Festival as Lab – Cultural Practices and Potentials of Transmedia Festivals

This article was written in summer 2015 for the ECAS network publication “Networking Tomorrow’s Art for an Unknown Future” – documentation European Commission Culture Programme. It hasn’t been published as of yet. I am providing here up front the German original version as the publication will be in english translation.

English Abstract:

I sum up the ECAS festivals as transmedia festivals because they are dedicated to experimental music, related arts, and a diverse range of artistic activities in the context of sound, media and technology. A festival stands outside of the everyday and therefore has the potential to disrupt norms or provoke new ideas. Festivals can be laboratories for possible worlds. In a short time period they create spaces of possibilities that can accumulate a surplus of meaning and energy. They display cultural spaces, cultural techniques, lifestyles, scenes, genres, art worlds, technologies, media but also indicate techno-economical shifts like precarious cultural work or urban transformation processes. In my text I want to contribute to a critical discussion on today’s meaning and function of such festivals and their contexts. Because if we analyze art today, be it media art or electronic music, it is crucial to include also the political and economic contexts. What possibilities and potentials offer the festivals as cultural spaces? And what ambivalences arise through the festivals’ complex interweaving of economic, political, artistic, social and discursive interests?

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