Open Codes in Berlin

02. October 2019 — 17. October 2019

© Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Foto: Akshay Sawant

We live in a world that is generated, controlled and regulated by data. Digital codes are the access to this world, they determine how we perceive our environment and have a profound impact on all areas of our lives – economy and society, politics and justice.

The exhibition and educational project Open Codes, which attracted more than 200,000 visitors to the ZKM | Karlsruhe from October 2017 to June 2019, opens on October 1, 2019 in Berlin, in the Baden-Württemberg State Representation. The travel version of the exhibition presented by the ZKM focuses on technological advances in Baden-Württemberg.

Many important technical developments in the field of computer science have taken place in Baden-Württemberg, from the completion of the calculating machine by Philipp Matthäus Hahn in 1774 in Kornwestheim to the invention of the Learning Matrix by Stuttgart computer science pioneer Karl Steinbuch in 1969, which was one of the first technical realizations for adaptive systems. In the exhibition, the interactive augmented reality installation Genealogy of the Digital Code provides an overview of important milestones in computer technology from 1800 to the present day. On iPads, videos can be accessed in which, for example, the development of the binary code, early calculating machines, the first neural network – and, of course, the reception of the first e-mail in Germany at Karlsruhe University can be experienced. In addition to this installation, numerous works will be shown that deal with the social and cultural effects of current technologies. In the installation YOU:R:CODE, for example, visitors experience different kinds of digital transformations of themselves, in which their own mirror image is increasingly transformed into a digital data body. The two films 3/78 (Objects and Transformations) and Calculated Movement by the artist Larry Cuba show exciting experiments of the 1970s and 1980s on the visual perception of movement and mathematical structures.

Open Codes is more than an exhibition: the project also sees itself as an experimental space for creative encounters, in which knowledge production takes place to understand our artificial, man-made data world. Open Codes in the Baden-Württemberg State Representation is an attempt to deal with today’s realities and to reflect on the current social effects that this digital data world brings with it.

The exhibition is complemented by a rich program of lectures, workshops and film screenings. We invite visitors to experience the exhibition space as a space for thinking, cooperation and meeting, as a new form of gathering and exchange for the acquisition of knowledge and cooperation. Open Codes aims to show perspectives and lines of development for the future in order to better understand the world in which we live.

Parallel to the exhibition in the Baden-Württemberg State Representation, Open Codes will take place from July 20 to October 7, 2019 at the Chronus Art Center in Shanghai, China. From October 23, 2019 to January 26, 2020 Open Codes will be shown at Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain.


More about the exhibition Open Codes


Vertretung des Landes Baden-Württemberg beim Bund, Berlin
Tiergartenstraße 15
10785 Berlin