Unearthing a decade-old panel discussion from the transmediale archive suggests that discourse about digital culture might not change as fast as we think—which, transmediale editor Elvia Wilk argues here, is a good omen. This post is the first in an ongoing series revisiting and reviving discussions, events, and media from the recently digitized, 30-year transmediale archive.
On December 7, 2016, transmediale celebrated the launch of its new publication at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London. The book is a reader on the changing (and often contentious) concept of the post-digital within arts and culture, with a focus on the term's institutional framing. Published here is the introductory essay to the book, co-written by three of its editors, which outlines the concept and the content.
“Maker culture” is not one thing. As Teresa Dillon describes in this reflection on the Anxious to Make stream she curated at transmediale 2016, the multitude of practices that make up the world of making are what make it impossible to summarize. The events of her stream focused on crossover and common ground as well as contradiction, rather than a “bottom line” answer to what it means to be a maker today.
Photo essay from the Anxious to Make stream by Teresa Dillon and Lydia Goolia
Teresa Dillon, who curated the stream focused on making and maker cultures at transmediale/conversationpiece, collaborated with photographer Lydia Goolia to document the events of her stream. With the title “Hands of the Makers,” the format of the visual essay reflects the tactile and hands-on aspects of participation.
A response to Isabell Lorey & David Lyon’s Anxious to Secure keynote conversation by Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin
In this jointly authored text, Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin instantiate theoretical debates about precarity in situated examples from their research in Jakarta. Launching from the Anxious to Secure keynote discussion at conversationpiece, they hone in on the specifics of twinned economic marginalization and environmental devastation justified under the political rubric of “normalization,” finding that in many cases insecurity is not so far from erasure.
Florian Wüst on Hellmuth Costard and Jürgen Ebert’s Echtzeit
As part of the film and video program of transmediale/conversationpiece, curator Florian Wüst screened the experimental feature film Echtzeit (Realtime) from 1983. The film’s directors, Hellmuth Costard and Jürgen Ebert, dealt with the development of computer technology and related changes to our perceptions of reality at a remarkably early point in time. The issues surrounding big data, information privacy, and social modelling at stake in this blend of science-fiction and documentary film are only more relevant and pressing today.
Navigating Identities, Institutions, Art and Media with Sara Diamond. By Jamie Allen
Sara Diamond titled her 2016 transmediale Marshall McLuhan Lecture “Anxious to Sea Change,” referring to her personal history of activism, alluding to ecological crisis, and likening political problem-solving to navigating at sea. Jamie Allen, who also served as respondent to the talk held in February, unpacks the personal and historical resonance of Diamond’s talk, hinting at how she presents a metaphorical map for navigating a life of response, and response ability.
Daphne Dragona questions the current technological infrastructures that we rely on
Do users have a right to understand, see, and even manipulate the infrastructures that run their lives? The curator of transmediale’s new Co-Curricular program, Daphne Dragona, describes how the events in her series questioned the current technological infrastructures that we rely on—and in the process formed a new network, or infrastructure, from the Co-Curricular program itself.
It is often taken for granted today that algorithms are detestable: they flatten us and our relationships into a rubric of data. But, as Vera Tollman asks in this response to Hito Steyerl’s lecture—one half of the keynote conversation Steyerl shared with Nicholas Mirzoeff—how did this particular computing process become construed as the culprit? Tollmann investigates the practical necessity of the algorithm, and also traces its generative or even imaginative capacities, such as those Steyerl demonstrated in her talk.
Why are some political issues so hotly debated within an arts context, and others deemed irrelevant—or even untouchable? transmediale’s artistic director, Kristoffer Gansing, delves into the high-stakes political debates surrounding TTIP, asking both what import transatlantic trade agreements between the EU and the USA could have on cultural production and why so much of digital arts and culture sector has so long been silent on the topic. In turn he reflects on how events during conversationpiece revived debate.