CONFERENCE PROGRAMME: SPECTRUM conference, OPEN-WAVES presentations & WAVES/LIGHT workshops

12.50  Konrad Becker. THEATERS OF POSSESSION. DANGEROUS TRANSCOMMUNICATIONS
The history of media technology is a spook story. High-tech simulation systems of the Military-Entertainment complex have their origin in the immersive spectacles of the phantasmagoria, a techno-ghost drama from the end of the 18th century. From its beginnings, the story of mimetic machines is haunted by the reoccurring theme of death and mirror worlds. Spirits of the dead incarnated themselves into the new media like ghosts in pursuit of bodies. Photography and the early history of cinematography are deeply colonized by the (un)dead and in the 20's Thomas Edison started working on electro-magnetic communication with the netherworld. Since then a whole genre of "Electronic Voice Phenomenon" and "Instrumental Transcommunication" groups have formed and by the 60's "Radio Contact with the Dead" became popular. These records of aural electronic investigation portray white noise, emerging from the static of recordings, as filled with the voices from beyond. Noise, unlike the restricted sound of music, is a symbol of violence, a simulacrum of ritual sacrifice. Technologies are not only used to make the dead stand up and talk, but to silence the living, buried alive by systems of symbolic domination. An evil eye of surveillance scans the tombs of intellectual property and social categorization. In a world of information feudalism, theaters of possession are the battleground for control of object and subject. Beneath the ways of everyday life, free spirits trace hidden paths responding to the enigma of the Zombies: What is the difference between the dead and the living?

Konrad Becker (Austria) is a hypermedia and interdisciplinary communication researcher, director of the Institute for New Culture Technologies/ t0, and World-Information.Org, a cultural intelligence provider. Co-founder and chairman of Public Netbase from 1994 to 2006 he has been active in electronic media as an author, artist, composer as well as curator, producer and organizer.  Since 1979, numerous intermedia productions, exhibitions, conferences and event designs for international festivals, cultural institutions and electronic media. Publication of media works, electronic audiovisuals and theoretical texts, lectures and positions at various universities and participation in conferences and symposia.  Konrad Becker's work was featured in major international newspapers and magazines and he was member of various boards and committees on information technologies and culture. He worked as a consultant for public administration and as an actor in various TV and cinema productions and created Monoton, the crucial Austrian electronic music act.

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