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Work composed of big white heads with wood structures and screens

Hybrid Layers

Sat, 03.06.2017 – Sun, 07.01.2018, ZKM_Atrium 8+9
Cost: Museum admission



The »Hybrid Layers« exhibition presents new perspectives on digital technologies, the Internet and social networks. It examines both virtual and physical appearances of a new kind of media art, as well as its ambiguous, seductive and ironic aesthetics.


»If only humans would quit with umbrellas … then the rain would not be a problem anymore.«
– Riccardo Benassi

»Hybrid Layers« investigates the manifold aspects of what could be termed the »digital condition.« In this exhibition, the digital becomes the picklock, the a priori, that discloses the specific cosmos, the cultural and conceptual scenarios revealed by the individual artworks. The exhibition focuses on a generation of artists, who were confronted by the growing presence and impact of the digital sphere.

At the time of its emergence, it was possible to address New Media Art as an exhaustive category, whereas to focus on artworks today that deal with the wider issues of technology and the digital, means to enter the complexity of a field, which cannot be subsumed under any specific category or genre. Recognising the multiple perspectives made manifest by technology, the exhibition seeks to investigate the different strands of a narrative, which is intrinsically open and multifaceted, emancipating the discourse on technology from any restrictive categorisation.

»We are so used to living in artificial settings and so dependent on artifacts that we often forget what they do.  (…) They never enter into the world as objects but always as projects. They have a history, they are full of conflict, they overflow with unintended consequences, they zigzag into the world« explains Bruno Latour when he talks about the bi-directional relationship that, according to him, links us to technologies.

If we assume that artworks enter the world as projects rather than as objects, then they can help us find new orientations, questioning innovation in its concrete manifestations, modes of existence and generating constant shifts in how we look at technology. Experimental in its format, »Hybrid Layers« follows this direction through the artworks of artists who can hardly imagine a world without the Internet. The installations featured in the exhibition appear as multi-layered projects, which engage with contemporary debates, and reflect on the profound ways in which technology is deeply embedded in modes of knowledge production, perception, and interaction, revealing a set of practices operating within a perspective that goes far beyond media, crossing over into the daily experience of our world.

If we free up our discourse from the need for restrictive categorisation, then the complexity of our surroundings emerges, be they the material consistency of our environments or the immateriality of the digital sphere, thus revealing the kaleidoscopic facets of the functions, contradictions, phenomena, that surround us in all areas of our lives. Once the category has been exploded the field becomes a hybrid nest of multiple, layered possibilities.

Participating artists: 

  • Riccardo Benassi
  • Enrico Boccioletti
  • Anne de Vries
  • Aleksandra Domanović
  • Ed Fornieles
  • Guan Xiao
  • Yngve Holen & Aedrhlsomrs Othryutupt Lauecehrofn
  • Yu Honglei
  • Delia Juergens
  • Daniel Keller
  • Lawrence Lek
  • Metaphysics (Beteiligte KünstlerInnen: Eddie Peake, Florian Meisenberg, Anne de Vries, Rubén Grilo, Mélodie Mousset & Näem Baron, Jack Strange und Anna K.E.; produziert von: Philip Hausmeier)
  • Katka Novitskova
  • Yuri Pattison
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Karlsruhe
Logo ZKM | Close Cosmos