Alter Media at transmediale 2019

transmediale’s roots is in the video arts seeded long before the arrival of 56k modems and Windows 95. As an unhurried staple of digital culture and art, the transmediale festival is akin to mind vacation for those seeking refuge from and reflection about digital totalitarianism.

In light of it’s roots, I visited the screening Alter Media, which offered a few blasts from past as well as moving image art from Africa, Ukraine and the Netherlands. Just across from the Chancellery building and a hop and skip away from Berlin’s new central train station, the HKW, where the festival takes place, a pop up book store and exhibition space are also worth a look.

Many people seem to have lost confidence in digital technologies and online services. In which ways does this relate to the potential of digital networks as means of emancipation and counter-information, or the ability of virtual realities to create a space for friendship and cohesion?

– notes from transmediale programm on Alter Media

Teaser for “Even Asteroids Are Not Alone”, a digital anthropology short documentary about Eve Online players, by Jón Bjarki Magnússon.

Not all artists, who were present at the discussion after the screening, publish their entire video into the world wide webs. Donna Verheijden, who collaged the bombardment of images in our consumer-driven society with our desire-driven media landscape in “Land of Desire – Happy is the New Black,” only presents her full feature film at festivals.

Has our desire to communicate with others for real been reduced by digital technologies? Is empathy being hardwired in ways that keep us locked in loner valleys? Is it time to rewire lost humanist codes, so we can regain confidence in spaces of cohesion? Inspiration for those answers might come from unexpected places, such as Nairobi or Kiew, who seem to embrace empowerment contexts rather than lazy consumerism.

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