No Firm Ground

Vilém Flusser and the arts

Matthias Müller, Vacancy (1998/2000). Filmmontage, DVD © Matthias Müller

Vilém Flusser (1920– 1991) is one of the outstanding art and media philosophers of the 20th century. Many of his texts foresaw the future of technology-based communication and networking. Today his works are inspiring; Flusser was convinced that changes in communication structures through codes and new media would ultimately affect all areas of society. He called for a fundamental study of technical images and the apparatuses which generate them. The exhibition “No Firm Ground – Vilém Flusser and the Arts” provided an additional, important aspect to the reception of Flusser’s writings: the close and multifaceted connection between his work and the art world. The ZKM in Karlruhe presented collages, drawings, video and audio works, early computer works and the philosopher’s personal items from the Vilém Flusser Archive in Berlin, along with contemporary works by international artists which make direct reference to Flusser’s work. Many prominent artists, such as Mira Schendel, Louis Bec and Fred Forest, had been close friends with Flusser, with whom they had carried out joint projects. In focussing on the arts, the exhibition presented Flusser’s works in an entirely new context. In this way, the project highlighted the connection between media and art theory from a Flusserian perspective. The exhibition wished to provide an important contribution to international study and research of Flusser’s works. During the exhibition, a scientific conference took place. Researchers developed a trilingual dictionary of terms from Flusser’s world of thought, the “Flusseriana”. The project has been organised in cooperation with the Academy of the Arts in Berlin, together with institutions in the Czech Republic and Brazil.

Artistic director: Siegfried Zielinski with Peter Weibel
Curators: Baruch Gottlieb with Siegfried Zielinski and Norval Baitello jr.
Artists: Louis Bec (FR), Michael Bielicky (CZ), Harun Farocki, Alex Flemming (BR), Samson Flexor (BR), Joan Fontcuberta (ES), Fred Forest (FR), Marcello Mercado (AR), Anthony Moore (GB), Andreas Müller-Pohle, Mira Schendel (IT/ BR) a.o.

Additional Venues:
SESC Sao Paulo: 30 Mar. – 15 Jun. 2016; DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague: 30 Jul. – 31 Nov. 2016


ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

Lorenzstraße 19

76135 Karlsruhe (external link, opens in a new window)