transmediale attendees can very easily get captured (pun intended) in the myriads of programme events. But, festival goers would do well to make a short pilgrimage to The Foyer, where a number of installations, workshops, and conferences are taking place. Within are some highlights from Saturday's Foyer Programme, from conferences to workshops and installations.
How will our quantified lives unfold? transmediale 2015 looks at how we make sense of a culture dependant on measurement and automation procedures, and how to act with autonomy within such a culture. We are living in societies and economies defined by a global competitive drive for constant, algorithm-guided optimisation. While debates rage over government and corporations operating to covertly “collect, process and exploit” all communication flows, are our own roles and responsibilities perhaps being downplayed? What are the underlying motivational structures that propel our hard work and play participation in the networks? transmediale 2015 presents artistic responses and speculative scenarios as well as critical thinking on processes of gamification, quantification, ubiquitous networking and algorithmic control and their ways of making the spheres of everyday life, work and play increasingly indistinguishable.
Punchcard Economy, the tiny knitting factory located in the cafe stage area during transmediale, is London-based video artist and knitting enthusiast Sam Meech's attempt to fuse the analog with the digital. At a glance, it would seem that people were simply operating knitting machines and nothing more. But, quite a bit more conceptual flavor was at a play.
We tend to think of drones as either military menaces or personal helicopter-like toys. But, in Nadav Assor and Yoni Goldstein's Lessons on Leaving Your Body we get an altogether different kind of animal. Or, in this case, a cyborg.
There is a summit of techno-monks at transmediale's CAPTURE ALL. Known as unMonastery, this collective of social innovators considers itself a "social clinic for the future" with the goal of addressing issues such as empty space, unemployment, and depleting social services.
At yesterday's "All Watched Over by Algorithms" conference, panelists weighed in on our algorithmic watchmen. Inspired by American countercultural novelist Richard Brautigan's poem "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace", panelists variously suggested the ideology of Big Data is the ideology of capitalism; that pattern recognition produces paranoid states; and data mining reduces human beings to animals incapable of questioning their profilers.
After last night's opening ceremony, transmediale entered its first full day of programming, and all manner of panels, exhibitions, installations, and screenings took place at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Many attendees will be immediately drawn to the exhibition, which features works from a number of new media artists trying to chart a creative course through this brave new world of big data. Below are some of the CAPTURE ALL exhibition's highlights, but by no means the only great work to be seen at transmediale.