Public Engagement

General Public

Indigeneity, Stack, Sovereignty

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

With the flow of finance, people, and influence across national borders undermining the traditional sovereignty of the nation-state, this event explores alternative ways that we might think about the definition and role of how a space is delimited and ruled. The conversation considers new technologies including the structure of "the stack" as described by theorist Benjamin Bratton. In several texts Bratton describes the relationship between different types of automated calculation such as mobile apps, smart cities, and cloud platforms amongst others. In recent years Bratton, as well as other academics and artists, have developed substantial discourse around this term, considering how these seemingly invisible structures that inform and underpin our everyday lives operate in ways that are akin to older, more familiar models of the market and the state and also how they differ. 

This panel brings those conversations together with the history and contemporary moment of the No DAPL protests, one of the largest gatherings of indigenous nations in one place that has gained significant momentum and visibility in the news to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

Installation by Nobu Aozaki.

Nobu Aozaki, artist 
Benjamin Bratton, Professor, Speculative Design; Director, Center for Design and Geopolitics, University of California, San Diego
Tyler Coburn, artist and writer
Jaskiran Dhillon, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Anthropology, The New School for Public Engagement
Adelita Husni-Bey, artist
Daniel Sauter, Associate Professor of Data Visualization, Parsons, The New School

Mobility in Post Democracy
Post Democracy has recently arisen as a complex and contradictory term: for some it promises a new participatory platform for the mobilizing forces of social media, considered catalysts for political imagination. Others equate Post Democracy with democracy's demise due to the penetration of global capitalism into every regime type coupled with the increasing intervention of international actors in domestic politics. Decried as "democratic melancholy," such skepticism is considered ill placed by yet others for whom "democracy" was never a political system to aspire to. 

Under the heading Mobility in Post Democracy, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics is presenting a series of interdisciplinary panels, seminars, and lectures that examine Post Democracy as a condition informed by mobility – across institutions, states, and ideologies. The series brings together an international group of scholars, activists, students, and artists to probe the concept of Democracy more generally at the time of the contested U.S. presidential elections, and the concurrent emergence and demise of democratic regimes throughout the world. 

Artist-driven, the events ask questions such as: How can new social movements counter networks of power? What creative organizing tactics are being developed to reinvigorate a democratic ethos? What forms of political institutions and alliances are flexible and resilient?

Indigeneity, Stack, Sovereignty, as part of Mobility in Post Democracy, is a Vera List Center public seminar series and supported by the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.

Image: Tyler Coburn, "I’m that angel," 2012 –, book and performance. Detail: EasyStreet Online Services Data Center, Beaverton, Oregon; reading: 17-18 January 2014, in collaboration with Disjecta. Credit: Lincoln Barbour. Courtesy of the artist and EasyStreet On.

Recent Activity

People Interested

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.