Over the years, transmediale has been attracting an ever growing range of genres, practices and approaches to art and critical discourse, music and digital cultures, making the festival a unique venue to explore contemporary developments without dismissing a sense of history and contextualisation.
This rich complexity is mirrored by this year’s submissions to the transmediale award competition, which simultaneously constitute a great challenge, as well as a burden to the jury. How can one compare and judge such disparate aesthetics, thematics, technological platforms, and socio-political concerns?
Despite the wide range of styles and media, a certain trend could be discerned, which answered well to this year’s theme of Conspire... The works which captured the jury’s attention most were those which expressed a form of creative criticism towards our current condition: whether expressed by (re)interpreting and performing history with the necessary doses of irony; relaying the phobias, fear and constraints of the ever-globalising world; challenging the existing orders of power, property, and discipline; and by, practically and conceptually, providing strategies of resistance and overcoming. What marks these works is a playful embrace of failure, stubborn refusals to submit to it, hopeful attempts to introduce the difference into seemingly monolithic structures. In any case, loopholes within – what appear to be – hermetic systems and closed networks are deliberately sought, pried open and rearticulated.
Jury sessions are – by definition – moderated conspiratorial acts. Common grounds need to be found and negotiated the processes of decision-making dart sideways in an often unexpected fashion or eventually end in deadlock. Despite these lurking dynamics, we are confident to have attempted our best, nominating a relatively high number of projects to pay tribute to the above mentioned variety, quality and specificity of works.