By Oliver Frommel, 10 May 2002

A video installation showing 10 year-old gamers babbling about Super Mario. A live radio-play on surveillance. A found footage web piece about a fictitious character. These are all pieces you could see at Intermedium2, a festival dealing with ‘identities in the 21st century.’ According to ZKM’s Peter Weibel, Intermedium is the first media art festival which gets wide coverage in the media too. This is because it has its origins in the department for radio plays and media art of the Bavarian Broadcasting Association.

Consequently many performances were broadcast on the internet and the radio and most projects featured an independent acoustic component. This was a requirement for the Intermedium2 prize of 12,000 euros. In the end the prize was split between three projects: [DPsNtN]=DISPLACED PERSONS say NOTHING to NOBODY by Christin Lahr, a work concerned with surveillance and the dependence of the individual on her social environment; A Sophisticated Soirée by 91version 2.0, an interactive installation and performance that connects the participants’ heartbeats to the audiovisual environment of a cosy bar lounge; and Staubmarsch (= Dust March), a music and video performance centred around dust as a destroyer of computer hardware.

‘Intermediality’ being the keyword of the festival, most works tried to integrate visual and acoustic elements, to bring live performance, internet and other media together. Some artists succeeded in creating an organic feel to their work, using media relevant to their subject matter. But works such as Frankenstein’s Netz and Web of Life are paradigmatic examples of bloated media art projects. Besides the art installations and performances there were also ‘theory plays’ with theorists in videoloops, and dj-ing. On the whole, Intermedium2 was an interesting enough media art festival. The performance of projects on the internet and on the radio may help bring media art to a wider audience. The next Intermedium will take place in Munich in 2004. While Intermedium2 was promising, there is still some work to be done.

Oliver Frommel <oliver AT> lives in Munich and works as a freelance journalist covering media, art and politics.

Intermedium2 // 22-24 March 2002 // Centre for Art and Media (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany // []