The Theme of Care in the History of V2_

A short reflection on the theme of 'care' in the history of V2_

'Care' has become a major theme at V2_ over the past few years. This becomes most apparent in the reserach project To Mind is to Care which has first led to the book To Mind is to Care, and a thematic exhibition in 2020 of the same name.
When one looks at the early history of V2_ it seems that 'destruction' and 'ruin' were more on the mind of artists, curators and theorists than the idea of care, and taking care. The lecture performance by Gustav Metzger Auto-Destructive Art, which was quite recently republished digitally in Extensie en amputatie comes to mind. Also the event of All Aspects of Destroyed Music by The Haters, or Destruction in Art, a lecture by Kristin Stiles (1990). The research project The Body in Ruin led to an exhibition and the fifth, and last Manifestation for the Unstable Media. But that was all the late 1980s, early 1990s.
Of course there is not really necessarily an opposition between destruction and taking care. Maybe sometimes one has to think about destroying certain things in order to be able to take care of others. But the change in perspective, I think, is there, and is a sign of a growing awareness of the role of caring-for, especially with regard to other life forms.
Interestingly a more ecological aspect has been present througout the history of V2_. You can see it in the attention to ideas from biology, and in the focus on interactivity. At V2_ interactivity was never just about human-machine interaction, very often perspectives from biology, or a sort-of Gregory Bateson-inspired idea of cybernetics was brought into the discussion. 'Interact or Die' was the theme of the Dutch Electronic Art Festival in 2007, and the title of the book that came out at the same time. But often the motivation was somewhat different, for instance inspired rather by the idea of the possibility of Articifical Life (AL), as for instance in this article from TechnoMorphica (1997).
A maybe somewhat strange earlier example is The Egg of the Internet of the Netband – do I understand correctly that they hatched an egg throught the internet in 1994?
But now the focus is full on care. Apart from the exhibition, care was the theme of Jacco Borggreve's Summer Session project Ever it Takes, which got quite a bit of media attention. It is also a core interest of the workshops on Feminism and AI Realism: Imagining an Alternative Future.


Arie Altena

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