Transmediale is a festival of media art and digital culture that has been held every February for a week in Berlin since 1988. The main pillars on which the festival's themes are developed are reflective, aesthetic and hypothetical that develop between art, technology and culture. As Wikipedia puts it: "The festival seeks to express a critical understanding of technology as something more than the digital world, as well as culture as something more than what emerges through the regulated fields of production".
The director of transmediale Kristoffer Gansing, has chosen to focus on our 'anxious' society this year. The way in which anxiety is defined comes from the constant and necessary tension that drives hackers, media creators and activists to reinforce their will and remain independent agents of democratic transformation of society.
Under the general title "Conversation Piece" transmediale has created a transitional space for dialogue about the concerns that arise in the historical context of our post-capitalist period. Instead of a one-off festival that would separate the exhibition and lecture spaces, artistic and research practices evolved live through discussions, workshops, temporary installations, performances and other hybrid forms. Diversifying the general theme of into four sub-sections: "anxiety to act", "anxiety to build", "anxiety to share" and "anxiety to secure" created an opportunity for reflection on trans issues, while focusing on the ambiguity of today's digital culture.
The workshop that Sarantaporo.gr participated in and presented the community network as well as excerpts from the upcoming documentary: "Building Community of Commons in Greece. A Documentary about The Sarantaporo.gr Community Network" was the "Off-the-Cloud Zone" co-organized in collaboration with the ΜΑΖΙ project. The term or otherwise is used to describe the applications, transfer and storage of information in large databases commonly owned by companies, such as Google or Facebook, a practice that is at the heart of criticism nowadays as security, privacy and ways of using content that users produce and market, are questioned.
Thus, the choice of "exiting the cloud" arises from the frustration experienced by users about the modes of connectivity today, as well as exploring the possibilities that emerging independent infrastructures, which belong to the users themselves and are exclusively below from their control. That is exactly what the infrastructure of the Sarantaporo.gr community network in the wider Sarantaporo area has been trying for five years. Some of the questions asked during the workshop were:
- How are networked communities evolving?
- What was the state of independent networks in the late 1990s, the "romantic" period of networks and the Internet, and what is it now?
- What are the legal and financial issues that communities need to address?
- How aware are users of infrastructure issues nowadays?
- What groups and populations can now be empowered through offline networks and infrastructures?
- How can art and critical design deliver?
- How can new collaborations emerge?
The all-day workshop involved networking pioneers from the past decades with new faces forming groups and communities across Europe and beyond. The workshop was open, free of charge and attended by many visitors.
Key participants were:
Roel Roscam Abbing, Ileana Apostol, Dennis de Bel, Federico Bonelli, James Bridle, Adam Burns, Lori Emerson, Sarah T Gold, Sarah Grant, Denis Rojo aka Jaromil, George Klissiaris, Evan Light, Ilias Marmaras, Monic Meisel, Jurgen Neumann, Radovan Misovic aka Rad0, Natacha Roussel, Andreas Unteidig, Danja Vasiliev, Christoph Wachter & Mathias Jud, Stewart Ziff, Panayotis Antoniadis, Daphne Dragona, James Stevens.
The presentation of the Sarantaporo.gr wireless community network caught the attention of all participants, precisely because the venture is largely in line with the expectations of using such independent community infrastructures, in which residents and professionals of primary production, are involved in the development, maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure. Despite the sophisticated technical and technological capabilities of corresponding European ventures, they still remain closed networked laboratories and less infrastructures involving everyday people who live in a relatively remote areas of Europe and in Greece. Following the final report discussion at the end of the workshop, proposals for possible future collaborations were also discussed. Moreover, on January 15-17, the MAZI project in collaboration with Sarantaporo.gr NPO organized a project presentation symposium attended by project members in the presence of locals in Kokkinopilos, Pythio, Tsaritsani and Sarantaporo villages. The documentary "Building Community of Commons in Greece" by Personal Cinema, after successful funding from the crowd on the Spanish platform goteo.org, will be completed in March 2016.