Dear fellow discourse lovers,
Greetings from icy Berlin, where we are making preparations for a busy programme of events and projects in 2022. As always, do get in touch if you’d like to get involved in any of the below activities.
‘0x Salon Revue’ Publication Call For Contributions Now Closing
We’ve extended the deadline for the next edition of the Ox Salon Revue. If you’ve got a text of fewer than 500 words that you think might fit, feel free to send it along in the next few days. Details can be found here.
New 0x Salon ‘22 Fellow: Habib William Kherbek
This January the Salon opened its doors to a new member, Habib William Kherbek. Will writes about the conjunctions, disjunctions, and collisions of technology, art, and politics for a variety of outlets. He’ll be contributing to a range of projects at the Salon in the new year, including several publications, and a new satirical play.
Recent Salon ‘The Price of Anarchy’
On 24 January, we held our first Salon of the new year. The event was entitled ‘The Price of Anarchy’, and we had contributions from a raucous collection of Salon regulars along with some new faces. The discussion focussed on the ways in which organisational structures play a role in defining creative and political outcomes. As always, the views expressed were quite diverse and heterodox, ranging from discussions of education, spiritual practice, biology, and collaborative creative endeavors. Among the ‘big ideas’ that came up was ‘holacracy’, and the ways that such self-consciously management-orientated theories fare outside of the corporate environment.
Salonnières also examined the hierarchies inscribed in contemporary notions of education. How aspiration to university education is both encoded into contemporary political discourse, and undermined by the radical market forces unleashed by the platform economy. At the centre of the discussion was the Peter Turchin’s notion of ‘the overproduction of elites’ (discussed elsewhere as ‘graduates without a future’, and in other, more optimistic registers as the creation of, for example, ‘new Arabs’) and the wherefores of how a generation of ‘overqualified’ graduates have come to enter a job market where their main role is largely that of providing wage-control leverage for employers.
The dynamic of inside and outside, vis-à-vis institutions, was also a key point of discussion, in particular, the notion of productive forms of ‘trespass’ as a means of providing mechanisms for the sharing of knowledge, and novel perspectives on persistent problems.
As is perhaps unsurprising, the status of institutions was a crucial node of discussion. The question of what an ‘institution’ is animated several exchanges. Perhaps one fruitful perspective is that which has been promulgated by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Douglass North, i.e. that institutions are simply ‘structures of incentives’. Institutions may loom large, but in North’s reading it is perhaps their strange lightness that allows them to become so enduring and mutable. North’s thought also recalls the thinking of post-war Oxford Ordinary Language philosophers like J.L. Austin who view institutions as being fundamentally ‘speech acts’.
Another of the key touchstones of the discussion was was Jo Freeman’s book ‘The Tyranny of Structurelessness’. Freeman’s work provided a lens to examine the interstices between the rhetoric of horizontality and the political aims towards which such formations purport to strive.
Over the course of the Salon’s two-hours, the speech acts were flying, and left us looking ahead to our next Salon in February, on ‘Acc/strology’.
Spike Art Magazine Article ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Tokenised’
Our long-serving Janitor-in-Chief, Wassim Alsindi, greeted the new year with an article in Berlin’s own Spike Magazine on all things Web 3. If you would like to read more here is the link.
Sovereign Nature Call For Writing ‘Nature Speaks’
On the subject of Salon Synergies, we would like to draw interested readers’ attention to a call for submissions by the platform Nature Speaks!. Nature Speaks! is looking for creative work taking a non-human perspective - not to be confused with an ‘inhuman’ one, Lyotard-heads! There’s still plenty of time to enter, the deadline is 15 March, and details can be found here.
Berlin Art Link Feature on the 0x Salon ‘Re-Thinking Creative Agency’
Wassim and Will Kherbek also sat down for a chat for Berlin Art Link, one of Berlin’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging local art publications. Will interviewed Wassim for the magazine’s monthly theme of The Digital. They spoke about a range of ideas encompassing the nature of creative agency as well as the nuts and bolts of digital art production. Topics included memes, GANs, and, inevitably, NFTs. If you’d like to read the full interview, it can be found here.
Preview of our forthcoming ‘The Art of Indifference’ Programme
January is ending for the Salon on a hopeful note: over the next few months we will be unveiling a range of new projects across diverse media. We don’t want to give away all our secrets now, but stay tuned, it’s going to be a year of new perspectives and surprises. Here’s a preview of just a few of the treats we have in store.
0x Salon is an ongoing, non-profit experiment in collective knowledge sharing and cultural production. Since 2020, we have been hosting salons - intimate and private discourse sessions - on a range of conversation topics. Stewarded by 0x Salon team members, our community researches topics, organises events, and produces scholarly and artistic outputs.
0x Salon’s event program brings together artists, researchers, theorists and other knowledge workers who engage with the chosen discussion topic. Past topics have included time, Bitcoin’s ecological impact, interdisciplinarity, memes, automation, abstraction, nonhuman life and collective behaviour. More about the 0x Salon.