Histories of the Avant-garde and Contemporary Disruptive Technologies






Panelists consider the critical impact of current digitization processes on contemporary culture and political life in relationship to the avant-garde. Is digital art the new avant-garde? Given the intense and rapid growth of immersive and blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, and the increasing proliferation of memetic culture, is it useful to talk about these technologies and practices as legacies of the historical avant-garde? To what ends?


  • Arseniy Zhilyaev
  • Joshua Citarella
  • Egor Kraft



Arseniy Zhilyaev speaks about the digitization of everything for the sake of management. He will speak about this topic through his prism of Avant-garde museology investigation and the Institute of Time Mastery, that works with the legacy of Valerian Muravyov. In the 1920s, Muravyov proposed the idea of time mastery through productive mathematics and set theory.

Artist Josh Citarella has been mining the online memetic culture of teenagers for many years, and has discovered a mass leaderless movement organized around open source digital images that create cultural agitations across the spectrum of extreme political positions. With uncanny similarities to the anti-art of the Dadaists, these online proliferating verbal jokes, images, and videos are not simple mirrors but magical mirrors of social reality: they exaggerate, invert, re-form, magnify, minimize, dis-color, re-color, even deliberately falsify, chronicled events. Both a haven for ideologies and trolls, memetic culture offers insights into the formation of young radicals under the current media paradigm, and an opportunity to learn from their viral tactics and broad horizon of political possibilities. At the very least, watching their activity might help tip us off to new ideological currents before they hit the mainstream.

Egor Kraft will talk about his ongoing interest in contemporary technology and the challenges of the ever-increasing computationally accelerated condition. Today’s methodologies disrupt our historical, established ways of thinking and doing – such developments as AI may be seen as synthetic forms of knowledge production, thus philosophical projects on their own. They pose ontological and epistemic challenges to our thinking and studying of nature and culture. At the same time, new models of self-sovereign organisation, ultra-sound communication, see-through economy, autonomous politicisation and de-bureaucratisation via networked computing are being developed and widely addressed via term web3. While it is argued that a cultural phenomenon of Avant-Garde historically has been preoccupied with revealing and challenging existing power structures and mass culture, largely produced by industrialisation, today’s condition suggests a similar potential for artistic liberation from old models of power and the birth to new ways of representation of reality and objects.

Lev Manovich is a world-renown innovator and top influencer in many fields, including media theory, digital humanities, cultural analytics, and media art. He is a Presidential Professor at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab. Manovich was included in the list of “25 People Shaping the Future of Design” and the list of “50 Most Interesting People Building the Future”. He is an author of 180 articles and 15 books that include Cultural Analytics, Instagram and Contemporary Image, and The Language of New Media described as “the most suggestive and broad-ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan.” Manovich’s digital art projects were shown in over 110 international exhibitions in Centre Pompidou, ICA London, ZKM, KIASMA, and other leading venues.

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