In commemoration and celebration of Joseph Beuys’ 100th anniversary on 12 May 2021, several North Rhine-Westphalian institutions are jointly developing an extensive commemorative programme. Beuys’ impulses for radically shaping democracy drew international attention – an idea for which he coined the term “social sculpture”. This project wishes to examine and scrutinise the relevance of his ideas today and develop them further. Beuys strongly advocated the “idea of the university” in the tradition of Wilhelm von Humboldt and John Dewey and put the social model into practice by establishing the “Free International University” (FIU). Although the FIU may no longer exist in its concrete form, it remains one of the key didactic experiments which aimed to develop new perspectives on the relationship of democracy and education. And this serves as the focal point of the commemorative programme. The interweave of political, pedagogical and artistic strategies initiated by Beuys continues to live on today in numerous socially dedicated art forms which often assume the role of “learning venues”.
The project will take place over the 100 days of the summer semester 2021 in a temporary structure specifically designed for this event by raumlaborberlin. Situated opposite the Kunstakademie, the experimental structure will be divided into three interconnected areas entitled “Models”, “Parliaments” and “Laboratory”. In the section devoted to models, multimedia installations will feature archived materials that reveal the connection between artistic and liberal-minded policies. The parliaments will serve as a venue for discussions, workshops and presentations by artists and theorists from around the world. Not only will they function as an intermediary between the models and the laboratory, but also promote the transfer of ideas into society. Inside the laboratory, the participants will test new forms of cohabitation and collaboration.
Artistic directors: Eugen Blume, Frauke Gerstenberg, Andrea Hofmann, Catherine Nichols, Ludger Schwarte, Timo Skrandies
Artists and researchers: Fahim Amir, Christopher Dell, Georges Didi-Huberman, Katja Diefenbach, Pamela Geldmacher, Tom Holert, Christoph Menke, Marina Naprushkina, Ahmet Öğüt, Juliane Rebentisch