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Materials Lab

In conversation: Anna Englehardt

10th May 2023

Lecture Theatre B

Colonial wars are associated with the conquest of land—through the names of cities and rivers, through strategic coordinates, through percentages of territory captured or defended. Still, contemporary invasions spread out in time no less than space. In her performance, Anna Engelhardt explores the unique temporality of the Russian war machine. Although the Russian military claims to use high-tech weaponry that ushers in a future of remotely controlled digital battles, these weapons often malfunction in the material world. Tanks get stuck in the mud; military phones have no reception; ‘precision’ weapons are guided by pen and paper. These weapons are obsolete as soon as they are deployed – yet Russian colonial violence persists. These intergenerational wars subject their targets to repeated cycles of fear and violence. As the dead of one war haunt the dead of another, Engelhardt considers how to further the hardwired obsolescence of the Russian war machine.

Anna Engelhardt is an alias of a research-based media artist and writer. Her practice examines war as a technology, looking into the hardware and software behind Russian invasions. Interested in topics from military cybernetics to cyber warfare, she conducts investigations that take on multiple forms of media, including videos, software and hardware interfaces. In tandem, she pursues writing, lecturing, and publishing to promote decolonial approaches to cyberspace and to situate digital conflicts within a broader colonial matrix. Her works and activities have been featured at transmediale festival, Venice Biennale Architettura, Ars Electronica, Digital War Journal, Funambulist magazine, and Kyiv Biennial.