Institute for Visual Media


Panoscreen at Panolab

The Institute for Visual Media, established from 1991 under the direction of Jeffrey Shaw, was among the leading international research and production facilities at the field of digital art. 

In 2016, the institute was united with the Institute for Music and Acoustics. The institute resulting from this fusion is the Hertz Lab.


As a competence center for digital visual technology, directed by Jeffrey Shaw from 1991 to 2003 and by Peter Weibel from 2004 to 2016, the Institute for Visual Media offered an innovative environment for socio-culturally, scientifically, and economically important research and development in the fields of multimedia art and information technology.

In addition to its own developments with international guest artists, the collaboration with other cultural and research institutes also constituted an integral part of the institute’s work. The spectrum of production ranged from digital video and 3D animation through to interactive installations and environments, from software systems to the real-time generation of natural and architectonic environments, as well as audio-visual applications for performance contexts.

Innovative Software and Hardware for Artistic Projects

One of the focal points in the institute's research and development work was the area of immersive projection environments, in the framework of which, innovative hardware and software solutions for artistic projects were developed.
Through ongoing presentations as part of exhibitions and festivals, publications and conferences – conceived for interested audiences and professionals in the fields of art and science – the institute’s production and work was widely disseminated and is met with enthusiastic response nationally and internationally.

The general aim of the research association, planned over a three year period (2006-2009) was to investigate basic methods and prototypical applications for the visualization of data on large high-resolution screens. The requirements of the research association were extended for a further year following the project’s success.

The project »CloudBrowsing« makes information search on the Internet experienceable in a novel way. In the current version of the work, the visitor browses through the free online encyclopedia »Wikipedia«, compiled by a global community, which stands for the collective knowledge of the Internet.

The primary focus in research and production at the Institute of Visual Media s the development of innovative hardware and software installations for artistic projects. A permanent forum for the Panorama Technology was established at the ZKM: the PanoramaLab in the Foyer of the house following considerable response by the interested public and professionals.

In view of the immense growth of knowledge in the field of neurosciences, and its increasing significance for society and public discussion, the Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung initiated an online theme portal entitled »«.

»FLICK_KA MIRROR« makes the portrait gallery interactively accessible in the museum space: if the visitor approaches the project portrait pictures, the video camera takes his/her portrait live so that they can see themselves on the projection screen.

The work designed by media artist Michael Naimark in 1991 facilitates the exploration of Karlsruhe by way of the tram network.

In 2010, the Institute of Visual Media [LINK] focused its work on the development and production of the multimedia opera project »Amazon – A Musical Theater in three parts«. Based on scientific data, as well visualization and sonification data, the third act of the opera reflects the manifold levels of the representation and discussion of the Amazon as habitat and economic resource.

Basis of the work are interviews with 40 artists who live and work in Shanghai.