The Only Lasting Truth is Change 2023: detailed programme

Bergen, Norway and online 16.11.2023 19.11.2022


The Only Lasting Truth is Change is a symposium investigating how artistic practice and its methodologies are constantly changing in response to the shifting political, technological and ecological landscapes we live in. For the 2023 edition, the symposium engages notions of Hallucinating, Computing and Collapsing to examine how different perceptions of reality arise and collide in our steadily more automated world.

With contributions from: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, N. Katherine Hayles, Jennifer Gabrys, Haig Aivazian, Jenna Sutela, Damien Roach, patten, Ibiye Camp, Michele Elam, Tung-Hui Hu, Eva Maria Fjellheim, Suzanne Kite, Bahar Noorizadeh, Klara Kofen, Magnhild Øen Nordahl, Gabriele de Seta, Nora Al-Badri, Lesia Vasylchenko, and Critical Craft Collective.

We take as our starting point the multiple readings of “hallucination” – from the perception of something that is not really there, to a terminology of glitches within large language models, and to a description of a clash between different epistemologies. We will look for the various intersections between the artificial and the real – between large scale statistics and local knowledge. Can complex experiences and more-than-human entities fit into datasets? How do forests perform computational functions? How can data be decolonized and standardising forces pushed back? 

With talks, performances, workshops and immersive experiences, join us in asking – whether more-than-human, industrialised or automated – whose hallucination are we living within?

Thursday 16 November

18:00-21:00 Østre and Bergen Assembly

18:00 Opening of the installations by Nora Al-Badri, Jenna Sutela and Damien Roach at Østre
19:00 Opening of the SOUP studio by the Critical Craft Collective at Bergen Assembly

Friday 17 November

18:00-22:00 Østre

Free entry. Live stream at

18:00 Doors open
18:15 Introduction by the curators
18:30 Wendy Hui Kyong Chun: How Are You? Sentiment, Surveillance and Anti-Asian Racism
19:30 Eva Maria Fjellheim: Wind Energy as Green Colonialism – Epistemic Controversies and Strategic Ignorance in Norway’s Green Energy Transition

20:15 Break

20:30 Digital Lethargy: Tung-Hui Hu in conversation with Carol Stampone
21:15 The Whole Entire World is Colonised, Only We are Free: Haig Aivazian in conversation with Maria Rusinovskaya

Saturday 18 November

13:00-24:00 Østre

Free entry. Live stream at

13:00 Doors open
13:15 Introduction by the curators
13:30 Jennifer Gabrys: Forests that Compute
14:30 N. Katherine Hayles: Do LLMs Understand Humans and Their Questions, or Are They “Stochastic Parrots”? NB! Hayles’ lecture will not be streamed.

15:30 Break

16:00 Magnhild Øen Nordahl & Gabriele de Seta: Replicator Report: Generative AI and physical production
17:00 Michele Elam: How Does AI Do “Race”? (And Why It Matters to Almost Everything)

18:00 Break

18:15 Lesia Vasylchenko: Chronosphere – a performative lecture

19:00–21:00 Break, installations by Nora Al-Badri, Jenna Sutela and Damien Roach are open

21:00 Doors open
21:45 Bahar Noorizadeh & Klara Kofen: Admiror, or Revolutionary Sentiments
23:00 patten: AIR

Sunday 19 November

11:00–16:00 Bergen Assembly and Østre

11:00–12:20 Film screening: “Ouroboros” by Basma Al-Sharif at Østre
12:00–16:00 Installations by Nora Al-Badri, Jenna Sutela and Damien Roach at Østre
13:00–16:00 A collective performative meal with the SOUP project by the Critical Craft Collective at Bergen Assembly


The symposium programme includes a series of workshops taking place in September–December 2023:

Forests as Environmental Media: Vegetalizing a Smart Forests Atlas – a workshop with Jennifer Gabrys

Data Ornamentalism, Decay of the Digital – a digital workshop with Ibiye Camp

Reading together: BEK sessions with Carol Stampone and Samuel Brzeski

Replicator Workshop: A practical speculation on generative AI for physical production – with Magnhild Øen Nordahl & Gabriele de Seta

Dreaming with Nonhumans and AI Workshop – with Suzanne Kite

The symposium “The Only Lasting Truth is Change” borrows its title from the seminal science fiction writer Octavia Butler’s novel, Parable of the Sower (1993). It is organised by BEK with support from Arts Council Norway, Fritt Ord, City of Bergen, KORO and The Bergesen Foundation, and in cooperation with Ekko, Østre, Bergen Assembly, Tenthaus, Aldea, Bergen.Works and the County Governor of Vestland. It is part of New Perspectives for Action – a project by Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the European Union. 

Curators: Maria Rusinovskaya, Åse Løvgren, Morten Norby Halvorsen.
Communication and production: Johanne Øra Danielsen and Kaeto Sweeney.
Graphic design: Vera Gomes.

Images: 1) Jenna Sutela, Pond Brain (2023) Foto: Julian Blum 2) Haig Aivazian 3) Still from Free to Choose (2023) by Bahar Noorizadeh 4) Critical Craft Collective