Annual program 2020

Annual program 2020

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

Archive of Refuge. On location. © HKW/2020.

January 29, 2020
Annual program 2020
Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

T +49 30 397870
F +49 30 3948679
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In 2020, HKW will intensify its examination of the pressing issues of the present and their historical conditions.

In the 1920s, the scholar of art and culture Aby Warburg (1866–1929) created his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne tracing recurring visual themes, gestures and patterns across time, from antiquity to the Renaissance and beyond to contemporary culture. At HKW all 63 panels of the Atlas will be recovered for the first time from Warburg’s original images. Fascinated by the technical innovations of his time, the art and cultural historian Aby Warburg not only made a fundamental contribution to today’s image and media sciences with his picture atlas almost a century ago but also provided early patterns and visual techniques for the digital world of today.

After the one-year field research project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River, which ended in November 2019 with a campus in New Orleans, this year the Anthropocene Curriculum will turn to practical contexts in the complex interplay of humans, nature and technology. The campus format in autumn 2020 will open up an experimental learning space entitled The Shape of a Practice with the aim of, among other things, investigating how (digital) infrastructures and tools can serve as practices for the mutual and shared production of knowledge.

In early summer 2020 HKW will realize the exhibition An Archaeology of Sound with Umashankar Manthravadi. Curated by Nida Ghouse and bringing together writers, dancers, musicians, and recordists, the exhibition is conceived as a multiauthored staging of sound objects, composed using archival material and on-site recordings. All politics and social practices are a continuation of music by other means. In late August, Nicolas Bussmann invites visitors to participate in his multi-layered experiments in societal composition, ritual and polyphony. The spherical music of Kosmoskop consists of revolutionary songs read out via pattern recognition and machine translated back on grand piano. 

HKW will set a further thematic focus this autumn with the research and exhibition project Education Shock. Learning, Politics and Architecture in the 1960s and 1970s, the participatory project Education in Concrete and the third edition of the successful Schools of Tomorrow format in collaboration with ten Berlin schools. With the Autumn of Education, HKW will attend to research the diversity of historical and current constellations of learning spaces and knowledge architectures in the global 1960s and 1970s. It also expects to stimulate speculative thinking about tomorrow’s learning. The 1957 Sputnik crisis was followed by an explosion of education and a brief period of experimentation. Today, the focus is not only on grasping the limited nature of Western ideas on education and the global interdependencies of this past educational expansion, but the questions about future forms of education, learning environments and knowledge transfer are being posed once again quite fundamentally in light of current transformations.

Based on the knowledge that experiences of loss and new beginnings, departure and arrival and life in transition are fundamental for German post-war history, the project Archive of Refuge creates a space for largely unheard oral histories. In what forms can contemporary society grapple with the multi-layered and diverse stories of migration experiences that shape it? What possibilities for creating a vibrant and detailed archive do the personal experiences of refugees and migrants offer? The Archive of Refuge is both a digital place of memory and an inquiry into the self-image of German society.

The Wassermusik festival has been a fixture in Berlin’s open-air season for over ten years. In 2020, the Mississippi sets the beat. The river that crosses the United States from north to south, on whose banks people settled a thousand years ago, traffic artery for plantation management and slavery, prime example of an Anthropocene landscape, the Mississippi is also the cradle of American music: Jazz and funk originated in New Orleans, the blues in its delta, rock ’n’ roll in Memphis. The festival will present the entire spectrum of Mississippi music: jazz, funk, blues, Cajun, zydeco, R&B, folk, bluegrass and mixed old and new forms like bounce and trailer trap.


Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.
The New Alphabet (2019-2021), supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
Anthropocene Curriculum (since 2013), an international long-term project for experimental forms of Anthropocene research and education, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
Archive of Refuge is a project by Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The online archive and the production of the filmed interviews is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. 

Press contact:
Anne Maier, Haus der Kulturen der Welt
T +49 (0)30 397 87 153 / anne.maier [​at​]

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