Letter from the Editor
“The only clouds I trust are the ones that produce rain.”
– Robin D. G. Kelley, Back to the Future: Complex Movements Make Revolution
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Technology has always tested, disturbed, and made us keenly aware of our own capacities and limitations. Perhaps because of this, the echoes of suspicion and the promises of prophets always seem to trail the emergence of “new” technologies. But somewhere between paralyzing distrust and the drool-soaked pillow of blind faith — in a liminal space of stretched temporalities and slow motion effects that pronounce themselves before, say, a glass cup crashes to the ground — there is a pause. That’s right, a moment of distinct clarity, of distance. The kind of distance necessary to see the circuitry in front and beneath us, to see the shape of the world as it is, and to shape the world to become, even to its bitter end. That distance is what I hope you’ll find in the reflections and conversations we’ve gathered for this second issue of Shift Space, celebrating the life and work of this year’s incredible Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship cohort: Complex Movements, Ryan Kuo, Mary Maggic, Mother Cyborg (Diana J. Nucera), and James Allister Sprang.
In this issue you will find essays, conversations, and a short story written by a chorus of practitioners from different fields: writers, musicians, artists, curators, as well as ecocritical and media theorists. Simone Browne, Stefanie Hessler, Robin D. G. Kelley, Darla Migan, and Ade Omotosho each engaged with this year’s fellows in essays and interviews which meticulously and brilliantly elucidate the social and political complexities inherent in each of their practices. Interspersed between those texts you’ll find K Allado-McDowell, Ernesto Oroza, Tao Leigh Goffe, as well as Alenda Y. Chang and Jason Edward Lewis, whose contributions tease out the ways in which art and technology rub up against and are enmeshed with material conditions of the everyday present and yet-unlived future. Their works, which range in style from the fictional, to the documentary, and even through the intimate space of the personal, give us a privileged view into our own suspicions, contradictions, and hopes for the role technology plays within the field of art. Each of these writers had the difficult task of speaking to ideas which may come from below, against, or in critical positioning to dominant discourses around art and technology. To say that each one of them, whom I admire and am grateful to for stepping up to the task, accomplished this, is an understatement.
Congratulations to Complex Movements, Mary, Ryan, Diana, and James on this much deserved recognition for your work, and thank you for being the reason that we’ve gathered around this platform. Thanks to Allie Linn, Lee Heinemann, and Lu Zhang from United States Artists, for inviting me to edit this second issue and for providing the necessary resources to get it done in a way that honors all of the artists and thinkers featured in it. I am especially indebted to Allie, my collaborator in putting this issue together. Allie’s emails are always signed “with care,” and it’s a sentiment they truly carry out. Thank you to Sara Roffino for your careful and thoughtful edits of each of these diverse contributions, and to the many partners that were engaged to make these essays and stories more accessible. To our readers, you have a whole lot of good stuff waiting for you in here, so get to it.
Natalia Zuluaga is a curator and editor based in Miami, Florida. Since 2014, she has been the co-director of [NAME] Publications. In 2018 she co-founded, alongside Gean Moreno, the bilingual online journal Dispatches. She previously served as the Artistic Director at Oolite Arts (formerly ArtCenter/South Florida), Miami. Recent exhibitions and projects include Novo Pan Klub, a three-week summer intensive in collaboration with Materia Abierta in Mexico City; SupraCitizenship: Future of Demonstration, Vienna, Austria; and for ArtCenter/South Florida, A.S.T: Intertidal; Art in Public Life (in collaboration with the Environmental and Sustainability Department at the City of Miami Beach); The Recalibrated Institution (co-organized with Victoria Ivanova and Armen Avanessian); Parallax Drift: The Program for Applied Artistic Research; and AN IMAGE (co-curated with Domingo Castillo). Zuluaga has been a visiting lecturer at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, Oregon) and Florida International University (Miami). She has lectured at various institutions, including The New Museum (New York), the Kadist Foundation (Paris), the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and Es Baluard (Palma, Spain). In 2015, she received an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.