Technopolitics Timeline

Hong Kong

Technopolitics is an independent, trans-disciplinary platform of artists, journalists, researchers, designers and developers. Launched in 2009 as an online discussion group by Armin Medosch and Brian Holmes, in 2011 a circle was set up, mainly in Vienna, that regularly meets for lectures and discussions, produces interdisciplinary conferences, art and research projects.


An important common objective is to investigate large scale historical processes, structured by techno-economic paradigms, from a critical, explorative standpoint, using trans-disciplinary approaches and to connect these processes to the cultural forms of the respective historical moment, up and including the participants’ own contemporary work.


In 2015, the group initiated a long-term artistic research project called “Technopolitics Timeline”. The timeline begins with the year 1900 and runs to today. In its most recent version, it contains 500 entries of events that contributed to the emergence and transformation of the Information Society. These are organized in six horizontal categories and 12 vertical tags. The graphic representation of the entire timeline – presented as a print-out measuring 19 x 1.5 meters. – is the most prominent visual aspect of the project, which has so far been presented, among others, at the Museum for Applied Arts (Vienna, June 2016) and the Transmediale (Berlin, January 2017).


The analog format has been chosen to allow a view of the entire timeline at once, which is both overwhelming in its dimensions and surprisingly coherent visually. As people begin to orient themselves by physically moving along the line, it becomes evident that the timeline represents less a finished research endeavour, but rather functions as a trigger for a series of questions that point beyond it. For example: Is it possible to represent large scale historical processes within a single visual narrative (no matter how large)? And if so, does that indicate that the period covered has come to an end? And if that is the case, what kind of period are we in now? Or, on a smaller scale, if event “x” is included, why is event “y”, which I consider important, not included? Or, do events that show a chronological proximity share some underlying causal relationship, or, does the proximity represent simply coincidences?


To address such questions, the timeline is part of a „curated knowledge space“, which also contains books, print-outs and audio-visual material assembled on a large table. Through workshops, lectures and discussions, the timeline and the questions it triggers can be examined. Thus, at the center of the project is an artistic format for collaborative, open-ended explorations of the genesis and present conditions of shared techno-cultural realities.