Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?  Performed with Jessica Harrington at Birkbeck Cinema, November 2018. Photograph by Ilenia Arosio.

Are You Ready? Performed with Jessica Harrington at Birkbeck Cinema, November 2018. Photograph by Ilenia Arosio.

Are You Ready? performance-lecture by Margareta Kern speculates on possible future scenarios where imaginaries of sovereignty and freedom have taken the shape of a sprawling, privatised ‘city-state’ on the ocean. 

Presented as a Ted-talk style ‘pitch’ of a fictional tech-conglomerate building its first islands on the Channel, the performance confronts us with a privatised space, where governments compete for ‘seatizens’ by becoming ‘service providers’ in a floating world whose only organising principle is free market and competition. Drawing on a range of existing libertarian proposals for the new floating ‘city-states’ or ‘seasteads’ that promise techno-social freedom on the ocean (imagined as the ultimate ‘terra nullius’) the performance explores how narratives of ‘freedom’ promulgate crypto-fascist tendencies and neoreactionary imaginaries, from the tech industry of Silicon Valley into our everyday. 

Are You Ready? is a provocative meditation on our contemporary moment where fantasies of exit continue to disrupt and fragment. It is also a powerful and hopeful search for a resistant algaerithm pulsating under the surface of our vision. 

The first wireless communication sent by Marconi over the open sea asked ‘are you ready’?


Commissioned as part of Whitstable Biennale 2018. Supported by the Arts Council England Project Grant, 2018-2019, Birkbeck School of Law and Real Ideas Organisation.

Are You Ready? at the Sea Cadets Hall, Whitstable Biennale, 2018

Are You Ready? at the Sea Cadets Hall, Whitstable Biennale, 2018

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