Transmediale 2017 Digital Culture Festival ‘Ever Elusive’

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Partner Event of Transmediale 2017 Art & Science Node (ASN) Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity with an Identity & Data Panel discussion, exhibition, and workshop. The event was hosted atDPMA-TIZ  Deutsches Patent- und MarkenamtTechnisches Informationszentrum Berlin

Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity speakers:


Hoffmann, Joanna (Chair of ASN, Prof. Dr, University of Arts in Poznan, PL) and

Piratzky, Kerstin (Head of TIZ Berlin / DPMA)


Evolution is most often associated with complex biological processes that cause changes in the characteristics of entire groups of organisms following the course of generations. The result is the formation of biodiversity at all levels of biological organization, including species. as a set of data and our relation to the natural, social and technological environment.

The research on various aspects of evolution significantly affects not only the biological sciences but also other fields, i.e. anthropology, psychology, artificial intelligence research, IT and more. It changes the perception of ourselves as a set of data, and our relation to the natural, social and technological environment. In the age of growing Big Data and dark knowledge, of the multiplicity and richness of new scientific discoveries and philosophical concepts, what can we say about the nature of human uniqueness and the future of humanity as the global population is growing dramatically?

Elusive Identity or elusive unicity?

Keywords: new forms of categorization, common basis, genetics & epigenetics, Big Data, socialization, dark knowledge, creativity versus self-control, mixed-strategy equilibrium, replicator function, population growth, capitalization of identity, technological impact, oligopolization of knowledge, “postfaktisch”, Internet, secured identity.

Let’s focus on Elusive Identity:

Identity. To Identify yourself. To identify with something. Being identified by others. Identifying others. Is there an identity without identifying? Identification is feeling a part of something or someone. This feeling of belonging also brings forth a delimitation: that’s not me, that doesn’t belong to me.

In order to be able to categorize yourself, others or to be categorized by others, a common basis is needed.

The genetic code defines through its individual combination which species or sex we belong to, what we look like. In parts it even defines our emotions or our susceptibility to illnesses and our tastes. We possess/own our Data, our genetic identity through our parents who each gives us one set of chromosomes. The expression of our genes is also dependent on our environment, which through genetic modifications affect our characteristic values.

The complexity of interactions between the various levels on which our identity is shaped effects an overall picture that eventually fuses to form an identity. However, this image is dynamic, thus defining identity in all its entirety seems an impossible undertaking.

Nevertheless, we can try to illuminate some of its facets and find factors that influence it’s shaping. The evolutionary landscape of identity can be perceived in various ways, elusively?

Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity Invited Artists:

Anders, Anna (DE);
“Under Cover”,

Glowacki, David (USA/UK);
“MICRO-CHOREOGRAPHY”, with Dr. Basile Curchod and Rose Becca, more

Hadas, Eran (IL);
“FRANKIE”, with Eshel, Gal & Sheleff Maayan, more

Hoffmann, Joanna (PL/DE);
“TONES & WHISPERS”, with Dave Lawrence, more

Petresin, Vesna (DE/UK);
“The Dreams Our Things Are Made Of”, more

Scott, Jill (AU/CH);
“JELLYEYES: Evolution and Vision”,

Zapala, Rafal (PL);
, more


Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity Invited Panelists for the theme: “Elusive Identity”

Glowacki, David (Dr, Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Bristol, UK);
David Glowacki

Perpetual change is amongst the only constants in our phenomenological experience. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant evolution across many fields of scientific enquiry. Workers have increasingly adopted a time-dependent “dynamical” perspective in their understanding of natural systems, which recognizes the fact that bodies are in continual motion, and that their motion is governed by a network of interactions. Any specific structural “identity” is in fact a transient “snapshot” within a larger dynamical unfolding. This new perspective constitutes an important development compared to older “structural” perspectives, which tended to emphasize and idealize the snapshots, without recognizing that they represent simply one particular instance along a larger unfolding.  There is a sort of inherent relational tension between the “dynamical” and “structural” perspectives: the ability to accurately and unambiguously characterize dynamical unfolding involves noting difference with respect to a fixed “structural” reference point. Similarly, the ability to accurately and unambiguously isolate what constitutes “identity” (the qualities of being the same) depends on analysis of the unfolding constellation of differences. In a world where the pace of change (and hence our understanding of difference) across both time and space is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, it is perhaps no surprise that identity is asserting itself.

Hadas, Eran ( artist, poet, programmer, Tel-Aviv, IL) ;
Eran Hadas

Over the course of the past five years, we encounter more and more decisions being made by machines, which were thought to be within the capability of solely humans. The advent of powerful algorithms combined with the massive collection of user-generated data by Hi-Tech corporations has led to unprecedented achievements in the field of Machine Learning, especially using Deep Neural Networks. Computers have minimized the gap from humans in various tasks such as computer vision, voice recognition and more.The striking fact about all those algorithms is that in fact they are all the same. Machine Learning is about collecting the data, formatting it in a computer-friendly way, and then training the system on it; fishing for patterns in order to generalize from examples.(…) Faced with the need to explain our human identity to a non-human, we are undergoing a Reverse Turing Test, having to prove that we are human and not machines. However, we can also learn something about the shallowness of deep learning, and about the difficulty of an algorithm to capture the complexities of humanity just by generalizing from data.

Hoffmann, Joanna (Prof. Dr, University of Arts in Poznan, PL);
Joanna Hoffmann

Key words:Big and Small Data, human identity, internet of minds, creativity
How can we find and define accurately beyond biometric parameters our identity within our “infinitively big and infinitely small” (B.Pascal) universe of Big Data? In the 5th Century B.C. Pythagoras introduced the concept of the World Harmony merging micro and macro scales of our World. Which model of reality/identity do we create today in the technology driven world, by the interface between Big and Small data, when today’s Internet of things may turn into tomorrow’s internet of minds?

Holler, Manfred (Prof. Dr, Faculty of Economy and Social Studies, Hamburg University, DE);

Will creativity converge? This “paper” contains a formal model which analysis the interrelationship of creativity, on the one hand, and self-control on the other. The relationship of these two dimensions specifying the selected identity is given by a matrix which represents an Inspection Game (IG). The analysis demonstrates that creativity, though constrained by self-control, does not necessarily converge to the mixed-strategy equilibrium (p*, q*) which characterizes IG. In fact, the measures of self-control and creativity (e.g., p and q, respectively) circle around (p*, q*). The underlying evolutionary process is described by simple replicator functions of the Malthusian type. The model produces a cyclical process with fixed amplitudes. The size of the amplitude depends on the initial conditions and external shocks. Creativity does not converge.

Jeschke, Jonathan (Prof. Dr, Freie Univeristaet, Institute of Biology; Ecological Novelty Research Group, Dark Knowledge Research Group,   Berlin, DE);
Jonathan Jeschke

Identity relates to what we know about ourselves and about others. In the era of Big Data, those analyzing such data know a lot about us, whereas we know little about them.
The era of Big Data thus seems to lead to a concentration of knowledge: some people and organizations (e.g. Google, Facebook, Cambridge Analytica) know a lot, whereas the average knowledge of people in the public decreases rather than increases. Should we call this the “oligopolization of knowledge”?
Those that know a lot seem to become increasingly interested in manipulating identities based on big-data analysis, e.g. for elections. Such manipulations further decrease public knowledge, thus they increase dark knowledge.
At the beginning of the era of Big Data, we were optimistic about the possibilities this era offers. Now, however, the international word of the year is “post-truth” (the German word of the year “postfaktisch”), and the public does not really seem to benefit from Big Data. Is there a way out?

Schaefer, Ralf (Dr, Head of Video Division, Chairman 3IT, Frauenhofer Institute Berlin, DE);

We have involved in the topic “identity”, but more in a technical sense than I a philosophical sense. Identity is gaining more and more important, because we need to identify ourselves for all kind of electronic transactions (e.g. communication, e-banking), to protect our private data (e.g. e-health) or for entering certain spaces (e.g. offices, labs, security areas). In this sense, we work on technologies to identify people. Our work is related to video technology in order to enable the recognition of people even under severe conditions (e.g. lighting, viewing angles). We are even partner in a Berlin-based network “Sichere Identität Berlin-Brandenburg (

Moderated by Dr Lindsay Petley-Ragan

Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity special guests:

Szweykowska-Kulinska, Zofia (Prof.Dr, Head of IBMiB, Faculty of Biology, UAM Poznan

University, Head of KNOW National Center for RNA Research)

Jarmolowski, Artur (Prof. Dr, Vice-dir. IBMiB, FB, UAM National Centre of Sciences)

Wyszko, Eliza ( Prof. Dr, Institut of Epigenetics, Polish Academy of Sciences)

Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity Micro-choreography  workshop

Workshop with Dr David Glowacki, Dr. Basile Curchod and Becca Rose

As part of “Micro-choreography” installation’s premiere at “Elusive Identity” artist Becca Rose, Dr. Basile Curchod and Dr. David Glowacki will lead a workshop exploring how our experiences of constructing tangible physical knots and tangles can inform our attempts to construct virtual molecular knots and tangles. In so doing, we aim to explore questions of how object “identity” transfers from the physical to the virtual.



Capture the Future(s): Evolution II, Elusive Identity