The Influencers 2016
By Kate Busby
Forward-thinking artists and activists will be gathering to share their thoughts on privacy, freedom and the Internet at the CCCB from October 20th to 22nd as part of The Influencers, dubbed a guerrilla festival of radical entertainment. Now in its 12th year, The Influencers aims to inspire, provoke and unsettle audiences in equal measure.
On the agenda are talks by Kenneth Goldsmith, creator of the avante-gard educational UbuWeb, Dr. Zach Blas, an artist and writer whose practice engages technology, queerness and politics, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, an information artist and bio-hacker, and William Binney, a former high level official at the US National Security Agency. Binney turned whistleblower on the agency’s spying on US citizens; the 2015 documentary that tells his story, A Good American, will be shown prior to his talk on Friday.
Barcelona has long been a hotbed for contemporary art that flirts with technology, with several of the city’s institutions dedicating to exploring innovations in the field. This pairing has long been seen as geeky and of marginal interest. That said, with the rise of trendy Internet artists and social media’s proven power as a global mover and shaker, the marriage of art and technology is now a mainstream concern.
Bani Brusadin, festival director, explains: “The Influencers began as a pilot project in 2004, a time when YouTube didn’t even exist. Today, the picture is radically different. The explosion of social networking has liberated unthinkable creative forces. The festival’s key has always been to offer first-hand experience of controversial projects that explore the constant consumption of images and the paradox of a society that is increasingly controlled and self-controlled.”