Desktop Shortcuts, Databases, Simulations

Lawrence Alexander Shobun Baile Stella N. Christou Rosemary Grennan Andi Johnson Geli Mademli Jacob Moe Felix Mittelberger Marie Schamboeck Erik Stein
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[1]Drawing on the genealogy of the desktop as a flat surface designed for the completion of an (often collective) task and a fixed, immobile meeting area around which different actors gather, we are prompted to test the migration of the term in computer technologies as more than mere metaphor. Delving into the notion of the desktop as an archival site and methodology, this contribution presents two divergent outputs resulting from collaboration between the workshop’s seven participants and three co-conveners. The first, conceived by Erik Stein and Rosemary Grennan, is an autonomously hosted, simplified database of hyperlinks and references relevant to the workshop cohort’s individual artistic and archival practices; the second, titled ABOULOmania, is a poetic game of disorder in the archival process conceived by Stella Christou. 

ABOULOmania, defined as pathological indecisiveness, is a poetic game of disorder in the archival processing. Based on stories about Nikola Tesla’s rituals around the dining table – and his ongoing inability to properly eat, we enter a simulation of a computer desktop with shortcuts, considering the desktop as a dinner table and shortcuts as elements needed for dining, in a process* that leads to everything else but eating. All the data (audio / screen recordings and hand written notes of online sessions) is processed in a familiar yet unknown way of archiving, focused on the unconscious values of its “nomadic” content. The archive revealed, is a reflection of the participation experience of the Whole Life Academy’s second edition through the Desktop Shortcuts workshop. Conceived by Stella N. Christou, and created by Field—Effect Transistors (Christos Christou + Stella N. Christou). The simulation will be linked to this page once complete. 

  1. This contribution is published as the workshop findings of “Desktop Shortcuts”. The workshop was convened by Geli Mademli, Jacob Moe, and Marie Schamboeck and took place online from October 2021 – March 2022 as part of the Whole Life Academy Berlin.
ABOULOmania screenshot, courtesy of Stella Christou
“Am I here” screenshot of chat, courtesy of Stella Christou
 Session 4 of the workshop, Desktop Shortcuts, courtesy of Stella Christou

This contribution is published in the framework of the Whole Life Academy as part of the workshop “Desktop Shortcuts”.

Connected Material

Paula Montesios und Eduardo Molinari speak about their artistic practices and how they are related to archives. Together they reflect about counter-archiving, para-archiving and un-archiving and how this includes experiences with and appearances of sensorial encounters with the past.

Archives are often perceived as somewhat static. They look back, they conserve, they remember. But the thinking that was present in the pieces of the Pinkus Archive all addressed ecology, extinction, and political agency in ways that not only extend into our present, but into our future.

This essay explores the plural notion of “ethnofuturisms” by employing a comparative approach. The cultural and political vicissitudes of “futurist” tropes are traced in literary and audiovisual creations that engage with the national, ethnic, and/or racial contexts of the Middle East, African diaspora, East Asia, and former Eastern Bloc.

The video explores the encounter (digital and analogue) between the body and the archive.

These images were taken in the frame of The Whole Life Academy. Laura Fiorio accompanied the project as a photographer from the beginning in 2019 and developed her own approach of documenting archival sites and methods.

The Perverted Archival Image workshop centered on and tentacled off from Studio Baalbeck. The workshop participants created an audio montage of recordings to accompany some of the visual archive material.

This collective chain uses multiple entry points to reflect on the encounter of archival practices, objects and material with non-linear timelines.

Beyond the objects in any given archive is a myriad of people, encounters and exchanges. The desire to locate the human element beneath archives is challenged by new technology. As part of ‘Life Stories and Archives’, we began a virtual ‘common archive’. Our collaborative thread addresses pertinent questions arising from shared interests in how individual’s origins, biases, networks and political struggles fuel the need to collect.

This collective visualisation represents the outcome of our workshop. It represents our attempt to create our own archive on escape fantasies, inspired through theory and practice of the workshop sessions, which featured several interview with local Berlin artists and curators.