transmediale.10 Conference – Future Observatory

"The fact that you have no interest in the future, does not mean that the future has lost interest in you."
[Bruce Sterling]

Have we caught up with our notions of the future? This is the principle question posed at Future Observatory, the transmediale.10 conference, taking place from 5 - 7 February 2010 in the iconic House of World Cultures in Berlin.

Thinkers from various fields will discuss the epistemologies, limitations, ruptures and malfunctions of the future as an object of cultural projection. It brings together designers, media artists, net citizens, critical thinkers and researchers in order to create a network to focus on the future. It will be anchored by keynotes from renown writer and futurologist, Bruce Sterling; technology pioneer Conrad Wolfram (co-founder of Wolfram Alpha); and writer and critic Richard Barbrook (author of "Imaginary Futures").

Future Observatory examines the, ways of perception and patterns of behaviour that are inscribed into our contemporary media cultural society. What is the code that performs the operation future?

From the perspective of modernity the 21st century served as an object of projection for innumerable exuberant visions of future societies and techno-utopias. 2000, 2001, 2010 are emblematic as appointed dates for futuristic notions of social and economic progress to come true. Until now however this is neither the case regarding the utopian, nor the dystopian predictions. We have neither arrived in the kind of future that was foreseen for us, nor have we left this very future behind altogether. Paradoxically today we find ourselves in a future that belongs to the past - and which simultaneously contradicts our present. What we are currently experiencing above all are the limitations, ruptures and malfunctions caused by this temporal superimposition.

The conference will open on 5 February 2010 the Futurity Long Conversation, a relay of one-to-one conversations, brings 21 leading artists, designers, theorists, journalists and media interventionists together to discuss, contextualise and explore the abstract and qualitative elements defining what we conceive of the future today. In the Futurity Long Conversation the dialogue as an aesthetic, analytical and collaborative process expands into a special timezone in which the participants and the audience oscillate between the disciplines of art, science and industry.

The Futurity Long Conversation was developed in collaboration with the UK arts organisation Artangel and the Longplayer Trust, and was inspired by their work and that of The Long Now Foundation, international organisations crafting ways with which to perceive time and durational process in radically different and perhaps media technologically appropriate ways. In their approach, we are in a period which redefines the 'now' within a timespan of 10.000 years, altering our notions of future and the acceleration of progress and development.

For the duration of transmediale.10 the HKW will act as a temporary sound beacon for Longplayer, an algorithmic piece of music designed to play 1000 years without ever repeating itself composed by artist Jem Finer.

Longplayer credits:
Longplayer by Jem Finer: with the support and collaboration of The Longplayer Trust and Artangel

- For German speakers: read here and interview by Blogpiloten on transmediale.10 and the Future Observatory conference in particular -

Keynotes:
Richard Barbrook (UK) - Imaginary Futures
Conrad Wolfram (UK) - Wolfram | Alpha
Bruce Sterling (US) - Atemporality!

Participants a. o.:
Susan Neiman (US), Jem Finer (UK), Drew Hemment (UK), Andy Cameron (UK), Joy Tang (TW), Tim Edler (DE), Trebor Scholz (US), jaromil (IT), Julian Oliver (NZ), Maja Kuzmanovic (HR), Gustaff Harriman Iskandar (ID), Denisa Kera (CZ), Juliana Rotich (KE), Steve Benford (UK), Gabriella Giannachi (IT), Florian Rötzer (DE), Mercedes Bunz (DE), Alexander Rose (US), Sascha Lobo (DE), Tiziana Terranova (IT), Steve Lambert (US), Siegfried Zielinski (DE)