The 6th Werkleitz Biennale Common Property / Allgemeingut opens on 1 September at 6 p.m. With more than 170 participants from 30 countries the biennial is the biggest media art festival in the area of the former East Germany. Apart from the exhibition with over 40 works, visitors can look forward to a comprehensive film and video programme as well as numerous workshops, lectures and panels around the issue of common property.
The festival is centred around the claim that art, culture and information should be considered common property and should be treated accordingly.
Digitalisation and networking have enabled the free exchange of ideas, concepts and technologies. The utopia of a 'Network of Commons' is now within reach - but whether or not it will become a reality will depend on decisions made regarding intellectual property.
The 6th Werkleitz Biennale festival and the preceding 'Halle School of Common Property', will offer a general overview of existing initiatives and art projects concerned with this theme.
Sharmila Samant's (IN) mobile boutique is one of the works in the exhibition - she is mimicking the common practice of labelling mass-produced textiles as designer products, intending to question the market-economy system of monopoly and copyright. By marking pieces of clothing she has selected as artworks and selling them in exhibitions, she turns the system upside down.
Musician and composer Christian von Borries (DE) has produced an interactive audio play especially for the festival that explores issues of authorship rights and Creative Commons. During the course of the biennial, visitors' comments will be added to the play.
Thomas Saraceno's (AR) flying garden consists of helium-filled balloons inhabited by a number of resilient airplants which possess the ability to exist without any roots and can therefore grow in places where no other plants can survive. For Saraceno they symbolise the possibilities for plants, humans and animals to migrate beyond geo-political boundaries.
As part of the workshop series 'Halle School of Common Property', US American found-footage filmmaker Craig Baldwin has been hosting a seminar on Culture Jamming and Found Footage Film Editing. At the biennial he will also be presenting 'Sonic Outlaws', his by now classic film which makes the case for the abolition of copyright.
The documentary‚ 'The Yes Men' shows actions by the political activist group of the same name, who have managed to gain access to meetings of the WTO and others under false pretences and use creative means to subvert these events.
The 'Night of Crime' takes a closer look at diverse strategies of dissent, i.e. activities that question existing copyright law and position themselves against the commercialisation and privatisation of the media and public space.
Media theorist Volker Grassmuck will be discussing the consequences of the current copyright legislation with Elmar Huckow, Ministerial Director at the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Andreas Broeckmann will be joined by Pit Schultz, Rachel Baker and others in a debate about the impact of new media on the public sphere as a space for communication.
Architecture historian Simone Hein will be talking to Annegret Hahn (Thalia Theatre, Halle) about the different traditions of cultural identity in East and West Germany.
Music and Performances
The programme includes Torsten Lauschmann's (UK) performance 'Filter'. Berlin's 'friends of pong' trace the history of music collectives such as MC5 and Amon Düül in an audio-visual presentation.
Bastard-Pop DJs Shapemod (Terranova) and Shir Khan from Berlin will be unashamedly mixing their way through all musical genres - on their bootlegs punk meets freestyle and Madonna is crossed with Harry Belafonte.
Also present are: god is a dj & tadpole, teer4.com, zapotek, Marlow and Karoline Körbel (moon harbour records), DJ Slender Whiteman (UK), dj LN.
For the complete list of participants and other additional information about all artists please visit the website at www.werkleitz.de/common_property.
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