Postdigital Anxieties and the Social Condition: Looking Back at Fear of Missing Out

Steven Cairns and Rosalie Doubal

19 Jun 2015
Steven Cairns and Rosalie Doubal reflect on our recent three-day event, Fear of Missing Out.




Steven Cairns, ICA Associate Curator of Artists’ Film and Moving Image and Rosalie Doubal, ICA Associate Curator, Talks and Events, reflect on Fear of Missing Out, a three-day event which brought together leading international theorists, academics, social thinkers and artists to discuss postdigital anxieties and the social condition.

Over the three days of Fear of Missing Out we covered a lot of ground, from breaking the internet to the importance of play in our post-digital world. The conversations that grew from our three panel discussionsand from our speakers crossing pathsexpanded and reflected upon by our chair Hito Steyerl, raised issues that are immensely important to contemporary discourses. These, alongside our audience’s vital contributions, have given us an opportunity to pause, survey and discuss the current social and political situations which we find ourselves in.

FOMO Day 1: Panel Discussion

Over the three-day conference we heard from Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi on The Pirate Bay and his wider engagement with the digital world; artists !Mediengruppe Bitnik on their recent projects; sociologist Judy Wajcman on our changing perception of time; and net artist Olia Lialina in conversation with critic Karen Archey.

Ukranian filmmaker Oleksiy Radynski screened and discussed his recent work documenting the current political system in the Ukraine; Women Inc. shared their Lexicon; AI expert Tony Prescott introduced the robot ZENO; Eleanor Saitta revealed the complex world of network aesthetics; Ashkan Sepahvand delivered a performative reading; and Erika Balsom introduced Harun Farocki’s series Serious Games. Yuri Pattison’s new ICA online commission was revealed in his artists’ presentation; McKenzie Wark discussed his new book Molecular Red; and Helen Hester probed the concept of war porn.

FOMO Day 2: Women Inc. Lexicon

FOMO Day 3: McKenzie Wark

Hopefully these new conversations can continue into the days, months and years to come and perhaps they will inform our topics and practitioners in our future programme. We’re thankful to, and informed by, Hito Steyerl for her contributions and relentless stamina in chairing our three panel discussions. Without our many speakers and participants dedication to their individual practices, Fear of Missing Out would not have been possible. To them we offer our immense thanks and continued support into the future. ■

Fear of Missing Out ran 29 - 31 May 2015.