In February Transmediale celebrated its 30th anniversary once again becoming a meeting place for artists and thinkers from all over the world. The main event was a three day conference under the topic ever elusive. It included an exhibition titled alien matter curated by Inke Arns taking place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The conference format was the same as previous years consisting of performances, talks, screenings and discussion panels.
The thematic focus of Transmediale’17 was the always changing media culture and its role in fostering new forms of agency. The main exhibition alien matter focused on man-made and intelligent agents, and new emerging relationships between man and machine, exploring technology’s ability to become autonomous in the future.
The presence of artificial intelligence and exploration of autonomous technologies can be seen in numerous art festivals, revealing the current hype of AI in media and the public debates. AI has been a vision since the 1960s and keeps coming back as a dream as it is not yet realized beyond the form of algorithms that appear smart.
Predictive Art Bot
A part of the alien matter exhibition was Nicolas Maigret’s & Maria Roszkowska’s work Predictive Art Bot. Its thematic focus is artificial intelligence, big data and statistical analysis. The artists explore how the constant use and development of these technologies could possibly become an important non-human agent not only in predicting future politics and economics, but also future art trends. The Predictive Art Bot uses an algorithm based on current online news headlines of digital art and hactivism to imagine the titles of potential artworks. This future art forecast is also tweeted daily on Twitter. Could an algorithm predict what art will be? Some of the predictions posted on Twitter are: “A political campaign against Bitcoin”, “An invisible secret art piece exposing the ideology of the anthropocene”, “An apocalyptic one-man show predicting the future of terraformation”. The Predictive Art Bot can definitely be an inspiring brainstorming companion for artists working with the topics of socio-political futures.
3d additivist cookbook
The 3D Additivist Cookbook is a collection of more than 100 provocative 3D printable objects. These projects are collected as a result of an open call through the 3D Additivist Manifesto released in 2015 by Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke. The result is a handbook in the form of an interactive PDF, consisting of project descriptions and interactive 3D object previews. All the 3D printable files can be downloadable from their website. Three projects were 3D showcased at the alien matter exhibition during the Transmediale 2017.
Man Made (2014)
The Man Made by Ami Drach (1963-2012) & Dov Ganchrow was part of the 3D Additivist Cookbook exposition. The project combines trendy 3D printing possibilities with the first man-made stone age tools such as the prehistoric hand axe. Once shaped, the flint pieces were 3D-scanned so the handles could be designed to fit perfectly.
The Fellatio Modification Project (2015)
Artist Kuang-Yi Ku combines surgical techniques of dentistry and tissue engineering to physically modify the body to enhance the sensory pleasure during oral sex between gay men. Rather than focusing on dentistry from the perspective of health, the artist explores how the modification of the oral cavity can increase the pleasure of oral sex.
The Bird Beak Clone explores the possibility of increasing the volume of the oral cavity through surgery. This responds to the problem that the oral cavity is limited in size which means that a penis cannot be fully swallowed.
The Evolution of the Spermalege (2016)
The Evolution of the Spermalege by Joey Holder is a series of interspecific sexual organs designed using insect genitalia as prototypes.
Aliens in Green
Aliens in Green (Bureau d’études, Ewen Chardronnet, Mary Maggic, Julien Paris, Špela Petri) is an investigative laboratory and tactical theatre group combating the alien agents of anthropogenic xeno-power.
During the Transmediale artists organized a workshop Xenopolitics: Petro-bodies and Geopolitics of Hormones in which the participants were introduced to the xeno-political process of queering. Artists raised a discussion of what means “normal” and “natural” in times of living in a toxic landscape where synthetic chemicals interfere both with human and non-human hormonal systems. The artists conducted a urine-hormone extraction and afterwards discussed the results together with the workshop participants.
Photos: Zane Cerpina @EE, 2017