The Disruption Network Lab was founded in 2014 by Tatiana Bazzichelli, the artistic director and curator of the programme, who envisioned the concept of an ongoing-series of events and research in the framework of disruption.
At the core of Bazzichelli's curatorial and research analysis is the refection on practices that work from the inside of social, political and technological systems, questioning such systems themselves.
This research path follows the theoretical investigation initiated by Bazzichelli in the framework of her PhD research: Networked Disruption: Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking (published in 2013 by the Digital Aesthetic Research Centre of Aarhus University in Denmark - downloadable here), and followed by a traveling exhibition in various European venues: Networked Disruption, curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli, produced by Aksioma and Drugo more in collaboration with several European partners, and hosted by Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka (Croatia).
Disruption, in business terms, means to introduce into the market products that the market does not expect. Applying the concept of disruption into a context of political and cultural criticism, it becomes a means to reflect on unexpected consequences within closed systems. Main idea is to establish a connection between practices realised by artists, investigative journalists, whistleblowers, hackers and activists involved in digital networks, adopting a “disruptive” critical point of view. The aim is to encourage an experimental approach focusing on the “unexpected” as an artistic, cultural and political change, a method which pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, established in the cultural realm since the Avant-garde.
Alongside, the research on disruptive intervention has been intertwined with the analysis of whistleblowing, both taking place in the context of closed systems, which are perturbed from within. As a consequence of such theoretical perspective, the curatorial approach of the Disruption Network Lab becomes an interdisciplinary challenge to bring together different expertise and fields of criticism, analysing possible changes in art, politics, technology, and the society at large.
The choice of developing the programme through different events, proposing the format of a research laboratory, derives by the reflection of applying a distributed curatorial perspective that extends into ongoing activities in the city of Berlin and internationally. This approach follows the idea of facilitating collaboration and the sharing of resources and knowledge between the Disruption Network Lab in Berlin and the local and translocal scene engaged with information technology, hacktivism, art and digital culture. This is a curatorial strategy previously successfully applied by Tatiana Bazzichelli during her 2011-2014 curatorial activity at transmediale festival, where she established the ongoing project reSource transmedial culture berlin.
This curatorial approach follows also a political mean, by willing to generate a sustainable programme which is spread during the year, instead of concentrating resources only in few days of public activity. This encourages a fulfilling process where local and international networks in the field of art and technology, hacktivism and politics create exchanges and dialogues, and improve mutual awareness.
The choice of the location, Studio 1 at Kunstquartier Bethanien, and the institutional collaboration with Kunstraum Kreuzberg /Bethanien, is motivated by the importance of generating mutual feedback between local and translocal artists, media experts, theoreticians and practitioners, and facilitating an ongoing process of interaction which has been developed since the start of the conference series in 2015. Alongside, for each conference, the Disruption Network Lab establishes cooperations with several collaboration partners, at a local and international level.