February 8 - March 17, 2021

An online/offline laboratory about new visualities and documentary strategies to approach large-scale systems and infrastructures, amid growing ecological and political anxieties

Signals and Storms is a laboratory series led by artistic research collective Geocinema. Departing from their most recent work, Making of Earths (2020), you will be tracing large-scale systems and infrastructures amid growing ecological and political anxieties.

Roving satellites, live-streamed security cameras, various types of geosensors, geological formations each record the Earth in ways which inform an ever shifting negotiation of control, power and resistance. Their records circuit as code and as images, unfolding through architectures, scenes, narratives, infrastructures, and data transactions across an ever-shifting network which include the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Miyun and Sri Racha ground stations, the climate research center of Bangkok, conference halls in the Tengchong volcanic district, and the risk-management rooms of oil conglomerate Gazprom in Omsk, Russia.

As participants in this six-week laboratory, you will use your skills while learning new strategies to directly tackle the challenges of representation in our increasingly algorithmic world and our present geologic epoch. Beginning from within these largely distributed infrastructures of filmmaking, you will be asked to trace specific processes of recording which are being used for imperial observation, surveillance, verification, tracking. Departing from Geocinema’s recent work, Making of Earths, you will be introduced to narrative, sound and moving image strategies in order to articulate your own research urgencies, affectual estrangements, or counter-visualities.

Freeport labs are a place to either expand your existing work and research, or test new ground, a laboratory for the development of raw intuitions without the pressure of academic conventions, market vocabulary, or hype cycles.

We invite teams who are willing to work within the contexts of their respective cities. The workshop will be structured by research and creative assignments, fieldwork challenges, discussions and screenings, and a sound workshop with guest musician and technologist, Jessika Khazrik. Throughout, we will explore an extended notion of a recording device, inspired by the feedback loops between science and technology and their relationship to film and broader filmmaking practices.

We welcome applications from groups with diverse backgrounds from video and sound production, forms of storytelling, data-visualisation and more, while also having a keen interest in the environmental humanities and visual cultures. We would also like applicants to keep in mind that a genuine commitment to group work and discussion throughout the workshop would be essential for our time together.

Open call for participants

How can I apply?

We warmly recommend you to sign up as a team (which can be between 2 and 5 people). Teams can be either an existing collective / work team, or a group of people who are joining forces for the occasion. Participating as a team will make face-to-face work possible and learning from online sessions easier and more rewarding. The participation fee for a team is the same as for an individual.

Please send an email to apply🌀freeport.institute with:

  • Your name(s)
  • A short description of who you are, what's your background and where you are based  (please avoid attachments - feel free to add links, instead)
  • Explain briefly why you are interested in this laboratory (5-10 lines will be enough)
  • An alternative way to quickly get in touch with you besides email (phone number, Telegram handle, other messaging systems, etc.) - Feel free to send this info over an encrypted email (you will find our public key at https://keys.openpgp.org)
Deadline

Applications open until January 31st, 2021

Available seats

This lab is designed for 10 small teams of participants. Check the FAQ for more details.

Price

80 € for team applications
80 € for individual applications
(the price is the same if you apply as an individual or a team)
We are a small independent organization funded with public money, which allows us to offer this laboratory at a discounted price for everybody. If you are interested in working in this laboratory but cannot afford its price, please feel free to get in touch, we'll try to help.

For inquiries

please get in touch

A distributed laboratory

The whole program takes place both on and offline and it is open to people from anywhere.

Freeport laboratories are opportunities for creative research, guided and mentored by expert artists. As such, Signals & Storms is not a theoretical seminar, but rather an opportunity to develop your intuitions and explore new connections between ideas and creative practice. Practically speaking, each week will include inputs (readings, documentary material, Geocinema's own audiovisual materials), feedback, group work, and mentoring.

As we say in the general intro,

1) you will be asked to trace specific processes of recording which are being used for imperial observation, surveillance, verification, tracking.

2) You will be introduced to narrative, sound and moving image strategies in order to articulate your own research urgencies, affectual estrangements, or counter-visualities.

3) We don't expect you and your team to produce a new project, but rather shape and share your research intuition as a narrative, sound and moving image sample. You can either test raw and completely new ideas, or develop the still unexplored facets of an existing project.

Online + offline

Online = syncing
As a general rule, Signals & Storms is not going to be a screen intensive program and participants will spend limited, yet quality time while online. The online sessions in the calendar are shared moments with short lectures, explanations of tools, questions and answers, but also chatting and exchanging impressions, and feedback.

