XLt on BWPWAP v.5: Transmediated like KFC Clockwork


{ found on the web, no artist attributed, thx Hernan }

XLterrestrials on  Transmediale Festival 2013 in Berlin continues… See v.1 and v.2 + 3 and v.4 … our previous plogs … recommended to start there if your’re just tuning in.

XLt on BWPWAP v.5 : Transmediated like KFC Clockwork

While XLt dives exuberantly into deconstruction, auseinandersetzung, rants and outrage, expanded creative + tactical response – cause we care – We truly thank the dedicated curatorial team and crew and all the participants of this year’s Transmediale 2013 -BWPWAP ! There were many brilliant moments !

Alas, but because we feel that the “intellectual circus tents” (i.e culture festival productions) do not often leave much local soil to grow resistant and thriving autonomous cultures, the XLterrestrials are curious to push the envelope on critiques, something sufficiently jarring, that one feels compelled, emotionally transfixed, and then provoked to take what has been given in the calm confines of conference centers to the next level. To continue the conversations started, but more specifically to Act w/ ferocity !

Was anyone else a little disturbed that there were so few hard-hitting, angry voices, emotional and/or confrontational fire at BWPWAP ?!!  There’s really no shortage of ugly shit going down around us right now, and Transmediale’s investigations into arts, media and culture should probably be one place to air it ! Test it! Fire it !

Standby for further processing, conclusions, dialectic and not-so-comfy counter-attacks, meditations, expansions…

So to begin:

Are ( institution and commercially-financed) arts and media festivals, a little like KFC Clockwork ? ; ) … Sorry for the Americana-centric humor reference, but the image was just too good to pass up. KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken – an international fast food chain now owned by PepsiCo with very white and southern US origins. The image places its public relations founder/character – ‘Colonel Sanders’ – in the place of Alex DeLarge from Kubrick’s version of the Clockwork Orange novel by Anthony Burgess.  … In other words, in this context, is an (european) arts + media festival these days a kind of behavioral conditioning w/ a list of cultural ingredients positing for the (corporate) Technosphere and the Anthropocene?! ( explained below, if you’re unfamiliar with the term )

As far as we know, NO ‘first-level’ indigenous communities were represented to comment on media and technological environments. And Africa was represented only …twice (? we are checking that statistic), once by a German writer w/ a backround in queer and gender-studies ( it was btw an excellent presentation ! ) , and another would have been a media researcher from Nigeria who studied at University of Oxford, UK ( which we’re prone to presume would be an African perspective conditioned and transcribed by Oxford academia, but we’ll try to research that further ) which was unfortunately a failed Google-d conference (tech problems).

A very recent video release from Rap News (#17) – The War On Terra – puts into perspective that ALL earth’s inhabitants are the indigenous species now endangered by ‘Xtra-terrestrial’ technological hubris, and neither was this crucially important new framing brought to light directly. And somehow it felt that Transmediale was leading us to believe that surveillance developments and net controls, climate change, corporate abuses and economic and military terror are no longer a hot topic, and yet all remain the most serious threat to the above-mentioned 2-fold indigenous survival on Planet Earth.

And a fairly new territory, we are only now just beginning to see serious research being done on, are the claims that the experimental frequency regime, electro-magnetic telecommunications industries are threatening not only the bee colonies, and thus our entire food chain, but direct implications upon the human body and health ( see: Beings of Frequency ). [Though should be noted that Monsanto's notorious manipulations of the environment are also at play in this unfolding disaster.] Also the problems of the minerals being plundered – from places like the Congo – for this same industry ( cellular devices) have not subsided, not lessened the making of entire nations a living hell. Though granted the topic has been covered by past years , and was touched on this year by Baruch Gottlieb ( Telekommunisten)  and Marleen Stikker from WAAG, on the smaller stages. Is this sufficient fury and condemnation !?

Our analysis chapter “Democracy on Pluto” v.2+3 is a ricochet-irony theme we’d like to elaborate on… Namely, the critique that by focusing our attention so much on the seemingly outer realms of soft theory, analogy, aesthetics and analysis, banality of evil, irony and playfulness, leaves us not-a-little disconnected at the vital centers, i.e. to the state of freedom, free communications, privacy rights, justice, well-being, sustainability and democracy Here and Now… which are all seemingly in fast retrograde, and part and parcel inverted elements in a technotopian nightmare… and possible paths to a not-so-grand finale.

