"A finished work is exactly that, it requires resurrection."
(John Cage, 1949)

The transmediale.07 conference, unfinish!, deals with the phenomenon of finiteness in art, science, architecture, computer science and politics. The digital culture of the present seems to be neither willing nor able to accept final determination and the closure of processes. Instead processuality and continuous and consecutive updates and versions are the credo of current cultural practices. The conference of the transmediale.07 enters into the discrepancy between the desire to open up solidified structures and situations, and the curse of digital work that doesn’t come to conclusions,but only to an iteration of preliminary versions. In this discussion terms such as ‘opening’, ‘closure’, and ‘restart’, figure as central aspects. In six panel discussions and in three keynote speeches, they will be analysed and applied to artistic and socio-political questions.

In cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Wednesday 31/1

Panel 1: Many Years of Video Art - Historical Views on Art and Media @ Studio

Participants: Chris Hill [us], Barbara Borcic [si], Wulf Herzogenrath [de]
In spring 2006, five German museums presented the project '40 Jahre Videokust in Deutschland' (40 years of video art in Germany). A substantial DVD edition of more than 50 individual works in combination with a catalogue (Hatje Cantz Verlag) tries to describe the field of video art in Germany since the mid 1960s. In the context of its anniversary programm, transmediale.07 presents this DVD edition and attempts its evaluation in ab roader and international context. Therefore similar projects from other countries have also been invited to the transmediale. The panel discussion between the producers of '40 Jahre Videokunst' and international colleagues offers a critical debate about such projects of documentation and overview. Abstracts of the conference

In cooperation with the Goethe-Institute, which manages the international distribution of '40 Jahre Videokunst in Deutschland'.
Thursday 1/2

Panel 2: Unfinishing Creation @ Studio

Moderator: Stefan Iglhaut [de]
Participants: Warren Neidich [us /de], Ingeborg Reichle [de]
The Panel 'Unfinishing Creation' deals with the relationship between humans, science, and the future. On the basis of artistic practices, and in conjunction with current scientific topics, especially from the life-sciences, the panel raises questions of openness, of continuous transformation and constant change in present-day society. Do concepts like reversibility, time, mistakes, and progress connect or divide artists and scientists? And do the natural sciences offer new tools to artists and other scientists to expand their own disciplines and to re-examine our society? Does the notion of an 'open system of life' form a new paradigm? And which effects do the changing media and technologies have on our cognitive structures and on the evolution of new artistic practices? Abstracts of the conference

Keynote 1: Fractal Flesh @ Studio

Moderator: Florian Rötzer [de]
Participants: Stelarc [au]
In his presentation-demonstration 'Fractal Flesh: Prototyped, Printed and Phantom Bodies', the Australian artist Stelarc experiments with alternate anatomical architectures and with the consequences these have for awareness, subjectivity and identity. Stelarc's work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human-machine and actual-virtual interfaces. His projects are attempts at testing the scientific 'state of the art' on the human body. In his presentation-demonstration, coupled with technology the body becomes an extended operational system. An ear has been surgically constructed on his arm. The intention with this soft prosthesis is to wirelessly connect it to the internet to enable it to become a listening device for remote others. Stelarc considers the ear prosthesis not as a sign of physical malfunction, but rather as a symbol for an additional feature - not a sign of loss but rather a symptom of excess. Thus he tries to amplify the forms and functions of the human body, exposing its obsolescence and producing a human-machine-hybrid which questions the notion of the architecture, engineering and operation of the human body.
Friday 2/2

Panel 3: Media Landscape in Iraq @ Studio

Moderator: Klaas Glenewinkel [de]
Participants: Saad Saloum [iq], Ismael Zayer [iq], Ali Badr [iq], Susanne Fischer [de], Anja Wollenberg [de]
The future developments in Iraq will depend crucially on whether the question whether a process of negotiation can be initiated between the conflicting groups, or whether separation and isolation will continue. The function of the media in this process is not to be underestimated. The media communicate, comment and reflect; they form opinions and mobilise atmospheres of consent or dissent. Since the collapse of the regime, the media landscape in Iraq has been growing and sprawling uncontrollably in all directions, and the coverage of the socio-political situation is as multi-layered and complex as the situation itself. The discussion with Iraqi journalists and artists explores the role that the media play in the development of conflicts and the tight-rope walk between the freedom of speech and the will to survive. MICT (Media in Cooperation & Transition) introduce the topic with a report.

In collaboration with MICT and the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation.

Panel 4: Unfinished Cities @ Studio

Moderator: Regina Bittner [de]
Participants: Orhan Esen [tr], AbdouMaliq Simone [za/uk]
The phenomena of the multi-layered urban development and urbanisation are among the main topics of the current global cultural context. While the countries of the "traditional" industrialisation are dealing with "shrinking cities", the increasing megalopolises, particularly those in Latin America, Asia and Africa, are in a process of immense and uncontrolled growth. The panel 'Unfinished Cities' presents positions which consider the exuberant growth and the insecurity which go along with it not as a form of dysfunction, but as a potential. The image of the permanently unfinished, insecure and complex city creates novel spatial constellations that accelerate the urban practice of appropriation and the creation of new forms of public spheres, thus preventing any state of closure. Abstracts of the conference

Keynote 2: Born Again Ideology @ Studio

Moderator: Florian Rötzer [de]
Participants: Arthur Kroker [ca]
Paradoxically for all its technological pretensions, the twenty-first century is coded by all the signs of Born Again Ideology, from the 'cosmological compromise' in its past to the 'twisted strands' of religion and technology in the controlling rhetoric of American empire. While Nietzsche could only think posthumously about a future time oscillating between passive and suicidal nihilism, our present time, this specific historical epoch, witnesses the gathering storm and offers its diagnosis: The New World Order moving at the speed of light towards the gathering shadows of an ominous darkness.
Saturday 3/2

Panel 5: Media Art Undone

Moderator: Miguel Leal [pt]
Participants: Diedrich Diederichsen [de], Inke Arns [de], Olia Lialina [ru / de], Timothy Druckrey [us]
The participants of this panel discuss questions concerning the field and the term 'Media Art'. Is it time to let go of the label 'media art' altogether, and to strive for a re-inscription of media-based art practices into broader art discourses? Are the definitions of media art and media cultural practices still valid that used to justify their – positive and negative – discrimination? Abstracts of the conference

Keynote 3: The Finality of Algorithms @ Studio

Moderator: Wolfgang Coy [de]
Participants: Friedrich Kittler [de]
Kittler holds the chair for aesthetics and history of media at the Humboldt University Berlin. In his lecture, he presents his current research concerning theories of machine, media and music and asks for the meaning of reversibility and infinite loop-d-loop which is being re-processed, after its execution as long as this is not prevented by external influences. What power lies in the knowledge that is hidden in computers and their algorithms?
Sunday 4/2

Panel 6: Opening and Closing, Beginning and Ending @ Studio

Participants: Byung-Chul Han [kr], Thomas Macho [de]
The panel with Byung-Chul Han and Thomas Macho deals with notions of closing and opening from a philosophical point of view. By means of a comparison between occidental inwardness and far eastern openness, the speakers will trace different traditions of eastern and western thought. Abstracts of the conference