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Zeitenwende et al. - Infrastructures as media of transformation 
Johannes Bruder (Critical Media Lab Basel)
Asia Bazdyrieva (Linz University of Arts and Design Critical Media Lab Basel)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel invites contributions that engage with the re-negotiation of sovereignties via ‘transformative’ infrastructures. It seeks to foster a conversation between infrastructure studies and artistic research to re-imagine infrastructures as sites of knowledge production and anchors of solidarity.

Long Abstract:

Just three days after Russian tanks rolled over the Ukrainian border on February 24th, 2022, German chancellor Olaf Scholz declared the arrival of Zeitenwende— an epochal shift in the "history of our continent." While the speech was intended as a condemnation of Russia's escalation of the military intervention into a sovereign state, it was mainly centered on interweaving Germany's further militarization with newly proposed energy policies, which "is not only crucial for our economy and our climate, but also crucial for our security." Against the backdrop of the Russian invasion and related threats to the continuous supply of energy in Central Europe, Scholz speech presented concerns about energy sovereignty and security as environmental ones. That is, despite its ambitious statements about a greener and cleaner future, the technopolitical solutions that were quickly mobilized re-conceived postwar inter-imperial logics through “a geographical schematization of diplomatic-strategic relations with a geographic-economic analysis of resources” (Grove 2019) or “sustainable sovereignties” (Riofrancos 2023).

Put differently, the talk of an impending Zeitenwende mobilizes tropes of transformation to re-legitimate and transform existing power geometries (Massey 1994) through new (energy) infrastructures. This combined format open panel provides space and time for discussing similar cases where sovereignties are re-negotiated via ‘transformative’ infrastructures. We therefore approach infrastructures as media of transformation: they support, communicate, and make tangible what transformation means. Conversely, media that engage with ‘transformative’ infrastructures have the capacity to re-imagine transformation. We invite both traditional papers and artistic contributions (esp. moving image) that re-mediate processes of transformation by attending to their infrastructures. It seeks to foster a conversation between scholars from infrastructure studies (STS & media studies) and artistic researchers to move beyond analysis and towards experimental formats of documenting and re-imagining infrastructures as crucial sites of knowledge production and anchors of solidarity.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1
Session 2