Newsletter 09-2011

Media Art and Melancholy – Exhibition “Planet M” ends on 29 May!

Natural disasters, wars and the disappointed belief in technology are increasingly making us contemplative, changing our perception of global developments. This was also visible at this year’s European Media Art Festival, which took place in Osnabrück between 27 April and 1 May. EMAF has become more political, stated the festival organisers Hermann Nöring, Alfred Rotert and Ralf Sausmikat.

The EMAF video and film programme also revealed a very clear tendency: “Narrative, documentary and socially relevant approaches prevailed,” finds Ralf Sausmikat. Utopian, social-political concepts of social justice and belief in the good of technical progress are increasingly giving way to a distanced/sceptical view of the future. This special method of transporting subject matter and exploring a loss of utopia emerged as the lowest common denominator this year.

The exhibition “Planet M” also reflects this dominating feeling of loss and doubt: “Images from nature no longer serve as a romantic backdrop, but are presented as uninhabited, self-sufficing landscapes with dynamics of their own,” states Hermann Nöring. Violence and the destruction of culture, as well as poverty and a lack of environments suitable for children are addressed in addition to the inability of politics to change these serious deficits.

The modern media obliterate distances, enabling us to experience events directly, even if they take place on the other side of the globe. “Contemporary art has always been a kind of seismograph for societal, political and social developments,” explains Alfred Rotert. Due to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and following the natural disasters in Indonesia, Haiti and Japan, and the resulting nuclear disaster, the system of coordinates spanning belief in progress and social utopia in the Western world has gone haywire.

“We are already eager to see what 2012 holds,” the organisers agree. “One thing for sure is that Media Art will respond to the events occurring in our world and will retain its function next year as a mirror of social and political events!” the festival management concludes.

The exhibition “Planet M” of this year’s EMAF will be open to visitors at the Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche in Osnabrück until Sunday, 29 May 2011!

The 2012 European Media Art Festival will take place from 18 to 22 April!