As an economic term, “face value” is used to describe a value that does not change—one that is not affected by market fluctuations but is necessary to estimate capital accumulation. It is associated with money, real estate, and debt—in a period in which financialization affects all sectors of society, the term invokes the politics of life itself. Today’s prolonged precariousness, corporate authoritarianism, and use of racialized technologies show that people are valued or devalued based on their social, cultural, and economic differences. The value of the face, of a nation, of a “race” or gender is highlighted within the populist and xenophobic rhetoric of far-right groups and parties amidst tautologies and simplifications, memes and trolls.
The conference of transmediale 2018 uses face value as a point of departure to address the crisis of politics, values, and meanings in today’s economized world. It examines the long-established relations between capitalism and racism, as well as neoliberalism and fascism, shedding light on the role of contemporary media in their current alarming formations. It considers how biases and forms of discrimination are enhanced within algorithmic culture, and looks into the processes of value creation that are involved in the circulation, filtering, and categorization of information. Studying the ways in which violence and hatred are now amplified in the mediasphere, the conference program challenges the affordances of communication technologies, underlines the power of language, and discusses how constructed differences allow capitalism to operate.
Within this context, transmediale 2018 invites its speakers to explore related processes and phenomena, to reflect upon recurrent forms of complicity, and to look into the potential of new shared territories and forms of coalition. Black radical thought, critical race and feminist theory, decolonial methodologies, and anti-capitalist strategies are at the foreground of the conference program, pointing towards a new politics beyond artificial constraints and borders.