VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future

VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future

MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna

Vincent Fournier, Reem B #7 [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010. Photographic ink jet print, 100 x 130 cm. © Vincent Fournier, 2016

May 5, 2017
Robots. Work. Our Future
June 21–October 1, 2017
Preview: June 20, 12–3pm
Opening: June 20, 5:30pm–1am
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The VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future (June 21 to October 1, 2017) turns the spotlight on the potential of art, design, and architecture to contribute to a humanely motivated digital age. Artificial intelligence, automated worlds of work, the internet of things, limitless digital communication, the transparent society, the new individualism: turbocharged digitalization is rapidly turning our (work) lives upside down. Yet who is making the best for humans out of this digital, technology- and economy-driven revolution?

The arts have a crucial role to play in instilling digitalization with aesthetic and humane values: technological achievements influence our life plans down to the last detail, liberating and controlling us at the same time. Lifelong learning and meaningful work thus must be viewed as essential cultural tools for the future of civilization. The prerequisite for this is digital literacy, which raises the question of agency. Society must become aware of its opportunities to shape the permanent digital revolution and its responsibilities in this regard.

At various exhibition sites throughout the city, the VIENNA BIENNALE 2017 brings together about 300 designers, architects, fine artists and other participants who—through speculative and utopian (or dystopian) as well as practical and promising scenarios—draw a complex picture of the future digital world. The VIENNA BIENNALE focuses primarily on just how fundamental work is for our lives, our prosperity, and our well-being, as well as on the opportunities and concerns associated with robotics and automation. The exhibitions outline a positive yet critical narrative by examining the crucial role of design, architecture, and art as key disciplines in transforming our relationship with technology, and by addressing  ethical and political questions arising from the ever growing dominance of digital technologies. The VIENNA BIENNALE 2017 thus sketches a prospect of new fields of human labor and opens the discourse on key dimensions of a new humanism in the digital era.

The VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future is initiated by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, General Director of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, and realized by MAK, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien, Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna Business Agency, with the support of AIT Austrian Institute of Technology as research partner.

Curators of the VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future
Anne Faucheret (Curator, Kunsthalle Wien), Angelika Fitz (Curator, Director, Architekturzentrum Wien), Anab Jain (Co-founder and Director, Superflux, London; o. Univ.-Prof., University of Applied Arts Vienna), Amelie Klein (Curator, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein), Elke Krasny (Curator, Professor of Art and Education, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) Marlies Wirth (Curator, Digital Culture and Design Collection, MAK), IDRV – Institute of Design Research Vienna  (Harald Gruendl and Ulrike Haele, together with Martina Fineder)


Exhibitions and projects VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Robots. Work. Our Future

Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine
An exhibition of the MAK, the Vitra Design Museum, and the Design museum Gent

Artificial Tears. Singularity & Humanness—A Speculation
An exhibition at the MAK

ich weiß nicht—Growing Relations between Things
An exhibition at the MAK

How will we work?
An exhibition by the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Work it, feel it!
An exhibition at the Kunsthalle Wien

Care + Repair
A public workspace of the Architekturzentrum Wien

StadtFabrik ­[City factory]
Demonstrators and exhibition CityFactory: New Work. New Design.
A project by the Vienna Business Agency and the MAK

What do we want? Dimensions of a New Digital Humanism
The Vienna Biennale Circle’s Exhibition Manifesto

LeveL—the fragile balance of utopia
A mischer’traxler studio installation at the MAK

A presentation by the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna


Detailed information on each project and complete list of artists:

Press information:
press [​at​]

General information:
office [​at​]


Digital Content Partner
T-Mobile Austria

Project Sponsors
Climate and Energy Fund 
TU Wien



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MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna
May 5, 2017

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