transmediale ever elusive

transmediale 2017 ever elusive

Festival identity, Artdirection, Design.
With: Stefanie Ackermann, Simon Schindele. Special Tag: Story

The visual concept of transmediale 2017 ever elusive addresses Snapchat’s distribution and media format “Story”, and at the same time attempts to capture the ever elusive aspect of fleetingness in images and videos.

Taking the classic human/technology dichotomy as a departure point, stories that treat this apparent contrast in both direct and more subtle ways are told. One narrative axis, for example, examines the incompatibility and tension between oil and water. Another axis deals with viscosity, the transformation of materiality and immateriality.

The solidity of the transmediale logo is lost in the nebulous images of Story; an ASMR voice repeats: “A movement is aimless.” Different discourses merge, ideas flash. Simultaneously, sense of disorientation arises under the influence of the Story format, which treats non-linearity as the driving force of awareness.

Over the course of the festival month, different narratives representing individual parts of the festival unfold in a stream on the website. The Story twists incessantly, zipping into the tiniest niches and crossing vast oceans. Here, the ever elusive feeling finds expression.

"In today’s accelerated condition, it is often difficult to tell where the role of the human ends and that of the machine begins. With machine learning systems, artificial intelligent agents, smart infrastructures, and engineered organisms playing an increasingly important role, new complex techno-ecologies and hybridities continuously evolve. These new entanglements, where technology is felt as natural and mediation becomes immediate, influence the shaping of the economic and socio-political condition, while putting the primacy of human agency into question. How familiar—and how strange—is this becoming autonomous and becoming environmental of technology to its users? [...]

Taking these questions as its starting points, the conference of the anniversary edition of transmediale 2017 ever elusive aims to highlight and discuss the different forms of agency that are being involved in today’s fast evolving techno-medial environments and constellations. [...] It explores what the challenge of “decentering the human” might mean, taking into consideration optimistic scenarios as well as critical engagements and possible alternatives that might embrace new ways of perceiving the nonhuman.

Of primary importance for this exploration is the notion of the “middle,” used in a way that is twofold. The “middle,” on one hand, describes the complex and multifaceted “in-between” spaces of mediation and agency that result when media expand everywhere, and, on the other, it refers to the repositioning of our role within them. It is used to discuss how by being part of today’s algorithmic filterings and strange ecologies, we inescapably find ourselves in ongoing processes of mediation, and it also underlines the necessity of acknowledging the multiplicity and heterogeneity of such a spaces. With its non-centrality, it holds the potential for transversal practices across sciences, politics, and aesthetics to be initiated."

> transmediale, conference programm: Starting from the Middle.

Links to further projects:
- alien matter - exhibition catalogue

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