BASICS is the title of transmediale.05, the 18th edition of the international media art festival in Berlin. The festival explores the relations between art, technology and society on the basis of controversial topics: bio-technological achievements transcend our perception of life, security technologies are developped on the expense of the privacy needs. While technological progress generates a multitude of new opportunities, people experience a confusing inflation of options: What shall I do? What am I responsible for?
The transmediale.05 proclaims the "Next Level BASICS", and, as in previous years, resists mere pessimistic approaches. From February 4th to 8th, 2005, the festival showcases examples of artistic practice which are based on the appropriation of an extreme and contradictory contemporary culture, rather than on obsolete value systems.
The international media art festival takes place under the patronage of Dr. Christina Weiss, the Federal State Secretary for Culture and Media, who will inaugurate transmediale.05 on February 3rd in Berlin's House of World Cultures.
The competition's call for the transmediale Award 2005 has for the first time abandoned specific categories. Nearly 900 artists from 51 countries applied for the prize endowed with 8.000 Euros, which were donated by the company AVM Computersysteme. Last weekend the international jury, composed of Masaki Fujihata (Japan), Amanda McDonald-Crowley (Australia), Gunalan Nadarajan (Singapore), Christiane Paul (USA) and Michael Bielicky (Czech Republic), announced a shortlist of nine works (for short descriptions see reverse side), three of these will recieve the transmediale Award in a ceremony on Februaray 7th.
The transmediale was distinguished in December 2003 by the German Federal Cultural Foundation as one out of six cultural beacons which represent the spectrum of Germany's contemporary art production in an exemplary manner. Receiving an annual grant (450.000 Euros) in the years 2005 to 2009 from the Federal Cultural Foundation will enable the festival a stronger focus on its conceptual development.
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Nominations for the transmediale Award:
Emanuel Andel, Christian Gützer [5voltcore] (at) – „Shockbot Corejulio“
The performative installation consists of a computer equipped with a robotic arm; its software is designed to destroy the hardware using the artifical arm. The monitor shows the demolition process through increasingly fragmented images - until the system collapses.
Joe Colley (us) – „Desperate Attempts at Beauty”
The sound piece was sampled and composed from organic phenomena and artificial electronic noises. The uneasy coexistence of crackling ice, disintegrating clay and unstable systems of combined electronic devices "could be seen as a manifestation of the schizophrenia that is crucial to the survival of the modern individual“.
Victoria Fang (us) – „The Living Room“
The installation is a narrative puzzle: In an effort to solve a whodunit murder mystery, players take part by moving panels with LCD monitors. Correctly positioning the units triggers filmed scenes that play back across the three separate panels, and these scenes give the player new clues to trigger the next scene.
Usman Haque (uk) – „Sky Ear“
The performance stages 1000 balloons in the sky. An integrated ultra-bright LED illuminates them in different colours while they are responding to the electro-magnetic environment. Spectators with mobile phones may call the balloons, creating additional colouring.
Thomas Köner (de) – „Suburbs of the Void“
The video uses stills from a traffic supervising camera. Cross fadings of single images show always the same, deserted and anonymous intersection in a housing estate, while the musical composition dramatizes the immobile scene.
Alice Miceli (br) – „88 from 14.000”
The video shows portraits of victims who were imprisoned and murdered during Pol Pot's regime. The images, taken at their detension, are projected on a veil of falling sand, the projection time being proportional to the individuals' suffering in prison.
Niklas Roy (de) – „Pongmechanik“
The installation is an electro-mechanical version of the video game classic "Pong". "Pongmechanik" ironically reverses the development of video games towards an increasingly naturalistic impression. At the same time the work is a hommage to the basics and fathers of computer technology.
Michelle Teran (ca/nl) – „Life: A Users Manual“
The public performance invites visitors to a walk examining the hidden face of a city. A specially contructed device detects private wireless surveillance camera signals and displays the hidden images.
Camille Utterback (us) – „Untitled 5“
The interactive installation draws abstract graphic compositions and pictoral structures based on algorithms. The video projection on a big screen shows these forms and colours caused by the movements of visitors in a marked field.
Additionally ten works received honorary mentions:
boredomresearch (uk) – „Ornamental Bug Garden 001”; Thom Kubli (de) – „Stationsraum für Assimilativen Zahlwitz”; Barbara Lattanzi (us) – „C-Span Karaoke“; Johann Lurf (at) – „ohne titel“; NomIg. (ca) – „pdx_01“; Petri Kola (fi), Minna Nurminen (fi) – „Sankari“; James Patten (us) – „Corporate Fallout Detector“; Steven Pickles [pix] (au/de), Julian Oliver [delire] (nz/es) – „Fijuu“; Marco Scoffier (us), Miwa Koizumi (us/jp) – „Simplex Complex“; Lina Selander (se) – „Reconstruction“.