In the run up to this event, twelve Goethe-Institutes abroad explored the issues posed by this year’s conference against the backdrop of their respective cultures. The preparatory events provided not just insight into academic, social, and artistic approaches and initiatives, but enrich the symposium by adding international perspectives.
In Riga, in October 2018 media experts explored in a round of conversation with the title “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re A Dog” the phenomenon of the post-factual and the resulting responsibility of each individual. A brief performance by Ģertrūdes ielas teātris took an artistic look at the issue.
Together with the international journal for literary culture ARCADIA and Instituto Distrital de las Artes – Idartes, Goethe-Institut in Bogotá held a so-called “Hacktividad” in November last year. Under the title “Digital Mutants: Democracy in the Digital Age” it dealt with the influence of digital developments on democracy and civic participation.
While information is traditionally transmitted orally in Senegal, young people are now using the social media as their primary means of communication. But problems involved in the new media are not discussed, neither at school nor at home. Together with the association of German language instructors APAS, the Goethe-Institut organized workshops at schools in February to sensitize schoolchildren to critically approach fake news and the digital media.
Goethe-Insitut-Ramallah set off in search of parallels to New Objectivity and the New Architecture in the Palestinian territories. At issue was the central question: how can the architectural heritage in Ramallah be rediscovered and reanimated in a way that looks toward the future? In exchange with Palestinian architects, experts, and scholars, in February questions on the architectural legacy have been discussed and made available to experience.
Under direction of digital specialist Emma McFarland, Goethe-Institut London invited experts at the end of March like the author, social critic, and psychoanalyst Susie Orbach to development new perspectives on Brexit. Brief mini-lectures drew links between the relationship of Brexit to feminism, technology, psychology, or the environment.
In Greece, the artists and curator group Most Mechanics Are Crooks transformed GoetheInstitut in Athens this March into a laboratory of post-digital art. With the title “Weasel Dance: Imitation in Postdigital Contingency” the visitors were able to learn about the various ways in which artists engage with self-representation in the digital media. In Weimar, Most Mechanics Are Crooks will continue their project with a lecture performance.
The cultural framing conditions for the development of artificial intelligence were the focus at Goethe-Institut Sydney this past March. In The Relevance of Culture in the Age of AI, discussants included the artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh and the start-up founder Angie Abdilla on the question of what influence cultural context has on the development of intelligent algorithms and vice-versa. Both Tony Walsh and Angie Abdilla will be sharing their expertise at Kultursymposium Weimar.
Lost your way? With the title “WANDER”, Goethe-Institut Washington invited participants in early April to a performative walk through the city, where the feeling of disorientation was to be the focus. Afterwards, the audience discussed their experiences on the tour together with experts.
Jointly organized by Goethe-Institut Amsterdam and Debattenzentrum De Balie, in April the Dutch writer Connie Palmen and the German author Simon Strauß met for a conversation. As a representative of two different generations, they took a look at romanticism in Europe. Are histories of romanticism feeding anti-liberal movements? Or can romanticism in turbulent times offer solutions for Europe?
In their event series “Staging the Digital Age” this April, Goethe-Institut Beijing and GoetheInstitut Seoul brought together German, Chinese, and Korean directors, performers, and gaming experts to engage in dialogue and performative exchange on the potential of combining theatre and technology. At Kultursymposium Weimar, performers and directors from all three countries will explore this subject.
In May, Goethe-Institut Johannesburg together with African and European artists and cultural producers explored the role of European cultural institutions and the power relationships that emerge in intercultural collaboration.