This spring, the Pictoplasma Festival returns to Berlin to present an all-new selection of trailblazing, trendsetting character design and art. Now in its 19th edition, the festival returns to its favourite time of the year (May), a calendar fixture that the pandemic threw off course for a couple of years. This year's programme zooms in on 'character intelligence' and thus picks up on the current discussion about artificial intelligence – above all, its importance for the creative industries when every image seems to beone prompt away. At the central conference, the concerns of the artist community will be discussed by an international audience. For public visitors, the festival will showcase artists who have succeeded in creatively integrating AI into their multimedia process, and offers many different approaches to contemporary character design and art: exhibitions, film programmes, a games lab, and a central character market and open house on the final day.
Group shows present works by international artists, many of whom are exhibiting their work in Berlin for the first time. At silent green – the home of Pictoplasma – installations and murals can be found throughout the complex, and a showcase of games and media art are on display at the transmediale studio.
On the two exterior gates, Daan Botlek (NL) and Catarina Glam (PT) leave their permanent marks with stunning murals – the first with his signature pictogram characters, the other with geometrically fragmented and reconfigured animal characters. On the ramp down to Betonhalle, Cabeza Patata (ES/UK) have taken over the smokers’ lounge and feature Mekanika, a miniature band mixing complex robotics with detailed craft and puppetry on a stage that features a full music set, lights display and smoke machine; fully interactive so the audience can be the puppet-masters. Further down, One Bum Cinema (UK) presents a special selection of character animation of any length up to 2 minutes – it’s one visitor at a time, and no screening is like the other.
The transmediale studio inside silent green hosts this year’s showcase of media works, including VR sculpted characters by YONK Studio (NL), a mix of AI and 3D generated works by Johana Kroft (US/CZ) and Chris Hoffmann (NL), and Greg – the virtual character of filmmaker Will Anderson (UK). Part of the exhibition at trans-mediale studio is a Games Lab curated in collaboration with A MAZE., Berlin’s international Games and Playful Media Festival. It features four games as playable versions and highlights the genesis, inspiration and concept of their character design: the skateboarding game OlliOlli World (2022), the surreal, dark experience à la David Lynch, Tux and Fanny (2021), the multiplayer classic Gang Beast (2017) by Boneloaf Ltd. (UK) and a playable demo of the forthcoming Flock by Hollow Ponds (UK), featuring a human character sitting on a birdlike creature flying through marvellous landscapes and luring other creatures in to fly along. The Games Lab will also be part of the next edition of A MAZE., immediately following Pictoplasma at silent green on May 10–13.
More about Pictoplasma's exhibitions
Wednesday, May 3 – Sunday, May 7
Betonhalle, transmediale Studio
3.–5.5., 3–8 pm / 6.+7.5., 12 am–8 pm