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The revolution is over. Welcome to the afterglow.
29 January – 2 February 2014

The digital revolution was a dinner party but its afterglow is not. The once utopian promises of high-definition audiovisuals, real-time electronic communication and infinite storage possibilities are just some of the digital culture perspectives that are now widely disseminated. At the same time as these phenomena are still shrouded in the glossy aesthetics of the digital, their tarnished appeal cannot be denied in a world where 'big data' is also the 'big brother' of mass surveillance and where the 'cloud' is made of the metals and minerals of the 'earth' on which data centers are built. Far from immaterial and neutral, our post-digital culture is one where tech is deeply embedded in the geophysical and geopolitical. This is evident at the significant 'other sites' of digital culture such as e-waste dumps, mines, mass-digitisation companies and security agencies. transmediale 2014 proposes the post-digital moment of 'afterglow' as a diagnosis of the current status of the digital hovering between 'trash and treasure'. afterglow conjures up the ambivalent state of digital culture, where what seems to remain from the digital revolution is a paradoxical nostalgia for the futuristic high-tech it once promised us but that is now crumbling in our hands. The challenge that this moment poses is how to use that state of post-digital culture between trash and treasure as a still not overdetermined space from which to invent new speculative thought and practice. Are there means of renewal in the excess, overflow and waste products of the digital afterglow?

  • "The afterglow is an intense red glow of the atmosphere long after sunset (or long before sunrise), when most twilight colors should have disappeared.”
    - Weatherscapes

  • “The afterglow is commonly seen during or after volcanic eruptions, which deposit large amounts of dust and ash into the high atmosphere."
    - Weatherscapes

  • "afterglow refers to positive physical and mental effects that linger after the main effects of a drug have subsided, or after the peak experience has subsided.”
    - Wikipedia


A distributed programme of events leading up to the transmediale and CTM festivals - Take the opportunity to experience some of Berlin's best experimental arts, interventions, music and sound in this unique pre-festival programme! transmediale and CTM's Vorspiel is a programme of distributed partner events, where a variety of partner venues invite local and international audiences to a series of exhibition openings, performances, interventions, artist talks and special events across the city of Berlin.

Network programme

Vilém Flusser Resident 2013 Pinar Yoldas shows An Ecosystem of Excess at the Project Space of the Ernst Schering Foundation. Schizophrenia 2.0 at .CHB presents the work of young Taiwanese new media artists. At SUPERMARKT, future past – past future probes the relationship between past, present and future in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Douglas Coupland exhibits works at Or Gallery, and holds the Marshall McLuhan Lecture 2014 at the Embassy of Canada. Our partner festival CTM takes place at different venues across Berlin under the title Dis Continuity.


What does it mean to speak about digital culture today, and what are the implications of the term post-digital?


What does it mean to speak about digital culture today, and what are the implications of the term post-digital? The conference takes afterglow as a metaphor for the present condition of digital culture, examining the geopolitical, infrastructural and bodily consequences of the excessive digitisation that has taken place over the course of the last three decades. These topics have been divided into three streams that each reflect a different aspect of digital culture in the afterglow: An Afterglow of the Mediatic, chaired by Jussi Parikka and Ryan Bishop of the Winchester School of Art, focuses on the materiality of the digital from a geopolitical and geophysical perspective; Hashes to Ashes, chaired by Tatiana Bazzichelli, reflects on the strategic infrastructure of the digital and the backdoors behind the glossy surface of connectivity; Will you be my TRASHURE?, chaired by Francesco Warbear Macarone Palmieri and Katrien Jacobs, speaks about the body of the digital, and its implication on identity, sexuality and pleasure as a way to reflect on politics and culture.
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  • Laura Poitras

    Laura Poitras is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker. In May 2013, she met NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and has been reporting his revelations for Der Spiegel, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

  • Jacob Appelbaum

    Jacob Appelbaum works as a freelance journalist and photographer as well as a developer and researcher with The Tor Project.

  • Trevor Paglen

    Trevor Paglen's work deliberately blurs lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us.

  • Sputniko!

    Sputniko! is an artist/designer who uses design to explore technology’s impact on everyday life–and to imagine alternative futures.

  • Benjamin H. Bratton

    Benjamin H. Bratton is a theorist whose work spans Philosophy, Art and Design. He Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Director of D:GP, The Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego.

