A*DESK has been offering since 2002 contents about criticism and contemporary art. A*DESK has become consolidated thanks to all those who have believed in the project, all those who have followed us, debating, participating and collaborating. Many people have collaborated with A*DESK, and continue to do so. Their efforts, knowledge and belief in the project are what make it grow internationally. At A*DESK we have also generated work for over one hundred professionals in culture, from small collaborations with reviews and classes, to more prolonged and intense collaborations.

At A*DESK we believe in the need for free and universal access to culture and knowledge. We want to carry on being independent, remaining open to more ideas and opinions. If you believe in A*DESK, we need your backing to be able to continue. You can now participate in the project by supporting it. You can choose how much you want to contribute to the project.

You can decide how much you want to bring to the project.

Fear, control, security


11 December 2023
This month's topic: Revisiting the archiveResident Editor: Josephine Soundscapes

Fear, control, security

Published in A*DESK (2/2016) Revised by Josephine Soundscapes (11/12/2023)


In 2016, based on Ulrich Beck’s book [[La Sociedad del Riesgo: Hacia una nueva Modernidad. Ulrich Beck, Paidos Iberica. 2006]] we analyzed the risks that modern development entailed (social, economic, political risks…) and was the perfect alibi for the consolidation of economic privatization politics and dismantling the social; the limitation of the freedom; the hijacking of privacy and greater control for the sake of greater security. All this potential is now real.

Fear, control, security was our editorial in February 2016 and it unfolded into different artistic projects that focus on the idea of control (Dora García, Hito Steyerl, Harun Farocki, Muntadas) and ended with a reflection on the instrumentalization of fear as a strategy for maintaining order in hyperconnected societies


Soundscapes for A*DESK 2/4

Through associative concepts and games of literality-non-literality, these musical suggestions distill, complement, or enhance the theme developed in the editorial.

Digging through my records I find this gem by Richard H. Kirk, Virtual State, which like many of his works is ideal for me to illustrate, musically, the contagion of the information society and the technologies of control in artistic creation.

Richard H. Kirk, was a prolific English musician born in 1959 and passed away recently in 2021. He was known for forming the influential band Cabaret Voltaire alongside Chris Watson and Stephen Mallinder, in the early 70s. He was also known as one of the leading exponents, even in his solo career, of the significant wave of electronic music that proliferated in the UK during the 1990s. Thanks to his influential work, from his innumerable aliases, he fostered the exploration and development of sub-genres such as electro, IDM, ambient, house, and techno. From his beginnings, he was marked by transgression and experimentalism, the spirit of Do It Yourself (DIY), and rebellious Dadaism, characteristics inherited from punk, understood as a vital and artistic stance. His father was a radio enthusiast, this clearly influenced his interest in technology, and in the recording and transmission of information, which is reflected in his use of the electronic dissonances of radio transmissions, always very present in his work. This album, conceived to be listened to all at once, synthesizes the experiences, discoveries, and losses provoked by the technological and cultural changes of its historic context, that which, by the end of the 20th century, sees a new word materialize with new realities, where the states and entities of power deploy new systems of control. But it does seem to leave a space for hope or is it perhaps for the mere memory of that “feeling of warmth and beauty”, that our cold, hyper-technological evolution has eroded.


Richard H. Kirk
Álbum: Virtual State (1994)

Josephine Soundscapes is Jose Salas, art director, graphic designer and audiovisual creator. His career is linked, for the most part, to the independent cultural network of Madrid, in the fields of visual arts, audiovisual and music, both from his personal or collective projects such as Machines Désirantes Buró, Fast Gallery, Silly Europeans, Alkomerz (Berlin), Paraíso Madrid or Sonda Dispersa (M21 Radio), as well as for institutions such as CA2M, La Casa Encendida or Matadero Madrid. Under his alias Josephine Soundscape he works as a DJ, radio host, promoter and programmer, in clubs, parties and festivals, as well as in radio projects and collaborations with the performing arts environment, partly from his independent promoter a_mal_gam_a, or in other projects such as CALMA, Radio Relativa or in the Festival BetaPública de Teatros de Canal.

A*DESK is a critical platform focused on publishing, training, experimentation, communication and dissemination in relation to contemporary culture and art, which is defined by transversality. The starting point is contemporary art, because that is where we come from and this awareness allows us to go much further, to incorporate other disciplines and forms of thought in order debate issues that are relevant and urgent for understanding our present.

Media Partners:

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)