Offshoring and Virtual Infrastructures

April 29, 2015 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
CCS Bard Video Gallery and on-line

As part of the 2015 CCS Bard Graduate Thesis exhibitions, is pleased to present a pair of discussion groups that bring together artists, theorists, and a lawyer to elaborate upon the relationship of the offshore and the art world. The two panels which take place next week will be screened in the CCS Bard Video Gallery and streamed through the website

Event 1:

The development of offshore finance has often been attributed to a dependent and simultaneous development of the World Wide Web based on the early iteration of the web mapped through the global infrastructure of the telegraph, and telecommunication nodes of cable and wireless. As new technologies emerged, telegraph links were upgraded, moving from telephone trunk links to fibre optic cables and submarine networks. This process was highly intertwined with territorial, military, and economic interests.

Financial firms looking to establish branches and subsidiaries outside sovereign oversight would move offshore jurisdictions to specific locations connected and serviced by this infrastructure, enabling increased mobility, speed, and efficiency. In similar ways, the development of offshore data havens for the storage, maintenance, and facilitation of the virtual realities of communications technologies across national jurisdictions has been enabled by inherited market and economic structures that make land, labor, and legal structures more conducive in a specific country for the establishment of offshore offices or subsidiary operations for large international corporations.

This panel brings together a series of artists, theorists, and specialists to discuss the relationship of global infrastructures of the web and finance in the emergence of a culture of the offshore and how this has redefined cultural practice in terms of our relationship and autonomy as consumers/produces in a global economy.

Deborah Cowen teaches in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the role of organized violence in shaping intimacy, space, and citizenship. Cowen is the author of The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade, Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada, co-editor with Emily Gilbert, of War, Citizenship, Territory. Cowen edits the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation book series at UGA Press, the journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and serves on the board of the Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund.

Meredith Lackey is a filmmaker and artist, whose research documents the political and economic relationships between business, states and global infrastructure through the laying of fiber optic cables.

Bill Maurer is Dean of Social Science and Professor of Anthropology and Law at the University of California, Irvine. Maurer is a cultural anthropologist who conducts research on law, property, money and finance, focusing on the technological infrastructures and social relations of exchange and payment. Maurer has been involved in curatorial work more directly associated with his research, represented most recently in an ongoing exhibit on the past, present and future of money at the British Museum. More information can be found at

Yuri Pattison is an Irish multimedia artist based in London who studies ways in which the virtual world permeates material reality. Mastering a huge variety of media, his work often uses different devices to explore the strengths and limits of digital communication. Pattison is the current recipient of the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency 2014-16. Recent solo exhibitions include Free Traveller Cell Projects, London (2014); Colocation, Time Displacement, Minibar, Stockholm, Sweden (2014); and e ink pearl memory, Arcadia_Missa, London, UK (2012).

Selected group exhibitions include The Weight of Data, Tate Britain, London, UK (2015); The Future of Memory, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (2015); Private Settings, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2014); Snow Crash, Banner Repeater, London, UK (2014); and Objectness, Outpost, Norwich, UK (2013). His work can be found via

Organized by CCS Bard Graduate students Robin Lynch and Kathleen Ditzig, is a platform that thinks through offshore economies as a way of understanding global infrastructures and the narratives that support them. Defined by movement, relocation and concealment, the offshore is an articulated pattern in contemporary economic, social and political life. Often used with respect to foreign banks, corporations, investments and deposits, the offshore is frequently a privileged structure of ‘otherness’, it can speak to an independent legal, political zone or outlying subsidiary of the state that addresses deficiencies in centers of power.

In its first iteration, within the frame of the CCS Bard graduate program, identifies the art world and curatorial discourse generally as one such ‘offshore economy’. This first iteration of the project includes this website, discussion groups and Roundtripping, a project at CCS Bard.


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