Forecast Festival 2018

It's a Wrap!

The third edition of Forecast has come to an end, culminating in the two-day Forecast Festival at Haus der Kulturen der Welt on October 12–13. The event also marked the close of a fruitful three-year partnership with the HKW; Forecast’s next edition will take place at the new partner institution in Berlin, radialsystem.

Greeted by cloudless Berlin skies, the six participating artists and their mentors presented the results of their collaborations to the public, taking advantage of the perfect weather in their use of the landmark institution. The festival kicked off with an open-air performance on the HKW’s terrace by artist Eglė Budvytytė, who collaborated with Berlin-based dancers on a piece titled Shakers, Lovers, Bystanders. It was part of The Exhaustion Project, an ongoing curatorial inquiry by Forecast mentee Abhijan Toto, which in this iteration—mentored by curator David Elliott in the category Looking and titled There Is Still Work To Be Done— presented work by five female artists across different parts of the HKW, including Alisa Chunchue (TH), Jessika Khazrik (LB), Sarah Naqvi (IN), Anna Ridler (GB), and Eglė Budvytytė (LT, NL).

The Exhaustion Project
A performance piece by Eglė Budvytytėby on the HKW’s terrace. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
The Exhaustion Project
Sarah Naqvi’s soft sculptures were displayed in bell jars on an adjacent table. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
The Exhaustion Project
Anna Ridler performed the labor of arranging hundreds of photos of tulips on a wall, rendering visible the human effort that goes into training AI. Photo: Laura Fiorio.

Meanwhile, artist Saverio Cantoni drew a message on the building’s entrance in infrared and ultraviolet paint, imperceptible to the human eye. It was a part of his multilayered piece Organism 518400 in the category Living Matter with mentor Laura Lima, and the message—an apology—was meant for birds flying over the HKW. Cantoni’s interventions with the building were manifold and sometimes enigmatic, such as the tables displaying the food remains of picnics in the first-floor foyer. Loudspeakers played back recordings of the conversations that had taken place during these convivial gatherings in the days leading up to the Festival, to which Cantoni had invited hackers and activists.

In a darkened, cavernous studio on the ground floor, the Canadian-Dutch design duo Jon Stam and Simon de Bakker invited visitors to interact with the prototypes in their project Backchannel Tools. Created after an intense period of research with mentor Tulga Beyerle in the category Invasive Design, Stam and de Baker developed tools that allow museumgoers to explore artifacts in a museum’s collection beyond what’s on display, and to expand on the narratives created by wall texts. The public was immediately enthralled by the three user-friendly tools, which eschewed digital screens in favor of haptic aides with which to discover a museum’s collection, including artifacts in storage.

Saverio Cantoni: Organism 518400
Installation view at Forecast Festival. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
Commonplace Studio
Jon Stam explains a digital glass brick, part of Backchannel Tools. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
Commonplace Studio: Backchannel Tools
Visitors were invited to inter­act with prototypes. Photo: Laura Fiorio.

In the conference room, Omar A. Chowdhury showed the three-channel video installation Augustijn, a fascinating multilayered dive into the artist’s conversations with a young Flemish man who converted to Islam at the age of 19. Chowdhury, whose work often deals with the conditions that shape the construction of identity, discussed with his mentor in the category Moving Image, Omer Fast, how the ability to choose one’s own identity is often linked to power, and in this case signifies the privilege of a white European male.

In the evening, in HKW’s main auditorium, Canadian radio producer Julia E Dyck and her creative contributors James Goddard and Amanda Harvey took the public on a nearly hour-long voyage into the future with her sci-fi radio drama Frequency Interference. Developed with mentor Peter Meanwell in the category Beyond Radio, the radiophonic piece made use of all the audio elements of the medium, enveloping listeners with sound. As the piece was performed to a live audience, the broadcast also incorporated strong visual and performative elements.

Electronic musician MIIIN then took over the stage with artist Sabrina Ratté. They presented MIIIN’s composition titled A Music Report on the Human Species: Beyond Extinction, accompanied by visuals created by Ratté. The moving work was the product of MIIIN’s mentorship with Holly Herndon in the category Composition. Despite its gloomy subject matter—human extinction—the piece is deeply empathic and places itself within the context of xenofeminist theories.

Installation view of Omar A. Chowdhury, Augustijn, Forecast Festival 2018. Photo: Laura-Fiorio.
MIIIN at Forecast Festival. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
Julia E Dyck: Frequency Interference
Julia E. Dyck took the public on a nearly hourlong voyage with a radiophonic piece. Photo: Laura Fiorio.
James Goddard
James Goddard. Photo: Laura Fiorio.

On the Festival’s second day, the auditorium became the site of the first in a series of presentations for Housing the Human, a new interdisciplinary initiative by Forecast in collaboration with several leading European festivals and institutions. Five designers, architects, and artists shared the first stage in the development of their prototypes addressing issues concerning how will we live in the future. In a well-attended open session, experts, and professionals provided individual feedback on the creative and innovative ideas. (Find out more about Housing the Human here.) As part of Forecast’s collaboration with Future Architecture Platform, the design collective RESOLVE created a dynamic, modular stage and meeting area in the HKW’s foyer as part of their project Off Grid.

We’d like to thank all of the participating artists, mentors, the experts and consultants, our supporters, the team at the HKW, and everyone who attended the Festival for a successful third edition. We look forward to our new collaboration with Radialsystem. Watch this space for an announcement of the open call for Forecast 4, and the mentors, in our next edition.