The media art festival “Seasons of Media Arts – Connected Future” presents art at various locations in the city’s public spaces. Light installations, projections on the facades of buildings, in shop windows, sound installations, and augmented reality applications will turn Karlsruhe’s urban environment into a stage for creative and networked media art.
A speacial edition of the Seasons of Media Arts festival during the Karlsruher Kultursommer in 2021 gives local artists the opportunity to present their media artworks at various locations in the city’s public spaces. Light installations, projections on the facades of buildings, in shop windows, sound installations, and augmented reality applications will turn Karlsruhe’s urban environment into a stage for digital, interactive, and virtual media art during the Seasons of Media Arts. For four weeks — from 17 September to 17 October 2021 — a special focus will be on works by Karlsruhe artists who as a consequence of the pandemic have worked under very challenging conditions during the last months and suffered considerable financial losses because they were unable to exhibit their work.
After the long months of lockdown and juggling between virtual and analogue spaces, the title Connected Future should be understood in a twofold sense: on the one hand, it refers to the utilization of digital technologies that enable communication and encounters as well as experiencing art at a distance — a phenomenon that since last year, we have been dealing with in unprecedented intensity and ubiquity. On the other hand, the title refers to the unchanging need for direct physical proximity and social interaction that can still be felt everywhere. Loneliness and isolation have been revealed as the downside of the universal digital communication channels, which goes hand in hand with the constant availability of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. In their frequently software-based artworks, artists who work at the interface of art and technology demonstrate a heightened awareness of the social dynamics that accompany digitization.
Speaking the universal language of art, today’s media art not only depicts the sweeping technological transformations that characterize our present-day, but also the societal and cultural seismic shifts that mark the transition from a proximate, physically based society to a distanced, telematic society.
This festival, which was designed by the ZKM | Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe’s Department of Cultural Affairs, features artworks supported by the UNESCO funding program of the City of Karlsruhe for promoting the media arts that engage with many issues of social relevance and explore how today, through networking and exchanges — whether digital, global, or local — strategies can be designed for shaping the future. During Seasons of Media Arts, the urban environment can be explored creatively via sound, imaginary worlds generated interactively, and the complex relations between humans and nature rethought immersively.
The largely redesigned works deal both critically and playfully with various social, media and ecological challenges that shape the present day to a great extent. The spectrum of topics ranges from the unrestrained consumption of resources, the careless handling of our digital tracks in the network to filter bubbles and echo chambers, surveillance technologies and augmented reality. The artistic works give unusual insights into the world of tomorrow.
Relatively irrespective of the fluctuating number of COVID cases, the presentation of the artworks in the open air enables an art experience in compliance with the pandemic rules and regulations. Further to and following on from the Light Art Festival Karlsruhe and the Schlosslichtspiele, which took place this year spread out around the city, Seasons of Media Arts invites its guests to rediscover Karlsruhe through the prism of media and light art.
Susanne Asche and Peter Weibel
Project team at the ZKM:
Philipp Ziegler (Management) I Jessica Menger (Project Coordination) I Jan Gerigk (technical supervision) I Tatjana Borodin (Assistance)
Project team at the Karlsruhe Department of Cultural Affairs:
Anastasia Ziegler (Management) IBlanca Giménez I Claudia Lahn IAngela Hartmann-Eckstein
Jury of the UNESCO funding program for media art:
Susanne Asche, head of the Karlsruhe Department of Cultural Affairs (chair); Michael Bielicky, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG); Anja Casser, director, Baden Art Association; Martin Wacker, director, Karlsruhe Marketing and Event Ltd. (KME); Anastasia Ziegler, executive coordinator, UNESCO City of Media Arts, Karlsruhe Department of Cultural Affairs; Philipp Ziegler, director, Curatorial Department, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.
Participating artists and contributors:
Sarah Degenhardt I Paris Díaz I Sarai Rose Duke I Holger Förterer I Eva Judkins I Jia Liu I Rainer Kehres I Alexander Liebrich I Christian Lölkes I Didi Müller I Gerardo Nolasco-Rózsás I João Carlos Pinto I PONG Li.Studios I Marie Sester I Andreas Siefert I Peter Weibel I Dan Wilcox I Marco Zampella