D/B Recommended: Transmediale 2013 / BWPWAP @ Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin | Tuesday, 29.01. – Sunday, 03.02.2013

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For its 26th edition, transmediale – Berlin’s festival for art and digital culture,
boldly goes BWPWAP, Back When Pluto Was a Planet.

On the 29th of January to the 3rd of February 2013, with the programme lasting one Pluto Day, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt will host exhibitions, performances, film screenings, conferences, and workshops.

The net jargon acronym BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet – is an expression used whenever one wants to talk about things in our recent past that have changed quickly.

On August 24th, 2006, at the closing ceremony of their general assembly, the International Astronomical Union infamously voted in favor of “demoting” Pluto from its planetary status.

Now, even if officially Pluto is no longer a planet, for many people it remains one nevertheless. The reason behind Pluto’s demotion largely depended on new technologies of observation and along with them, a reformulation of the definition of what a planet is.

The vote to “de-planetize” Pluto was, however, not popular with everyone. Complaints were heard from astronomers unable to attend the 2006 meeting and a broad public response erupted, with rap songs like “Bring Back Pluto,” T-shirts and bumper stickers protesting the vote, computer games such as “Pluto Strikes Back,” YouTube videos depicting Pluto for planet demonstrations.

The list of popular and user-culture responses goes on. And then there is the net jargon acronym BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet, used to describe things in the past or things that do not conform to established standards of knowledge.

transmediale 2013 suggests that this classification crisis, spurred on by new technologies and shifting knowledge paradigms, opens up a rich space of cultural negotiation and artistic intervention. The significance of Pluto does not, in the end, have so much to do with the definition of what a planet really is or is not. Instead, the story of Pluto is about our cultural situation: how technological development and new knowledge paradigms change our cultural imaginaries.

However, resistance to Pluto’s demotion shows that this techno-scientific world is also a highly contested one. At transmediale 2013, you are invited to further contest the apparently given, through a program that re-enacts not-so-distant pasts and half-forgotten places, exploring unrealistic and poetic modes of cultural critique—as if BWPWAP.

The program follows four threads: Users, Networks, Paper and Desire. The festival will look at what these topics meant BWPWAP, what they mean today and how they might develop in the future following the sense of alternate realities that lies at the core of the theme.

These threads run transversely across the different festival events and by following them, visitors can experience constant shifts of modalities and perspectives.

Particularly recommended performances by Digital in Berlin include the retro-futuristic campfire experience by Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez called Coded Narratives with guest musician A Guy Called Gerald and Boris Hegenbart’s project Instrumentarium II feat. Felix Kubin.

Standing out is also the evening with legendary filmmaker and writer Alejandro Jodorowsky who will discuss his epic sci-fi comics oeuvre L’Incal, originally conceived with the artist Moebius in the late 1970’s. The conversation with Jodorowsky will be followed by a sci-fi and Jodoverse tinged performance double-bill from Demdike Stare and Gatekeeper.

Our special recommendations:

Instrumentarium II by Boris Hegenbart feat Felix Kubin
Location: HKW / Auditorium
Wednesday 30 January / 21:00 – 22:30 CET
transmediale.de/boris-hegenbart
transmediale.de/felix-kubin

Consequences (One thing leads to another) by People Like Us
Location: HKW / Auditorium
Thursday 31 January / 21:30 – 22:30 CET
transmediale.de/people-us

Coded Narratives by Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez, with guest musician A Guy Called Gerald
Location: HKW / Auditorium
Friday 01 February / 21:30 – 23:00 CET
transmediale.de/vanessa-ramos-velasquez
transmediale.de/guy-called-gerald

In the Jodoverse and Beyond with participation of Alejandro Jodorowsky (via live video stream) and performances by Demdike Stare and Gatekeeper
Location: HKW / Auditorium
Saturday 02 February / 20:30 – 00:15 CET
transmediale.de/alejandro-jodorowsky
transmediale.de/demdike-stare
transmediale.de/gatekeeper

For the complete programme (with many more very interesting events), check the website: transmediale.de
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Transmediale 2013: BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was A Planet

Tuesday, 29 January – Sunday, 03 February 2013
Haus der Kulturen der Welt / HKW | John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10 | 10557 Berlin/Tiergarten

transmediale.de
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