Playing within Systems for Change (The Art Panel)

  • Westermann, C. (Invited speaker)
  • Ioannis Bardakos (Invited speaker)
  • Tegan Bristow (Invited speaker)
  • Chris Speed (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


This panel introduces research that challenges, exposes and
critiques dominant socio, political and economic systems through
playful processes. As the dominant representational traditions of
the global north continue to frame people, environments and
cultures, this panel offers a timely opportunity to reveal acts of
artistic research that ‘upend’ the imaginary of a common
socio/technical system, and recast it through practice research.

Bardakos reflects upon the circumstances of the pandemic that
forced him to rethink the ontology of the artist’s studio.
Traditionally deeply entangled across actual communities, analogue
materials and tools, Bardakos builds a more playful association to
that of the astronaut and the cockpit of a spaceship that limits
navigation and communication through interfaces. For the
construction of such an (astronaut, artist) ontology Bardakos uses
metaphors, etymological references, transformed concepts and
creative analogies between the actual and the subjective space.

Bristow explores practices that run from a reflection through
decolonising methodologies as a cultural response to technology and
neo-liberalism, to the significant contributions of the
insurrectionary and vernacular as knowledge forms. Unpacked in
light of the work titled School for Vernacular Algorithms, Bristow
explores Indigenous knowledge transfer and the complex structures
of intergenerational and technological knowledge as a system made
visible through IsiZulu beadwork.

Speed is interested in the role of data-driven technologies that
disrupt representations of economic value, and the extent to which
they enable social, cultural and environmental values to become
surfaced. Speed’s inquiry is extended through a playful version of
money laundering, a process that is traditionally associated with
the dissociation of large amounts of money that have been obtained
through criminal activity, and associating it with a legitimate
source. Speed (and colleagues) introduce a money laundering hack
that ‘washes’ issues of climate into peoples bank accounts.

Westermann draws on conceptualisations of performative systems for
a translation into reflective objects that re-play rather than
represent the inclusions and exclusions communities create. She
investigates art as conversational technology, encouraging new
ecologies of communication through a Cybernetics of Grace.
Westermann recovers a scene that Charlie Chaplin conceived for the
film The Great Dictator. Hynkel, the ruler of Tomania, is shown in
his office of imperial grandeur, taking a globe off its stand,
throwing it into the air. He catches it and tips it into the air
again as a gymnast does with a ball. Chaplin’s performance
presenting a dictator’s globe gymnastics integrates seemingly
disparate and opposing notions and resists objectification.
Period6 Oct 2022
Event titlePossibilities and Practices of Systemic Design, 11th annual symposium of the System Design Association
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • play
  • art
  • systems
  • second-order Cybernetics
  • systemic
  • cross-cultural