Artwork by The Laboratory of Manuel Bürger
The transmediale 2017 program titled ever elusive,coordinated by artistic director Kristoffer Gansing in his sixth year with the festival. The transmediale has grown from its beginnings as VideoFilmFest to one of the most important events for art and digital culture worldwide. This year, transmediale celebrates its 30 year anniversary with an entire month of activities.From 2 February to 5 March 2017, various events will be presented across the city of Berlin alongside the special exhibition alien matter at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
The approach taken to the anniversary is contemporary rather than retrospective: ever elusive – 30 years of transmediale aims to use the critical and artistic knowledge built up over the years at the festival to reframe questions about the role of media today. In a world where technology increasingly operates independently of humans, where does the power to act and to mediate lie?
Following the festival dates 3-5 February 2017, extensions of the program continue throughout the month of February with three thematic excursions in Berlin entitled Imaginaries, Interventions, and Ecologies alongside the exhibition alien matter. The closing weekend on 4-5 March ties together the various parts of ever elusive.
First program announcements
Among the participants of the festival are Rasheedah Phillips and Moor Mother of Black Quantum Futurism, Armin Medosch with his working group Technopolitics, who are premiering their project Technopolitics Timeline and will host a panel discussion, Metahaven who will screen their artistic documentary The Sprawl, and Richard Grusin and Wendy Hui Kyong Chun who will be brought together for a keynote conversation.
Exhibition alien matter
“Alien matter” refers to man-made, and at the same time, radically different, potentially intelligent matter. It is the outcome of a naturalization of technological artifacts. Environments shaped by technology result in new relationships between man and machine. Technical objects, previously defined merely as objects of utility, have become autonomous agents. Their capacity to learn and network throws into question the previously clear and dominant division between active subject and passive object.
30 exhibiting artists from Berlin and around the world present works about shifts within such power structures, raising questions about the state of our current environment and whether it has already passed the tipping point, becoming “alien matter”. Content-wise, the works cluster around four thematic focal points: Artificial intelligence, plastics, infrastructure, and the Internet of Things—subcategories that are deemed to merge into the nascent great machine and thereby, to speak with Günther Anders, are future obsolete.
transmediale is a project by Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH in collaboration with Haus der Kulturen der Welt. It has been funded as a cultural institution of excellence by Kulturstiftung des Bundes since 2004. The special exhibition alien matter is curated by Inke Arns and is funded by LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin.