Exhibition Hall

Thu 28.10. – Sun 31.10.2010

Our era is shaped to a large degree by the use of media technology – and this has an impact on how we relate to the past as well as on how history is constructed. Given that this is so, the Festival exhibition assembles international artistic positions that combine appraisals of the past and of the current digital age in various ways.

The main points of interest are the relationship between human memory and data recorded by electronic means – which are mostly irrevocably intertwined nowadays – and the question as to how history is constructed and communicated by media technology. This further gives rise to questions regarding the nature of historical fictions, the influence of previous visions of the future and, finally, artistic research into the potential of obsolete, outdated technology combined with the emancipatory potential of creative DIY (do-it-yourself). Curated by Raffael Dörig.

Guided tours Exhibition & Shift in Progress

Thu 20.30 h

Fri 13.00 h und 20.00 h

Sat 13.00 h und 20.00 h

Sun 13.00 h

Guided tour in english Sun 16.00 h

Meeting point: Exhibition hall entrance

Aram Bartholl

(*1972, Bremen / D, lives in Berlin / D)

Random Screen (2005)
light installation

'Random Screen' is a mechanical thermodynamic screen that the user can’t control and that functions without any electricity. Conventional tea candles illuminate and generate the changes on the 5x5 pixel screen. Each individual pixel of 'Random Screen' is an independent unit. Core components are a projection foil, a modified beer can and a small tea candle.The candle serves as a source of light; at the same time, the warmth it gives off sets the modified beer can in motion.

Depending on how fast the fan spins, it gently turns the respective pixel either on or off. The larger the candle’s flame, the brighter the pixel shines and the faster its switching frequency. The candlelight is diffused on a second projection foil in the middle of the pixel box in order to turn the pixel on and off smoothly fading in and out.

Julius von Bismarck

(*1983, lebt in Berlin / D)

The Space Beyond Me

Shift Talk:
Sat 15.00 h

"The Space Beyond Me" renders visible the phenomenon of how time and space are perceived and thereby draws parallels to data recording by electronic means. An old 16mm camera that has been transformed into a projector is used to screen a film in a round room. The film – which in a certain sense comprises stored time – is stored by the phosphorescent wall of the room, on which images slowly fade in similar manner to our memories. The projector moves according to the tracking shots in the film; the space stored in time slowly unfolds. In the end the film is visible as a mural and one can move along the wall quasi as through a fading memory.

Critical Art Ensemble

(founded 1987, USA)

Marching Plague (2006)
Video (17’)

The Critical Art Ensemble uses reenactments of failed military experiments to demonstrate that "biological warfare" has essentially never been much more than a concept propounded in the media to propagandistic ends. It has never functioned in reality, yet George W. Bush's America was certainly not the first to create and strategically deploy a climate of fear as a means to attain political leverage. The Critical Art Ensemble had first-hand experience of such tactics. In 2004 it was suspected of bioterrorism and faced charges that were not dropped until 2008. The reenactment of past events is understood here as a reinterpretation of the past that provides insight into the present and contributes to a "critical counter-narrative".

Paul B. Davis

(*1977, St. Louis / USA, lives in London / UK)

Shift Talk:
Sat 15.30 h

“In December 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demonstration of his 'Human Augmentation' research work to the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. It was a fascinating presentation which lasted about 90 minutes, and in one swoop he demonstrated the first computer mouse the public had ever seen (which he'd invented in 1963), as well as introducing video conferencing, email, and hypertext. His language is sort of 'productivity-utopian', if I can just make up a term for it, as he asks us to imagine what sorts of incredible work we could do with computer systems in our daily professional lives. I thought I might ask the 'Microsoft Office Assistant', which is a more recent development of the productive utopia, to give him a hand.” Paul B. Davis

Mother of all Demos (2009)
Video (7’)

Paul B. Davis was among the first to hack game consoles and continues to do so as artistic practice. In the case of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), this involves opening the casing and replacing one of the original chips with one you yourself have programmed. In addition to his interest in luring new and unusual sounds and images from old consoles, Davis is well aware of the political aspect of his hacking activity, which necessarily implies breaking into hermetic proprietary systems. But ultimately, the main point is just not to regard givens as being inevitable.

As a member of the collective Beige Davis once released "8-bit Construction Set" (2001), a record containing not only music but also the software with which the music had been created on old C64 and Atari computers.

Aleksandra Domanović

(*1981, Novi Sad / SRB, lives in Berlin / D & Ljubliana / SLO)


' is an anthology of signature tunes from the various regional and national news broadcasts produced in former Yugoslavia respectively on its territory, from the very first TV news broadcast in 1958 to the present day. Aleksandra Domanović, who grew up in Slovenia, draws on her experience of wartime Yugoslavia when everyone throughout the entire country would gather at 19.30 in front of the TV to watch the main news and check out the latest developments. The music that once announced the news today triggers memories of that period.

Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the former regional channels became the national channels of the new nation states. Their signature tunes often contain martial or nationalist elements. Domanović had techno DJs remix the TV music. In the aftermath of war, techno parties offered people a chance to dance and leave nationalism behind them.

Gijs Gieskes

(*1977 in Geldrop / NL, lives in Geldrop / NL)


Prepared Gameboys

Audiovisual Performance:
Fri 21.00 h

Concert Hall

Sat 16.00-19.00 h und Sun 14.00-17.00 h
Exhibition Halle

Demonstration Strobovj & Prepared Gameboys:
Fri 15.30 h, Sat 15.00 h,  Sun 13.30 h

Gijs Gieskes ranks among the most creative minds on the international DIY (do it yourself) scene, which creates all kinds of new stuff – especially experimental musical instruments –from obsolete technology and electronic scrap. His machines are a multi-level mix of art history and the history of technology – and always remain true to lo-fi principles. Thus in his "prepared Gameboys" he combines John Cage's concept of the "prepared piano" with the subculture of 8-bit music and circuit bending; and with his audiovisual machine
ʻStrobovjʼ, he draws parallels between animated GIF images from the web and the phenakistoscope, a nineteenth-century forerunner of film. Implicitly or explicitly, a political and refreshing critique of consumerism has always been intrinsic to DIY culture.


(founded 2006, I)

Floppy Trip (2009)
Object and Video

Shift Talk:
Sun 14.30

"Hard disks get too old, keyboards lose their keys, modems break, disk drives run too slowly and screens fall apart. They are all abandoned somewhere, apparently useless.
How can we exploit the potential of these products, their hidden qualities and unknown properties?
The answer is RECYCLING.
FloppyTrip is the new frontier in recycling. This brand new smart drug satisfies everyone, from the youngster who never saw a floppy disc before, to aged nerds, nostalgic for '80s design. Not to mention those who work in recycling or who need a new drug to stop feeling hungry, or scientific researchers interested in new hallucinations.
FloppyTrip is for everyone.
FloppyTrip is easy to prepare.
FloppyTrip is cheap.
More importantly, FloppyTrip is legal."

Olia Lialina

(*1971, Moskau / RUS, lives in Stuttgart / D) und

Dragan Espenschied

(*1975, München / D,  lives in Stuttgart / D)

Olia’s and Dragan’s Comparative History of Classic Animated GIFs and Glitter Graphics

Sun 15.15 h

Before blogs and social networking websites standardized the design of personal websites, homepages were a playground for amateur web designers. Lately, the voices raised to acknowledge the historical value of that world have increased in number – and include those of Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, two artists, theorists and lecturers who were quick to address this topic, most recently and comprehensively in the book
ʻDigital Folkloreʼ. Their work in the exhibition compares animated GIFs sourced from the early days of web design with their counterparts in the form of glitter graphics a decade later. While the GIFs stand for amateurs' anarchic experimentation with technology, computer-generated glitter graphics epitomize the standardized web of templates and sleek surfaces.

