Daphne Dragona, curator of the Co-Curricular program, describes how the events in this series questioned the current technological infrastructures that we rely on. More...
transmediale is a Berlin-based festival and year-round project that draws out new connections between art, culture and technology. All activities of transmediale aim at fostering a critical understanding of contemporary culture and politics as saturated by media technologies. In the course of its 29 year history, the annual transmediale festival has turned into an essential event in the calendar of media art professionals, artists, activists and students from all over the world. Since 2011, transmediale also has an all-year ongoing activity, including a residency programme. These activities provide a sustainable structure of feedback, research and reflection that interacts with the yearly festival.
transmediale/festival annually presents 20 000 visitors with an extensive range of exhibitions, conferences, screenings, performances and publications. The broad cultural appeal of the festival is recognised by the German federal government who supports the transmediale through its programme for beacons of contemporary culture. Each year, a specific theme provides the framework for hundreds of artists, media activists, researchers, designers and other creative tinkerers to engage in reflective, aesthetic and speculative positions in between art, culture and technology. The next transmediale/festival takes place from 3.2 to 7.2 2016 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
Since 1973, video contributions have taken an essential part in the International Forum of New Cinema at the International Film Festival. 1988, the MedienOperative showed its own programme under the name VideoFilmFest – usually it has only been the second venue for screening of the selection.
Video is a young artform; from the start, it has been a reaction to the “brave new world” of the highly technical mass societies with all their computers, nuclear power stations, destroyed landscapes and lonely individuals. Thus, video is not film; it remains bulky, playful and vulnerable.
Within a short time the VideoFest has become one of the most important international video festivals. The programme consisted of works covering the field of videoart and documentation; the intention was to point out video-specific realisations of documentaries.
1991 – the character of the programme has become more angular than before; there are more works that irritate in form and content, more documentaries that ry to find an innovative formal language for exciting topics, surprisingly more works that use artistic means to reflect upon social or political topics in an unusual way.
Also with the VideoFest ‘92, the MedienOperative claimed to reflect the development of international video culture and to represent a rich variety of genres – productions, sculptures, or selections from fields like interactive media and computer animation that break down boundaries.
In 1993, we offered a core programme of the usual high quality, as well as a boast greater space for all activities – the programme, installations, market, conferences, and special showings. Better informed, better entertained. Sometimes irritated, but never bored –plenty of mental turbulence.
VideoFest in its seventh year, the year of that infamous „itch“ – which wasn’t the case luckily. The interconnections between video and television had become ever more important. The programme showed uncommon television productions and takes that, critically speaking, went against the grain of commercial media.
1995 VideoFest saw beyond the end of ist own nose and explored in detail what the new maigc word Multimedia stands for in the realm of CD-ROM and Internet artworks. There were performances, discussions, an exhibition and workshops.
Technological advances grew at an exponential rate, and electronic art started to invariably succumb to the digital. Thus, the VideoFest had restructured itself: video, television and multimedia were now given equal attention; even films made with digital production elements could now be shown.
The focus was again on multimedia, innovative television and video. We also integrated technological developments and philosophical discourses relevant to these media realms into the programme: brain research, neuroaesthetics, nanotechnology and more.
For the first time in its history, the transmediale festival had a motto: BESTANDSAUFNAME SEHEN. The festival took stock of where television and all the new media have gotten us so far, and what they have given us.
With the byline 'international media arts festival berlin', we invited artists, scientists and commercial producers to present digital worlds and beings in films, video and games. It acknowledged the entertainment industry and stimulating experiments with art, design and modern technologies.
The turn of the millenium: speculations about major computer breakdowns; the world taking one step closer to its own doom. The world of media changed, as everything that existed on a material basis was distributed digitally.
Turning passive media consumers into active producers: visitors were supposed to get the opportunity to experience artistic and media-technological strategies in order to create art themselves, in situ.
go public! is used in the new economy, meaning the Initial Public Offering on a stock market. Originally, however, this meant the publication of information. Artists and visitors of transmediale.02 created publicity; they developed new creative ideas for the public space in the digital era.
Conceptualised as a counter-weight to economic and military forms of globalisation, transmediale.03 presented itself as an artistic "global player": aesthetic and critical strategies were called upon to create playful ideas to handle globalisation in ironic and humorous manners.
FLY UTOPIA! dealt with the hope that lies beneath the infinite potential of possibilities in the era of media technology, but also with the hopelessness of a completely technologised and dis-cultured society, which is dominated by the unlimited claim and use of power.
transmediale.05 explored the BASICS, the aesthetic and ethical foundations of artistic practice with digital technologies in a hyper-potential culture. It presented models of an artistic practice whose ethics derive not from past value systems, but from an appropriation of an extreme and contradictory, contemporary culture.
REALITY ADDICTS are interested in real human beings, in words and images, in nature and culture. They are devoted to subvert a reality produced through means of media-technology with the help of artistic strategies.
unfinish! demanded the re-opening of artistic processes that are deemed closed. We questioned finality and claimed that any given situation is full of potential. The festival concentrated on the point where what seemed fixed can be undone, reversed, processed differently.
transmediale.08 aimed at examining dubious worlds of story-telling and remote opinion making in order to look critically at those means of creative conspiratorial strategies, that offer the potential to uncover new forms of expression in digital discourse.
