Welcome to transmediale festival 2019
A Peer-reviewed Newspaper About Machine Feeling presents abstracts and abstractions developed through a workshop held at University of Cambridge, and organized in collaboration between transmediale festival, Aarhus University, and Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme. More information/pdf: here
staying playing with the trouble
ambigious feelings towards what we see/design
The visual language of transmediale 2019 is a wild combination of signs based on forms and gestures of digital communication to express emotional states. The main references arrive especially from signs of direct peer-to-peer channels (Telegram, instagram messenger etc.) or symbols of meme-culture (reddit, 4chan,…). What is the relationship between affection and disgust, education and punk, how do supposingly rational people feel about irrationality?
Speech - Feeling - Style. To enhance the festival’s notion of researching and understanding the making of feelings/empathy, in times of constant bombardement of emotional charged information units, a catalogue of visual signs was developed and mixed throughout different medias. Each sign is related to an emotional reaction - but how does it work if you use these signs different as supposed to ... – in a rather playful way? Can you disarm symbols of harrassment? How do the colors of „The Political Compass“ relate to the real world (situations) and our emotional states. Does the visual simplicity of kids-education help to build up control vs. sensitivity about your feelings? Born to feel? Does visual chaos make you happy? Isn’t the mascot cute? I don’t feel anything looking at this transmediale’s brochure.
The design is an experiment, especially for the designers, to enhance the relation between design thinking/ decision making vs. irrationality/ leaving the track. It is interesting how design is lead by creating comfort of digesting information. Irrationality can somehow make this process more critical again by questioning your steps. Is that going too far though? Do you trust design? You did?
You – Me – Us. transmediale’s design is made to construct a better way of communicating between us: the transmediale community and people interested in their activities. Quitting facebook (and twitter) might be not thinkable for many institutions nowadays. The possibility of creating an audience which really cares about the activities of transmediale by using other channels is though the important and exciting part of being a designer today. How can communication help to find/discuss together instead of getting diveded in the old sheme of friend vs. enemy. like vs. dislike. transmediale’s information channel on Telegram is a new way of creating communication - sticker pack inclusive. More to come.
transmediale 2019 focuses on how feelings are made into objects of technological design and asks what role emotions and empathy play within digital culture. One of the key questions of the upcoming festival is “What moves you?”, referring not only to an emotional response but also to the infrastructures and aesthetics that govern how affect becomes mobilized as a political force today.
With digital technologies being integrated into the liveness of experience, a new situation for social change and cultural practice has arisen, which currently seems to lead to either political extremes or extreme complacency. How to resist the manipulative and polarizing aspects of affect in the digital public sphere as it is expressed through a deadlock of the politics of feeling on the one side and disengagement on the other? What motivates social engagement and how can new forms of care and solidarity be developed and embodied?
For the first time in many years, the festival does not have a title in order to emphasize the possibility of emergence: In response to a critical time, transmediale wants to focus on live practices and the creation of learning environments rather than close down meaning.
Taking up the challenge of how to understand and work with new technologies of feeling, transmediale recognizes that digital culture has become instrumental for capturing and managing what Raymond Williams once called “structures of feeling”—lived experiences and cultural expressions, distinct from supposedly fixed social products and institutions. Such experiences and expressions now create the affective spaces of social media, form the design imperatives of artificial intelligence applications, and seem to be capable of evoking empathy through virtual reality. In these contexts, social and political issues tend to become emotionalized and get turned into binary choices of for and against. One of the contemporary challenges is how to be critical and affirmative at the same time while avoiding such oversimplifications. For this purpose, transmediale 2019 strives to feature living, and not yet fully formed digital cultures of artistic vision, speculative thinking, activist intervention, and counter-cultural dreaming.
Following its focus on cultural emergence, the 2019 festival aims for a high level of participant and audience engagement through discussion-based and educational formats: Preceding the public festival days, transmediale offers the new Student Forum to create an environment for concentrated, in-depth work and studying. The workshop program is extended and starts on 29 January, too, continuing throughout the festival. Furthermore, the transmediale Study Circles are integrated across the program, zooming in on specific aspects of the festival theme. The Study Circles Affective Infrastructures and Uneasy Alliances consist of working groups in which participants come together before, during, and after the festival and generate various outputs such as workshops, events, and publications.
> Conceptual text of transmediale 2019 festival