Saturday 28 June, 12 – 5pm
Private vs Public: Activism, Economics and Politics Today

The second event in our Futurecamp series includes contributions from Aaron Bastani, founder of Novara Media; Rammy El, producer, Al Jazeera; Ray Filar, journalist; and artists Patrick Goddard, Josh Harris, Yuri Pattison, Nicoline Van Harskamp and Soheila Sokhanvari.

Futurecamp 2

Click above for the archived broadcast of the event from 12noon until 4.10pm.

This event was also live blogged throughout by Jessica Lack. Click here to read the blog.

Premise of the event:

The relationship between the economy, politics and the way we are governed, is irrevocably intertwined and the future of one cannot be considered without the others. Added to which there is both a culture of apathy and an ongoing appetite for extreme activism and protest being necessary for society. The ability to forecast what may happen to the economy accurately will affect political thought and models, whilst widespread public dissatisfaction, and corrupt or unfair economies of labour and work, urge people towards more extreme viewpoints. Alongside this, the prevalence of surveillance via digital and drone technology creates a culture of secrecy and fear and needs to be considered openly. How we address and question these systems of power, imagine or envision alternatives, and how these are enacted are essential to how the future might be formed.

This event will be live blogged throughout by Jessica Lack. Check Facebook and Twitter for updates on both.

Event schedule:

12.00pm:  Introduction from Wysing Curators Kathy Noble and Gareth Bell Jones

12.10pm: Aaron Bastani, founder of Novara Media will present the talk ‘Work, Technology, Politics: 2 Visions of the Future’, in which he will discuss the technological changes that are currently occurring, the affect these will have on work and the, increasingly blurred, distinctions between public and private. Is there a future ‘without work’? Or, regardless of the technological developments, such as 3D printing and rapid information exchange, can a new version of society will occur without radical political change too?

12.50-1.30pm: Journalist Ray Filar will give a talk entitled How to stay sane when everything is shit. The silence and social stigma surrounding mental health is deliberate, the product of an institutional refusal to talk about the affective impact of socio-political conditions. Some people get depressed, or psychotic, we think, because of chemical imbalances or individual traumatic experiences. They're just lazy or making it up. We don't talk about austerity, poverty, demonisation of the unemployed – the politically-driven stigmatising of the least privileged groups of people – but is it any wonder we're unhappy?

1.30-2pm: Discussion chaired by Wysing Curator Kathy Noble


2pm: Break with teas, coffees and snacks available

2.30pm:  Artist Soheila Sokhanvari and Al Jazeera producer Rammy El will speak about, and discuss, two different aspects of Middle Eastern society and politics – relating histories, to recent events and their media broadcast. Sokhanvari will address the twentieth century politics of Iran – from the 1920s to the fall of the Shah in 1979 – focusing on the role of the dictator as the father of the nation and the rise and the fall of Pahlavi regime. Alongside this, El will attempt to construct a framework for how the patriarch figure within Egyptian society manifests itself by using excerpts from Egyptian film, television and media coverage of the Tahrir protests.

3.20pm: Artists Yuri Pattison and Josh Harris will discuss the their shared interest in information technology's effect on society. This will primarily centre on Harris' work from the turn of the century to the present; specifically Harris' prophetic networked social experiments Quiet & We Live in Public and his current project Net Band Command which is the foundation for a "virtual city state”. Its mission, as described by Harris, is to create the "Singularities Effect" well in advance of its arrival to the masses – or in other words, create a time machine that peers into the near future, enabling us to experience the human chicken factory "cage" before the door slams shut.


4.10pm: Break with teas, coffees and snacks available

4.30pm: Screening of Nicoline Van Harskamp’s film Yours in Solidarity (2011 - 2013) which addresses the recent history of anarchism through the correspondence archive of Karl Max Kreuger. From 1988 until 1999, the late Dutch anarchist corresponded by post with hundreds of like-minded people worldwide. As one of these letter writers herself, van Harskamp studied the archive for more than a year and tried to imagine the many proponents’ life stories since the last date of writing. She chose especially captivating correspondents, gave them a pseudonym, collected notes on them and produced their personality reports through an online handwriting analysis program. She then cast professional actors for each writer, with the relevant nationality and estimated current age, to work with her, one at the time, on creating a character with a biography and set of views detailed enough to conduct an interview. The resulting video, named after a much-used anarchist sign-off, suggests what might happen if the international correspondents were to meet today.


