17th Pictoplasma Festival

Exhibition, films, conference, workshops

The 17th Pictoplasma Festival highlights artists with a cause

The first summer edition of the Pictoplasma Festivals takes fully place at Silent Green. The festival will take a deeper look at how artists and designers use characters and figurative aesthetics to enhance diversity, reclaim visibility and fight for representation. How can visibility and diversity inform the everyday practice of illustrators and designers? In 2021, can any work be immune to political questions? As many artists use their voice to speak for equality, support minorities, propagate an inclusive attitude or encourage political activism, the festival will lead the discussion about the special role characters can play in visual discourse thanks to their pronounced visibility and hyper-empathic quality.

14 artists show their work at transmediale Studio, among them Baphoboy (TH), whose often fixedly ‘smiling’ characters engaged in sexualized, ultra-violent scenes hold a mirror up to Thailand’s elite. Loulou João (BE) and Aurélia Durand (FR) each shine a different light on the representation of Blackness, and Luzia Kwiatkowska (PL) uses her illustration to raise awareness for climate change. Esra Gülmen (TR) is one of the most prominent illustrators in German advertising, her personal work is a strong reflection on cultural identity. The tour will conclude in the Cupola, where the #CharacterFlags, the outcome of a recent call for entries via Pictoplasma, will be raised. The outside premises of Silent Green host an open-air stage where focused conversations between the exhibiting artists and other guests will take place. They will share their concepts and motivation for creating and reflect on what brought them to character design as their genre of expression. The summer stage will also host open-air screenings, beginning each evening at sunset, allowing us to revisit the official festival selection of 2020 that was doomed to be streamed-only to all our home devices. Following the outdoor screenings, more films will be screened at Betonhalle every night at 21:30. The programme includes the German premiere of the documentary feature Feels Good Man (USA 2020), about artist Matt Furie and his fight to rescue his indie comic character Pepe the Frog from its appropriation as an unwitting icon of hate. Matt Furie himself will be present for a Q&A. Saturday features a new edition of legendary short film selection Psychedelic Midnight Mix and Sunday more shorts with the Best of Pictoplasma 2021.

The exhibition and the programme at the summer stage are free, but please register in advance for the exhibition.

August 26–29
Betonhalle, Kuppelhalle, Wiese