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. I have asked festival director Kristoffer Gansing for a public statement of his viewpoint, to balance out mine, but so far he has declined.
"Videomakers Unite!" - panel discussion at the Transmediale 2012
"An open conversation about video art and net culture, media collectives and counter-publics"
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, and asked me to attend the event and 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 - "
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 am not used to a festival director overriding the moderator and a panelist in this manner, and found it particularly peculiar 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 are a screenshot and video of my AR art that Gansing found so offensive: "Reign of Gold" created for the AR Occupy Wall Street project. (For photos taken in its more "natural" environments, click on the link above.)