines in Cold War cinema.

At a time when computers were often associated with systems of military command and control, Hollywood cinema both represented existing beliefs and cultivated new fears about the way technology would shape the future of society. Many films represented computers as a threat to human labour, as enablers of dystopian totalitarian regimes, or as artificially intelligent agents that could send the world into another war.

During the talk, Dave Young will present short extracts from a number of relevant films from the 1950s/1960s, providing a curious insight into a popularised reading of cybernetics: a pastiche of science-fiction, Cold War paranoia, and the imaginary future of human-machine interaction.


Suzanne Treister (b.1958 London UK) studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982) based in London having lived in Australia, New York and Berlin. Initially recognized in the 1980s as a painter, she became a pioneer in the digital/new media/web based field from the beginning of the 1990s, making work about emerging technologies, developing fictional worlds and international collaborative organisations. Utilising various media, including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing and watercolour, Treister has evolved a large body of work which engages with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identity and knowledge. Often spanning several years, her projects comprise fantastic reinterpretations of given taxonomies and histories that examine the existence of covert, unseen forces at work in the world, whether corporate, military or paranormal. Recent shows include: HEXEN 2.0, Fig-2, ICA, London 2015; RARE EARTH, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, 2015; Social Factory: 10th Shanghai Biennale, 2014; L’avenir (looking forward), 8th Montreal Biennale, 2014; HEXEN 2.0, P.P.O.W., New York 2013 and THE REAL TRUTH A WORLD’S FAIR, Raven Row, London 2012. URL:

Dr Daria Kuss is a Chartered Psychologist, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Senior Researcher at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Daria is an engaged scholar and has presented her findings to the public, academia, and the media across Europe. She has published prolifically in peer-reviewed journals and books, and her publications include more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, numerous book chapters, two authored books, and over 20 international conference presentations. Her significant experience and notable achievements in the area have allowed her to gain an international reputation as Internet addiction expert.

Dave Young (IE) is an artist and researcher based in Edinburgh. His practice follows critical research into digital culture, manifested through workshops, website development, and talks on subjects varying from cybernetics and the Cold War history of network technologies, to issues around copyright and open source/free culture. He is founder of Localhost, a forum for discussing, dismantling and disrupting network technologies, with past events focusing on Google’s entry into media art curation, and the role of analog radio as a potential commons in the digital age. He has presented workshops and given talks at institutions and festivals internationally, including at Edinburgh College of Art, V2 Rotterdam, Furtherfield, LiWoLi, and Transmediale.

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