In its 27th edition, the transmediale festival will explore our present post-digital moment as one where media technologies and mediatic practices that were once treasure(d) are turning into trash. While the hype cycle of the digital seems stuck on endless repeat, perpetually tied to shiny high-tech, it is clear that the post-social media hype moment is of a different nature than that of the disillusion of the post dot.com years. As media technologies have now become completely integrated into everyday life, they function similarly to natural resources, producing physical and immaterial waste products that get appropriated in such diverse contexts as e-waste dumps, big data businesses and mass surveillance schemes. transmediale 2014 is interested in this junk, detritus and garbage hovering between the margins and centres of post-digital culture.
The starting point is to consider this in between state as an 'afterglow' moment of the digital: afterglow being that moment of deep twilight when the dust that has risen from the earth into the atmosphere is temporarily lit up; as well as being a term that refers to the either positive or negative mental after effects of drug use. afterglow is meant to conjure up the ambivalent state of digital culture, where what seems to remain from the so-called digital revolution is a futuristic nostalgia for the shiny high-tech it once promised us but that is now crumbling in our hands. The challenge that this moment poses is how to use that state of post-digital culture in between trash and treasure as a chance from which to invent new speculative practices. These should resist nostalgic or defeatist ideas, yet still use waste as a starting point from which to deal with the burning issues of today.