transmediale09 DEEP NORTH

What more could I ask for in the middle of a Northern winter? A good festival and conference mixed together - transmediale 09: Deep North. Here are some thoughts after attending the intensive 6 days/nights at the festival and conference.

Notes to self: Turn off light globes! Yes even using energy efficient globes when coming and going from rooms.....maybe that was a marketing concept or older energy efficient globes that preferred to stay switched on? Where did I get this idea that they used more energy to be turned off an on .... have I unearthed a company scam!

Store excess boiled water in thermos, boo hoo we lost one at the conference, but we gained free real Brazillian Capharina's and fruit, brain food, new friends and more flyers.....i love it the architectural gallery space was made from recycled materials and they put call out for any one who was interested in recycling them after the conference, fantastic. In fact I should be on my bike going to see what I can reuse now!

Ride bikes! Yes I can proudly say I am a converted full-time bike commuter, even once when temperature dipped down to -6 or lower some say -11 degrees and yes using public transport, both much easier to be consistent with not living in Sydney. 

Avoid cheap flights! If you have money this should be easier, but how do we do it! Try to plan ahead, see it as a calm the mind package where you take the train and soak up the journey notice the changes as you travel. Remember 'quality time' back in the 90's before the net and mobiles and and and, enjoy the slower pace of life, as old in Tim Webster's film 'Recipes for disaster', where the director convinces his family to go on an oil free diet, oil meaning petroleum oil, I loved the in your face drama at times annoyingly realistic but that's life, one favourite scene is when they are rowing in their motor boat to their island summer hut and a fellow motor boat pulls over is everything alright, yes the motors fine thanks says Tim, the wife rolls her eyes and says no we aren't in any hurry and one son starts to smile and sing the old classic 'row row row your boat' and it was lovely.

So how do we plan ahead, to avoid those cheap flights, when there is always so much going on, so many events to chose from, so many obligations and over time and commitments, life has become rather jammed full, I speak collectively here, so much to see so little time.....if we throw away the time watches, clocks do we feel less pressured? Maybe, so the pace has got out of control for some of us, a German friend is astonished at my speed of my email replies, "they come almost immediately" he told me. Ah yes.......I look at him with a tilted head, surely he understands. He is writing a thesis, yes he is on a computer all day he checks once a day if I understand correctly, NO surely not! He replies as if email was snail mail - clearly he comes from a different place, should I throw away the computer....

Did you know when you press search in google twice it takes the same energy to boil a kettle, about 15g CO2.

Mix art and science..... makers need to think more thinkers need to make more. Yes! Like all great things, it takes the right mix. Artists that stood out in this respect are Alice Miceli working with if I grasped the concept, radiographic film that exposes radioactive residue....Chernobyl Project: The invisible Stain ...... then there is Andrea Polli's installation of footage taken in Antarctica and her presentation can be watched here.

Aside from these two I loved Perry Bard's remake, of Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera, a two screen film instillation, one screen shows the original film and the other shows the footage that has been uploaded by the public. Each time the film screens the footage changes according to the new sequences that have been uploaded for the matching sequences, unless there is no other upload for that sequence. Perry Bard knows what she's talking about and it was an inspiration to listen to her....I had to giggle when she brazenly offered suggestions about complaints other audiences have given her, "why can't the people who upload sequences, choose how it will be screened", she didn't want to have this extra level of interactivity and indeed the random, forever changing remake film is an intriguing comparison of the modern society Vertov was capturing in his time and how we are today, the rate and consistency of change and our global awareness.

The most important message should be the compulsory inclusion of traditional knowledge in the climate change debate and how crucial it is for our future in all regards. It is the elders of all Indigenous peoples and the Shaman's who can teach us their ways, their understanding and perceptions of what is happening and their outlooks. One example of this is the talk by Paul (Aarulaq) Quassa, an Igloolik person from Nunavut in Northern Canada who spoke in the session 'The making and the thinking' , Paul was puzzled why it is common belief that Polar bears are endangered due to the melting of the polar ice caps?!... He said he and his people see many more bears today than he ever did as a young boy, they are coming into our communities now every day and doesn't believe they are threatened. 

Maybe this is correct, I hope so, it would make sense that perhaps the media has been using the Polar bears as an excellent 'cute' factor climate change marketing mascot.....I do not know the answer, does anyone else? Anyway I loved listening to Paul speak. The intuition, the pace, the sharing of traditional knowledge that has been passed on to him, why do 'we' continue to overlook this knowledge, there must be more dialogue between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous leaders, peoples etc. Paul spoke of other spiritual knowledge, of an elder telling his grandfather when he was a boy that during his lifetime, the sun would one day be right above our heads, and indeed it now is it has moved "we see it" "everyday we see it, we feel it" this is the Inuit way. Another story of Inuits being on the moon long before the American's in 1969 and stories of who to get there and how to return, by throwing your mittens down really hard to the ice below and to follow them - such beautiful sentiment - I hear him I can see it too. 

Paul also mentioned that he was told as a child, to always look back when you are moving forward, that way you do not forget where you are from, you do not get lost and you know where you are when you return.

Other interesting events and people of the conference or festival was the Brazilian desCentro collective talking about their 'House of happiness' project where they have been building labs with found and recycled materials across Brazil (the free online babel fish translator did manage to translate the url well). These labs act as homes and places for education about technology, we had two skype hookups during this event, with friends at the World Social Forum being held east of the Amazon in Belem, where the internet speed is 2MB max. The collective also had a nice Sunday morning philosophy that we people can all contribute positively to climate change by creating 'relational warming', to show more warmth to fellow human-beings by embracing, increasing open dialogues and by respecting others, nature and traditional ways. At one point they mentioned a permaculture project in Brazil called 'Casa da Alegria' if you can't speak Portuguese look here at the online translated version. 

There were several night program highlights. Firstly the audiovisual performance Parallel Head by Ryoichi Kurokawa, who's combination of breath-taking imagery, film sequences, generated and animated were pure brilliance and I can say the most complex and interesting multi-layered video piece I've seen. He uses 4 laptops, feeding out to 4 screens connected seamlessly to show as a massive wide screen across the entire stage perhaps 16:9m the music also fantastic and perfectly choreographed, I mean perfectly, thanks Stefan for the tip off. Then there was the German group who levitated gold leaf by sonar waves, Sonolevitation, a bizarre and amazing performance. I loved the special extras Evelina's tutu and yellow nail polish as seen under the close-up camera as she tended to the gold leaf flakes in the sound chamber created by a tube of plastic, sorry I can't find the video link of the performance.

Oh and the Montreal group 'light, sweet, cold, dark, crude' performance - with audiovisuals based on greywater treatment .... sounds abit weird but the two screen experience and documentary afterwards about the work of Dr. John Todd and Nancy Todd with geodesic domes in the 70's he built ones which simulated the earth and it's atmosphere, by simply having the same percentage of water as that of the earth, this design gave a fully sustainable ecosystem, he has worked with a concept of eco-machines...... All really impressive and sad at the same time, but the Todd's still have hope if we all act now......he has also worked wonders on toxic water locations using primitive biodegrade and regenerate the chemical content. He also has a pet design theory practice called eco-machines, (sounds a bit like the Australian farmer Peter Andrews in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, who was seen as an outcast due to his work with weeds to prevent erosion and to rebuild ecosystems in nutrient deficient waterways......).