Armin Linke

(*1966, Mailand / I, lives in Mailand / I & Berlin / D)

Nuclear Voyage
3D-Film auf Blu-ray Disc (10’22’’)
Sound: Renato Rinaldi

3D technology is presently the most promising thing on TV and cinemas' horizon. 3D was hailed as the future of technology in previous eras, with regard to photography around 1900 and to cinema in the 1950s. Armin Linke takes us back to the 1950s with his 3D video about a technology – atomic energy – that has symbolized more than any other a spectacularly promising future, yet simultaneously connotes the shadow side of progress. Linke filmed in disused reactors, in which people still work to keep dangerous emissions under control. One sees obsolete high-tech reminiscent of outdated science fiction. The images are unspectacular and hence subvert the overwhelming 3D technology. The promise of the new looks a little jaded.


(founded 1993 in Vienna / A)

Sowjet-Unterzögersdorf – Das Adventure Game
Computer game

Lecture performance:
Sat 18.00 h

To address the thorny issue of historiography, the art, technology and philosophy oriented collective monochrom uses the formal idiom of historical fiction, here related by means of a computer game, namely by the almost extinct adventure game genre. Point of departure for this is the
ʻimplementation of a 'false memory' of Soviet-Unterzögersdorf in the Austrian Weinviertel region, an enclave and last remaining part republic of the USSR.

"In Soviet-Unterzögersdorf, a fictitious, distanced, and grotesque approach to the past and present is developed, negotiated, and deployed. Insofar the project participates both, in the production and in the critique of cultural and collective memories". monochrom

Deimantas Narkevičius

(*1964, Utena / LT, lives in Vilnius / LT)

Once in the XX Century (2007)

Video (8’)

The credibility of images and the role of technical recording in the construction of history is the theme of Deimantas Narkevičius' video 'Once in the XX Century'. Material sourced in the national Lithuanian TV archives includes coverage of the demolition of a statue of Lenin in Vilnius, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Images of Lenin dismounted and hanging from a crane were shown all over the world as a potent symbol of the demise of the USSR. Narkevičius reedits the newsreels in such a way as to create the impression that the statue is not being demolished but erected. Thus the outcome of media technology is transformed, from a document that bears authentic witness to history into material from which new narratives can be constructed.


Catalina Ossa Holmgren / Enrique Rivera Gallardo

(*1982 / *1977 in Santiago / CHL, live in Santiago / CHL)


Talk (via Skype):
Sun 16.30 h

Ossa and Rivero investigate the Cybersyn project developed from 1971–1973 in Chile, under the Socialist regime of Salvador Allende and under the aegis of British cyberneticist Stafford Beer. The Cybersyn system enabled the nationalized economy to be networked. It reflected Chilean socialism's aspiration to a "third way" that was to include a networked alternative to the centrally planned Soviet economy. Cybersyn never became fully operative and was destroyed after the military putsch of 1973, which overthrew Allende's democratically elected government. Right-wing groups disparaged Cybersyn as a big brother-type instrument of repression, yet it is regarded nowadays as a kind of "socialist Internet"

Nikolas Roy

(*1974, Nürnberg / D, lebt in Berlin / D)

Grafikdemo (2004)

Shift Talk:
Sat 16.00 h

"Why should virtual reality manage to convince us when not even reality itself is always convincing?" asks Niklas Roy.
"Grafikdemo" is an actual wire model of a teapot, which is installed in the casing of a 1980s Commodore CBM
computer and can be rotated by means of the keyboard. It's practically impossible to discern at first glance whether one is looking at a real wire model or a digital 3D model. The metaphor "wire model" is used for the latter.
Roy's object is an exercise in perception and also pays homage to a decisive moment in the history of computer animation. Since the pioneer of computer graphics, Martin Newell, simulated his wife's teapot at the University of Utah in 1975, the teapot has become a standard example of computer-generated 3D images.

