From February 3-7, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin is hosting the 29th Transmediale festival, one of the biggest digital culture events in the world (we reported on last year’s edition here). Under the theme “Conversation Piece”, the 2016 edition focuses its activities around anxiety in capitalist society, in four categories: “Anxious to Act”, “Anxious to Make”, “Anxious to Share”, “Anxious to Secure”. Needless to say, a large part of Transmediale is dedicated to hacker-maker-DIY culture, which will be dissected by dozens of makers and thinkers all week long, from conferences to workshops.
A panel discussion and keynote conversation on February 4 will provide the opportunity to reflect on what has become of this culture, which Makery has been chronicling for almost two years now. Transmediale assumes that making has become mainstream, or at least a trend among players in the fields of education, culture and politics. But this culture has also generated a space for critical and activist design, while feeding a return to the militant and cooperative principles that claimed artisanal skills during the Industrial Revolution. In this sense, hacker-maker-DIY culture continues to position itself as countering the dominant visions of market giants.
Transmediale reminds us that the term “maker culture” originally referred to the potential for democratization and creativity generated by the advent of digital fabrication. While the economy theorizes on “industry 4.0”, the festival will assess this culture and sketch out its future prospectives.
Note: on February 5, Howard Boland of C-Lab (London-based art-science collective) will talk about the ethics of biohacking and synthetic biology; February 6 will be the full-day “Off-the-cloud zone” workshop, featuring top hackers and activists searching for ways to escape the cloud by developing wholly offline DIY infrastructures and systems. The ample program has enough to keep you busy all year! Next up, Makery’s full report on Transmediale 2016.