continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 4.4 / 2015
Letter from the Editors
Maximilian Thoman, Gerald Nestler, Sylvia Eckermann
This special issue of continent. is the digital extension of the art project Social Glitch. Instead of a reader completing the exhibition, performances, interventions and talks on site in Vienna, this issue devotes itself to broadening and deepening the discussions around the underlying complex of themes. Bringing together exciting contemporary research, artist activism and digital artworks, the compendium will grow on a rolling schedule during the next two months.
Usurping a governmental weapon and reinterpreting its value and use, the KILLLISTE is the manifest of a radical artistic activism. Inspired by the US secret service and the highly error-prone kill lists executed by military, the artist statement suggests the selective assassination of psychopathic “terrorists”. Even though the Killiste resides in the passive grey area, the political terms appropriated by the artists claim a virtually legitimate invocation to action.
The Underground Frontier
Godofredo Pereira
Out of the mobilisations of science by capital result territorial disputes of the earth and its resources. The earth’s underground and its elements are decoded into sets of discrete data. Resource gentrification and the emergence of frontiers in this substructure originated from a science driven by the speculation on capital assets. Hence, this vast exploration of the subterranean results in new disputes concerning geopolitical interests in particular areas.
Land Rights: Counter-mapping West Papua
Nabil Ahmed
With the territorial conflict around the Grasberg mine as a focus, this article follows an artistic research project that seeks to support political claims of Papuan diaspora activists in international forums. Two very different epistemologies connecting sky and ground, remote sensing science and indigenous agency/knowledge act in territorial claim-making.
Deadly Algorithms
Susan Schuppli
It has long been argued that robotic systems decrease the error margin of civilian casualties that are often the consequence of human error. The focus on algorithmic decision-making and the gradual reduction of human control unveils moral and juristic issues that lead to the crucial question: can we take algorithms to court?
The politics of Listening
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
In the past years, Lawrence Abu Hamdan has mostly been dedicated to understanding the role of voice in law and the changing nature of testimony in the face of the new regimes of border control, algorithmic technologies, medical sciences and methodologies of eavesdropping. His contribution to continent’s SOCIAL GLITCH issue is his keynote speech at What Now?, a symposium organized by Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List center for Art and Politics.
Kriminalaffe: Sultan at the Dole Office
Ines Doujak, John Barker
After committing the original sin in paradise, mankind was forced to work for a living. After that only lazy scoundrels like apes have gotten away without needing to work. Later, the rise of capitalism and the co-occurrence of slaves, workers and citizens demanded scientific theories of racial hierarchy. These taxonomies of racialized social structure were never abandoned: in 2011, the media still referred to the London rioters as ‘apes’.
The Petrification of the Image
Ayesha Hameed
European migration politics and the concomitant public commerce result in a public imagery that contains an aesthetic quality germane to its existence. Embedded in the circulation of images, terms and concepts, which are produced by events in conflict with daily society, narratives emerge that define ideological common sense – from the print of Rjyadhar Konai`s hand in William Hershels contract to the “la jungle” migrant camp outside of Calais.
Tracing Information Society – A Timeline
Repurposing the term of “Information Society”, Technopolitics, an informal group consisting of 10 core members and about 30 contributors, attempts the impossible project of analysing the Information Society as an open totality. Aiming not to produce a new master narrative but to provide a framework for inquiry, the technopolitics timeline is the first engagement in a material project between artistic and as well theoretical research.
War Always Finds a Way
Harun Farocki
With the development of technology in warfare emerged a new visual category of war-images. Phantom subjective shots delivered by cameras in missiles and unmanned drones take up the coverage of war scenes. These images eliminate the distinction between waging war and reporting war. In this text, Farocki cites Bertold Brecht's Mother Courage to question the connection of imaging technologies and arms industry.
For he’s a jelly goo fellow: Daimon Cult
Thomas Feuerstein
Prompting the question of which stuff we are made of, this science fiction story conceives of slime as the primal matter. Intercommunicating bacteria and fungi grow a biofilm that eventually covers everybody and everything. In the “age of slime,” humanity conflates into a new protoplastic community.

Forensic Architecture: Notes from Fields and Forums
Eyal Weizman
Forensics is the art of the forum—the practice and skill of presenting an argument before a professional, political, or legal gathering. The research project Forensic Architecture based at Goldsmiths, University of London gathers architects, artists, activists and filmmakers to pursue object-oriented juridical and scientific investigations of current war-crime scenes.
Koine Aisthesis: Probing the Deep Tissue of Tactile Media
Karin Harrasser
It seems as if the technological obscures the humane. In dissecting the significance of the tactile sense in reference to Aristotle’s reading of koine aisthesis (common sense), Harrasser sketches an alternative view on media-based contact and probes into the contradictions as well as potentials of touch as a “promise and distance as what makes shared experience possible.”
Data driven narcissism
Thomas Raab, Sylvia Eckermann
In 7 theses, Thomas Raab examines our relationship to contemporary data-driven reality. Sylvia Eckermanns object SINGULARIUM proposes a shape in which the measurement and evaluation of uniqueness and singularity can be experienced.

The Renegade; An Aesthetics of Resolution
Gerald Nestler
Based on an art project on the forensics of a market crash, Nestler proposes a radical material practice to (en)counter the black box of automated evaluation and decision-making. It sets out with a reading of the term “resolution” and its potential relevance in current techno-political discourse and introduces the figure of the renegade as an agent of insurrection beyond mere dissent.