Interactive Art +

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Institute of Human Obsolescence

Manuel Beltrán (ES)


We are getting replaced by machines. What happened to horses after the invention of the steam engine, is now happening to us. Soon our manual labour will no longer be needed and with the advance of artificial intelligence, intellectual labour will be replaced by machines as well.

The Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) explores this scenario and tries to ask questions on how to re-position the role of humans by developing and challenging existing and new relationships between human and machine and new dynamics of creation of value in a post-work scenario.

The IoHO explores this scenario and tries to ask questions on how to reposition the role of humans in society, particularly how to cope with a labour-market dominated by machines. Becoming obsolete will create a reality in which new forms of labour will emerge. Our aim is to explore, question, and challenge scenarios of that transition.

In the installation Biological Labour we hire human workers to wear a body suit that harvests their residual body heat to produce electricity that is then fed into a microcomputer producing cryptocurrency. With this new form of work we aim to question the possible consequences of the combination of invasive technologies with the lack of jobs to be performed by humans.

In Data Production Labour we problematize the social inequalities proposed by companies like Facebook through their exploitation of invisible labour deriving from our production of data. We propose a structural change in how we understand our position: instead of being users we see ourselves as workers.

This process enables us to explore different proposals within the framework of Data Labour Rights, such as the Data Basic Income and Data Cooperative. It allows to ask the question: How can we challenge current inequalities and advocate for collective response? Currently we are establishing the Data Workers Union, an initiative that enables citizens to gain agency and advocacy for their data labour rights.


Manuel Beltrán (ES)

Manuel Beltrán (ES) is an artist, activist, and researcher. His artworks and projects have been widely presented in Europe and abroad. Manuel was involved in the Indignados movement in Spain, the Gezi Park protests in Turkey and several forms of independent activism and cyber-activism. He co-founded the collective Plastic Crowds (2012) and the Alternative Learning Tank (2013). In 2016, Manuel founded the Institute of Human Obsolescence that explores the future of labour and the socio-political implications regarding society’s relationship with technology.