re:view – re:publica: More Love!
It’s Monday morning, 8 May 2017. There’s an air of excitement in front of the mainstage in the STATION-Berlin at Gleisdreieck in Berlin. On the screens besides the stage, people can be seen sawing, hammering and painting – white on red. The place is buzzing with people at work. Music begins to play, electronic noise, lights sweep through the hall. It feels like it’s the middle of the night and we’re at a party. The rows of seats are all packed full and the participants are looking forward to the coming three days full of media input and interesting encounters. A look back at the re:publica track.
Letters are projected onto the screen behind the stage: “re:publica” appears in white writing – with this year’s motto: “Love Out Loud”. The background is bright and colourful: yellow, pink and blue. The aim: Unite people, organisations and projects in their determination to work against hatred, violence and injustice, and to help shine a light into the dark corners of our digital society. In doing so, we help prevent the individuals and their causes from sinking into the obscurity of the vast digital ocean and enable people to fly their flags, to discuss, to spark curiosity, and to be open and empathetic. Right now, for the three event days, and beyond the boundaries of the re:publica.
“I see this as a realistic motto, as a call for digital civic courage”, stated Johnny Haeusler, one of the founders of the conference. “If we want the web to reflect the diversity of humanity, then we have to work towards that, then we need to get loud.”
And re:publica 2017 definitely got loud. With 1,030 speakers from 67 different countries. In the 525 sessions in 20 different tracks. And, of course, with a comprehensive supporting programme to guarantee a smooth return to the here and now after a day full of sessions, talks and discussions.
As always, the re:publica had a lot on offer: ranging from interactive installations to excursions into virtual reality. From effective workouts in “Ideogging” to the individual personalisation of #rp17.
For example, with the #LOLreposter and the help of illustrators Marius Wenker and Sven Gerhardt, you could become part of the exhibit in the main hall by tweeting your own slogan for the event or just a little bit of #LOVE to @republica. Or you could just lean back, close your eyes and let yourself be carried away by the sounds of the singer-songwriter Michelle Daly.
The evening saw re:publica provide the perfect after work atmosphere with the indie-pop of Yalta Club. The visitors were then able to round out the day with the sounds of DJ Andreas Athineos or a little Power Point Karaoke.
By Wednesday evening, it was once again time to say good-bye. But there’s more: either in Dublin, Thessaloniki or in the next year. With Judith Holofernes singing on Stage 3, we ourselves said: Goodbye, re:publica 2017! See you next year! Until then, to quote Tanja Haeusler, “we won’t be surrendering the world, not even the virtual world, to the assholes out there”. So: Let’s Love Out Loud!
by Ivy Nortey (EJS)