Karlsruhe considers itself a sustainably developing “Digitally Connected City of Media Arts” on a local and global level.

In the coming years, the city will implement a number of newly conceived projects and further develop existing formats accordingly.


1. Media Art in Public Urban Spaces

In collaboration with local key players of civil society in digital culture and education, the Seasons of Media Arts festival will take place annually from 2019 on. Supported by the City and managed by ZKM, the festival will unfold in various districts of the city. Media installations and public programs engage with open access to data and the development of a “Digitally Connected City” in which digital self-determination of citizens is in the foreground. The festival critically reflects on new technologies and participates with people in the city in further developing an open, technologically informed society. The aim is the promotion of digital participation and inclusive lifelong learning and thus the strengthening of the city’s civil society structures. This enables the continuation of the participatory concepts of Open Codes in the urban space.

The City of Karlsruhe intends to continue the open-air media arts festival Schlosslichtspiele. An exchange program with other projection mapping festivals and media artists from abroad is planned.

The City will promote media art as part of new municipal architecture and sustainable urban development. To prepare for this, a symposium on the relevance of media art within public space is planned.

2. Promotion of Innovative, Collaborative and Networked Media Art Projects with a New Municipal Fund

Over the next four years (2020-2023), the City will promote local media art projects under the aspect of sustainability and digitally connected citizenship. For example, the funding could go to artists working in the field of digitization and civil rights, to collaborations of artists with the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, the HfG and the Majolika Manufaktur to further develop 3D printers for artistic ceramics or to a film and event series by the Kinemathek on post-humanism. In addition, interdisciplinary projects such as the integration of dance and media arts shall be supported.

3. Urban Development through Cultural and Creative Industries

As a crosscutting measure, it is planned to give a further boost to cultural and creative industries. The conversion of the Alter Schlachthof into a creative park will be continued by creating further working spaces for creative and cultural workers, including media artists. Upcoming projects include the House of Productions, a building extension for the Perfekt Futur start-up centre, which is very much in demand, and the construction of a new creative business centre. This provides space not only for the foundation and consolidation of companies, but also for establishing companies in the creative industries. The support and advice provided by the municipal K³ Office will be expanded accordingly. By creating the infrastructure for artistic and creative work, a new and attractive district is developing as a meeting place for the city’s inhabitants.

4. Expansion of the ZKM’s International Collaboration Network

The ZKM would like to expand its worldwide collaboration activities to UNESCO Creative Cities and also learn about the perspectives and experiences of international partners.

In close collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and international media art players, taking local interests into account, the ZKM will make the Open Codes project available. International satellite exhibitions are planned in various Creative Cities including Berlin, Shanghai, Bilbao, Shenzhen, Gwangju and Seoul. Art in Motion. 100 Masterpieces with and through media will be shown in Beijing and most likely in Bogota and ZKM’s renowned video game exhibition, zkm_gameplay, in Barcelona.

With special expertise in the field of the conservation of media art, its Laboratory for Antiquated Video Systems and the Hertz-Lab, the ZKM offers international Partners exchange of knowledge, experience and scientific and scholarly work on media art in the fields of conservation, restoration, digitization and artistic production. With its strategic collaborative partnership with the HONG Media Art Collection in China, the ZKM is currently contributing to international research on and preservation of media art by building up a joint collection.

5. Intensification of International Networking, Exchange and Collaboration

The City of Karlsruhe will set up a special fund for international networking activities. For the period 2020–2023, the aim of this support is to intensify international networking, exchange and collaboration between the network partners in the field of media art and open-source initiatives. With the annual Seasons of Media Arts festival, Karlsruhe will create a dialogue with the network cities and aims to invite artists, scientists and digital activists. This includes the establishment and expansion of collaborative relationships with institutions and artists in UNESCO Cities of Media Arts as well as providing travel grants for artists, cultural workers and hackers from Karlsruhe. This fund will also support residencies for politically persecuted media artists.

6. Collaboration and Exchange with Partners from Countries of the Global South

The media art scene in Karlsruhe will specifically establish and strengthen contacts in the field of media art with actors and institutions from countries in the Global South. Thus, it is planned to intensify the exchange between Independent Days – International Filmfest and the Ngalabi Film Festival in Kampala. The Karlsruhe Art Academy Karlsruhe is strengthening artistic exchange on the north–south axis through collaboration with partner universities in Burkina Faso and Ghana. The ZKM will continue to expand its existing collaborative relations with Africa, Asia and Latin America.