KW Digital:
Poetics of Encryption


27/28 October 23

Venue: Theater im Delphi, Gustav-Adolf-Straße 2, 13086 Berlin (Weißensee)

In English

Tickets online available. Limited capacity.


<p>Andrea Khôra, BOLUS, Video still, 2022. Courtesy the artist</p>

Andrea Khôra, BOLUS, Video still, 2022. Courtesy the artist


Contemporary life plays out amid a profusion of technical systems whose inner workings are obscure—if not locked. There is no master key. And yet, this encrypted world must be borne, somehow. How does this register in culture? What moods, symbols, or narrative frames capture the aesthetics and politics of exclusion, occlusion, secrecy, and speculation concerning technology’s inside?


This conference at the historic silent movie venue Theater im Delphi explores the dark side of tech, bringing together artists and eminent media theorists for two days of lectures, performances, and screenings. Covering topics ranging from algorithmic governance to hallucination, artificial life, art, and (digital) afterlives, the presentations unfold counter-narratives to Big Tech’s claims regarding a new culture of transparency and openness—showcasing, instead, a poetics of encryption.


This gathering builds upon Nadim Samman’s recent book Poetics of Encryption: Art and the Technocene which surveys an imaginative landscape marked by Black Sites, Black Boxes, and Black Holes. These terms indicate how technical systems capture users; how they work in stealth; and how they distort cultural space-time.


Participants include Ramon Amaro, Orit Halpern, Nora N. Khan, Andrea Khôra, Most Dismal Swamp, Özgün Eylül İşcen, Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan, Lorem, Trevor Paglen, Jon Rafman, and Ala Roushan.


Throughout these live presentations, the theater hosts an eighteen-channel listening station by Flipping the Coin, a Berlin-based dub-plate label for artist’s music.





Friday, 27 October 23


2–2.30 pm



2.30–3.15 pm


Nadim Samman

Some Poetics of Encryption


3.45–4.30 pm         

Lecture Performance:

Andrea Khôra & John C. Lily Avatar

Bolus: A Prompt Engineered K-Hole


5–5.45 pm

Lecture Performance:

Jon Rafman

Songs for Dead Malls: A Wanderer’s Lament


6–7 pm    



We regret to inform you that the presentation by Nora N. Khan cannot take place due to illness.


7–7:45 pm

Lecture Performance:  

Most Dismal Swamp

Scraper, and the Folkless Lore of Ritualized Prediction


8–8.30 pm

New addition:

Live AV performance:




8.30 pm





Flipping the Coin

Dubplate Bar



Saturday, 28 October 23


1–1.30 pm



1.30–2.15 pm


Ala Roushan

Alter Life: On Planetary Cohabitation


2.45–3.30 pm

Lecture Performance:

Trevor Paglen

Known Unknowns


4–4.45 pm


Dr. Bernard Dionysius Geohegan

Poetics of Rendering: How Graphics Encrypt Territories


4.45–5.30 pm



6-6.45 pm       


Dr. Özgün Eylül Îscen

Black Box & Oil as Imperial Allegories:

The Geopolitical Aesthetic of Gulf Futurism


We regret to inform you that the lecture by Dr. Ramon Amaro cannot take place due to unforeseen reasons.


7.15–8 pm

New addition:


Nora Al-Badri

Decolonizing Data: AI and Technoheritage


8.30–9.30 pm

Keynote Lecture:

Prof. Dr. Orit Halpern

Epistemologies of Ignorance


9.30 pm





Flipping the Coin

Dubplate Bar




<p>The <em>KW Digital Program</em> 2023–2024 is supported by Volkswagen Group.</p>


The KW Digital Program 2023–2024 is supported by Volkswagen Group.


<p>In Cooperation with Theater im Delphi</p>


In Cooperation with Theater im Delphi


<p>With support from Rheinsberger Preussenquelle</p>


With support from Rheinsberger Preussenquelle