July 19, 2019 - ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe - Writing the History of the Future. The ZKM Collection
July 19, 2019

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Writing the History of the Future. Graphic: Demian Bern.

Writing the History of the Future. The ZKM Collection
July 20, 2019

Opening: July 19, 6–10pm

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Lorenzstr. 19
76135 Karlsruhe
Germany
Hours: Wednesday–Friday 10am–6pm,
Saturday–Sunday 11am–6pm

T +49 721 81001200
F +49 721 81001139
info@zkm.de

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In the 20th century technical media radically transformed the image. Beginning with the scandal of photography, in which images seemingly generated themselves, media “transformed the entire nature of art” (Walter Benjamin). Photography, film, phonography, radio, television, video, computers, and the Internet have redefined the relationship between artist, work, and viewer as well as our notion of the creative act. The exhibition Writing the History of the Future exemplifies the transformation of art due to the changing apparatus-based technologies of production, reception, and distribution. It also shows how artists anticipate media and social practices that will only become self-evident for society in general years later. As the title of the exhibition says, they write the history of the future.

The thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe is the fitting occasion to retell the history of art in the 20th and 21st centuries with its collection, which is considered one of the most important media art collections in the world. With more than 500 works on display, the exhibition shows for the first time the diversity of the arts in the face of changing media. It includes photography, graphics, painting, and sculpture as well as computer-based works, film, holography, kinetic art, Op Art, sound art, visual poetry, and video art.

Through its perspective that spans all genres and media, Writing the History of the Future opens up a new perspective on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries in an exhibition space measuring over 6,000 m2.

The exhibition Writing the History of the Future evidences how fundamentally devices have changed the relationship to the artwork—both in terms of production and perception. The production of art no longer focuses solely on the artist as subject, but now includes various actors, be they devices or people. Through the development of participative, interactive, and performative arts, from moving images to moving beholders, since the 1960s “open” works have been created that invite exhibition visitors not only to look, but also to act. This era of rapid technological change brought about by electronic and digital information and communication technologies initiated an unprecedented democratization of art and culture.

The presentation of the ZKM collection, which represents a selection from over 9,500 works, is distinguished by its cross-genre staging. It shows the transformation of the genre portrait, the representation of the body, landscape, and architecture from painting to interactive computer installation. It shows the updating of the ancient medium of writing under the conditions of information technology as well as of art as a format for collective and individual memory. Thus the exhibition presents art that is radically contemporaneous—art in which artists reflect on the present using the technical media of their time. It offers a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive overview of the actual development of art in the 20th century beyond painting and sculpture, with various larger and smaller scale installations as well as numerous incunabula of media art.

Writing the History of the Future is not only a collection of objects, it is also an assembly of subjects. Lounges invite you to sit down and talk about what you’ve seen with friends and family, or meet in the Ackerspace for workshops and seminars. In the BÄM Lab, the makerspace of the ZKM, experiments are done together.

The exhibition is a space for experiencing and thinking in which the public is encouraged to contribute to writing the history of the future.

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