Resource Document

Project Launch Exhibition and Associated Cultural Events

Nora O Murchú, Lucas Matray, Jessica Fairclough, and Mariana Perez Bobadilla

Project Launch Exhibition and Associated Cultural Events, by Nora O Murchú, Lucas Matray, Jessica Fairclough, and Mariana Perez Bobadilla

Over the past few decades, algorithmic systems and infrastructures have played a central role in our lives, impacting on our socio-economic wellbeing, shaping our perception of the world,
and affecting our relations to one another. As these digital systems and infrastructures have become increasingly fraught due to unfolding climate collapse, increasing economic precarity, misinformation and the corruption of political processes, the Arts have played a key role in generating public discourse and building societal resilience within these systems. Acknowledging how the arts can generate understanding and transparency around complex systems, ARTSFORMATION explores new visions for sustainable cohabitation, and the development of new structures of collaboration and interdependence within the European Union. Further, ARTSFORMATION recognises the potential of the arts in the cultural construction of new spaces of togetherness and co-existence, as well as in shedding light on critical social issues. Therefore, the organisation aims to understand, analyse, and promote ways to reinforces the social, cultural, economic, and political benefits of digital transformation.

As many of the social systems we are embedded within are increasingly subject to strain and deal with newly emerging complex socio-political and economic conditions and the unfolding realities of climate collapse, there is an increasing need to devise new societal structures and ways of living together while expressing ourselves as European citizens. ARTSFORMATION aims to critically examine the various forms of oppression, exploitation, oppression inherent in digital systems, and create public understanding of them through exhibitions, workshops, reports, and research. Recognising the long legacy of the Arts as a central source for new social imaginaries, the project aims to explore how arts-based approaches can provide guidelines, orientations, and frameworks through which to productively rethink critical issues that connect to rapid technological change, social injustice, and climate collapse. ARTSFORMATION aims to map these territories and offer a new set of visions based on the cultural construction of new spaces of togetherness and interdependence through experimental approaches that create new ideologies and imaginaries of living and being.

As part of these ongoing efforts and in the framework of its one-year festival, transmediale organised the project’s launch exhibition Rendering Refusal over the spring of 2021, bringing together 13 artists to engage with a broad international audience in a discussion about possible technological futures. Reflected in this exhibition is transmediale’s commitment to continuously reflect on socio-political discourse and experimentation with structure and formats that challenge the conventions of how culture is experienced and understood. With this exhibition, transmediale aimed at building an understanding of the many intersecting fields that coalesce in the field of media arts. Rendering Refusal reflected transmediale’s core philosophy, which continuously rethinks what culture is, where it takes place and what modes of engagement the festival offers for audiences.