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CTM Festival 2013 – Virtual Futures: The Future of Music

The CTM Festival for Adventurous Music and Art have invited Virtual Futures to revive their 1995 panel ‘Future Music’ as part of their ‘Death of Rave’ Discourse Track on Friday 1st February at KUNSTQUARTIER STUDIO 1 Mariannenplatz 2 10997 Berlin.

The panel will see Christoph Fringeli (Praxis Records, Datacide), Tony Marcus (i-D.) and Dan O’Hara (Philosopher of Technology) reunite for the first time in over 18 years to contextualise their VF 1995 panel which made the claim that,

“The machinic phylum has been re-coding our minds & bodies through the most violent contortions since analogue synthesizers first colonized the imaginal soundscape. Electronic music is the teacher, to warp Juan Atkins’ phrase; techno in its many hybrid forms is training humans to navigate the machinic future. Nevertheless, those who are the ostensible ‘producers’ of these post-human soundtracks are no longer the progeny of major record labels bent on global domination, but instead are truly integrated into the anonymity of white label culture. These young autonomous individuals are at the forefront of technological phase-change: here we present an opportunity for the uninitiated to witness the interaction between the human & the machine that supports & creates these virtual soundscapes.”

Chaired by the artistic director of Virtual Futures 2011, Luke Robert Mason, the 2013 panel will analyse,

“The cybercultural narratives of the mid-90s provided a social, artistic, and philosophical framework to understand and challenge the rapid advances in the development of information communication technologies. Driven by a need to critique the framework underlying society’s newfound anticipation for the future, the Virtual Futures Conference held at the University of Warwick 1994–1996 brought together groups of renegade philosophers to lock horns with the future based on the provocations of evidence provided by the emergence of the Internet. At the time, the conference was affected by a turbulent dynamic between technological acceptance versus a largely paranoid technophobia. Fast-forward to 2013, and this has flat-lined to find the 21st century human docile to the widespread ubiquity of information processing technologies.

Meanwhile, human agency has been subsumed by an increasing automation by non-human agents, as control over identity, society, and economics is relinquished to biases of robotic processes. Techno-evangelism attempts to brand, market, and, most importantly, sell the wonderment afforded by a wilful obedience to the future. They resound with the same transcendentalist fantasies of cyberpunk fiction – indeed speculation and futuristic thinking has become an art, and like any popularist art form, it has become an industry.

Revisiting 1995’s Future Music panel, Virtual Futures will explore the implications of a new ecology – where music is no longer made but grown, thus demonstrating a quality of artificial life. In 2013 music doesn’t go viral, it is viral. And all the while we are left to question who, or what, is listening?” Read More…

Imperica – The future is here

Virtual Futures Salon featured in Imperica. They cover a wide range of sectors and activities within their scope:

In the mid-90s, we fed on a diet of cyberculture. It was something exciting, different, and promised a future of the self far removed from a world of monolithic governments and corporations.

Reality is always more pragmatic. Given the multi-device, always-on culture that many of us now live in, ‘cyberculture’ is in fact abundant, omnipresent. A seminal 1995 conference is being revived to address what our futures now look like, and how we should live in them. Read More…

VIRTUAL FUTURES SALON @ TROVE, Birmingham on Wednesday 24th October 2012


Virtual Futures is the West-Midlands’ longest running cyberculture conference with previous events including a live demonstration of computer controlled body parts, music and video-enhanced presentations from internationally renowned theorists, a series of talks from leading authorities on new scientific paradigms of complexity and non-linearity and guided tours of revolutionary virtual reality environments.

The Virtual Futures Salon is a new series of unique underground events exploring the convergence of technology, art, science and philosophy. They aim to explore one of most important intellectual and cultural developments of our times – the technological extension of the human condition.

On October 24th 2012 the Virtual Futures Salon will be hosted at the TROVE Gallery, Birmingham UK and explore the theme of image, thrill, and the semi-artificial imagination:

Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? For philosophers and artists there have always been two types of imagery: 1) the faithful reproduction and 2) the image that is distorted intentionally. Increasingly interactions with synthetic and technologically driven spaces could be said to blur our perception of what is authentic. Designers and artists have often attempted to create faithful simulacrum that mimic the natural environment (in a process of bio-mimicry). But in the 21st Century, where we are increasingly impressed by our own technological prowess, we now have the tools to adapt and reform our environment – no longer biased by the the biological but servant to the synthetic.

Virtual Futures Salon will aim to question the limits of representation and imagery exploring different ways in which technology is fundamentally changing what it means to be human.

The event will include artworks and discussions from an exciting line-up of internationally renowned participants:

Dr. Trudy Barber, Sex-tech Researcher, Artist and Senior Lecturer
Pat Cadigan, Queen of Cyberpunk
Prof. Johnny Golding, Philosopher & Director, Centre for Fine Art Research
Prof. Dan O’Hara, Philosopher of Technology
Dr. John Pickering, Cognitive Scientist
Sascha Pohflepp, Artist (Synthetic Aesthetics)
Mer Roberts, Artist from collective 0rphan Drift
Franken Beaumont, Performance Artist
Liam Worth, Installation Artist
J.R. Dooley, Sound Artist & Composer
More to be confirmed…

This event willl be followed by a series of live artworks at [ S T A T E ] Of the Invoked at The Vaults, Newhall Hill, Birmingham, B1 3JH
Both events are free, but entrance is first come first serve so please arrive early to secure your seat.

Event Details

Virtual Futures Salon @ TROVE: The Semi-Artificial Imagination
Date: Wednesday 24 October 2012
Time: Panel Discussion 5pm – 8pm
Where: TROVE, Newhall Square (off 144 Newhall Street), Birmingham, B3 1RY
Nearest Train: Birmingham Snow Hill/ Birmingham New Street/ Birmingham Moor Street
Eventbrite: http://vfsalon-oct2012.eventbrite.co.uk
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/368738186543449

The Virtual Futures Salon is supported by the Centre for Fine Arts Research (CFAR) at the Birmingham Institute for Art and Design and the University of Warwick Theatre and Performance Studies Department.