Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna - venue for Netmage 11


Netmage is a three-day International Live-Media festival held every year in Palazzo Re Enzo, Piazza Nettuno,Bologna.

This is a handsome 13th century palace in which the bank of laptops and projectors make a stark, yet stylish, contrast with the chandeliers and faded murals.

This year is the third year running I have been to this event.

I was there for the final day – Saturday 22nd January – where the program was as follows:

  • Ries Straver (NL) /Adam Liever (SA) – Loffa
  • Thomas Köner/Jürgen Reble (D) – Camera Obscura
  • Home Movies/In Zaire (I) – Paper Maché
  • Luke Fowler/Keith Rowe/Peter Todd (UK)  – The Room
  • Prince Rama (USA) – I want my life back

Rather than make one long review I will be giving my thoughts and impressions of each of these in separate posts.

By way of introduction, this post gives an overview of the Netmage philosophy and aims.

The best source for information about the 11th edition of Netmage is in the festival programme although, clarity is not the keynote here. On top of this, English readers also have to contend with some very dodgy translations from the Italian original. Here is a sample from the introduction:
“What remains, after a decade exploring the unique constellations, the thickening and blending of the geography of sounds and moving images; after wandering through the wakes of performativity (sic), following ancient procedures of a floating audiovisual region in the edges of systems and disciplines?”

What indeed?

Essentially, you might just about be able to gather from this that Netmage offers a creative space for talented individuals working in the field of music and multimedia. But you should also realise that , at he same time, it also provides a platform for some seriously pretentious wankery.

Beneath the poncy language, the idea of Netmage is a valid one in that it sees its role as “questioning the status of the image in the age of web culture”. In view of the information overload everyone is now routinely subjected to, it offers the possibility of some alternative (and, ideally, subversive) perspectives.

But, make what you will of this list of this year’s festival contents (which are bad translations but actually sound equally ridiculous in the original) :

  • mushy shrubberies with glacial silences
  • tumultuous bundles with whip cracks
  • amused clings, punches and knocks
  • whimsical audio-visual performances
  • sequences of pure light and sound
  • devastated post-television
  • slushes and synesthetic suprematist (sic/sic) blusters
  • excursions on the vernacular tradition of Carnival
  • incursions on the never-exhausted architecture of hotel rooms

Don’t touch that dial – read here  if Netmage fulfilled its aims this year……………………