This year's speakers, top row: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Frank Swain, Georgina Voss, Farida Vis. Middle row: Keller Easterling, Maja Kuzmanovic, Paula Le Dieu, Justin Pickard. Bottom row: Simon Ings, Paul Graham Raven, Timo Arnall, Tobias Revell
This year's speakers, top row: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Frank Swain, Georgina Voss, Farida Vis. Middle row: Keller Easterling, Maja Kuzmanovic, Paula Le Dieu, Justin Pickard. Bottom row: Simon Ings, Paul Graham Raven, Timo Arnall, Tobias Revell

IMPROVING REALITY 2013 - FILMS

BRIGHTON DIGITAL FESTIVAL


September 5 2013
Studio Theatre, Brighton


HOW ARE ARTISTS, TECHNOLOGISTS & WRITERS SUBVERTING OUR NOTION OF REALITY?


Lighthouse's digital culture conference, Improving Reality, returned for a third year this September. Talks included tours through worlds that artists are growing rather than making, critical revelations of the systems and infrastructures that shape our world, and narratives of radical alternative futures.

Scott Smith, Farida Vis and Georgina Voss at Improving Reality 2013
Scott Smith, Farida Vis and Georgina Voss at Improving Reality 2013

We’ve collected together the videos of the days talks, and invite you to join us in the discussion on Twitter and Facebook, or in any way you’d like. Visit the relevant session to watch the videos, and find out more about the themes, issues and ideas up or discussion.

In between sessions were a set of Tiny Talks, interventions from artists and designers involved in Brighton Digital Festival.

Session 1. Revealing Reality
Social, political and technological infrastructures are the invisible “dark matter” which underlies contemporary life, influencing our environment and behaviour. This session explores how the spaces where we live, such as our cities, are being transformed by increasingly interlinked technological and architectural infrastructures. We will see how artists and designers are making these infrastructures visible, so that we may better understand and critique them.

Speakers: Timo Arnall, Keller Easterling and Frank Swain. Chair: Honor Harger.

Session 2. Re-imagining Reality
Our increasingly technologised world, with its attendant infrastructures, is in a constant state of flux. This session explores how artists, designers and writers are imagining how our infrastructures may evolve. We will learn what writers might reveal about our infrastructures, using tools such as design fiction. We will go on tours through worlds that artists are growing, rather than making, using new materials like synthetic biology and nanotechnology. And we’ll see how artists are imagining new realities using techniques from futurism and foresight.

Speakers: Paul Graham Raven, Maja Kuzmanovic, Tobias Revell and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Chair: Simon Ings.

Session 3. Reality Check
The growing reach of technological infrastructures and engineered systems into our lives creates uneasy social and ethical challenges. The recent scandals relating to the NSA, the revelation of the PRISM surveillance programme, and the treatment of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, have revealed how fundamentally intertwined our civil liberties are with our technological infrastructures. These systems can both enable, and threaten, both our privacy and our security. Ubiquitous networked infrastructures create radical new creative opportunities for a coming generation of makers and users, whilst also presenting us with major social dilemmas. In this session we will look at the social and ethical questions which will shape our technological infrastructures in the future. We will examine algorithmic infrastructures, power dynamics, and ask, “whose reality we are trying to improve”.

Speakers: Farida Vis, Georgina Voss, Paula Le Dieu, and Justin Pickard. Chair: Scott Smith.

We were delighted that Arc were our media partners for Improving Reality 2013. Arc was created by the makers of the New Scientist, and has emerged as one of the most exciting forums for writing about the near-future, science and science fiction. Arc sent a group of correspondents to the conference to capture the discussions.

Improving Reality 2013 is part of Brighton Digital Festival 2013. It is run by members of Brighton’s arts and digital communities, administered by Wired Sussex in association with Lighthouse and supported by Arts Council England. and Brighton & Hove City Council

With thanks to Brighton Festival and Dome.

Improving Reality


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