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Postdigital is better* @ designtransfer, UDK Berlin

May 14th, 2013 by L'auteur · Keine Kommentare

QR-Code as a portal…

On 23rd to 26th april 2013, students of the Visual Communication department of the UDK Berlin showed their works in an exhibition at the designtransfer galery with the theme “postdigital is better“. During winter semester 2012/13, they researched the differences between analog and digital media, and worked out possibilities of interaction and processes of transformation.

Therefore, some very interesting works could be seen, which confront the implicitness of new media with those of the old. Giulia Schelm for example, went to a café where the digital bohéme lives its mobile life style, and began to type her observations on an old typewriter. The fact, that nobody seems to wonder about people in cafés talking no longer to their physical neighbors but via skype to oversea colleagues, or writing mails or mindmapping project, is a clear sign for the ubiquitous pervasiveness of digital devices. There seems no activity which is not digitally mediated, and therefore computers become invisible in everyday life. The term “postdigital” is trying to express this circumstance:

“Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence. […] Computers as we know them today will a) be boring, and b) disappear into things that are first and foremost something else” Nicholas Negroponte – Beyond Digital

While the digital media become banal, old media become visible and transformable – they give new opportunities of application. In the exhibition of the UDK students, this medium is mostly the book, which lost its matter of course and therefore opens up for experiments.

Felix Schröder prints a short version of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis on the original text and subordinate the indescribable literature under the dictation of tweets and key information; Idan Sher remixes Luis Borges’ Book of Sand by sorting all words alphabetically; and Ana Halina Ringleb glues a book about Goethe, so that it could no longer be opened. Its title “A reader for our time” shows that the book seems to be disused. Instead, you could do like Marius Förster, who googled Umberto Eco’s This is not the end of the book and printed a text extracted from reviews and user comments.

Other students tried, to develop the book as a form. Denis Yilmaz did an exciting republishing of the fairy tale The Fisherman and His Wife on bank statements. The story is told via money transfers of 1 Euro, so that at the end of the tale about greed and excess an amount of 125,00 comes together – and of course, is debited. Martin Wecke on the other hand, thinks about copyright law when he prints a book which is only readable after xeroxing it. It comes to mind, that the QR code plays a special role here (in the works of Alina Rudya, Vincent Tollens and Vera Kellner), so that the book becomes a link collection and the content is externalized to the cloud. In the discussion at the day of opening, Danny Aldred, designer and book artist, also talks about the QR code as a portal between the digital and the analog realm. But you could describe it also differently: While back in the days, the only barrier to read books or gather information was being able to read, now the possession of a smartphone is an additional barrier. So it seems that also the problematic of alphabetization or information access is dislocated to the dimension of devices.

Postdigital is better – this judgement has to be checked, but on the works of this exhibition gave reason to think about the actual status of the digital, which seems to be in crisis, like Siegfried Zielinski declared on the talk. At the one hand, it is universalized, at the other hand the promises of digital revolution were not kept. So it’s time to critically review this process.

Tags: @// · Berlin · design · digital culture · exhibition · media art · remix culture