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Transmediale: Beyond the WTF factor

Fridey Mickel sifts through the digital detritus and tells you what not to miss at this year's Transmediale.

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Photo by Michal Andrysiak

Opening tonight, this year’s Transmediale digital arts festival, branded “Afterglow”, uses examples of the abuses of big data and graphic design elements highlighting wellness, interface architecture and geology in an attempt for the visitor to make inferences of some kind about the demise of media art. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future!

What was once an annual event of culture and art has started to ignore more and more the latter in order to focus its debate on unanswerable questions like “How to measure an audience?”.

What remains to be seen is whether the epic festival in hindsight will be viewed as something that really mattered, or merely a surface mirroring of trendy themes muttered about on Facebook by the faceless masses: internet, NSA, sex trafficking and Ai Weiwei.

On a positive note, “Afterglow” has taken on for us a new meaning: it reflects our joy at being able to somehow sift through the mess to offer you a selection of interesting highlights from the next few days…

1. Wednesday is Art Hack Day (8:30pm) Skip the long-winded and self-indulgent‚ opening ceremonies of the Transmediale and go straight to the good stuff. Art Hack Day is a new trend happening around the world right now, which reflects what is really cutting edge in art at the moment. Eighty electronic media artists from around the world meet for a two-day working session to create on-site work that will be shown as a complete exhibition at the end.

Also to be seen at the HKW is a very intriguing newsreel video from the 1930s called “Offers Herself as a Bride for $10,000” (not sure what this has to do with the future, but still fun to watch).

2. Best day to buy a day pass: Thursday. Chock full of seminars such as “Trash from Hell”, “Art As Evidence” (Jakob Applebaum and  Laura Poiteras discussing art and hacking), and a special segment about Zombie Porn. There’s also an installation about advertising and the Greek financial crisis and its the best evening for video screenings (our favourites, the whimsical, 1980s-styled “Digit Reproduces” and “Digit Porn”, start at 6pm.)

3. Your next best bet is Sunday, with a seminar about the world of dating apps, the screening of Luther Price’s much-hyped video art, and Robert Henke of Monolake fame’s headlining performance, Lumiére (it will cost you an extra ticket, but the fusion of visuals and sound is well worth it).

Stay tuned here for more updates about the festival.