[ Ken Hollings had an interesting line re: our provocation on Sat. morning, one of the few ( or only?) sessions to grapple with military transmediations - Sat. mornings when few people come or still waking  up because they've gone to the parties the night before. Paraphrasing, he said: it would seem we have more imagination for exploring the other planets, then we do for our people and our own habitation, which obviously has implications for catastrophic results. - See: v.3 ] …

[ Note : Ryan Bishop in that same session drew on A Clockwork Orange soundtrack piece and analogies to illuminate the absurd and brutal mechanizations of life, which led us undoubtedly on this visual thread above. But infuriatingly, he had no oppositional strategies to offer. And along with Jussi Parikka used the ol' academic gobbly-gook that there's no return to being 'human' ( and ethical? ). We are a little fuzzy now on their abstract points - it was after-all an early morning start - if anyone else would like to recap what happened there ; )... And we hope to review the archive. ]

Not that Transmediale is necessarily obliged nor even capable to take on all such sociological themes, at once, perhaps this year’s lightfoot orbit is needed, and a kind of strategy, that we don’t become paralyzed by the enormity of the situations.  But the omissions, and lack of urgency,  may also reveal a certain privilege, and a certain position within the climate of what we at the XLterrestrials are only just beginning to articulate; That there is a TECHNO – FACISM and TECHNO- COLONIALISM, rapid and deep, progressing within the current makings of these reckless, irresponsible and predatory mediated landscapes and the whole reigning Anthropocene culture. This may stem primarily from out-dated western scientific + cultural ideals, enlightment-era thinking and a patriarchal continuum, w/ fully-loaded arrogance. And far too little of it was being challenged with any muster.


So we invite you to articulate your own rants about what was missing  at this year’s Transmediale! (Very similar to the way mainstream media often works, what is missing from the news is more revealing than what actually gets printed and/or pointed at.) And what should be expanded and what needs more committed engagements ! We’ll try and elaborate more on our own assessments and strategies over the coming days.

Footnote:  If you are not familiar with the concept of the Anthropocene, please watch this video made for a conference called Planet Under Pressure. And note, the XLt have used this clip in Citizen Kino presentations, with a heavy critique of its way of framing the issue as an inevitable path, and not pursuing a radical departure, and a radical paradigm shift (i.e. non-volatile co-habitation).

Also note that this is a theme the Haus Der Kulturen will be featuring for the NEXT TWO YEARS! We hope they will be including some counter-Anthropocene perspectives, but we’re pretty doubtful that it will be a balanced debate. But hey, may the future Still be considered…  as yet… unwritten !


outside the box, work-in-progress

3 Responses to “XLt on BWPWAP v.5: Transmediated like KFC Clockwork”

  1. Adam Attics Says:

    Funny you mention:()


    Would be interesting to bring some of the
    active people together for a commenting
    and communication with some of the

    I’m a loser. Missed it all. Where’s the video?
    Who needs to interact with people anymore:)?

  2. James Harrup Says:

    Well said XLterrestrials.
    I have taken the liberty of referencing you on my website (www.AshPure.com) alongside my own experiences from the event.
    I hope that’s okay. Keep up the good work.

  3. Juan Says:

    As a matter of fact, sadly, it was a lot more of KFC. Some “artist”, who call her self as “people like us” made a “performance” wich was just a daring copy of the advertising way of MTV in the 90s. Also it was a guy dancing with a noisy tv. Companies doing open publicity of their products, rubbish. Seriously if someone wants more info, just ask. I was there everyday.

    But anyway let’s focus in the dichotomy. In one side the prominent art curators decide to take a big pile of Crap. On the other side the prominent visitors, (people who paid between 60 and 130€) where more than happy, literally melted with those exhibitions without porpoises, protest, ideas or deep thoughts about all the different realties in this country and all around the world like KLterrestrials said.

    In my opinion the problem is bigger. In countries like mine, Colombia, you could blame a lack of education, because corruption but here??? Something is going on. It was my first time in Transmediale but more than a festival of ART and digital culture was more a FAIR for reach and ‘intellectual’ people.

    Recently the greek author Petros Markaris talked about that massive crisis in his country. He said unlike other crises, the current has not managed a revolution in art. Neither Greece nor in Spain, Italy or Portugal. Then literally explain “And this is a sad reality that we need to understand the cultural bonanza and survive the crisis.”

    Transmediale with just a few exceptions, didn’t show these realities. Maybe like you guys in -Citizen Kino- show us that massive black hole in the beautiful and green Canada.

    Finally I would like to abuse a bit of the words of Petros Markaris, but just because it match absolutely perfect and clearly it is, in my opinion, a good example of the huge responsibility of the artist with the humanity.
    Ha e said: “I want to show people -through his books- that should be opposed to the reality imposed upon us finances and politics. That is the task of the artist. Art has to become politicized and develop an awareness of social reality. People do not realize though, but they need a new political discourse or, at least, an alternative political discourse. This can only arise from art.”

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