Notes on Transmediale (Friday)

I went across to Transmediale as it was on networks, of many types, under the End 2 End theme. Having got up some where in the very early morning, I missed the opening Exchange which turned out to be frustrating as it was heavily referenced later.

Olia Liliana‘s end-to-end, peer-to-peer, my-to-me session set up a few recurring themes. As a tour through her archive of Geocities pages, she really set up the theme of the Web moving from being a space of self expression to one where the self is the product. Social is unsocial. One of the things to consider, apart from the constrained nature of the graphics and sound, is that these spaces are created and creative. The templating systems from websites removes the requirement to learn how to code and becomes an abstraction from the machine. Her talk advocated not using hashtags and really linking to other people. In part it is a return to the late 90s and early 00s but one that builds a set of links that are meaningful to the coder.

In the second Exchange, Empires and Ecologies of the Cloud, Ulises A Mejias spoke about the colonial nature of platform capitalism and his new book with Nick Couldry, The Costs of Connection. Using the terms nodocentrism, the distance between something being a node and being outside of the network, and paranodality, that the outside of the network is inhabited but does not conform to network logics, he neatly expressed the politics of inclusion and exclusion. As someone looking at sonifying networks, this is a really powerful thing to consider and was a theme that appeared later. Mél Hogan‘s talk looked at data centres and raised the environmental humanities question about is sustainability a question of now, not the future. From this, she spoke about data centre imaginaries and how the artistic renditions make them more palatable and part of an imagined nature. The infrastructural requirements of the digital attempt to be part of, or just remake, nature.

I did have to duck out to check in and get some food by this point, and discovered the fun burger joint Marienburgerie on Marienburg Strasse that was cheerful and played some psychobilly.

The final session for me was the third exchange, Next to Devastation. Bernard Stiegler was first up and spoke about the Internation project and that decarbonisation could be achieved through deproletarianisation. Wrapped up in organogenesis and both technical and biological organs as either endosomatic and exosomatic. Matthew Fuller and Olga Goriunova spoke about their new book, Bleak Joys, covering devastation and irrecoverability – the structural incapacity to sort out a problem. My, admittedly sketchy, notes from the response suggest that the responses touched on the aesthetic ramifications of sense and sense making. For me, this echoed the earlier considerations of the network. A recurring theme in the notes are the underlying axioms that underpin networks and neoliberalism.

There are many things to be reflect on here and build on. Notes for Saturday are forthcoming. I did pick up the Neural issue on networks which was thought provoking.

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