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FESTIVAL: DRIVING THE HUMAN

A catalyst for experimentation, shaping sustainable and collective futures that combine science, technology, and the arts in a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach.

From 2020 to 2023, the scientific and artistic collaboration Driving the Human develops and produces seven tangible prototypes responding to complex contemporary scenarios. The project is jointly led by four partner institutions – acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe – and relies on the expert knowledge and skills of their combined networks. Together, these partners will work to enrich the various developments and outcomes of the initiative.

Following its first public presentation in November 2020, Driving the Human will launch an open call, inviting several participants – designers, artists and other multidisciplinary agents – to engage with these knowledge networks and multidisciplinary know-how, in order to develop future-proof concepts and test them as prototypes. The seven final prototypes can materialize in different ways: from walk-in room installations to designed objects, architectural mock-ups to interactive games, video works to performances, and many others.
 

DtH OpeningFestival

 
Throughout 2023, the community of participants, experts, and the larger audience that Driving the Human brings together will explore diverse phenomena such as the social impact of global warming, energy cycles and technology-driven disruptions, the impact of collective decision making, and contemporary processes of exchanging values and objects.

The results of these explorations will be shared and communicated over the project’s three-year duration, and will deploy strategies for action in the form of physical experiences, with a strong individual and collective impact. Ultimately, they will create tools that enable new ways of envisioning and inhabiting the world.

The Opening Festival will be broadcast online on the Driving the Human website, the ZKM Livestream, and the HfG Graduation Studio platform.

From Friday, November 20, at 6.30pm CET, until the evening of Sunday, November 22, the Opening Festival will be broadcast online on the Driving the Human website, the ZKM Livestream, and the HfG Graduation Studio platform.

The audience is invited to actively participate in the live discussions through the Driving the Human Telegram group, connecting and collecting ideas and asking questions to the panelists and participants. Following a kick-off program on Friday evening, the programming over the course of the weekend is organized thematically, exploring topics such as (Non-)Human, Habitat, Economy, Technology, Knowledge, and Access.


DtH imagefilm 4

 
(All times in CET)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20

6.30 PM
Welcome and Introduction to the Program
Barbara Kiolbassa (art mediator), Julien McHardy (researcher, curator)

6.45 PM
Welcome
Jan Boelen (rector of Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design) and Peter Weibel (CEO of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe)

6.55 PM
Music and Visuals
Alba G. Corral and Tutu

7 PM
Presentation of the Exhibition Critical Zones at the ZKM
Daria Mille (curator at ZKM)

7.15 PM
Project Presentation of the Bio Design Lab at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design
Lisa Ertel, Ina Grabosch, Julia Ihls, Anne-Sophie Oberkrome (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design alumni and students)

7.30 PM
What are the urgencies of our times?

7.45 PM
Statement and Performance
Vivien Tauchmann, Self-As-Other-Training: Smartphone (1)

8 PM
Project Presentation
Hans Ulrich Obrist, IT’S URGENT!

8.35 PM
Film Screening
Melanie Bonajo, TouchMETell, 2019, HD video film, 25 min, installation in collaboration with Théo Demans (film still)
Courtesy the artist & AKINCI

9 PM
Music and Visuals
Alba G. Corral and Tutu

 

DtH imagefilm 1

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21

11 AM – 12 PM
Close-Up | Workshop
THERE ARE BIOCOMPOSITES GROWING IN MY GARDEN
Kim André Lange, Bio Design Lab
Assignments and Q&A via Instagram @biodesignlab_hfgk

3 PM
Welcome and Introduction to the Program
Barbara Kiolbassa (art mediator ZKM), Julien McHardy (researcher, curator)

Section 1: (NON-)HUMAN
What is human? Have we ever been human?
Until now, the categorization of the world has always been based on the human perspective. From the observation of subatomic elements to the examination of the whole universe, being is categorized through the human lens. However, the world is not as abstract as human divisions suggest, for example, humans and animals, culture and nature, organic and non-organic. In fact, we are deeply interconnected with other-than-human lifeforms, with non-living matter as part of biochemical processes or other entities that shape life on this planet. This panel thinks beyond traditional categories and embraces the complexities of the (Non-)Human by exploring posthumanism, transhumanism, and the relation and interconnectedness between human and non-human entities.

3.15 PM
Lecture

Alexandra Pirici, Future Ground: A movement-lecture on nurturing different sensibilities, pleasures, and collaborations with land

3.40 pm
Panel Discussion
Joanna Bourke (social and cultural historian), Bogna Konior (writer, academic), Cary Wolfe (professor of English, Rice University), moderated by Lena Reitschuster

4.30 pm
Film Screening
Jenna Sutela, nimiia cétiï, 2018, 12 min.

Section 2: HABITAT
Where do we live? Where can we land?
There is an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence. There are no tools yet, but to address these problems and one way to map this new Earth is to understand it as a network of Critical Zones. Although human activity is barely visible at the planetary or universal scale, it is hugely disruptive in the thin, fragile, and highly complex layer that is the habitat upon which all life on Earth depends. Can we engage with our habitat in other ways? And can we work together to become “terrestrial” – to build a common ground? This section explores how we can learn how to live within the Critical Zones.

