Exhibition + Seminars: Heavy Matter, Dortmund

(Foto: Echo Ho, Lasse Scherffig, Yacht Kaiserstuhl)

Heavy Matter (ISEA Ruhr 2010)

From April 2009 – August 2010

Over a period of three semesters several seminars were organized at the KHM to prepare an exhibition titled »Heavy Matter« which was shown at the ISEA 2010 in Dortmund, Germany.
• SS 2009 Seminar together with Gabriele Gramelsberger titled: »Datencyclotron – Kritische Forschung zur Materialität des Datenuniversums«. In this seminar the terms »Schwerdatenforschung« und »Datencyclotrons« were used as an ironic-subversiv starting point for an artistic dispute about the expanding universe of digital data. The virtuality of digital data and codes tend to hide the fact that behind the weightless bits there is a heavy industry of data lines, supercomputers, and tons of devices running.
• WS 2009/10 Seminar with Gabriele Gramelsberger, Mathias Antlfinger, and Ute Hörner titled: »Materie/Materialize«. This seminar tried to sound out the interaction between processes of materializing and de-materializing.
• SS 2010 Seminar with Lasse Scherffig, Anneka Metzger, Ute Hörner, Echo Ho, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Mathias Antlfinger. This last seminar was concentrating on the realization of the projects for the exhibition at the end of the semester.

A starting point for the whole project was an industrial coke plant in Dortmund: “Kokerei Kaiserstuhl”. When it was opened in 1992 it was the most advanced coke plant in Europe. Only 8 years later, in 2000 it was closed and sold sold to China. Thus it was disassembled by severeal hundred chinese workers and prepared for shipping. (Watch the Film »Losers and Winners« by Ulrike Franke und Michael Loeken from year 2006.) We planned the exhibition on the areal of the former plant. At the time when we planned the exhibition only the skeleton was left and the heart of the plant was already rebuild in China. But in the end we were not authorized to use the space in instead the »Westfalen Forum Dortmund« in the center of the city was offered. It was build in 1996 and in 2010 also was a sort of industrial ruin.

ISEA 2010 RUHR Exhibition | Heavy Matter
Fri 20 – Sun 29 August 2010

Westfalen Forum, Dortmund
Opening: Thur 19 August 2010, 18:00h

An exhibition by the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in cooperation with ISEA2010 RUHR. At the turn of the 21st century, New Media has become a matter of course and the technology of electronic data processing is constantly being perfected. The promise that all spheres of life will be digitalised and made immaterial seems to have been fulfilled. Just how immaterial is data really? Does it not carry a certain amount of weight, after all? What role does the subject play in the virtual data space?

In this exhibition, the Academy of Media Arts questions the arrival of the virtual future and, as the exhibition title suggests, exposes the immaterial as Heavy Matter. The question of whether the New Media can access reality is explored in the form of complex processes of transformation, embodiment, sound and localisation. By purloining scientific explanatory models for artistic purposes, applying extrasensory methods and devising poetic processes, the complex virtual world becomes accessible and is, literally, made tangible. Heavy does matter: objectively, physically and financially. Matter is an autonomous (disruptive) factor between transmitter and receiver.

Heavy Matter has been developed by members of the teaching staff and students of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM).
Initiated, supervised and coordinated by Prof. Mathias Antlfinger, Dr. Gabriele Gramelsberger, Echo Ho, Prof. Ute Hörner, Dr. des. Anneka Metzger, Lasse Scherffig, Prof. Dr. Georg Trogemann.