History of transmediale

transmediale was founded in 1988 as VideoFilmFest, a side-project of the Berlin Berlinale’s 'International Forum of New Cinema'. The co-founder and artistic director Micky Kwella intended to offer a platform to electronic media productions not accepted at traditional film festivals such as the Berlinale.


Within the following 20 years, the festival steadily evolved. In 1997/98 it changed its name from 'VideoFest' to 'transmediale' in order to reflect upon the festival’s expanding programme which now embraced a wide spectrum of multimedia-based art forms. In 1999 club transmediale - as of 2011 called CTM - was founded. Focusing primarily on electronic music and club culture, it is organised by a curatorially and financially independent team.


The appointment of Dr. Andreas Broeckmann as the new artistic director in 2001 was followed by a restructuring of transmediale. The festival was relocated to the House of World Cultures and its programme was expanded, which attracted an increasing numbers of visitors. For the first time at transmediale.02, an extensive exhibition was presented to the audience allowing for a spatial experience of media art. Two years later in 2004, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes decided to fund transmediale (alongside the documenta, the Berlin Biennale and others) as what they named 'beacon of contemporary culture'. In 2006, the subtitle of the festival changed from 'international media art festival' to 'festival for art and digital culture', thereby opening up the focus from pure media art to projects where art and technology meet the digital age in everyday life.


Stephen Kovats was appointed as the Artistic Director in 2007. The same year, the transmediale Award was amplified by the Vilém Flusser Theory Award due to a growing number of theoretical and critical works submitted for the competition. In 2008, the 'transmediale parcours' publication series was launched reflecting upon conceptual developments in artistic as well as critical research on media culture against the background of each festival’s theme. In 2010, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes offered to continue their support of the festival until 2017. With transmediale 2011, the festival intrduced the Open Web Award in order to address the growing relationship between net culture and bio-politics.


In April 2011, Kristoffer Gansing was appointed as the new artistic director of the festival. In 2012, the festival celebrated its 25 year anniversary with a programme looking back to the past while redefining what it could be in the future. In this year, The Vilém Flusser Theory Award was transformed into a residency programme for artistic research. The other awards were cancelled in a move to redefine the logic of the festival programming. A new platform called the reSource for transmedial culture was initiated, an all-year platform of distributed projects for transmediale's local and trans-local community.