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<nettime-ann> GOGBOT and Atompunk
PLANETART on Fri, 21 Aug 2009 22:40:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> GOGBOT and Atompunk

GOGBOT and Atompunk

20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the cultural era of mid-century modernism from the atom era seems a part of history long gone. In our current society with its fast spreading digital revolt, we have to look to the past to understand the future.

It is still intriguing to see how so shortly after the Second World War society established itself so optimistically based on the developments of technology. The World Expo 1958 in Brussels, with its icon the Atomium, was Europe's official launch in the atomic age. In the pavilions of the USA and the Soviet Union on this World Expo was visible how the Cold War was made to compete for technological superiority. The Soviets presented in the centre of their pavilion the Sputnik, the world’s first satellite to fly in orbit around the earth in 1957. The Americans promoted in their pavilion the American Way of Life, with a shiny washing machine, a refrigerator and a television in every household.

At stake in this confrontation was the future of mankind, according to the ideologies of communism and capitalism. These futuristic visions were meant to be an utopia, however the arms race implied the potential nuclear holocaust, and also the end of our planet by over-industrialization and pollution. This paradox is characteristic for the atom age and is strikingly shown in the photomontage from 1962 by Buckminster Fuller. Here we have utopia and dystopia under one roof covering a part of New York, not only in a futuristically climate controlled eco-city, but also as a shelter for fall-out of nuclear war.

This contradiction between utopia and dystopia we encounter in many aspects of daily life in the atom era. Design plays an important role as propaganda competition in the field of architecture and urban design as well as high-technology and objects from the immediate vicinity. During the GOGBOT festival a unique selection of DDR-design from the collection of the Berlin culture journalist and design curator Günther Höhne will be exhibited.

GOGBOT festival offers various perspectives on a cultural period, in 1947 with two world powers in a position to annihilate each other with nuclear weapons while 20 years later people walked on the moon.

From art and cinema, a critical attitude developed towards American political and military imperialism. Like the one of Robert Rauschenberg exhibition in the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1963. At the end of the sixties a new generation rose and protested against the war in Vietnam and pollution of the environment. Growing prosperity In the West offered young people the possibility to Drop Out. Counterculture communes were set up in the deserts of California and New Mexico. The Italian artist Mario Merz searched his igloo archetypal forms as shelter for a world without private property .. made visible on the Old Market Square during GOGBOT various forms of this igloo for will be installed for exhibition.

During the GOGBOT festival, art from Berlin has an important place too. Even after the fall of the Berlin Wall this city is a permanent hotspot in Europe today. Artists from Germany and all over Europe come to Berlin, like the Dane Jacob Kirkegaard, who will present his Chernobyl installation in Enschede. Also the spectacular robotics of the Berlin based artist Frank Barnes are present, with his drumming robot, playing songs like Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones. For the GOGBOT music program Alec Empire and JazZstepPa will move west to Enschede. After a cooperation with the Russian International Film Festival, special presentations have been prepared with Russian artists like Katia Pugach and the Neverporn Community in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Since December 2008 the worldwide new theme of Atompunk has been developed at the Atompunk mailinglist, fueled by PLANETART and Bruce Sterling. Postings by Adam Rothstein, Michael Doyle and many others have been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for developing the exhibition program of GOGBOT 09. Also the series of workshops, presentations and events in the PLANETART Medialab in Amsterdam have contributed in this development. Thanks to these courses and the support from fundings and city (Amsterdam and Enschede) and region this year’s GOGBOT is able to be more distinctive than ever. With an unique concept of presenting innovative cross media art in public space of the city centre, it challenges the audience to participate in the Atompunk theme with workshops, interactive installations and playful gamehacks. A festival which is distinctive in its performance and exhibition program of high-profile and international quality, in addition the annual Youngblood Award for Dutch academy graduates, is offering to be a stimulating podium for young talent.

Kees de Groot, September 2009.

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