4.45pm: Patrick Goddard will present the performance Apocalipstick (2014); a wry look at the political potential of art, specifically concentrating on poetry. It comprises elements of Goddard’s own poetry, fluctuating between nihilistic skepticism and a belief in the political agency of art, in order to ask ‘when does thinking end and action begin… or are they the same thing?’ Alongside this, Goddard will examine the untitled poem by William Blake, commonly referred to as “Jerusalem” – which stands as a challenge to artists to embrace their potential political agency, standing against nationalism, industrialization and established hierarchy – culminating in a new musical rendition of the poem.

5.00pm: Event ends

Contributors Biographies:

Aaron Bastani (my father's name) is the founder of Novara Media and a doctoral candidate at the New Political Communications Unit, University of London. He has a graduate degree in international public policy and has written for publications including Vice, The London Review of Books, The Guardian and Open Democracy.

Rammy El is producer for the television station Aljazeera International. His background is in video research, editing animation and producing promotions, addressing the cross over between politics and architecture, whether in the built environment or in other systems. His work at Aljazeera as a producer during the critical juncture of the Arab spring, exposed him to the fast paced changes and key players within the political and social unrest of this time.



Patrick Goddard is an artist and writer working in London. Recent works have taken the form of videos, books, performances and sculpture, all with an emphasis on observational anecdotes or research led articles, often utilising visual games or puns to offset sociological observances. Recent and forthcoming shows include Revolver II, Matt’s Gallery, Solo Show, London, (2014); Operation Paperclip, Comic launch and performance at Matt’s Gallery, London, (2014); and Open Film, Outpost Gallery, Norwich, (2013).

Ray Filar is a journalist and an editor at openDemocracy, working on the Transformation section. Their writing has been published in The Guardian, The Times, and the New Statesman, among others. Ray is interested in power and disadvantage, feminist and queer politics, (sub)culture, and other political struggles. They tweet, @rayfilar, their website is here.

Nicoline Van Harskamp lives and works in Amsterdam. Her work aims to address the function and power of the spoken word, and its ability to shape political thought and action. Using footage of public presentations and debates, records of conversational writing and other available or generated material, she writes the scripts for her video and performance pieces. Her film Yours in Solidarity was presented in different stages of completion at the MUAC in Mexico City, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Manifesta 9 in Genk, the 2013 Shanghai Biennial, GMK in Zagreb, D+T Project Gallery in Brussels, the Sydney Biennial 2014 and elsewhere. In 2009 she won the Dutch national prize for contemporary art, Prix de Rome. 



Soheila Sokhanvari, born in Iran and living and working in Cambridge, is a multi-media artist who works with everyday found objects to make works that are multi layered and deal with mass trauma and politics of a nation told through the narrative of the individual and historical conflicts. Recent exhibitions include The Moving Museum’s show Open Heart Surgery in London, 2013 and Hey, I’m Mr Poetic at Wysing Arts Centre in 2014 and has a solo exhibition at Janet Rady Gallery in Basel, June 2014.

Josh Harris started a leading Internet research firm Jupiter Communications in 1986. He took the company public and cashed out. In 1994, he founded the world's first internet radio/television network, Pseudo Programs, Inc. He was the subject of the Grand Jury Prize winning documentary film We Live In Public at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, which was later acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Mr Harris has also captained a sport fishing boat, played poker professionally, farmed apples commercially, lived at loose ends in Malta and rediscovered himself in the great country of Ethiopia. He is currently raising a cyber-army called the Net Band Command.


Yuri Pattison, born in Ireland and living and working in Berlin, is an artist working with, and creating, subjective datasets. Pattison’s work reflects on the impact of digital media on our understanding of reality, highlighting inconsistencies in the system of representation. Mastering a huge variety of media, his work often uses different devices to explore the strengths and limits of digital communication. He has shown extensively internationally and online, including solo presentations at Minibar Artists Space, Stockholm, Project/Number, London, Arcadia Missa, London, SPACE, London, Bubblebyte.org, Legion TV, London & New Museum, New York.

Jessica Lack will live blog this event. Jessica Lack is a freelance arts writer for the Guardian. She was the previews arts editor of The Guide for ten years and now contributes to G2 and the arts and culture section online. She also contributes to various art and culture magazines including Dazed and Confused, ID Magazine and World of Interiors. She was Deputy Editor of Tate Magazine for five years and has published various catalogue essays and art books. She was writer-in-residence at Jerwood in September 2012.