Date: Wednesday, 31st of October 2018
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Varia (, Gouwstraat 3 3082 BA, Rotterdam

What shapes the daily routine of a telemarketing sales agent? How to go beyond the co-working model when it comes to organize a place for collaboration? What’s the territorial and political role of furniture within the semi-domestic area of the artist’s studio? Are life hacks a form of liberation or yet another burden? Together with author and designer François Girard-Meunier, the WORKNOT! collective (Arvand Pourabbasi and Golnar Abbasi), Varia, the Centre for Everyday Technology (represented by Roel Roscam Abbing, Manetta Berends and Niek Hilkmann) and XPUB (the Experimental Publishing program of the Piet Zwart Institute), we will tackle these and more questions during an evening dedicated to spaces that are at once entrepreneurial and precarious.

Life Hacks is part of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s fellowship program around the theme of ‘burn out’. As 2017 fellow Ramon Amaro states, “on the one hand, to ‘burn out’ is to stall, break, or become otherwise unusable. In other words, processes, procedure and participation simply stop working. On the other hand, ‘burn out’ is an opportunity to break open, promote action and catalyse change towards new structures and relations.” Life Hacks manifests in a series of gatherings that respond to this ambivalence by exploring the approaches and techniques adopted to design or redesign life against the backdrop of growing precarity and an intensified entrepreneurial regime. Together with theorists, practitioners and XPUB, the Experimental Publishing program of the Piet Zwart Institute, Life Hacks looks into the tensions and releases that emerge from the constant reinvention and progressive self-optimization necessary to inhabit public and private space, manage time and productivity, and tweak one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Life Hacks is curated by Silvio Lorusso, and jointly organized by HNI’s Research Department and XPUB.

Roel Roscam Abbing (NL) is an artist and researcher whose work engages with the issues and cultures surrounding networked computation. He engages with themes such as network infrastructures, the politics of technology and do-it-yourself approaches. He holds an MA Networked Media from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and a Fine Arts BA from the Willem De Kooning Academy. Currently he also works as a teacher in Digital Media at the department of Graphic Design in Artez, Arnhem. He is also a member of the and Varia.

Manetta Berends (NL) is a graphic designer with an interest in networked publishing & free software. Her practice is rooted in practical investigations into the sociality of software related to publishing infrastructures. Besides working on commissions, projects and workshops, Manetta is also member of Varia.

François Girard-Meunier (CA/NL) is interested by the performativity and politics of labour in the contemporary western post-fordist context. Graduated from the Graphic Design department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (2015) and the Critical Studies department of the Sandberg Instituut (2018), he works mainly in the cultural field as a designer, web developer, writer and so on. Recent projects include Flexible Bodies (2017), at the Tallinn Photomonth 17, and Talent at Work (2017), in collaboration with Mirjam Reili and re-published in the context of Signals From The Periphery (EE). He is based in Amsterdam, where he runs the Office for Workspace Studies and self-publishes.

Niek Hilkmann (NL) is an artist with a background in media design, art history and musicology. After graduating from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, he started collaborating with various institutes, designers and artists on the fringe of speculative design, science fiction, media archeology and extratonal music. Besides being the curator of events such as “Floppy Totaal” and “De Grote Hoop”, he is also one of the core members of Varia, the conductor of an amateur avant-garde orchestra, the editor of the UNI Graphical Notation System, a part-time dodologist and the creator of one of the first moving panoramas since the nineteenth century.

Varia (NL) is a Rotterdam based initiative focused on working with, on and through everyday technology. At its core the initiative aims to be a social infrastructure from which to collaboratively facilitate critical understandings on the technologies that surround us. The initiative is a membership-based organisation striving to become a space for questions, opinions, modifications, help and action.

WORKNOT! (NL/IR) is a Rotterdam-based independent open collective that works to create a platform for the representation of the life and work of today’s cognitarians. It works with seemingly banal, yet extreme (and political) conditions that shape our today’s contemporary forms of living and working. The collective consists of Arvand Pourabbasi and Golnar Abbasi, researchers/designers/makers with a background in architecture and art. Since its foundation in Tehran (2012), it has worked in a variety of context through a broad range of collaborations, and has created workshops, exhibitions, performances, images, writings, lectures and publications.

Cover image: François Girard-Meunier

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