24.02.24 @ 18:30

State of concept

State of Concept proudly presents a group exhibition with newly commissioned works exploring the relationships between attention, algorithms, and social justice. Founded in a collaboration between Kunsthall Trondheim, Art Hub Copenhagen, Tropical Papers and Swiss Institute New York, with The Friends of Attention, D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University), Justin Smith-Ruiu (Université de Paris) as associated partners.

The two-year collaborative project Attention After Technology explores how algorithms affect us and how we could imagine them otherwise, through newly commissioned works by six international artists. The artists consider how our attention is commodified and monetized, examine how algorithms reinforce bias while also probing their emancipatory potential, and analyze attention as a political space to foster sustained critical thinking and to support collective action.

The exhibition title, Attention After Technology, is a reference to Ruha Benjamin’s celebrated book Race After Technology (2019). In her publication, Benjamin decodes the discriminatory designs embedded in algorithms that prop up racial, socioeconomic, and other systemic hierarchies. Attention is a much discussed topic with regard to technology. It is closely connected to epistemic justice, or the creation and recognition of diverse forms of knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. Our capacity as knowing subjects, and being recognized as such, is an essential component of agency agency and our ability for choice. It is crucial for social justice.

While distraction and fragmentation may seem like antonyms of attention, the exhibition resists such simple dichotomies. Far from luddites opposing technology, the exhibiting artists both use and hack, celebrate and critique, discard and invent new tools. The exhibition explores attention as a practice, as an embodied technology, and as an evolving aesthetic, social, and political sphere. In bringing attention into debates around algorithmic justice, the works in Attention After Technology pull back the curtain on the neutrality of technology, while using it to draft new ways of relating.

In the lead-up to the exhibition, which considers the intersections above, the artists participated in regular online meetings to workshop their artworks with the exhibition curators, the associated partner collective The Friends of Attention (an informal network of creative collaborators), and advisors from diverse disciplines including computer science and artificial intelligence, visual arts, and queer and transtechnology studies.

This exhibition is the last of three expressions of the expansive project, spanning over two years (2022–2024). The exhibition has travelled from Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway (13 October 2023–28 January 2024) to State of Concept Athens (24 February 2024–27 April 2024). Online versions of the artworks have been available on Tropical Papers’ web platform from November 2023. The associated symposium “The Digital Divide – Attention, Algorithms and Social Justice”, coordinated by Art Hub Copenhagen in partnership with IDA – the Danish Society of Engineers and TOASTER, took place on 4 May 2023, while Art Hub also hosted two artist residencies, with biarritzzz and CUSS Group. The overall project also includes curatorial and strategic contributions by Swiss Institute New York, USA.

The last activity of the parallel program, is an online discussion between iLiana Fokianaki (Founder
and Director of State of Concept) on the 29th of February at 18:30 CET. Zoom Link HERE

The exhibition is collectively curated by Kunsthall Trondheim’s team: Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen, curator and project lead “Attention After Technology” with Stefanie Hessler; Liz Dom, project manager “Attention After Technology”; Kaja Grefslie Waagen, producer and communications manager; and Art Hub Copenhagen: Lars Bang Larsen, head of art & research; Rose Tygat, project coordinator; and Tropical Papers: María Inés Rodríguez; and State of Concept Athens: iLiana Fokianaki, founder and director; Konstantina Melachrinou, production manager and press officer; and Swiss Institute New York: Stefanie Hessler, director, curatorial concept and project lead “Attention After Technology” with Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen.

In collaboration between Kunsthall Trondheim, Art Hub Copenhagen, Tropical Papers and Swiss Institute New York, The Friends of Attention, D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University), Justin Smith-Ruiu (Université de Paris).

Group Show


biarritzzz (Brazil), Vivian Caccuri (Brazil), Shu Lea Cheang (USA/Taiwan), Kyriaki Goni* (Greece), CUSS Group (South Africa), Femke Herregraven (Netherlands)

Kunsthall Trondheim, Art Hub Copenhagen, Tropical Papers, State of Concept Athens, Swiss Institute New York

*Kyriaki Goni is SNF ARTWORKS Visual Arts Fellow (2018)