Transmediale – Days 1 + 2

OK, get ready for the daily rushes!

Apologies in advance, still no pictures 🙂 … im writing this from my phone … maybe i’ll  save the pictures until the post-festival-post.

Some quick notes:

Much of the talk the last few days has been the general agreement on the underwhelming aspect of the opening remarks, as a lot of people where none too happy to be made to sit through what they thought was the wrong aesthetic choice (and much too long at that).

The 1992 Wilhelm Flusser (sp) hypertext piece (with involvement from Canadian Baruch Gottlieb, and installed on an Apple II) really makes me happy. Reynold Reynolds Secret Trilogy, a set of video installations, is visually the most appealing work I’ve seen yet, with some really beautiful images, discrete soundtrack, and beatufil sense of movement and pacing. Im happy for the Wikipedia Art piece from Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, which seems to be a real work now, having been exhibited, and has come out of the virtual in the real.

The HackAWay zone is a little perplexing, split between mic’ed fluids and breathalyzers feeding sound synthesis, and desks where you can forge money and design fashion lines for somali pirates. But it has a certain charm. Im excited to see Ei Wada’s performance Braun Tube Jazz Band, which I anticipate will be a little like the Tsvesteroy (sp?) piece at Electric Fields a few years back.

The Open Signs exhibit in the Marshall McLuhan lounge at the Canadian Embassy last night was a little odd. Featuring work by Mouna Andraos & Melissa Mongiat, Ben Bogart, Brett Gaylor, MetaNet, Alexandre Castonguay, the memelab (in collaboration with Nathan Jonson, Trevor Larson, and Ottawa’s own Ross Birdwise), and Brandon Ballengee, a lot of the pieces sat in a weird spot vis-a-vis each other, but kudos to curator Heather Kelley for being able to bring the concept of ‘the open’ out of its closet, and present a lot of variations on that theme. The vernissage was, as I said, a little odd, replete with speeches, security concerns, 200 people rushing in after the talk by Mozilla director Mark Surman, then leaving once they had devoured all the caviar, no Canadian Artists receiving an artist fee (despite Canada Council funding), and free wine (confirmed: from Ontario. unconfirmed: vintage a’la Dan Akroyd), and then me being kicked out – as the last man standing – a full 45 minutes before it was scheduled to close. Yes, thats right, I shut down the Mcluhan bar.

Afterwards, the Canadian contingent of Melissa, Mouna, Alexandre, Mirae, and I went to Festaal Kreuzberg to listen to a night of music from Australian label Room40 and Jan Jelinek’s new imprint Faitiche , and it was packed. Unfortunately we missed Jan himself, but I was delighted to be able to see Tujiko Noriko, a Japanese avant-vocalist who produces subtle beats, cut-ups, and chopped melodies, while managing to be so cute and Japanese, saying ‘danke schon’ and nodding after each song, then pausing to readjust her hair berets. Her backing band, John Chantler and Lawrence English both played solo sets beforehand, and I’m not sure which one was which, but the first one – playing live electronics out of a suticase – was a little underwhelming, while the second – twisting knobs and controlling software, had a really menacing, throbbing element tho his sound that had me happily lost. Unfortunately, the sound system was a little weak the whole night, and the rock-show spotlights and fog machine detracted more than anything…

I’m just arriving at the House Of World Cultures now, and it’s really busy, with workshops and book launches and breakout presentations happening all over the space… will let you know more about this tomorrow!

~ J

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