With transmediale in the mix this week, seeing everything there was to see would be an exhausting and impossible full time job. So everyone missed something, including us; we can just hope that we made the best decisions. We ended up going to a lot of talks this week so there was a lot of sitting and theorizing; next week won’t be so intellectual, we promise. Let’s see how the festival did on our miss/diss scale: (And feel free to comment below)
Transmediale Opening @ Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Back When Pluto Was A Planet (BWPWAP)
curator Kristoffer Gansing describing the theme and format of the festival
astronomer Mike Brown showing the headline from the discovery of former planet Pluto
to keep everyone happy
-1 for cheesy branding…The use of all of these memes (for example, the press badge says “OH, SO YOU’RE BWPWAP PRESS?” in that all too familiar font) was a bit overkill.
+5 for the opening statement by astronomer Mike Brown…I wasn’t planning on staying for much of the opening ceremony, but Mike Brown did a brilliant job convincing us that indeed Pluto is not a planet. It seems a bit like the underlying intention of the theme of this year’s transmediale is (as artists) to poke fun at scientists for being wrong sometimes. Brown indulged us.
+2 for playing Smells Like Teen Spirit during the opening night party and keeping with the nostalgic BWPWAP theme…Some people could have used some Teen Spirit deodorant though; I had to move seats multiple times during conferences and screenings because of unpleasant smells (so -10 for that).
no points, but everyone and their mother was there at the opening. This was either a good or bad thing, but it put us all a bit on edge, trying desperately to hide from some, trying to desperately be seen by others, and trying not to be overheard gossiping about these people.
Remade Reproductions @ HdKdW
screening of films by Malcolm Le Grice, Dan Boord, Luis Valdovino, Marilyn Marloff, Volker Schreiner, Lewis Klahr, John Smith, and Dietmar Brehm
John Smith (on right)
-3 for the terrible questions during the Q&A with filmmakers and the not great answers…Volker Schreiner’s film Hollywood Movie was AMAZING (restaging Nam June Paik’s instructions for viewing mainstream films as spoken by the stars of these films) and he ruined a bit of the magic of the work for me by giving too much information about his editing process. They say there’s no such thing as a bad question, but showing off that you know something slightly related to the topic posed as a question is a bad question.
+5 for John Smith’s presence…I didn’t expect him to be so jolly.
+10 for the selection of films…altogether self-referential and funny! It's so rare to hear laughter in a movie theater here!
Movement Materials and What We Can Do
lecture performance by Andrew Norman Wilson
+4 for thoughtful insider’s insight into the sinister side of the Google machine…
Spam, Porn and Bodily Computation @ HdKdW
conference moderated by Gaia Novati with Finn Brunton, Rose White, and Stewart Home
-3 for Rose White’s talk being too much about herself and seeming to take pleasure in the fact that some pictures she put of herself on Flikr became some fetishist’s masturbation material…Both of the men on the panel had interesting things to say about the subjects without making it too self-centered. I wanted to like her presentation the most (you know, female solidarity), but I didn’t.
+7 for Stewart Home’s excellent presentation…His statement that both porn and spam present a “dialectic of hope and disappointment” set a productive framework for the rest of the presentations.
+2 for the comment about how by posting on Facebook we are basically spamming our friends…very true.
+4 for a good Q&A session…Especially because the panelists closed by talking about fetishes, and the curator, Kristoffer Gansing, started off his question by saying “Wow, I must say that I developed a fetish for this panel!”
This is the End of Books @ L40
reading by Purio and discussion with Emilio Chapela and Antonio Martin del Campo
Purio in his reading stance.
Susanne Prinz, Antonio Martin del Campo, and Emilio Chapela
Thomas Mann tea
Chapela shredded the notes taken during the conversation as part of his work, so I better not write too much about what was said here. I guess you had to be there, sorry.
+7 for Purio’s reading…He was sincerely sorry that his work was in German and not everyone could understand. His performance was animated, and he is a friendly and funny guy and told jokes.
+10 for Emilio’s amazing exhibition…Just go see it, it’s still on view.
+4 for the Thomas Mann tea…A Mann book was brewing in water during the conversation and we were invited to drink the brew, with or without the addition of some alcohol to make it go down more smoothly. A fun idea, but not something I felt obligated to participate in (the water was yellow).
BWPWAP Paper with Kenneth Goldsmith @ HdKdW
On Uncreative Writing
+70 for Kenneth Goldsmith being invited to give a talk as part of transmediale…Sorry, I can’t be critical of anything right here because I am too big of a fan. He is also very friendly and keep an eye out for an interview with him on Bigs this week!!!
file_under: The Imaginary Museum @ HdKdW
conference moderated by Kristoffer Gansing with Massimo Canevacci, Lioudmila Voropai, and Fredrik Svensk
-13 for time issues…Sunday morning is a bad, bad time for a serious discussion so it better be upbeat and not too difficult to comprehend. But wow, I could not follow anything Voropai was saying, and I don’t think it was because of any hangover. She also went on for way too long and forced the other speakers to cut their talks short.
+4 for Canevacci’s talk…I also didn’t really follow him, but for different reasons. He was speeding through a lot of complex material, but at least there were interesting images to look at so it was entertaining.
+4 for Svensk’s talk…He was visibly feverish, which made me a bit uncomfortable, but he made it through it and his talk was somehow the clearest of them all.
Tim Stüttgen @ HdKdW
In a Quare Time and Place: On the Politics of Blaxploitation-Cinema and Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism
+7 for the subject and execution of this talk…I never thought I would hear someone talk about Blaxploitation in Germany (and do a really good job of it).