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Utopia Kulturforum: Media Art at the Kunstgewerbemuseum from 28 October 2021


As part of the collaborative project The Kulturforum as Utopia, two media art interventions, Bee Prepared and I See You, are being displayed on the façade of the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) from 28 October to 21 November 2021, in the evenings from  5 to 9 pm.

What might the Kulturforum look like in the future? In two media art interventions, Dumei Lu, Wenjia Wang, Jiaqiang Guo, Frederik Staut, and Oliver Braese explore the utopian potential of a society in harmony with nature as well as the dystopian forces in a world governed by artificial intelligence (AI). The projections, specially designed for the Kunstgewerbemuseum’s façades, were created during a semester project on the subject of the Kulturforum as Utopia at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar (HBKsaar) in Saarbrücken (Saarland). An external jury selected the finalists.

Bee Prepared

Concept & Statement: Frederick Staut and Oliver Braese

Question: Which society has functioned since time immemorial and is also always in harmony with nature?  The bees, of course! These insects survive through nature, and nature continues to exist thanks to their vital work for all concerned. To illustrate this, numerous plants are now reclaiming the Kunstgewerbemuseum’s façades as of November 2021 to provide the bees with the sustenance they need to survive and flourish. After initially scouting out the surroundings, the bees slowly gain confidence and fly in swarms to the façades’ unusual greenery.

Will We Survive Our Current Lifestyle?

The bees have survived. Will we survive our current lifestyle? This is the question being projected onto the façade. We are making things difficult for the bees through our everyday use of pesticides intended solely to increase yields and ensure our survival. The inherent criticism is obvious – we must live in harmony with nature, rather than relentlessly exploiting it. We have the bees to thank for the fact that the lights haven’t yet gone out here in Germany. Is it utopian to believe in a compromise between humankind and nature? The time has come to make society aware of this interdependence, to impress upon people the importance of this question, and to stop ignoring the ticking clock – because it is nearing midnight. Bees can serve as an analogy for a society as it should be.

I See You

Concept & Statement: Dumei Lu, Wenjia Wang and Jiaqiang Guo

Smart objects surround us in daily life. People enjoy the convenience of computers, cell phones, the Internet of Things, etc. and are enthralled by the beautiful utopia being promised by emerging technologies. Yet it comes at the cost of individual privacy. Big Data mines personal information and weaves it into cocoons enveloping the user. With the further development of AI, the future may also bring the capture of human memories, thinking and emotions.

A Critical Look at Digital Life

I See You takes a critical look at the digital age. Although we certainly enjoy our comfortable lifestyles, it is also important to protect our personal data. True utopia has not only to do with a world of material convenience but, above all, with a virtual world based on data security.

The Semester Project The Kulturforum as Utopia

The semester project The Kulturforum as Utopia at the HBKsaar was initiated by Claudia Banz, curator of design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum and realised by Mark Braun, professor of Product Design, and Burghard Detzler, professor of Media Architecture & Interactive Media, as part of the German Design Graduates exhibition.

A jury of experts headed by Claudia Banz, Ineke Hans, Katrin Krupka and Hermann August Weizenegger selected Bee Prepared and I See You from numerous semester project submissions. The project and façade projections were implemented by the team of Florian Penner and Alexander Wöhler with Ingo Wendt, Mert Akbal and Thorsten Müller.