transmediale 2017 – ever elusive

Festival for art and digital culture

Suzanne Treister – HFT The Gardener Courtesy the artist, Annely Juda Fine Art, London and P.P.O.W., New York

What started as a “VideoFilmFest” has now become one of the most prominent festivals for art and digital culture in the world. The transmediale is one of Germany’s cultural institutions of excellence which the Federal Cultural Foundation has pledged to finance in the long term.

ever elusive – thirty years of transmediale

This year’s festival, titled “ever elusive”, marked the 30th anniversary of transmediale. To commemorate the occasion, transmediale featured events throughout Berlin along with a special exhibition titled “alien matter” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW).

The motto ever elusive refers to both the ephemerality of constantly changing media cultures and the transmediale itself which avoids any kind of fixed classification.

The programme focused on what appears to be an ever-shifting transition between humans and machines, as well as the question of what human decentralisation might entail. How is our power to act influenced when technology increasingly operates without human intervention? The participants were invited to develop new approaches and artistic positions which looked beyond the dichotomies of “human vs. machine” and “nature vs. technology”.


The three-day festival and special exhibition “alien matter” opened on 2 February 2017 at the HKW. The festival featured a conference and screening programme, workshops and performances. Following the festival, three thematic excursions titled “Imaginaries”, “Interventions” and “Ecologies” have been staged at various venues in Berlin.

Exhibition “alien matter”

The special exhibition “alien matter”, curated by Inke Arns, examined connections between humans, life forms and technology, between human and non-human forces.

“Alien matter” is created by humans, but is also radically foreign and at times even “intelligent”. Artists from Berlin and the international scene illustrated to what extent our supposedly familiar environment has become alien matter. The works included strange stock photos of snow-covered mountain panoramas in the video by Ignas Krunglevičius, Mark Leckey’s intelligent refrigerator, the hallucinatory narration about a high-frequency stockbroker in prints by Suzanne Treister, and the portrayal of artificial intelligence in Pinar Yoldas’ video which features a cute 3D-animated cat from the year 2039 explaining how human inadequacy resulted in politics being replaced by artificial intelligence.

Transmediale is organised by Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The Federal Cultural Foundation supports the transmediale as a cultural institution of excellence.

Artistic director: Kristoffer Gansing
Curators: Daphne Dragona (conference), Florian Wüst (film and video)

CTM 2017 – Fear Anger Love

The partner festival “CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Art” took place from 27 January to 5 February 2017. Based on the motto “Fear Anger Love”, CTM explored radical forms of musical expression and dissonant worlds of emotion. (external link, opens in a new window)

Online Platform

The transmediale website features a number of participative activities and a search engine with which users can find in-depth information about artists and events. It also includes documentation on all the past festivals since 1997. (external link, opens in a new window)