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Transmediale in Berlin



Transmedial 2018 recently brought together political activists, academics and artists for a five-day media festival in Berlin. At the same time, it has been almost 25 years since I experienced the optimism from 90's burgeoning internet, where I attended several such conferences – such as VR-94 in Oslo (Virtual Reality) or Ars Electronica in Linz.

But now this had turned into a pessimism. The reason is the totalitarian that sneaks in via state & capital's monitoring and control – network technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Activists in the panel debates in Berlin expressed opposition with statements about having to put a horse's head in front of the exploiters, through encryption, art and anonymous hacking. Here the points were served in a row: Address everyday racism in the language! Find new forms of cooperation outside populism that eat us up! Opposes the fascism of the 21st century – against the hidden architecture, affective dimensions and value exploitation of the cyber war! Eller: "In an age of geopolitical surveillance, biometric governance, and high-tech securitization, how can the politics of life and death be uncovered?"

Against the blindness to new forms of colonialization, measures such as cryptocurrency and blockchain technology were proposed. Civil society must adopt new forms of means of payment and contracting – without the use of an expensive bank, state or lawyer. For example, media guru Rachel O'Dwyer told us 500 audience members in the hall that today's payment systems are in crisis, our values ​​must also find new forms of IOY ("I owe you") – the idea behind money and debt. Interestingly, she suggested means of payment with a termination date! Really? That saving money would suddenly lose its value? The suggestion was to invest in social relationships – "put your needs in your brother's stomach". Above money's cold world as the value of all things, social local relationships should create reciprocity, exchange and help when needed. So, a kind of modern socialism, or the old family relationships in traditional cultures? The point is preferably to be able to value people through the actions you do, rather than how much you own or how much money you have. But then O'Dwyer pessimistically added that, although she helped the neighbor with child care, this was unfortunately not reciprocated.

Nevertheless, the panel debates constantly came up with ideas and concepts for use in our digitalized environment. The tone was largely negative: What if "nonconformities, excesses and freedom of speech" are used to formulate destructive countercultures that embrace amorality, aggressiveness and violence? And what about "xenophobia, fear-mongering, information overload and inflated language"? And then populism was criticized as a "weaponizing of language", as the language is militarized with declarations of friend / foe, liar, or hate and angry expressions – a culture often promoted by a certain president.

The overall theme of the festival was called "Face Value". Their art director said that the expression can mean that "everything is what it is, and that everyone tells things the way they are." Face Value traditionally meant "face value", ie the number on a banknote or stamp. But in the so-called post-factual society with populist political opinions and propaganda, aided by certain monsters of some social media and algorithms, the "face value", the truths, or the extent of the spread grows somewhat violently. But sensible opinions shrink in their banality, laziness and emotion. A lot of "truth" is put into production. Face value goes superficially and quickly – where populists get away with appearing authentic – because they say what they mean, because they mean what they say. This really means meaningless as it is a tautology. But something becomes a truth, only it is repeated many enough times. And the old dividing lines between right and left, race, class and gender are erased in this lace.

Transmedial probably only reaches a small group of enthusiasts and critics. And the festival's black-clad, cool media activists also received negative publicity, moreover, many thought it was too much shape.

So where does this bring us? After all, too much of the festival's theme is apt. And the spelling trans- is at least quite significant at the time we live in. Because then we are no longer post-modern:

Let me comment from an English dictionary with: transaction, transatlantic, transcend, transcribe, transfer, transform, transfusion, transience, transit, transitory, translate, transmit, transparency, transplant and transportation. With the financial markets' transaction economy, we live in the transfer and the signs of change. Transportation takes place over transatlantic routes. We do transplants. (Transmute) constantly changes our clothes and surroundings. Digitization makes our communication (transmit) and actions transparent, and many people move (transfer) often from place to place. We change (transform) our identity with constantly new jobs and new families. The exchange of information (transfer) is also to copy and write (transcribe), as well as to translate.

The world that the newspaper Ny Tid and Transmediale are concerned about are also places where boundaries are broken (transgress) in a reality that is fleeting (transcience) and transient (transient). What was previously of long duration with traditions is today of a short-lived (transitory) nature.

But do these concepts help? We must at least raise awareness of the media's filters, bubbles and echo chambers, and unite in our differences. Our transmodernism the world is probably here already.

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /www.moderntimes.review/truls-lie
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.

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