Paula Gaetano Adi, 2020
The video essay Robocaliptic Manifesto: techno-politics for liberation is an urgent call to endorse a robot ‘general strike’ that will overthrow the instrumental definition of both technology and humans, while disowning the ‘white man’ as the measure for the definition of humanity. The visual manifesto asserts the importance of unlearning the imperialisms performed by modern robotic and AI technologies that reinforce the racial and colonial logic that maintain social hierarchies and inequality, while upholding the techno-liberal project that promises revolutionary liberation from labour exploitation.
Fusing archival and found-footage material, animation, composite imagery and first-person voiceover, the film is divided into three acts: (I) Robots on Strike: Robocalypses Reenacted; (II) Robots Beyond Instrumentality: Humanity Reconquered, and (III) Robots in the Pluriverse: Animism Reloaded. All three acts touch on the central political challenges and aesthetic needs of our time –the decolonisation of the machine and an act of radical imagination that can reclaim pre-colonial ontologies, epistemologies and the technologies of non-destructive modes of life.
Nam June Paik was video art’s pioneer (1932 –2006). It is interesting that while Warhol and Nameth were experimenting with psychedelic happenings that combined rock, film and performance, the video art pioneers Nam June Paik, Stephen Beck, Eric Siegel and Steina Vasulka were researching in a similar direction.
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