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.
Theresa Züger on thinking towards re-politicization of security politics
In the stream Theresa Züger curated at transmediale 2016, Anxious to Secure, she brought together participants from disparate fields to pick apart what she found to be three distinct strands of the meaning of “security” today. Here she reflects on how these meanings surfaced in one particular session and have continued to take shape in follow-up conversations.
Various initiatives around the world have been working persistently to archive and organize the Snowden documents since their leak in 2013. transmediale 2016 provided the first occasion for these diverse actors to meet and discuss their efforts, paving the way towards cross-collaboration with the aim of securing the archive and making it accessible for all. Corina Haas and Krystian Woznicki explain the ingenious approaches of each group, and how the archive as a whole has infiltrated collective (un)consciousness.
Tessa Zettel delves into the world of artists Valentina Karga and Pieterjan Grandry—a world where “value” is far beyond an economic term, and where capitalism is seen for what it really is: a gigantic blob of jelly.
Everything is jelly now
Air, clouds, us
The jelly is the material out of which the immaterial world is made
and we are moving towards exhaustion
- Notes by Nefeli Myrodia, edited by Valentina Karga, on The Gigantic Jelly-Blob performance
When the Critical Media Lab was invited to stage one of the many “conversation pieces” of transmediale, the researchers from the Lab along with a host of collaborators organized the workshop Unmaking: 5 Anxieties. A special set of “concept cards” with five “suits” of anxieties served as prompts for the wide-ranging discussion on making and maker culture—summarized and reflected upon here in a collaborative text by the participants.
The keynote conversation of the Anxious to Make stream at transmediale invited Kazys Varnelis and Jutta Weber to reflect on the messy and contentious evolution of “maker culture” and its constituent prosumers. Here, curator Helen Kaplinsky responds to the discussion, finding one subject missing from the debate: the non-human.
On opening night of transmediale 2016, the speculative architect Liam Young gave what he calls a “Live Cinema Performance” called Hello, City! at the HKW. Writer George Kafka interviewed Young about the performance and about the cities of the future that Young envisions and portrays.