Steven Ounanian


London and Doncaster

DIY 9: 2012 – Call for Participants

Create the perfect citizen-robot as defined by the criteria set out by the UK Border Agency.

Project summary:
“This tool allows you to calculate how many points you may get, and indicates whether you may be eligible to work or study in the UK under the points-based system.” (UK Border Agency website)

The UK points-based immigration system reduces the applicant to a particular set of assets and functions — a set of rules for existing in a particular location. This mechanical criteria is used to define what is acceptable and what is rejected, what is profitable and what is waste, what is foreign and what is forgiven in order to grant entry across the border. And within this rigid framework, is it possible that a robot or a psychopath is better suited for entry into the United Kingdom than your average human under the Points-Based System?

That’s a thought, create a robot which is defined by the criteria set out by the UKBA.

Participants in this workshop will be presented with material by experts in the fields of immigration, emerging technology and performance, at the Live Art Development Agency in London. This will be followed by a three day intensive hack-lab in Doncaster, creating works which respond both to the discussion and the local area. We will look at the current and future state of immigration and identity by creating a series of British citizen robot prototypes, using film, our own bodies, and whatever technologies necessary to illustrate the automatons in various situations in British life.

The workshop will culminate in a screening/performance at Artsadmin’s Cafe in Toynbee Studios, London, the following week, at which we aim to have created a group biography of the perfect citizen-robot, presented to both solicitors and audience, who will either grant or deny its access to the nation.

*ROLLO MAY, Freedom and Destiny

“Much current techno-aesthetics remains as inspirational images of the future, inaccessible in a tangible sense. The economics and social context of science-fiction operates on a scale removed from the everyday, such that we have little chance of reaching their lofty heights, except to muse their implications on a trend forecast blog. In instances where we are able to engage with them, as with popular micro-technologies, we are challenged to creatively employ the rich spectrum of knowledge from both the past and the present, to explore the psychic content of technology. Through these interventions, we experience split-second insights which spill into longer moments, prompting experiences that outline the potential of now and the future. We hold onto these hopes to explore human relationships, and wish to connect this notion of technology back to the schema of land, labour and capital. A technology of the soul.” (The Reign of Techno-Aesthetics, by Cecilia Wee included in a booklet entitled Techno-Limbo, co-written by Cecilia Wee and Steven Ounanian)

Dates, times and location:
Monday, August 20th
Live Art Development Agency Study Room: an evening of lectures and discussion experts in immigration and emerging technologies.

Wednesday 22nd – Sunday 26th August
Doncaster College: an intensive four day workshop in Doncaster.

Wednesday, September 12th
Arts Admin Café: Exhibition.

Application procedure:
Applicants should be studying or working artists with an interest (experience not necessary) in identity, emerging technologies, performance and experimentation, and be able to commit to all of the dates specified.

If interested please contact [email protected] (cc’d to [email protected]) for an approved points based system application form, and a home biometrics test.

Whilst participation in the workshop is free rates an ‘all inclusive’ deal – price TBC (approx. £150) is being negotiated for bedroom and bathroom for four nights in Doncaster(including kitchen and bar on site), breakfast and lunch, access to studio space, filming equipment, green screen, lighting, etc., return train tickets (from Kings Cross to Doncaster). If applicants from outside London area, please contact [email protected].

Closing date for applications is Monday 9 July 2012.

The artist:

Steven Ounanian (1984, Redlands, California) studied Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, where he received his Masters Degree in 2008. Ounanian received the 2010 Arts Admin Bursary award for Live Art to continue his investigations into emerging technologies in a social context. He has lectured and performed internationally, including the Tate Britain and the Barbican in London.

Contact information:
Please email in the first instance: [email protected]

This project was a response to the DIY 9 Call for Proposals

Part of DIY: 2012

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