In Berlin, the last weekend of January has always been associated with transmediale, a long-awaited annual event for fans and devotees of digital culture, a veteran of sorts with its more than 30-year long history. Parallel to it and formerly known as club transmediale, CTM Festival runs in the last week of January and spills over to February every year, attracting fans of experimental electronic music.
Photo by: Transmediale, Stine Deja Dawn Chorus Beta 2020 installation. Luca Giradini
Last year was the first time when transmediale, festival for digital art and culture, introduced its year-round program, which comes to a grand finale at the end of this month. The organizers decided to adapt to the pandemic situation and temporary changed the duration of its normally an end-of-January event to run throughout the year. transmediale 2021-22 concludes with a four-week exhibition at the Akademie der Künste and a two-day symposium at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Its final program builds on the theme of refusal, reconstructing its definition as a form of passivity to demands for action instead. Visitors are challenged to imagine life outside of comfort zone and status quo and pay attention to uncommon practices and ways of being, which are crucial to humanity’s reinvention of its material values.
The final exhibition abandon all hope ye who enter here runs from January 26th to February 18th at the Akademie der Künste. It references Dante's Inferno and explores technological hellscapes created by computer logics and extraction processes. Bringing together nine artists and collectives, it immerses a viewer into idea of being in hell, showing what refusal can look like in damaged worlds.
A two-day symposium This is Not Anarchy, This is Chaos, which takes place 28th through 29th of January at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, opens up space for interdisciplinary lectures, panel discussions, performances, and film screenings, exploring refusal through the axioms of faith and compromise.
Photo by: Transmediale, Cihad Caner Wie Kan Zijn Noodlot Dwingen 2020-21 installation, Luca Giradini
CTM music festival has been spilt into two parts this year. Part One runs 19 January – 6 February and consists of exhibitions and installations, while Part Two (taking place in May) will have a thrilling dancefloor program. In the coming weeks, visitors can experience several sound and audiovisual installations. Main performative sound installation Modular Organ System takes place 26th through 31st of January at the silent green Betonhalleand is a collaboration of Phillip Sollmann and Konrad Sprenger, who explore mediums of sculpture, performance, and active listening in space. If you ever wondered how a microtonal brass ensemble sounds, this is your chance.
Exhibition Connected Alienation runs from 29th of January till end of March at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg. Several artists showcase their work they conducted in long-distance collaborations throughout the pandemic. You will hear whispers, experiments with amplification, witness VR experiences, and go on a hallucinatory journey across South American territories.
If you haven’t visited transmediale or CTM events in the past, both are a great source of multi-perspective experiences and critical reflections. Being very hedonistic and showcasing artistic collaborations at their best, these events are an honest immersion into Berlin’s culture.