Transmediale 2014 v.7: Post-Human FreudenHaus


{ Henke’s Code + Lasers }


A friend of Robert Henke’s told us after the premiere performance of “Lumiere” for the finale of CTM and Transmediale, that Robert had considered making his show a tribute to Chelsea Manning. Maybe it was just one of those bar chats with half-truth tales. In any case, instead, what we got was a minimalist’s Ode To Code. Or more specificly, an epic military-grade laser light advertisement with its slogan seared into our retinas -”LOVE CODE”, the only words amidst other flickering numerical and geometric fragments.

Odd to think, if true, that the concept shifted from a focus on a human being – now sentenced to the gulag for decades – to the tools ( of a CYBERNETIC REGIME !), which were used to both implement war crimes and only subsequently make them visible.

We heard some very mixed reactions immediately after the barrage of light, lines, patterns, numbers, and cold e-beat soundscapes, ranging from “Wow, my eyes are still spinning!” + “OOof, that was Digital Rape! ” + “Henke’s a  master of the machines!” + “Sorry, I had to leave i was getting nauseous.” + “010101, Soul-less” … to + “WHat??! You didn’t like it ?”

In context of all that we absorbed over the 5 days of covering the deep examinations ( v.1- v.2.- v.3- v.4- v.5- v.6 ) of where we’re at in the Techno-Bubbles floating or zooming towards the edge of a cliff… a phrase kept surfacing in our minds:

Post-Human FreudenHaus!

We were reflecting on the legendary origins of Joy Division, who changed their name from Warsaw in 1978 borrowing the idea of Freudenabteilung, the brothel(s) of Nazi concentration camps, mentioned in the 1955 novella House of Dolls.

Surely we aren’t writing this here as an insult to the obvious talents Robert Henke has for executing his visions, and who is considered by many “practically a demigod in the electronic music scene” as the Ex-Berliner phrases it in this month’s interview.

[ And we might mention, XLterrestrials were generously given sponsorship some years ago by Ableton ( a company + tool which Henke's genius helped to build ) to do youth education projects in Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia. So we are fans, but we'd also like to analyze at some point the ways that digital culture is shaping the music worlds + languages. Not all positive, from our perspective. ]


But seriously, “Love Code” as your primary message in a work of art today?  In the rising eco-cidal climate, up to our necks in a cut-throat coded world, pondering the results+situations of the digital colonies, we are astounded by the cool detachment, the oblivion that lingers in the techie art forms in this miasmic “afterglow”. Fuck, we now thoroughly hate that word! But it does seem to fit to the cybernetic hippies !

Did all those artists in the Henke-territories find any time inbetween visiting CTM performances to get a grip on what’s going down these days outside their studios, outside the clubs, outside their computer screens ?!


We are anxiously awaiting the archived talk by Sean Cubitt as part of Jussi Parikka’s moderated session called The Media of The Earth: Geologies of Flesh and The Earth… It is the probably the most relevant talk from this year’s #TM14 on where we need to go from here,

> “We thought the cyborg would look like Robocop. But in fact it’s a vast computer with humans embedded in it.” Sean Cubitt #tm14

> “The corporate cyborg is not human- because it has no shame!” Sean Cubbitt  #tm14

> People of the Internet: I urge you to track down Sean Cubitt’s terrifying & furious @transmediale talk on environmental exploitation. #tm14

> Here is the text of @seancubitt’s truly great @transmediale talk: – unquestionably one of the highlights of #tm14

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to be cont.

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