Looking beyond blurred lines: What is the purpose of art and technology in everyday life?
Published: October 22nd 2014
Sometimes it takes a moment of peaceful clarity to step outside your atypical thought process of chores, to-do list tasks and deadlines that go into the mixing pot of daily chaos to consciously think about a subject. Once you tap into this clear but focused state, you can start to consider particular questions, issues and connections that are closely linked with the world you live in, namely: art and everyday articles used for our convenience and the impact of technology you never even knew existed. Only narrow-mindedness will hinder you from the important links to be made from one subject to the next but luckily there is one event that exists to ensure your eyes are truly opened to a world where the relationship between art, culture, technology [and consequently politics] can clearly be identified and interpreted for your benefit…transmediale, Berlin.
What is transmediale?
Bringing together some of the world’s greatest ‘creative tinkerers’, the transmediale media arts event is held annually in Berlin. Labelled with thematic headlines, concepts are developed each year based on what is considered to be the current understanding of digital media’s place at the time. 2014 has seen afterglow depict the idea of how utopian technology which would have once been desired is now realised. At the moment mainstream technology used in our daily lives serves a purpose with new ideas struggling to find a market. transmediale allows a platform for students to explore these ideas and possible next steps for technology and question whether there are limits on the future potential of technology, which seemingly more and more struggles to possess a ‘wow-factor’. Running for over 28 years, transmediale has become an important event for media art professionals, artists, activists and students. The activities of transmediale, which dive into the thought and concepts felt by many college and university students, has seen the event continue to grow in popularity.
Exhibitions and participants at transmediale
It could take just a few minutes to hear the words of the keynote speaker to dramatically change the way you interpret events, organisations and technology. Jacob Appelbaum for transmediale’s afterglow 2014 speech at Art as Evidence is just one example of the eye-opening and thought-provoking discourse on the relationship between art and technology that can inspire students. The event aims to foster ‘a critical understanding of contemporary culture and politics as saturated by media technologies’ with participants from around the world taking to the stage to speak. Names including Bill Binney and Lynn Herschman Leeson not only bring credibility but offer students the chance to hear some of most well-known contributors in their field.
Exhibitions range from artistic installations to dissecting concepts offering a rich mix of ideas and interpretations. Whether you spend time considering the message of sculptures that use a range of materials, consider a thesis based on international policy, critique future concepts or listen to a case study exploring the reality of globalisation, transmediale’s increasing popularity with lecturers has brought more and more students to Berlin for a festival that stands apart like no other offering reflective, aesthetic and speculative positions.
Berlin or bust
If transmediale 2014 is anything to go by, 2015 will once again be a big year for this Berlin event which sees technology as a development of the cultural word as well as the digital world. Capture All will be the theme for 2015 (28th January – 1st February) where the idea of everything we capture of life is translated into data. Should we quantify everyday life, work and play? Held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Capture All will seek out the productivity and dysfunctions of this concept where algorithms are endless and control seems boundless. transmediale 2015 looks set to once again wow students and further inspire thoughts that blurs the boundaries between art and media in everyday life.
By Tim Jenkins
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