Offline = team work
When we say "offline", we actually mean private time you're spending with your own team (which doesn't have to be offline, of course). The program is aimed at getting participants to observe their own environment (online and offline, indifferently), find inspiration in other participants’ reports, create (images, methods, performances, stories, platforms, etc.), and then share the results with the rest of the gang.
Examples of specific tasks to be performed autonomously / locally:
- Assignments, exercises, challenges
- Observation, exploration, and research tasks
- Reading tasks
- Drafting or developing a project proposal

Publication

The methodologies, examples, and theoretical framework, as well as samples of the participants work, will be collected in a whitepaper or "Geosyllabus", to be published at the end of the laboratory.

Schedule

February 8  — March 17, 2021
Online and offline from wherever you are currently based

Online session will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:00 (CET) and will not last more than 2 hours.

Full schedule:
Monday February 8
Wednesday February 10
Monday February 15
Wednesday February 17
Monday February 22
Wednesday February 24
Monday March 1
Wednesday March 3
Monday March 8
Wednesday March 10
Monday March 15
Wednesday March 17

FAQ

Who is this laboratory for?
As we say in the introduction, we welcome applications from groups with diverse backgrounds from video and sound production, forms of storytelling, data-visualisation and more, while also having a keen interest in the environmental humanities and visual cultures. We would also like applicants to keep in mind that a genuine commitment to group work and discussion throughout the workshop would be essential for our time together.

Are there any required specific skills to participate?
No specific expertise is necessary to attend this program, and yet some basic skills with digital creation technologies will definitely help, as well as familiarity with either art making, video making, design, journalism, activism, or critical engineering. The purpose of FREEPORT is to circulate ideas, tools and tactics to accelerate creative practices in any of those fields.

I’m no expert in the topic of this laboratory, yet I’m passionate about it and I have a few ideas. Should I apply?
Absolutely! The key aspect of this program will be mixing up creative people with different backgrounds, strong motivations and – why not? – wild ideas. That’s why experienced artists or designers are welcome to join, as well as creators with a shorter or incipient career, including undergraduate and postgraduate students. If you are not sure whether your profile fits in this program, please let us know in your application email and we’ll try and give you an opinion.

You say that this is an online and offline laboratory. What does that mean, exactly?
It means that we will have some online shared moments (see online sessions above) while the rest of the time you will work with your team in person, if possible. Each team’s autonomous work is key to make this laboratory happen.

Should I attend all online sessions?
It’s highly recommended. If possible, at least one person of each team should attend online sessions. If your team will miss half or more of the first three weeks you will not have the chance to get feedback about your work and showcase it in the final sessions. (Some sessions will be recorded for private use only, though).

Why participating as a team?
The participants in this hybrid decentralized lab will act as teams or “nodes”, that is: small teams, preferably teams whose members will be able to meet face to face. Unfortunately we don't have the chance to meet in person due to the pandemic, but you may still be able to meet with your team.

So, what should a team look like?
We are talking about small teams of 2 to 5 people. It can be either an existing collective, studio or work team, or just a group of people that join forces for the occasion. The best teams may be the ones with a mix of different skills (visuals, graphic design, writing, tech, performance, etc. etc.)

I don’t have a team, can I still apply as an individual?
Yes, but if your application will be successful you will be warmly encouraged to work in a team with others.

What kind of output should I expect? How will this lab help me in my work or research?
The output of this program really depends on you. Our purpose is to assist in the development of your ideas, both new or rooted in your previous projects. We will encourage discovery and unconventional paths in research and creation. So, if you already have some ideas but no specific plan about them, after this program you may be able to design a first draft to turn them into an art/design/critical technology project. Or, if you are already developing a project, after this program you may be able to update it, evolve it or make it stronger.

Is there a waiting list for those who have not been selected?
Yes! If there will be the chance to include more applicants, people on the waiting list will be notified immediately as soon as there will be a free seat in the workshop.

About Geocinema

Geocinema is a project made in collaboration between Asia Bazdyrieva and Solveig Suess with Jessika Khazrik on music and sound. The project traces the physical infrastructures and abstracted processes which make up the supply chains of perception, attentive to the situated histories of sensing techniques which are framing movements of the cosmos, atmospheres, oceans, surveilling flows of bodies and their congregations, in order to unstitch and restitch given narratives about earths. Here, the representation of earth is the sum of a decentralized editing process with its image anything but whole.

Excerpts of Geocinema project

Framing Territories 2018-2020 / Episode 4 - Distributing Otherwise

Supported by Institut de Cultura of Barcelona and Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya