Community College: The Black Box Issues

Risking translations of what is only partly understood.

“Feminism loves another science: the sciences and politics of interpretation, translation, stuttering, and the partly understood. [...] Translation is always interpretive, critical, and partial. Here is a ground for conversation, rationality, and objectivity – which is powersensitive, not pluralist, ‘conversation’.” (Donna Haraway)

What is a black box? A system whose internal processes evade critical scrutiny or overwhelm our perception capacities with simply too much data? Are they technological devices, unmanageable social networks and automated economic systems? Is it my smartphone, crypto currencies, or even the view of things from the perspective of another person? What relationships do we maintain with black boxes and how do they entangle us? What prejudices and discriminations are (consciously or unintentionally) programmed into them and amplified by feedback loops within an unequal society? Can we answer these questions if the complex mechanisms that run the game of input/output-relations are not completely understood?

The Community College is Kunsthalle Wien’s open space for reflection and action. Since the open call (“Could there be an affectionate feminist algorithm?”) in spring, 2019, the group pursues such questions and activates the discursive space of the exhibition Hysterical Mining with a reading session, open gatherings and workshops that invite people to work together on diverse ‘translations’ of the inner processes of black boxes. In the sense of “staying with the trouble” (Donna Haraway), we do not shy away from creating productive confusion and suggesting cheerful exercises for a life in complexity. The goal is to initiate a discourse on the impact of black boxes and the need for democratic regulation.

After ideas by István Antal, Fedra Benoli, Sara Bissen, Astrid Edlinger, Anne Faucheret, Alexandra Fruhstorfer, Carola Fuchs, Daniela Hinderer, Pauline Hosse-Hartmann, Andrea Hubin, Maria Kanzler, Radostina Kostadinova, Luana Marina, Marianna Mondelos, Hektor Peljak, Katja Stecher, Eleanor Taylor and by many more ...

The complete program of the Community College Black Box Issues week from September 20 – 28, can be downloaded here.

For details on the program and possibilities to participate please contact:


The Black Box Issues

Hysterical Mining Program