Festival of (Decolonial) Media Arts & Culture

Den Haag, April 2023

Unmediated re-examines aspects of planetary history of a decolonial resistance in media and forms of media-based artistic expressions that are ground-up drawing from indigenous methods and approaches to media technologies and creative forms and formats, which often go unrecognized in the European media arts scene. The festival invites artistic positions to explore decolonial methods and approaches to media arts in a gathering of underrepresented voices while responding to the questions of unmediated presence and embeddedness in land and community Global South cultures seemed to have traditionally practiced.

Indigenous artistic and cultural practices, and the modernist media technologies such as sound recording, photography, motion picture camera, radio – later transistors, have had a conflict-ridden relationship, nevertheless having mutually influencing impacts, often through cultural violence, but they have historically got entangled, coalescing, and adjusting to each other, rather than having a binary and temporally linear relationship (e.g. modernity vs. tradition, modern vs. pre-modern). If we study trajectories of media technologies in Global South, there was indeed a mutating influence of modernist media like sound recording, cinema, photography and radio, but these colonial interventions also made transformative contexts in which inter- and cross-cultural confluences took place, and hybrid forms of art and aesthetic expressions emerged.

Time-based media artworks change and ‘move’, in contrast to older art forms that are static. Because of these differences, and due to an underscoring of the medium itself (e.g. sound art, video art, photograph), there is an issue related to the centrality of the medial dispositive in media practice rather than the content it communicates. The process of mediation using the medial devices tends to distort truth and presence in media arts in recording and representation. However, truth and presence are critical to artistic practice as the complexity of the lived experiences demands to be conveyed truthfully to the audience. When curating and showcasing the emerging new environments in future media arts practiced with a decolonial approach, the departing points most likely are the notions of truth and presence as processed in the artwork.

Artists need to find ways to innovate on creating novel medial dispositives and devices and more conducive media environments for facilitating the true presence. Artists might be encouraged to conceive media artworks where the production of the subjectivity and situational contexts of the audience is carefully and sensitively considered as a parameter for an artwork’s fruitful dissemination. The artworks may aim to respond to an emergent mode of poetic and contemplative intervention in the medial experience through which we connect with others breaking the hegemonic colonial modes toward a socially and politically aware and publicly active media art.

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