Project Cybersyn was an experiment in instituting a socialist networked economy embraced by the short-lived Salvador Allende government of Chile (1970 – 1973) and developed together with the British cybernetician Stafford Beer. For the past decade, Project Cybersyn has been a recurrent reference – a best practice from the past – in discussions around the repurposing of hegemonic technological infrastructures and their redirection towards more equitable economic and social practices. The iconic image of Project Cybersyn’s control room – with its sci-fi appearance – represents a technical and aesthetic object that alludes to negotiation, democratic decision making, and stability. The allure of this image is the starting point for the video which proposes that desires for post-scarcity and postcapitalist economics must grapple with the shifts in the political, economic, and technological conditions of possibility that have transpired since Project Cybersyn. To this end the control room image itself becomes a platform for alien mutations, philosophical speculations, and social commitments. What would it take to reimagine the artefactual Cybersyn for our hyper-financialized day and age? For this work, curator and researcher Bassam El Baroni and transdisciplinary architect Constantinos Miltiadis collaborated with multidisciplinary artist and animator Georgios Cherouvim, and composer and sound artist Gerriet K. Sharma to bring this question to life.
Premiered on July 7 2021 at Edit Russ Haus, Oldenbourg, part of the exhibition “Infrahauntologies” curated by Bassam El Baroni.
Infrahauntologies on e-flux [x]
Concept, Research, and Screenplay: Bassam El Baroni and Constantinos Miltiadis; Animation Director: Georgios Cherouvim;
Music and Sound Spatialisation: Gerriet K. Sharma.
Modelling: Katerina Lakovaki;
Illustration: Ino Zavvou and Andreas Kelemen.
Render Support: Dimitris Liatsos.
Special thanks: Agelos Christopoulos, Omer Shapira, Liz Ran Yang.
Voice actors: Bassam El Baroni, Andreas Kelemen, Constantinos Miltiadis, and Edel O’Reilly.
The screenplay is composed of original writing, inspirations, and reconfigured fragments from essays and historical research by a host of philosophers, theorists, and historians: David Chandler, Bob Hughes, Anna Longo, Suhail Malik, Eden Medina, Andrew Pickering, Matthew Poole, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.
- Peer reviewed participation in the screening section of ISEA 2022: Possibles – The 27th International Symposium on Electronic Art. Barcelona June 10-16 2022.
- “Infrahauntologies” (Part 1), galerie La Box; Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Bourges, October 21 – November 20 2021.
- “Infrahauntologies” Edith Russ Haus, Oldenburg, July 8 – October 3 2021.
Open sourced material
The 3D model and the textures of the Cybersyn Opsroom developed for this project are provided under the Creative Common Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 4.0). The asset was developed over information and photographs found in archival research material, most notably in: “Cybersyn: Synergia Cybernetica” by or-am (Enrique Rivera Gallardo and Catalina Ossa Holmgren – archived website), and
“Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile” by Eden Medina (2011). Therefore, and because of the relatively scarce documentation materials, the present model should not be considered as an accurate reconstruction but a close approximation of the 1973 Cybersyn Operations Room.