Tamiko Thiel:

Transmediale: in/compatible


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Transmediale: an in/compatible incident


Many thanks to the people who expressed their support for me in this odd matter. Here is the situation as I experienced it, with cue times for the audio recording of the panel, in case people want to hear the whole exchange for themselves.


The context:

Transmediale 2012: in/compatible (scroll down for English)

Panel discussion: "Videomakers Unite!"

"An open conversation about video art and net culture, media collectives and counter-publics"
Audio recording 142MB mp3, (02:49:22 total run time. Courtesy of Sonja Schachinger)


The incident:

One of the panelists, internationally renowned media art curator Kathy Rae Huffman, told me she would conclude her presentation by showing one of my augmented reality artworks, to bring the discussion up to date in current media practices. She suggested that if I attended, she would call on me and I could talk about my work as part of the "open conversation" desired for the panel. This I did, passing around my iPad2 to the audience so they could view the augments "live." (02:27:10 in the recording).

As I was wrapping up my remarks I was surprised to see the festival director Kristoffer Gansing (who was not on the panel but sitting in the audience) suddenly coming towards me and indicating that he wanted me to stop. I thought it odd, but was more or less finished anyway and sat down. (02:31:20 in the recording)

As the presentations were now over, the webpage I had prepared for the talk was still up on the screen. Six minutes into the discussion there was this curious exchange (02:37:16 in the recording):

KG: "Yeah, if I may "intervene" uh, first maybe we can switch the screen instead of seeing this really, uh, for me offensive AR art, he he, this is a re-intervention into the Transmediale, so - "

KRH: "Well that's a part of what activism is, you know - "

KG: "Yeah yeah! It's a re-intervention so that's pretty good, but I want to make a comment on something else ..."

The conversation went on to other topics, and the website was removed from the screen.


What's an artist to do?

If I had been doing an uninvited intervention and Gansing had been the moderator I would have expected this, but I had been invited to present by an invited panelist on the topic of my art interventions. I thought it was peculiar for a festival director to override the moderator and a panelist in this manner, and found it particularly odd at a festival with the theme "in/compatible," explicitly celebrating 25 years of art interventions and proclaiming in the curatorial statement that:

"Contrary to the fear of the incompatible, so prevalent in the age of cloud-computing, the festival raises the question of what happens when incompatibility is brought to the fore rather than hidden away in the dark underbelly of digital culture?"


So below is a screenshot of my AR installation that Gansing found so offensive: "Reign of Gold," created for the AR Occupy Wall Street project.

Website: "Reign of Gold"

Video of "Reign of Gold" @ Transmediale2012

Transmediale 2012 incompatible Reign of Gold

For good measure, after this disturbing incident I felt I should also plant the flag of our cyberartist group Manifest.AR :

Transmediale 2012: in/compatible Manifest.AR Flag
Manifest.AR cyberartist group is in/compatible with the Transmediale!

Video of the
Manifest.AR flag @ Transmediale