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Under the title ever elusive transmediale celebrates its 30-year anniversary with an entire month of activities from 2 February to 5 March 2017. The approach taken to the anniversary is contemporary rather than retrospective: ever elusive – thirty years of transmediale aims to use the critical and artistic knowledge gained at the festival over the years to reframe the question of the role of media today. In a world where technology increasingly operates independently of humans, where does the power to act and mediate lie?
The title ever elusive refers to the elusiveness of perpetually transitioning media cultures, and to the transmediale itself as an elusive and dynamic project, constantly shifting ground.
The representation and mediation of geopolitics are in a state of crisis. Bearing these turbulent times in mind, the festival invites participants to consider the value of rejecting stable identities and explore speculative positions beyond current dichotomies: human/nonhuman and nature/technology.
On 2 February 2017 the three-day festival program opens at Haus der Kulturen der Welt within the scope of ever elusive.The festival encompasses around 50 events—a conference and screening program, workshops and performances— and takes place from 3 to 5 February 2017.
The ever elusive program is curated by artistic director Kristoffer Gansing, Daphne Dragona (conference), and Florian Wüst (film and video).
The conference focuses on the changing role of agency in the era when the human and the nonhuman are increasingly intertwined. As machine learning systems, artificial intelligent agents, and smart infrastructures become more and more important in the functions, encounters, and interactions of contemporary life, new complex techno-ecologies and hybridities continuously emerge. Within these new messy constellations and environments, the primacy of human agency is often put into question and concerns appear regarding the future scenarios that might occur. In this context, the speakers of this year’s conference will examine what it means to decenter “the human” today.
The film and video program of the festival presents contemporary and historical works on topics such as urban ecologies, new materialism, and the world of machines and data processes beyond human control. Bringing together short films, feature films with subsequent talks, loop projections, and audiovisual performances, the program aims at extending the traditional cinematic situation through hybrid formats. The film selection includes new works which were never shown in Berlin and provides a look back on the history of transmediale. Rather than focusing only on the history of video art—which is closely linked to the festival—the film and video program also highlights the importance of experimental film and early computer art for digital aesthetics.
Among the festival highlights are Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas, Morehshin Allahyari und Daniel Rourke, Rasheedah Phillips und Moor Mother von Black Quantum Futurism, Andreas Broeckmann, Finn Brunton, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Natalie Fenton, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Richard Grusin, Erich Hörl, Steve Kurtz, Robert Latham, Olia Lialina & Kevin Bewersdorf, Esther Leslie, Joep van Liefland, Armin Medosch (Technopolitics), Rosa Menkman, Metahaven, Katja Novitskova, Lisa Parks, Johannes Paul Raether, Evan Roth, Susan Schuppli, Felix Stalder, Telekommunisten, Suzanne Treister, Addie Wagenknecht, Jutta Weber, and YoHa.
The special exhibition alien matter curated by Inke Arns opens alongside the festival on 2 February 2017 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. “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 artefacts. 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. Through their ability to learn and network, they challenge the central role of the human subject.
The 25 exhibiting artists from Berlin and around the world will 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.”
Exhibiting artists: Aliens in Green, Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, Nicolas Maigret & Maria Roszkowska, Constant Dullaart, Ignas Krunglevičius, Mark Leckey, Joep van Liefland, Jeroen van Loon, Katja Novitskova, Sascha Pohflepp, Johannes Paul Raether, Evan Roth, Suzanne Treister, Addie Wagenknecht, YoHa, Pinar Yoldas
The ever elusive program continues in the form of three thematic excursions at different locations in Berlin which are conceptually linked to topics explored that day. The excursions, entitled Imaginaries, Interventions, and Ecologies, are an extension of the festival throughout the month of February. These concentrated events target specific aspects of the ever elusive theme while also being representative of topics that have been important in the history of the festival.
8 February 2017 | Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus
The Imaginaries excursion challenges standardized histories and future trajectories of media practice and thinking. It features performances and discussions of speculative design projects, science fiction, imaginary media, and archaeological investigations that intercut past, present, and future. The excursion takes us to a historical building which has been the site of shifting political imaginaries and which served as a venue for transmediale in the early 1990s when it was still called VideoFest.
With Black Quantum Futurism and others.
18 February 2017 | ver.di
The Interventions excursion focuses on new approaches to collective organization, automation, and playful subversion in relation to the crisis of datafied politics, labor, and cultural production in the debt economy. Through workshops and panels, the participants will elaborate on alternative ways to understand creativity and critique outside of the persistent current reference to creative industries and innovation.
With Telekommunisten and others.
24 February 2017 | silent green Kulturquartier
The Ecologies excursion features new artistic research into the messy, disperse ecologies that now characterize life on the planet as it is re-constructed in flows of data, capital, and natural resources. One part will focus on the resource heavy reality of technology and its impact on the earth and another on the earth's own media including the launch of a speculative mushroom network.
With Shift Register/The Earth Lab, The Mycelium Society, and others.
The closing weekend on 4 and 5 March 2017 ties together the various parts of ever elusive: The special exhibition, panel presentations, live performances, screenings, and excursions will be linked together in a conclusion, reflecting upon past and future media language.
With, among others, Laurie Anderson, Emilien Awada, Constanze Ruhm, Caspar Stracke, Joep van Liefland
The 18th edition of our partner festival CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Art will take place from 27 January to 5 February 2017. Under the title Fear Anger Love the program traces the complex (musical) relations between bodies, affect and politics, making space for radical and extreme forms of musical expression and dissonant emotions.
For the upcoming edition of Vorspiel, transmediale and CTM Festival will again cooperate with the Berlin network of project spaces, galleries, cultural institutions, and individual cultural actors. From 20 January to 5 March 2017, a variety of partner venues will present several events at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture as well as in the field of experimental sound and music.