There’s an interesting chemical reaction going on in Berlin, one that makes it a cultural epicentre in a pretty unique way: the combination of artistic, outside-the-box thinking with startup tech culture. This is celebrated this week, as the festival Transmediale hits the city with its music partner CTM. Yes, it’s an art festival, but it includes “hack days” and philosophical musings on the aftermath of “big data”.
Of course, none of this is new, but there’s a particular fondness in certain art-centrc circles right now for anything digital, intangible and pixel-oriented. Here are some of our top noteworthy art/tech moments.
1. Artist Rafaël Rozendaal sold animated website ifnoyes.com to the new domain owner Benjamin Palmer for $3,500 at auction. Included in the contract was a clause that means Palmer has to keep the website online and available to the public. At the same auction, a gif of performance artist Molly Soda reading out her entire Tumblr inbox, eight hours long, was also up for sale.
2.Petra Cortright started selling her Youtube videos by how many views they have had. And yes, it’s still available on Youtube after it’s sold. The videos are mostly of herself playing with distortion features on her webcam, as well as dancing to eurotrance and occasionally eating a banana.
4. Last December, the world’s first IRL exhibition of emoji art took place in New York, asking that most existential of questions: what can an emoji represent about real life?
And some of Berlin’s best bits
5. At Transmediale 2013, a pipe mail system called OCTO was set up in the HKW museum, allowing pneumatic post to be sent around the system, avoiding the watchful eyes of Google, Facebook and the NSA and mimicking the system that was used in Berlin for many years.
6. At an art/hack day in September 2013, the crowd-sourced sculptureTherewillbeburgers.com was made available for 24 hours, which allowed participants to send burgers to be photographed by the artists with the sponsor’s name projected on top. And then they were eaten.