Transmediale – Days 3 + 4

The daytime schedule has really ramped up at the festival, thanks in part to Open Design City’s insistence on putting the open back into the open zone, filling up all the empty space and slots by turning the festival into a large barcamp. To the festival’s credit, they have seemed to embrace this.

Their’s been a lot of guerilla performances happening over the last few days – musicians and visualists plugging themselves in to empty speakers and beamers, and just having at it, which is really nice to see.  I wish I knew if every Transmediale was like this, as it seems very ‘Berlin’… the aforementioned Open Design City has set up a tent which they rent out for 10-minute sprints, and also have a person walking around in a giant photo-booth construction, which has a lot of people really confused as to whether it is humanic or robotic, not to mention where to find information about it in the program.

Perhaps my favourite project is the kom:post collective who have a wanted & for sale office setup directly across from the official information booth, except that they look a lot more imposing and eye-catching than the real thing, so they are getting a lot of questions by first-time visitors, to which they are happy to oblige. They are also serving as a nexus point for audio tours, where you can do a guided tour, offer to lead a guided tour, record your own audio tour, or rent anyone else’s tour. I listened to two in succession – the first attempting to give a Flusserian reading of the work, the next simply saying “shit, shit, boring, awesome, pretty but banal, shit….”.

Last night (Friday) held my two most anticipated performances (at least considering I’d already missed People Like Us), by Daito Manabe and Kode + SpaceApe. Unfortunately, in order to see Daito, whose work I’ve been following with lust and bemusement for what seems like decades, I had to sit through a long film screening by Herman Kolgen. Part of the Live:Response night, this was a 45-minute, over After-Effected, beautiful-but-vapid piece that featured a naked – except for one shoe – Japanese man repeatedly falling into a pool, eating pomegranates, wearing a squid hat, and vomiting large ginger roots, all underwater, all in slow motion. Beautifully shot, composited, and scored, but that’s about it.

But seeing Daito – joined onstage with Ei Wada, aforementioned in my last post, made up for it all, with his myoelectric sensor performance. If you don’t know this piece, I assure you, it’s something only the Japanese could do (which I mean with the most sincere amount of respect and awe), where they attach electrical wires to their face, and as they run a Max/MSP patch, different sounds also send out triggers to the wires, so that certain muscles of the face are triggered in perfect sync with the music. It was really interesting to see Daito do it to himself alongside Ei, who obviously wasn’t so used to it, and had a hard time relaxing, which made the crowd empathize with him very much.

Unfortunately, the festival in its infinite wisdom decided to put Kode 9 on at the exact same time halfway across town, which they decided to mention only in the opening remarks of this piece (they had not published any times beforehand), so while everyone was assuming that they could safely get over to the HyperDub master’s night at any time of the night (considering it was at Berghain, one of the legendary all-night clubs in Berlin), we all missed him because he played at 9pm. I have yet to find a single person that actually saw him, as I think that move took everyone by surprise, and most of Berlin habitually doesn’t show up at Berghain until after 3… but regardless, when we finally got there, the night was still going strong, with dark, moody dubstep of the highest order on the club’s formidable bass bins. Extra special was the fact that I got to wander up a set of stairs and see Vincent Lemieux, of Mutek fame.

I’ve just arrived at HKW, and lost my spot in Daito’s workshop because I was 5 minutes late, so I think I’m going to go listen to some body politics roundtable and try to fall asleep 😉

~ J

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One Response to “Transmediale – Days 3 + 4”

  1. Ryan Stec says:

    I saw both versions of Inject from Kolgen at Mutek and Elektra, and I was not the biggest fan. I found the aesthetic very seductive, but it was missing something. His newer work Dust really took it to another level. More poetic. Much tighter.

    On the plus side for Inject one has to admit it is probably one of the largest projections of a human penis you have ever seen.

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