With DEEP NORTH, transmediale.09 focused on the impact and unavoidable consequences of the pending global transformation - the crossing of a point of no return akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago.
Incompatibility is the condition arising when things are not working together. With the theme in/compatible, the festival probed the productive and destructive sides of incompatibility as a fundamental condition of cultural production.
BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet is an expression used when one wants to talk about things in our recent past that have changed quickly. We suggested that this classification crisis, opens up a space of cultural negotiation and artistic intervention.
Between shiny high-tech, e-waste dumps, big data businesses and mass surveillance schemes: Under the title afterglow, the 27th edition of transmediale explored our present post-digital moment as one in which former treasures of our mediatised life are turning into trash.
What do the futures of work, play and life look like through the black mirror of data? transmediale 2015 looked at how we make sense of a culture dependent on measurement, and how to act with autonomy within such a culture.
With the name Conversation Piece, transmediale 2016 created an intensive space of exchanges, murmurs, and transitions and aimed to provide the conditions for a reflection on “idealized” aspects of contemporary life under digital capitalism.
Since 2011, transmediale also offers a comprehensive framework for its many all-year activities, the reSource, which among other things hosts special partner events, a residency programme and monthly network meetings in cooperation with technology-based art and project spaces in Berlin. These activities provide a sustainable structure of feedback, research and reflection that interacts with the yearly festival. The objective of the transmediale/reSource is to act as a link between the cultural production of art festivals and collaborative networks in the field of art and technology, hacktivism and politics. It is an attempt to redefine the working methodology of big art festivals in bringing about a continuous process of intimate and local exchange with the audience, professionals and spaces that work on topics and projects that relate to the topics of transmediale. This activity includes curated events, commissioned art projects that are developed through the year towards the festival and the Vilém Flusser Residency Programme for Artistic Research, a cooperation with the Vilém Flusser Archive at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK). Three times in a row, project spaces of Berlin have been involved in producing the pre-festival programme, in cooperation with CTM Festival. The residency supports projects and activities which are simultaneously conceptual and practice-based, and it is geared towards the initiation of new research or to the further development of existing projects. They are developed in events throughout the year and the final presentation is incorporated in the festival programme. In partnership with Aarhus University, transmediale also works on research workshops and publications that extend the festival thematics. The results of those activities and publications are also being presented at the festival. The transmediale/magazine is another ongoing project in the form of an edited publication that exists both independently of the festival and as a replacement of the traditional festival catalogue. More ...
Vilém Flusser Residency
The Vilém Flusser Residency Programme for Artistic Research is a cooperation with the Vilém Flusser Archive at the Berlin University of Arts (UdK). It supports projects and activities which are simultaneously conceptual and practice-based, and it is geared towards the initiation of new research or to the further development of existing projects. For the 2015 residency, the jury has selected Valentina Karga and Pieterjan Grandry and their project Market for Immaterial Value. More ...
The transmediale/resource network engages with art and digital culture in the city of Berlin in two different ways: at regular meetings and roundtable discussions, and through an online mailing list, resource-net. The transmediale/resource network organises meetings between artists, cultural producers and curators, among local Berlin project spaces and galleries to construct a hub for arts and technology activities in Berlin. More ...
Throughout the year as well as during the festival, transmediale publishes the transmediale/magazine and other special print products. The magazine replaces a traditional festival publication and aims to expand the discourse on the festival themes with in depth contributions and transfers to other fields. transmediale is also involved in the thematic newspaper and online jounal A Peer Reviewed Journal About in collaboration with the University of Aarhus. More ...
Back in 1988, transmediale was founded as VideoFilmFest, a side project of the Berlinale 'International Forum of New Cinema'. Within the following 20 years, the festival steadily evolved. In our online transmediale archive, you can find photos, videos, websites and more content of past festivals. transmediale also has a physical archive, which provides insights into 29 years of media art and digital culture. On the basis of this, we were part of DCA (Digitising Contemporary Art), a project funded by the European Commission, comprising of 25 partners from 10 EU member states and 2 associated countries. More ...
Selected from the archive:
Title: My Generation
Info: Film/video by Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG, 13:26 min, 2010
Description: With material found on online social platforms such as YouTube, My Generation by Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG demonstrates that computer games are far from mere recreational entertainment. More ...
Title: Tantalum Memorial
Info: Installation by Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, Matsuko Yokokoji, 2008
Description: The telephone-installation is a memorial to the more than 3 million people who have perished in the complex wars that have gone on in the Congo since 1998, often referred to as the 'Coltan Wars'. More ...
Info: Film/video by Ho Tzu Nyen, 2009
Description: Ho Tzu-Nyen's Newton is a loop of a simple chain reaction. Through the title, narrative, stark visuals and meditative soundtrack, Newton offers a laconic comment on the cognitive faculty of science and art. More ...
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