Harold Schellinx

(*1956, Maastricht / NL, lives in Amsterdam / NL & Paris / F)

Found Tapes Exhibition (2002-)

Artist Talk:
Sun 16.00 h

Sat 20.30 h
Concert Hall

Harold Schellinx' project is about lost&found in the true sense of the term. Since 2002 the musician and sound artist has been collating fragments of music cassettes he finds on the street. He documents his singular finds online, presenting weathered tapes along with background info in the form of photos and notes. The abundance of found material suggests the music cassette was more than just a simple audio storage medium for an entire generation; one needs only remember mix-tape mania.

The fact that this medium is disappearing fast keeps Schellinx scouring the city streets, which he maps incidentally, according to his finds. Schellinx will be on the lookout in Basel too, for he has never yet found a cassette in Switzerland – perhaps because the cassette is already extinct in these climes?

Manuel Schmalstieg

(*1976, Bern / CH, lives in Genf / CH)

Low-Rez Stories / Solaris (1972-2010)
Video (4’15’’)

Shift Talk:
Sat 13.30 h

In a scene from Andrej Tarkovsky's sci-fi film "Solaris" (1972), the character is travelling through a large city at night. The scene was shot in Tokyo. From 2008–2009 Google's automatic panorama cameras filmed the same streets for the "Streetview" service – Manuel Schmalstieg uses this material for a reconstruction of the "Solaris" scene, complemented by the comments of users who have seen Tarkovsky's original scene on YouTube.

"With this juxtaposition, the project aims to reflect on the powerful representations of 'the future' that have been generated both by a visionary film maker and by a global corporation with undisclosed motivations, based on a simple, naturalistic recording of Japan's post-war urban architecture." Manuel Schmalstieg

Helene Sommer

(*1978, Oslo / N, lives in Oslo / N & Berlin / D)

A Tale of Stone and Wood
Video (21’05’’)

Helene Sommer's work investigates how cinema contributes to constructing history, collective memory and national identity. In the 1970s the Bulgarian film industry began to use the mountain village of Kovatchevitsa as a location, mainly for shooting films based on national myths, which were intended to foster a strong collective identity.

Helene Sommer compiled fifteen films shot in Kovatchevitsa and interviewed people who were around when they were made, before interweaving clips from the films and her research on video. Curator Iris Dressler writes: "One can never be sure exactly where one is: in front of a monitor, in a feature film or between two different films, in an archive, in a present-day situation in Kovatchevitsa – in reality or fiction, the past or the present".

Suzanne Treister

(*1958, London / UK, lives in London / UK)

No other symptoms – Time travelling with Rosalind Brodsky

Time travel is the perfect means to depict how an intervention in the past can effect change in the present. Since 1995 Suzanne Treister has been elaborating the cosmos of her fictional character Rosalind Brodsky, and her
ʻInstitute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionalityʼ. With Brodsky one can travel from the year 2058 back through the twentieth century and poke around for example, in Freud or Lacan's private quarters. The work orbits around issues such as insanity, humour, sexuality, identity, politics and technology, considered in the light of personal and collective history.
The format of the work also has a touch of "lost & found" about it for visitors are invited to rediscover a medium that was brand new and used by many artists a mere decade ago yet has since largely been forgotten: the multimedia CD Rom.

Alexander Tuchaček

(*1962, Wien / A, lives in Zürich / CH)

Paradise Now (2010)

Interaktive Video-Sound-Installation
Gebäude E

Shift Talk:
Sun 15.30 h

"Paradise Now" presents a clip from old footage of an actors' troupe, The Living Theatre, whose eponymous play from 1968 was based on audience participation and improvisation.