4.50 PM
Performance
Julijonas Urbonas, Rehearsing a Planet Made of Human Bodies

5.10 PM
Conversation
Julijonas Urbonas (artist, designer, researcher, engineer, and founder of Lithuanian Space Agency) with Jan Boelen

5.30 PM
Panel Discussion
Frédérique Aït-Touati (historian of literature and modern science, theater director), Guillaume Pitron (journalist, author and documentary filmmaker), Alexandre Monnin (philosopher, Scientific Director of Origens Media Lab), moderated by Sabine Faller

6.25 PM
Lecture
Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas, The Swamp Observatory

6.40 PM
Performance
Vivien Tauchmann, Self-As-Other-Training: Smartphone (2)

Section 3: ECONOMY
What is progress? How do we produce and exchange value?
By reconnecting with actual needs of living entities, new links between global and local, urban and rural, large- and small-scale economies can emerge, and “growth” can develop. Currently, progress is defined by socio-economic processes, while it should rather be measured by its positive influence on the Commons, the treatment of nature and human and non-human life. Can the concept of progress be reconsidered? Can a new economic approach help to develop alternative models of production and consumption? This section explores collective and democratic practices, while investigating small-scale economies and alternative production cycles.

7.30 PM
Statement
John Thackara (philosopher, writer, curator)

7.45  PM
Panel Discussion
Michel Bauwens (theorist, writer, advisor, and founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives), Susanne Kadner (Managing Director Circular Economy Initiative Germany at acatech), Richard D. Wolff (Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and founder of Democracy at Work), moderated by Anett Holzheid

8.30 PM
Performance
Vivien Tauchmann, Self-As-Other-Training: Retail

8.50 PM
Film Screening
Jeremy Shaw, I CAN SEE FOREVER, 2018, HD video, 43 min
Courtesy Jeremy Shaw and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, London & Tokyo

 

DtH imagefilm 3

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22

11 AM–12 PM
Close-up | Workshop
THERE ARE BIOCOMPOSITES GROWING IN MY GARDEN
Kim André Lange, Bio Design Lab
Assignments and Q&A via Instagram @biodesignlab_hfgk

11 AM–1.30 PM
Workshop
Feral Atlas as a Verb
Lili Carr, Feifei Zhou
Registration required via Instagram at the following link, not part of the livestream

3 PM
Welcome and Introduction to the Program
Barbara Kiolbassa (art mediator ZKM), Julien McHardy (researcher, curator)

Section 4: TECHNOLOGY
Can AI help to build a sustainable and collective future?
Artificial intelligence is already used to structure all areas of human life. In this data-based reality, human decisions have become data sets that build the infrastructures of our societies. Due to the influence of technology giants on politics and science, research that acts independently of economic interests has become almost impossible. In a web-based environment, passive consumption and active engagement are permanently stimulated, whereby the border between free choice and imposed consumerism disappears. Can we find a way to engage critically with the use of AI? Could AI become a tool to build a more sustainable and collective future? This section explores critical engagements with AI and probes boundaries and alternative uses, investigating ethical limits and strategies for activism.

3.15 PM
Conversation
Albert-László Barabási (physicist, network scientist) with Teresa Retzer (curator at ZKM)

3.30 PM
Panel Discussion
Maximilian Ilse (PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Machine Learning Lab – AMLab), Simone Niquille (designer, researcher), moderated by Ariana Dongus

4.15 PM
Performance
Vivien Tauchmann, Self-As-Other-Training: Textiles

Section 5: KNOWLEDGE
Who produces knowledge and for whom?
The creation, dissemination, and consumption of information has reached unprecedented levels. With political and economic powers exerting huge influence on the scope and content of the circulating information, the gap between content and actual facts and fundamental knowledge is growing. It was once said that knowledge is power, but today information is power. How can we turn this around and distribute messages with factual content and generate valuable knowledge? This section engages critically with the production and distribution of information and knowledge.

4.30 PM
Statement
Isabelle Stengers (philosopher)

4.45 PM
Panel Discussion
Indy Johar (architect, co-founder of 00 – project00.cc), Sarat Maharaj (Professor of Visual Art and Knowledge Systems, Lund University and Malmö Art Academy), moderated by Michael Kaethler

5.30 PM
Film Screening
Karrabing Film Collective, The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland, 2018, 27 min

Section 6: ACCESS
Who has access to knowledge and participation?
Who participates in the formation of political and socio-economic infrastructures and whose opinion is neglected? How can we build a system which addresses both the needs of all humans and also the necessities of non-human beings? This section investigates new models of participation, tools to challenge structural inequalities, and engages critically with digital and analogue tools.

6.45 PM
Project Presentation
Lili Carr, Feifei Zhou, Feral Atlas Collective

7 PM
Panel Discussion
Claudia Chwalisz (author, leads the OECD’s work on innovative citizen participation), Sasha Costanza-Chock (researcher, designer, activist), moderated by Vera Sacchetti

7.45 PM
Project Presentation
Jonas Staal and Jan Fermon, Collectivize Facebook, 2020

8.20 PM
Performance
Vivien Tauchmann, Self-As-Other-Training: Household

8.30 PM
Conclusion
What Is Urgent, Then? How Can Driving the Human Do Something About It?

Jan Boelen, Freo Majer, Martina Schraudner, Peter Weibel

9 PM
Music and Visuals
Alba G. Corral and Tutu

9.05 PM
Film Screening
Bruno Latour and Frédérique Aït-Touati, theatre play: Moving Earths, 2019, 72 min

Supported by Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

// 

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