Electric Summer School

  • Electric Summer School

    graphic design: Karolina Pietrzyk based on a frame from Agnieszka Polska’s "The Thousand-Year Plan"

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw invites you to take part in Electric Summer School, a symposium devoted to technology and modernization from a planetary perspective, with the participation of outstanding philosophers, historians, and sociologists: Benjamin Bratton, Katarzyna Czeczot, Sandy Isenstadt, Bogna Konior, and McKenzie Wark.

Over the past few decades, thanks to reflecting upon the Anthropocene era, an order has emerged that many contemporary researchers call the planetary topography of a world binding together nature, technology, and man. At the Electric Summer School, we will look at the political implications of a planetary megastructure in which various spatial relationships take place and political, social, and technological networks intersect: informational and computational layers, urban networks and structures, energy sources and mineral deposits, and a biosphere that is subject to human modification at an unprecedented scale. (please see, among others: Benjamin Bratton "The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty", MIT Press).

It is a landscape in which, on the one hand, computational systems gain more and more autonomy in the organization of human and nonhuman life, and on the other hand, the very concept of life is called into question. We can assume that in a megastructure organized in this way, humans, despite their fantasies of taming nature and technology, have not occupied the central place for a long time. This leads to numerous anxieties, both individual and social. The status of the Real has never been so controversial. 

What organisational challenges emerge from this cartography? How do states and corporations transform space and infrastructure, turning them into instruments of biopolitical power? Can infrastructure be a medium for imagination, for speculation about the future, and for designing new affective and aesthetic experiences?

Electric Summer School accompanies Agnieszka Polska’s current exhibition, The Thousand-Year Plan, set against the backdrop of the history of modernization and electrification in post-war Poland, a poetic expression of anxieties resulting from the protagonists’ entanglement in technological breakthrough.

The symposium is divided into two parts. Individual presentations will be streamed in English with Polish subtitles on the Facebook profile of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and on a screen in the foyer of the Museum on the Vistula.

Following the presentations, we invite the audience to take part in a live discussion with panellists, which will be held online, in English, on the Museum’s Facebook profile at 16:00.


12:00 Katarzyna Czeczot, Romantic Electrification. A Potential History

12:45 Sandy Isenstadt, From Miracle to Mundane. The Domestication of Light 

13:30 Bogna Michalina Konior, Loading Eurasia: The Internet & Civilisational Evolution

14:15 McKenzie Wark, Vector and Territory

15:00 Benjamin Bratton, The Revenge of The Real

16:00 Online discussion with the participation of panellists and online audience


Benjamin Bratton

Bratton's work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is Program Director of The Terraforming programme at Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) and NYU Shanghai. He is the author of several books, including "The Revenge of The Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World" (Verso Press), which sees the pandemic as a crisis of governance and argues for a positive biopolitics; "The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty" (MIT Press) which developed a comprehensive political philosophy of planetary-scale computation; "Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution" (e-flux/Sternberg), a collection of speculative fictions on architecture, violence and utopia; and "The Terraforming" (Strelka Press) which considers the role of astronomy, automation and artificiality in post-Anthropocenic urbanism. His current book project explores the concept of the artificial and the synthetic in AI, Earth sciences, linguistics, perception, cities, and ecosystems.

Katarzyna Czeczot

cultural studies and literature expert, feminist, associate professor at the Institute of Literary Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is interested in literature and visual culture from the beginning of modernity to present times. Co-editor of the “Gender Encyclopaedia” (2014) and author of the book “Ophelism. Romantic appropriations, feminist interventions” (In Polish). In the series “New Romantic Library” she published three anthologies (in Polish): “Magnetism,” “Psychiatric practices” and (with Michał Pospiszyl) “Romantic Anti-capitalism.” She wrote reviews and essays published, among others, in “n.paradoxa”, “Teksty Drugie”, “Praktyka Teoretyczna”, “Widok”, “Notatnik Teatralny”, “Czas Kultury”, “Dwutygodnik”, and “Glissando.” Member of the editorial staff of “Praktyka Teoretyczna” and “Wiek XIX.”

Sandy Isenstadt

Professor and Chair of the Art History department at the University of Delaware. He has published essays on postwar reformulations of modernism and American material culture. Spatial perception in the domestic environment is the subject of "The Modern American House" (2009), winner of the Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. He has co-edited "Modernism and the Middle East. Politics of the Built Environment" (2008), the first book-length treatment of modernism in the Middle East; "Cities of Light" (2015), the first global overview of urban lighting; and two forthcoming volumes, "Elusive Archives" and "Modelwork: Material Culture and Modeling in the Humanities". His most recent monograph, "Electric Light: An Architectural History" (2018), examines the novel luminous spaces introduced by electric lighting. His work has been recognized with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, N.J.

Bogna Michalina Konior

Assistant Arts Professor at Interactive Media Arts department and Research Fellow at AI & Culture Research Centre, NYU Shanghai. Recently, her work explores species-level shifts in human culture and politics across technological and ecological changes, especially with regards to Eurasia. She publishes widely on the subjects of new media, digital culture, philosophy, and futurism. Forthcoming essays explore, among others, artificial intelligence in the work of Stanislaw Lem, accelerationism after the Cold War, and mystical imaginations of space colonialism. Learn more at www.bognamk.com   

Natalia Sielewicz

Art historian, curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, PhD candidate. In her exhibitions and essays she undertakes issues related to feminism, technology and affective cultures. Most recently she curated Agnieszka Polska. The Thousand-year Plan (2021), Paint also known as Blood. Women, Affect and Desire in Contemporary Painting (2019), Hoolifemmes (2017), the exhibition problematizing performativity and dance as modes of feminine resistance. She also curated the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Intimacy as Text (2017), which was dedicated to affects, autofiction and poetics of confession in literature and visual arts as well as: Private settings (2014), one of the first institutional shows analyzing the impact of the Internet 2.0 on the human condition in the age of late capitalism; and Bread and Roses. Artists and the Class Divide (2015, together with Łukasz Ronduda).

McKenzie Wark

author, among other things, of "Capital is Dead" (Verso 2019) and "Sensoria" (Verso 2020). Her book on Kathy Acker, "Philosophy for Spiders", is out from Duke University Press in September 2021. She teaches at Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate liberal arts division of The New School, in New York City. 

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