Last February I participated in the Art Hack Day; a 48 hours (but in reality more like 24 hours) hackathon in which a selected group of artists and programmers set out to create work that would later form the main Transmediale exhibition.
Why we need a Transmediale Bullshit Bingo
During every festival I visit, I see keywords getting overused and oversaturated. Specific words, sometimes initially undefined or in dire need for re-definition (trashure, mediatic, mcluminations, othernet, afterglow, post, etc) are used so often, and in so many contexts that they lose any kind of significance. These words become omnipresent memes within a festival-discourse bubble. But for festivals such as Transmediale, that dictate quite a bit of the discourse of the contemporary media arts, this power is under exposed and under criticized.
Welcome to post-digital Afterglow was my little call to pay attention to these evolving Vernaculars. During the Art Hack Day, I wanted to develop a working Bingo app for smartphones, that could be used during the Transmediale festival (and possibly beyond). The app would not only bring a ludic element to an idiom that is hard to get a grip on. It would also be used to keep track of the frequency of usage of a term and its definition in context -- to develop an animated thesaurus; a collection of possible definitions and shifts. Unfortunately nobody wanted to work with me so finally I ended up making a collection of six 'stupid' bingo cards.
The keywords of the Bingo cards were abstracted by scraping and subsequently frequency-organizing the terms of the Transmediale website databases from 2009 to 2014. Every unique term that was used with a frequency of 5 or more got a place on the card of its year. Unfortunately the textual database of some years was bigger than others, which meant that for some years I actually fell short of specific terms which drove me to also include names (besides terms) to get the cards full.
In the Highest in the Best:
Welcome To Post Digital Afterglow.
On the floor lies the collection of Bingo cards that can be taken by the audience. To make sure the installation will remain 'complete' a Bingo card of each year is also presented within a frame (however, some of these framed version disappeared during the exhibition). The cards also form a chaotically arrangedinstallation; a cracked LCD soundscape, which presents my pre-Transmediale interpretation of 2014's most used keyterms: Post, Digital, Afterglow. The two cracked LCD screens show videos specially made to show and interact with the LCDs' physical cracks
-> 100% post digital afterglow.
Softwares used: Quartz composer plugin by Tom Butterworth and patch by William Robertson, recorded from VDMX via Syphon recorder.
The B/Lingo is a perpetuation of a problem I have tried to address in the past: The Video Vortex beyond Youtube Blingo during Video Vortex (2011, with Anne Helmond and Laura Schuster), GLI.TC/H/B/Lingo with Iman Moradi for the GLI.TC/H Reader[RoR] and the G/Lossary with Phil Stearns during GLI.TC/H 2112.
The Internet Yami-ichi (Internet Black Market)
After the Transmediale hackaton and just before the closing of the main exhibition, the 'hackers' were invited to take part in the Internet Yama-Ichi (the internet black market) which was positioned right in the middle of the main exhibition hall. In this 'marketplace' artists could sell their internet related art.
However the fact that the work I created became part of the main Transmediale exhibition, which finally became a marketplace is a dynamic that is easily overlooked but that should be considered. Not in the first place because the audience needed an entrance ticket to go and see the exhibition, yet the (invited) artists did not get payed, but because the dynamic between the internet or digital arts and money or economies is one that is evolving quite rapidly.
This is why in my final translation of the Hackaton work, for the Internet Yami-ichi, I tried to engage an financial dialogue: I sold my "real light" (not post afterglow) screen for 70 real euros (no bank transactions were made, though two interested parties offered me digi-banking on the spot).
Anyway, to me these are some issues to consider Post Afterglow. But as always, Transmediale was great at putting its finger on the issues at stake, start a spark within their bubble.
Rasmus Fleischer wrote an interesting article about the Art Hack Day: "how to present austerity as spontaneity" or how to get artists to work without pay. I am happy he raises attention to this issue, post the Transmediale afterglow. Money was definitely a theme laced through the whole Art Hack Day, as conversation and as subject, but often a subject suffering from an identity crisis; fake money, fake economy, post currency etc.