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Copy Paste Waste

An art and research project on digital sustainability

  • Exhibition
  • Mar 06 2024 - May 16 2024

Curated by Tereza Havlíková and Katharina von Hagenow

March 07 - May 16, 2024: Expert Talks moderated by Katrin Fritsch with Rainer Rehak, Maya Richman, Joana Moll, Christos Varvantakis, Valerie Wollinger 
May - September 2024: Internal Workshops and Network Meetings for cultural actors & institutions
October - December 2024: Digital Exhibition, Online Studio Visits, Digital Upcycling 

Digitalisation is often mentioned as an important factor in tackling climate change. But does it really help combat global warming or does it exacerbate it? What can a sustainable approach to data look like in the arts and culture sector and in each individual household? How can we preserve digital assets for future generations on a long-term basis? The interdisciplinary annual programme Copy Paste Waste at Prater Digital draws attention to the overproduction of digital data and aims to develop models for mindful, digital action. In addition to political and structural solutions, we are looking for the potential of users to take action. 

The digital world often strikes us as something immaterial. Everything runs by itself through invisible processes: Emails, screenshots, photos, clouds, streaming, banking, social media, messengers, AI assistants. The storage of digital data seems limitless and cost-free, but behind the scenes there is a physical infrastructure that consumes energy and generates emissions. The digital world is globally interwoven and ranges from our end devices, apps and software to on-demand services, satellites, undersea cables, routers, data centres and providers. 

The challenges of environmental pollution in the production and disposal of end devices have now gained public resonance, but the need for a transparent data infrastructure that is as decarbonised as possible is little known. Furthermore, sustainable action in the digital space means making resources as accessible as possible in order to maximise the benefits for a society. Another challenge, particularly in the cultural sector, is the long-term preservation of digital goods and their resources.

The annual programme Copy Paste Waste aims to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of using digital data consciously. 

The Prater Galerie is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Cohesion and the district office of Pankow. The annual programme Copy Paste Waste at Prater Digital is kindly supported by the Bezirkskulturfonds (BKF), Fonds Ausstellungsvergütungen für bildende Künstler:innen (FABiK) and the E.ON Stiftung.

For further information please visit: 

The project is structured in three Modules:

March 07 - May 16, 2024 
Module 1: Public expert talks

Five experts will outline the various dimensions of digital sustainability. In online talks, we will look together at the environmental impact of digital applications, the interdependence with political and social problems, the sustainable use of knowledge. The scientists, activists and artists will address the topic in their own disciplines and present their initiatives. 

May - September 2024 
Modules: Internal workshops and network meetings for cultural actors and institutions

In the cultural sector, digital formats have been developed at high speed in the last few years during the pandemic, but there has been a lack of time and resources to reflect on these new formats. While there are protocols, guidelines and an understanding of the possibilities of sustainable action for the physical cultural sector, this has been largely undermined in the digital sphere. A network of cultural actors will be initiated to reflect together on digital work and production processes. As a result of these network meetings, a collaborative and public wiki will be created to make the methods developed available to a broader community. 

October - December 2024 
Modules Digital exhibition, online studio visits, digital upcycling 

With an artistic experiment, we will explore the idea of upcycling as a speculative method in relation to digital resources. In online studio visits, artists share their screens and provide insight into their artistic practice, digital folders and archives. In doing so, they identify data that has, for example, been left lying around for a long time or even forgotten. Two artists exchange old data or fragments in so-called 'art swaps' and create new works in response. The creative process and the results will then be presented in an online exhibition.

Prater Digital in the communal Prater Gallery

As a communal gallery, the Prater Galerie is a non-commercial space aimed at a diverse audience. The Prater Galerie is active in the fields of art, culture and cultural education. It organises exhibitions and events on discursive topics that are relevant to our society (recent projects on topics such as cyberwar, the use of fossil fuels, the post-socialist city as a living archive). Prater Digital has been an independent section of the gallery since 2020. Its aim is to establish a sustainable engagement with digital artistic practices as well as digital exhibition and mediation techniques in a municipal institution. Prater Digital does not limit itself to a specific technology, platform or scene, but instead looks for intersecting themes and processes that have a specific expression in these technologies or arise directly from them, but which are also of importance for culture and society.



Concept: Tereza Havlíková, Katharina von Hagenow, Lena Prents
Curators: Tereza Havlíková (director), Katharina von Hagenow
Head of Prater Gallery: Lena Prents
Design of website and project identity: Tobias Wenig and Karolina Pietrzyk
Programming project website: Bureau Castel
Digital guide: Michael Voit
Press relations: Carola Uehlken
Editing German: Carola Köhler
English translation: Galina Green



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