For festivals focusing on arts, media and digital culture, newer and better are often synonyms; technology and innovation have become the paragons.
This year, however, Berlin’s 2013 transmediale is doing things differently. For its 26th edition, the annual festival is going BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet. The demotion of Pluto to the status of “dwarf planet” in light of new astronomical findings serves as a metaphor and implicates our reliance on the advances of technology to shape our knowledge paradigms and consequently our new cultural imaginaries.
Through the exploration of all that has been deemed obsolete, the festival will demonstrate how “a moment of crisis in classification may be appropriated as a canvas of opportunity”.
The annual multi-media festival, held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, will feature a selection of mediums to illustrate its point. There will be a re-enactment of Berlin’s pneumatic mail delivery system, serving as a satire of modern-day social networking, and numerous exhibitions with titles such as ‘Tools of Distorted Creativity’ and ‘Evil Media Distribution Centre,’ playing with deconstruction through the misuse of familiar objects. There will be conferences and panels with philosophers, classification specialists, science historians, and even the astronomer responsible for the awkward planetary demotion of Pluto.
In addition to all this, transmediale will encompass two world premieres, including “Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)” by the British “avant-retard” artist People Like Us and cross gender artist Diane Torr‘s stage show confronting identity and classification stereotypes. It will also have a film programe, called Everything but the Planets, which will include screenings of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s contemporary take on The Annunciation and Turner Prize candidate Elizabeth Price’s User Group Disco.
As transmediale’s media partner this year, Berlin Art Link will be providing regular updates and links to the festival’s program, as well as reviews of the exhibitions, so stay tuned.
For more information, visit the official festival website: www.transmediale.de
The website has links to early-bird ticket purchasing, accreditation applications, and the official downloadable Press Kit which includes information about this year’s theme and biographies of the curators.
Blog entry by Evanna Folkenfolk in Berlin; Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.