Conference streams


The exhibition programme of transmediale 2014 afterglow follows the overall programme strategy to focus on new and commissioned works. In the foyer of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt we show the installation CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE by Jamie Allen and David Gauthier. It will spread as a media-technical landscape sculpture across HKW, being presented in various talks and discussions. We also present an instant exhibition, the result of the 48h hackathon Art Hack Day Berlin : Afterglow. The exhibition will bring together artists and hackers collaboratively forming works in response to the afterglow theme.
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Critical Infrastructure

Artist-technologists Jamie Allen and David Gauthier, in collaboration with transmediale 2014, present CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, a media-technical landscape survey. The geological/architectural survey becomes a direct interaction that reveals the materials that allow media arts, media artists, arts festivals and artistic venues to exist and persist. CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE is the result of a three month artistic-research and production residency in which the artists worked in a workshop format with local collaborators in Berlin. Through this process a large-scale technological sculpture has been created that will occupy the main foyer space of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), as well as suffusing into other aspects of transmediale 2014 afterglow.
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Art Hack Day

The central exhibition afterglow is in line with this year’s overall programme strategy of exhibiting only new or commissioned works. In a curatorial and organisational collaboration between transmediale and LEAP (Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance), the festival has invited internet-based non-profit Art Hack Day as a grassroots event/exhibit format/community for artists whose medium is tech and hackers whose medium is art. This event gathers more than 70 participants working intensively for two days to come up with an instant exhibition that responds to the thematic framework of afterglow. Collaborative in nature, Art Hack Day is a project dedicated to cracking open the process of art making, with special reverence toward open-source technologies.
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Are there means of renewal in the excess, overflow and waste products of the digital afterglow?


The films and videos featured in transmediale 2014 focus on subjects such as the internet, surveillance, and Big Data as well as electronic, digital and analogue trash. The afterglow theme is seen as gloomy visions of the afterlife of images and technologies in which naïve dreams of a digital revolution, free exchange and equal participation no longer have a place. Instead, surveillance cameras film seamless state-ordered murders, video games reflect the nuclear contamination of the countryside, and e-waste and spirituality combine to create postcolonial revenge. The countless images that we continuously produce grant us an imaginary eternity that even pharaohs couldn’t dream of. In the programme, more central still than the images of society’s waste are the images of society as waste that have been artfully processed in the works. A total of fifty-three films, videos and slide shows from 1931 to 2013 are to be shown in eight programmes and seven installations, each programme with its own sub-theme. For the first time in the history of transmediale we are showing original, handmade films created from lost and re-composited images, the only film genre with no counterpart in the digital world.
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“To take back the gold that was stolen from us – this is the object of our actions.”- Lettres du Voyant


transmediale's performance programme focuses on audiovisual and intermedial pieces that defy any strict genre categorisation. At the core of the 2014 programme are performances that convey the experiential side of the afterglow thematic: performance works after the digital where the technology deployed is not the main focus but rather the often intangible spaces between humans, objects and systems. As always, a number of highlight performances are presented in cooperation with CTM festival. Despite a diversity of approaches, the works performed by Lucky Dragons, Dinos Chapman, and Robert Henke all display a sensitivity to inter-media performance, which speaks to both CTM's Dis Continuity and transmediale's afterglow themes. Simultaneously referencing composition, science, and the legacies of electronic music, video art, and visual music, the performances take audiovisual performance beyond the inertia of VJ-style After Effects to a post-digital revolution aesthetic of ambivalence between analogue and digital and the improvised and the pre-defined. Both festivals aim to transgress boundaries of art, science, and popular culture. Thus, the cooperation programme presents strong artistic positions which are post-digital as much as they are intermedial.
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  • Actual Reality by Lucky Dragons

    SAT 01.02.2014

  • Luftbobler by Dinos Chapman

    FRI 31.01.2014


  • MP5 (artist)

    Slavina is a porn-activist. She's engaged in social change, using multimedia with DIY actitude since the end of last century.

  • Diani Barreto (*1968) is a Cuban-American painter, media artist, translator, information activist and independent researcher on whistleblowers and hacktivism.

  • Benjamin Gaulon (born 1979) is an artist, researcher. He has previously released work under the name “recyclism”.

  • A native Oregonian, Thomas Haley has lived in Paris since the early 70s. He did his university studies in photography (University of Oregon), cinema (New York University), and art history (American University in Paris).

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Image credits
John Einar Sandvand, Cambodia Tales
Wanderlust Yoga & Music Festival at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland by Matthew Bradley
Cleanroom suit by Drhaggis
Flight Mirror Segment Inspection by NASA/Chris Gunn
Google Servers
Lettres du Voyant by Louis Henderson
Actual Reality by Lucky Dragons
Dinos Chapman