transmediale 2019: Affect And Emotions In The Digital Sphere

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On the 31st of January, the 32nd edition of transmediale 2019 opens its four-day festival program at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW). This year, the festival focuses on how feelings are made into technological objects and asks what role emotions and empathy play within digital culture.

One of the key questions of the upcoming festival is “What moves you?”, referring to an emotional response and also to the infrastructures and aesthetics of affection as a political force today.

transmediale“What moves you?”

With digital technologies integrated into our lives, a new situation for social change and cultural practice has appeared, which seems to lead to political extremes and a false sense of security. The festival aims to discuss ways to resist the manipulative and polarising aspects present in the digital public sphere, motivate social engagement and develop and embody new forms of care and solidarity.

Born to Feel

Digital culture has become crucial for managing experiences that create the affective spaces of social media, influence the design of apps based on artificial intelligence, and it seems to be able to produce empathy through virtual reality.

For the first time, the festival does not have a title in order to emphasise these issues, in response to a critical time, it wants to focus on live practices and the creation of an environment for learning and formulating cultural forms to address the affective dimension.

Another newness is that this year does not have an exhibition, transmediale 2019 strives to feature living, digital cultures of artistic vision, speculative thinking, activist intervention, and counter-cultural dreaming. In definitive, it focuses on discursive and performative formats, so that the usual screenings, performances, workshops, and talks are more integrated than ever in a hybrid program structure.

The screening program will present the films Sunstone by Filipa César and Louis Henderson, Dear Animal by Maha Maamou, Sitting in Darkness by Graeme Arnfield, A Dialogue with Cyberspace by Brian den Hartog, The Reading/La Seduta by Adelita Husni-Bey, Das Zauberglas by Bjørn Melhus, Stand in the Stream by Stanya Kahn, Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016) by Robin Vanbesien, Software Garden by Rory Pilgrim and Geocinema.

Following its focus on cultural emergence, the festival aims for a high level of participant and audience engagement through discussion-based and educational formats: the workshop program is extended and starts on the 29thof January. Furthermore, the transmediale Study Circles are integrated across the program, zooming in on specific aspects, around a circular table the Study Circles Affective Infrastructures and Uneasy Alliances consist of working groups in which participants come together before, during, and after the festival to generate various outputs such as workshops, events, and publications.

The opening event Structures of Feeling examine the present turn to affect, emotion and feeling in society, technology, and politics through different approaches as a tech tutorial on emotions based on machine learning and an ethnography of feelings of inferiority.

Emanuel Almborg presents the film The Nth Degree based on a theatre project that brings together young people from London and Wales to connect the two historical riots and confront issues of race, class, and property. The screening is accompanied by a talk by Almborg. The new global phenomenon #purplenoise brings its explosive mix of ferocious action, true love, and social (dis-)information to HKW.

Marija Bozinovska Jones presents the latest installment of her ongoing performance project Fascia, which explores formative and exploitative processes of affect as they manifest in quantification, datafication, self-optimization, and artificial intelligence.

Fascia by Marija Bozinovska Jones

COOL FOR YOU creates ambiguous atmospheres of seemingly contradicting emotions in her performance FEELING DIFFICULTIES. In addition Panasiagirl, ¥€$Si, Omsk Social Club, and special guests present the opening day the CryptoRave #8

Check the complete transmediale program here

transmediale, January 31st to February 4th, 2019

Text: María Muñoz through transmediale press release.

Images: Courtesy of transmediale.

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