Jussi Parikka & GEOCINEMA (Solveig Suess, Asia Bazdyrieva): Art from Large-Scale Systems: Operational Images and Geocinema


This talk will address the Geocinema collective’s artistic practice and their recent work focusing on the initiative Digital Belt and Road (DBAR). We aim to offer theoretical and artistic perspectives into how audiovisual practices can be used as a way to investigate large-scale systems and infrastructures. This links to Geocinema’s earlier articulated interest into planetary-scale sensory networks and remote sensing systems. “Sensing fragments of the earth, each signal and transfer runs through their own sets of scales and temporalities while producing terabytes of raw data.” In the talk, we develop ways to link these practices to the notions of operational image (as per Harun Farocki’s work) and instrumental image (Allan Sekula), while also elaborating on how Geocinema’s work relates to feminist film making. The talk relates to the collaborative work by Parikka and Geocinema that was supported by the Digital Earth fellowship scheme in 2019.

Dr. Jussi Parikka

is Professor at the Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton) and Visiting Researcher at FAMU, part of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. At FAMU, he is the director of the Operational Images research project (2019-2023, Czech Science Foundation). His various books have addressed a wide range of topics contributing to a critical understanding of network culture, aesthetics and media archaeology of contemporary society. The books include the media ecology-trilogy Digital Contagions (2007, 2016), the award-winning Insect Media (2010) and most recently, A Geology of Media (2015), which addresses the environmental contexts of technical media culture. This topic was continued in the short booklet A Slow, Contemporary Violence: Damaged Environments of Technological Culture (2016). Operational Images research project (2019-2023) led by Parikka: https://www.famu.cz/cs/veda-a-vyzkum/aktualne-resene-vyzkumne-projekty-na-famu/operational-images/; the program Digital Earth: http://thedigitalearth.org/.


Currently based in Berlin and Kyiv, Geocinema consists of art historian Asia Bazdyrieva and filmmaker Solveig Suess. With Geocinema they consider planetary-scale sensory networks – cell phones, surveillance cameras, satellites – as a vastly distributed camera. While taking cues from these networks, the episodic documentary project looks to such infrastructures of earth-sensing data as forms of cinema. Geocinema as a practice began during The New Normal 2018 with Alexey Orlov, at Strelka Institute Moscow. Their upcoming episode takes the Chinese-led Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) as a starting point, to be released Spring 2020. 

Geocinema: https://www.geocinema.network/; a recent podcast discussion between Geocinema and Parikka: https://medium.com/digital-earth/podcast-geocinema-in-conversation-with-jussi-parikka-d106e66e415.