Transmediale is about to begin this weekend, and once again, I’m kind of not so well informed about it. I went then to give a rather fast look at the most promising events, hoping that the main exhibition would be a bit more complete and interesting than last year, when the main exhibition was a bit dissapointing, leaving aside a kind of astrophysical installation by Norimichi Hirakawa and the very intriguing book-Crime of Paolo Cirio and Alejandro Ludovico. That time, conferences and workshops became the real hotspots of the festival. For my surprise, the works that will be contesting this year seem a bit over-interesting and demand a further, attentive look.
Take a look at the “Tantalum memorial”, a critical installation-network project using phones to reproduce communication practices between people in Congo, a country swollen by dictatorships from 40 years ago and rich in Tantalum, a metal that is more valuable than gold for Mobile phone and Computer fabricators. This fact, as happens with the exploitation of other “valuable” resources, induced war and the violent death of more than 3 million people in the last decade. Apart from denouncing a problem that is almost unknown outside of africa and is called the “Coltan wars”, the installation goes into criticizing the addiction to permanent communication in contemporary society. The term used to describe the piece is also thrilling: “a Telephony based memorial”. More info.
On another network approach to a more formal problem, I’m glad we’ll be able to see “The man with the movie Camera: the global remake”, a work made in 2007 by Perry Bard, a UK artist who works with video in Public contexts. The project is an ambitious approach to collective film-making, and the principles are basically simple and somewhat serendipitous, being composed of video shots by people from anywhere in the world, that are uploaded to a server and edited, mounted and printed by custom software into the form of the classical Dziga Vertov’s film. The final movie doesn´t exist. It could actually be an endless projection of the original film in the left side of the screen and a new set of shots ensambled randomly by the system on the right. Although random is not really the word to call the process. The shots are uploaded by people according to a rather complete taxonomization of the film into scenes and shots, so that, when you upload something, you specify exactly which shot of the original film will your material be representing. Haven´t found any specifications about the software, but it’s known that it produces one new version of the film every day trying new sets of clips extracted form the database, and that it causes severe space problems with the server, so the project is not running so smoothly. I’ll try to figure out more during the Transmediale days.
So far, if you’re in Berlin come along…