Black Box & Oil as Imperial Allegories:
The Geopolitical Aesthetic of Gulf Futurism
at the Conference KW Digital: Poetics of Encryption

27-28 October 2023
In English at Theater im Delphi

Contemporary life plays out amid a profusion of technical systems whose inner workings are obscure—if not locked. There is no master key. And yet, this encrypted world must be borne, somehow. How does this register in culture? What moods, symbols, or narrative frames capture the aesthetics and politics of exclusion, occlusion, secrecy, and speculation concerning technology’s inside?

This conference at the historic silent movie venue Theater im Delphi explores the dark side of tech, bringing together artists and eminent media theorists for two days of lectures, performances, and screenings. Covering topics ranging from algorithmic governance to hallucination, artificial life, art, and (digital) afterlives, the presentations unfold counter-narratives to Big Tech’s claims regarding a new culture of transparency and openness—showcasing, instead, a poetics of encryption.

This gathering builds upon Nadim Samman’s recent book Poetics of Encryption: Art and the Technocene which surveys an imaginative landscape marked by Black Sites, Black Boxes, and Black Holes. These terms indicate how technical systems capture users; how they work in stealth; and how they distort cultural space-time.

For the programme please see

Tickets are available online

Image credit © Andrea Khôra, Video Still, BOLUS, 2022

Posted on 18 October 2023