The motto for the first re:publica in 2007 was “Life in the net”.
Web 2.0 as an interactive participatory network was still in its infancy. It was a circle of people who came together for the first re:publica were a cross-section of those first net-citizens who populated the web driven almost solely by a non-professional impetus. In doing so, they had created an alternative living space and thereby proven that real life can exist in the non-physical world.
Ten years later, the internet, and especially the social media channels have shifted from a niche to a mass medium: In June 2017, Facebook alone was able to thank its 30 million active users in Germany – more than a third of the country’s population.
In 2017, the internet is a medium of mass communication and a hyper-commercialised shopping space, an El Dorado for influencers of all shapes and sizes, a huge instrument of propaganda, a gigantic playground.
The pop art of the 1950s reacted to the surrounding age of substitutability, excess and lack of identity, by taking the mundane and elevating it to art. With its POP motto, re:publica 2018 is reacting to a similar zeitgeist in our day. The 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol’s predicted decades ago has finally manifested itself in the digital age. We’ll therefore be wading into the mainstream of digital pop culture, getting to know it better, while also helping the diversity and wealth of the web gain larger popularity.
We want to pop the filter bubbles, step out into the public and make net culture and politics tangible for everyone.
In the same way that the pop art movement took culture out of the museums and galleries and carried it into public spaces, re:publica 2018 will also be moving out into the city, taking place in unexpected sites and spaces while keeping the STATION Berlin as our central location.
POP is an opening-up and an invitation and, because of that, it’s going to be more colourful, more open to discussion and more danceable than ever before!
Tanja Haeusler, Co-founder re:publica