HKW - Berlin
03 - 07 / 02 / 2015

The next edition of transmediale follows the format of a “Conversation Piece” which unfolds through a series of dialogues and participatory formats that articulate the most burning topics of post-digital culture today and that reflect the main ongoing themes of transmediale.

Conversation starters are everywhere as constant communication has become a mundane feature of post-digital culture. But to define common starting grounds for conversation in today’s agonistic and rapidly changing cultural landscape is a daunting if not impossible task. Against the backdrop of different processes of social transformation, 17th and 18th century European painters perfected the group portrait painting known as the “Conversation Piece” in which the everyday life of the aristocracy was depicted in ideal scenes of common activity. The Conversation Piece that is transmediale 2016 references and problematises the ideal of finding common ground through four interconnected thematic streams: Anxious to Act, Anxious to Make, Anxious to Share and Anxious to Secure.

Through these streams we take a critical look at what we could today think about as the fragmented and contradictory “ideal scenes” of cultural production and life under digital capitalism. Can the anxiousness to take part or not to take part in these idealised activities be used in a way that does not only lead to reactionary positions based on fear and exclusion?

What are the possible new values and methodologies of cultural co-production that allows itself not only to be “open” and “free” but that also in radical ways engage questions of security, sharing, collective ways of acting and new ways of making in the post-digital culture?


Call for Workshops & Cross-Disciplinary Projects

With its 2016 Conversation Piece, transmediale asks how we face up to the anxiousness of living with technology at the beginning of the 21st century and if there are any ways to commonly re-invent processes of socio-cultural transformation?

In addressing this and the above questions, we are looking for cross-disciplinary projects that can engage the festival audience on multiple levels. Workshops, both theoretical and/or hands-on are especially welcome, as are thematic discussions, artistic research presentations, performances, performative lectures and other hybrid formats. Proposals that include several such activities across the programme are welcome. More specifically, we are looking for proposals from ongoing local and translocal networks, projects, groups and collectives that address one or several of the following thematic streams:

Anxious to Act

This stream deals with the complexity of taking action in a world consisting of constantly networked flows and the increasing “messiness” of the global. It zooms in on the irritated ideal scene of “media activism” and the multiple logics and meanings of “intervention” enmeshed in grammars of the artistic or technological. It asks: What makes people anxious to act today? What possibly hinders them to do so in more substantial forms according to the micro and macro-political scales of a global society characterised by asymmetric power? In a world poised for change, what fundamental irritations exist about ever more mediated actions and can these irritations stimulate new effective assemblages of action?

Anxious to Make

This stream looks closer at the new conglomeration of cybernetic automation, DIY culture and industrial production. Here, on a macro-level, anxieties of global competition come to the fore and on a micro-level there are anxieties to at all deal with the socio-political consequences, as the new maker cultures revel in the craftsmanship of the prototypical, instrumental and entrepreneurial. What are the cultural implications of the ideal scene of Industry 4.0 or the so called “third industrial revolution” where new cultures of industrial fabrication meets DIY culture?


Anxious to Share

The ideal scene of this stream is that of a sharing culture of micro-practices and cottage industries that emerged as part of innovative citizen-driven alternatives to the crisis of a receding public sphere and relentless privatisation. The stream however takes a critical, post-startup economy look at interrelated topics such as disruption and displacement, conditions of cultural production, spatial politics, and network economy. We are anxious to share but do we really want to take the responsibility for what and how something is being shared? And from a non-anthropocentric perspective, are new planetary scales of sharing emerging?

Anxious to Secure

This stream looks at the increasing securitisation of everything from individual communication, artistic and media production to corporations and nation-states. Against the ideal scene of total security, more localised and intimate ideas of networking and secure communication are developing with the rise of resilient, autonomous and hybrid networks. This stream looks at securitisation both from the point of view of the old/new military-industrial-media complex and from the point of view of the insecurity of everyday life. How can we learn to live with precarisation as the anxious position from which we now try to secure whether as hackers, whistleblowers, artists, workers or simply users?

Application and Selection Process

Deadline: 10 August 2015