"Paradise Now" draws on this historical material to interrogate promises of liberty, visions of paradise and the body politics associated with them.
Two video projections show asynchronous clips from the historic document, playing so slowly as to seem to stand still. The original soundtrack to the footage playing on a multi-channel audio-system triggers the space's natural oscillation. Software identifies changes in the space's natural resonance and accordingly modifies the speed of the video and the audio-playback. Only by actively making one's way through the space does it become possible to clearly comprehend film protagonists' statements.

Sarah Vanagt

(*1976, lives in Brüssel / B)

After Years Of Walking
Video (36’)

After the genocide of 1994, the Rwandan government temporarily suspended history from the school curriculum. It was feared that the country's ideologically informed version of history, which dated from the colonial period and constructed and emphasized ethnic differences, would only serve to aggravate the conflict. Artist and historian Sarah Vanagt toured Rwanda with a film made by Belgian missionaries in 1959, which blatantly perpetuates this allegedly true version of the country's history. Watching the film with actors who had played in it, with teachers, historians, and student's gave rise to discussion of the country's search for its own history and helped pave the way to dealing with the trauma of genocide.


Marie Velardi

(*1977, Genf / CH, lives in Genf / CH)

Future perfect, 21st Century (2006)
Laserprint on paper

Shift Talk:
Sun 14.00 h

Visions of the future have fired people's imaginations since time immemorial. Looking back at visions of the future such as those to be found in sci-fi, one experiences a strange sensation, a momentary confrontation with some kind of "futures past". Marie Velardi's work is based on this type of retrospective on the future. She designed a twentieth-century timeline based on sci-fi productions, from Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" through Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" to Paul Verhoeven's "RoboCop". Juxtaposition of the date when the work was conceived and the fictional point in time at which it unfolds clearly demonstrates that science fiction always implies a confrontation with the present and with history.  

Liu Wei

(*1972, Peking / CHN, lives in Peking / CHN)

A Day To Remember (2005)
Video (13’)

On 4 June 2005, the anniversary of the massacre on Tian'anmen Square, Liu Wei asked passers-by what day it was. If people simply named the actual date he repeated his question. Some people knew what he was getting at and told him they had nothing to say. Many of them said they didn't know, or simply continued on their way. Only two people mentioned the massacre. This work uses the simplest means to demonstrate how memory and history and any talk of them can be influenced by political repression.

EMS Spectre Project

presented by AktiveArchive

Fri 21.00 h
Concert Hall

Analogue Visuals Lab and historic videos:

Lecture by Johannes Gfeller and Tabea Lurk:
Sun 14.00 h

Jacques Guyonnet

(*1933, lives in Genf / CH)

Geneviève Calame

(1946-1993, Genf / CH)

Florian Kaufmann

(*1973, lives in Solothurn / CH)

Michael Egger

(*1974, lives in Fribourg / CH)

The EMS Spectre is an early video synthesizer of which no more than fifteen were produced. Swiss composer and video pioneers Jacques Guyonnet and Geneviève Calame acquired a Spectre in 1974. In 2007 Guyonnet handed it over to the reference collection of the AktiveArchive in Berne, a project dedicated to preserving electronic artworks and cultural artefacts, and making them known to a broad public. In 2010 Flo Kaufmann restored the Spectre there. Also in 2010, Kaufmann and Michael Egger together developed their own analogue video synthesizer, the "Synkie". The two musicians, artists, tinkerers and engineers will use the EMS Spectre, Synkie and other historic gadgets to create live visuals for Friday evening's concert programme, without any computer assistence. They'll also display the gadgets in a lab-style set up as part of the exhibition, where one can also see videos made in the 1970s by the EMS Spectre's first owners Jacques Guyonnet and Geneviève Calame, which have recently been restored by AktiveArchive and transferred to DVD.
You can learn more about the preservation and dissemination of electronic artworks and cultural artefacts when Tabea Lurk and Johannes Gfeller of AktiveArchive lecture on the subject.
AktiveArchive is an initiative of Berne University of the Arts and is funded by the Swiss Ministry of Culture as part of the programme sitemapping.ch.