Economic Fairness in the Digital Era and the New Aesthetics of Internet Activism

A discussion with Walter Langelaar and Georgios Papadopoulos


The recent disclosures of tax evasion and corruption in the Panama Papers and the collusion of politician and high finance exacerbates further tension between the public perceptions of fairness and the practices of the banking industry, a tension that has been rising ever since the financial meltdown of September 2008. In response to the opacity of the flows of money and the concentration of the control of the monetary system in the hands of a few banks and governments, activists and hackers have developed a mixture of strategies of uncovering through leaks, hacks and by building alternative structures of representation and circulation.

Georgios Papadopoulos: Post-digital Aesthetics and the Struggle for Economic Fairness

The struggle against economic inequalities has led to the constitution of a new visual vernacular that draws upon the new post-digital aesthetic of network culture. Social and political critiques that fail to address the psychological rapport of new interfaces over the subject and its constitution are bound to be ineffective in the effort to challenge and emancipate. The realization of the importance of aesthetics in the psychological control of the subject inspires many of the current attempts to wage a cultural critique against the emerging systems of control in the emerging internet economy.

Georgios Papadopoulos combines economics and philosophy with an exploratory artistic practice. His work gravitates around money and its socioeconomic functions. In 2012 he won the Vilém Flusser Award for Artistic Research by the transmediale festival and the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. He has presented his work at the ICA, KIASMA. Haus der Kulturen der Welt, MQ21 and the Acropolis Museum.

Walter Langelaar: Accelerationist Funding Schemes and the Artistic Method of Corporate Parody

In the context of recent projects and work by other artists such as and, Walter Langelaar will discuss artistic research using corporate parody as a method, and how this may relate to new and more contemporary funding models for the creation and (online) dissemination of art in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Topics will include the widespread fascination for accelerationist models exemplified through startup incubator programmes, and the financial sector’s flirtation with blockchain technology and crypto-currencies. Using these models and perspectives, activistic alternatives can be proposed that involve a re-routing of government and corporate funds in order to support new modes of artistic production.

Walter Langelaar is an artist and subcultural activist from the Netherlands. His work in media art and design ranges from artistic videogame modification to critical reflections on Internet technology and culture, and his installations and collaborative online projects were shown in numerous venues, galleries and festivals such as Transmediale & CTM, Jeu de Paume, Ars Electronica, MQW Vienna, iMAL, V2 and Medialab Prado. Walter obtained an MA in Media Design at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam under supervision of Matthew Fuller and Florian Cramer, and is now programme director of the Media Design department in the School of Design at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.