THE MESSYVERSE ends with a bang on Oct 6 with a special program. Geoffrey Lillemon invites visitors to the ‘The Breathing Palace’, an immersive experience and sensory celebration of breath, light, and space. A special screening of Tabita Rezaire’s video essay ‘Deep Down Tidal’ takes spectators on a cosmological, spiritual, political and technological journey to the bottom of the ocean. Professor Payal Arora shares insights about the Digital Divide during a mini-lecture and panel discussion.
The Breathing Palace
A sensory celebration of breath, light, and space
An immersive experience that melds the majesty of a historic Amsterdam grand hall with the rhythm of breath. As participants gather in a circle, the space itself seems to inhale and exhale, courtesy of an intricate play of theatrical lighting. Synchronized with this architectural heartbeat, attendees journey through a unique breathing pattern designed to harmonize mind, body, and environment.
The culmination is a collective breath-hold, where the hall transforms from a breathing entity into a glittering universe. Dive deep into a sensory celebration of breath, light, and space.
Geoffrey Lillemon, based in Amsterdam, is an influential figure in the realm of digital and media art. His work pushes boundaries, transcending the traditional by blending new and unexpected uses of technology and art. With a career spanning 20 years, Lillemon’s aesthetic, deeply embedded in new media culture, has been absorbed into mainstream narratives and graced prestigious collections, including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Lillemon co-founded Champagne Valentine and The Department of New Realities, cementing his role as a visionary in interactive narratives and the evolution of digital experiences. His inspiring practice reveals a relentless pursuit of artistic innovation, reshaping our perception of the digital canvas.
Warning: Breathwork of this nature can be an intense experience, and can trigger deep physical and emotional reactions. Please take this into account when joining, and let our team know if you need support during or after the event.
Addressing power, systems of extraction and digital colonialism
Over the past decades, Big Tech corporations based in the United States have governed most of the digital infrastructures around the world and gained excessive powers over the Global South. From undersea cable networks that follow colonial and slave trade routes to the extraction of data, labor and resources: digital colonialism – the use of digital technology for political, economic and social domination of another nation or territory – is quietly engulfing the world. With US tech giants shaping up and dominating the development of the metaverse, vital questions are raised about the foundation and future of this digital ecosystem. Can we head towards an “open and inclusive metaverse” if its fundamentals are rooted in the colonial architecture of Silicon Valley? Can the metaverse overcome the digital divide as well as the expansion of digital colonialism?
Deep Down Tidal
Introducing the concept of digital colonialism and addressing the retention and expansion of power, Tabita Rezaire’s video essay Deep Down Tidal explores the cosmological, spiritual, political and technological entangled narratives sprung from water as an interface to understand the legacies of colonialism. From fiber optic cables to sunken cities, drowned bodies, hidden histories of navigations and sacred signal transmissions, the ocean is home to a complex set of communication networks. Here, the technologies controlled by the West expand along the old colonial routes, so in a way the cables are the hardware of a new, electronic imperialism.
Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist, a TEDx speaker, and author of award-winning books, including ‘The Next Billion Users’ with Harvard Press. Her expertise lies in user experience in the Global South and inclusive design. Several international media outlets have covered her work including the BBC, The Economist, Quartz, Tech Crunch, The Boston Globe, F.A.Z, The Nation and CBC. Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and the “right kind of person to reform tech.” She has consulted for numerous organizations including Adobe, UNHCR, GE, HP, Interpol, UNDP, and Spotify. She is a Professor at Erasmus University, Academic Director in UX and Inclusive Design, and Co-Founder of FemLab, a feminist future of work initiative.
Babusi Nyoni is a tech entrepreneur working between Amsterdam, Nairobi and Bulawayo. He works in the fields of emerging technology and big data innovation with a particular focus on developing sustainable solutions for the global South.
With over 10 years of experience in the advertising, financial and technology industries, he specialises in contributing the practical skills needed to drive meaningful innovation in areas where scale and impact are hindered by structural limitations.
Tirsa With is the moderator of The Digital Divide. She is a presenter, (voice) actor and programme maker. She is one of the regular faces of ‘Het Klokhuis’ (NTR) and Omroep ZWART’s online news & history programme ‘Once Upon A Timeline’. She also voices audiobooks and moderates events in the cultural sector.
Tirsa was born in Suriname and grew up in the Netherlands. After four years at bilingual grammar school, she moved to Germany to finish high school at an international campus. She graduated cum laude in literary studies in Amsterdam and New York. During her studies, she regularly appeared on stage as a spoken word artist.
18:30 Doors Open
19:00 The Breathing Palace by Geoffrey Lillemon
19:45 Break in the Felix Meritis restaurant
20:15 Deep Down Tidal by Tabita Rezaire
20:30 Digital Divide talk and discussion
21:15 Performative Lecture by Special Guest
21:45 Exhibition, DJ & Drinks
This event is in English
Would you like to join this program, but currently don’t have the means to buy a ticket? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to work something out.