YOU_ser (Opening)
The Century of the Consumer
Sat, October 20, 2007 6 pm CEST, Opening

On the occasion of its anniversary celebration "10 Years of ZKM in Hallenbau A" ZKM | Center for Art and Media turns its attention to the effects of net-based, global creation on art and society with the exhibition "You_ser: The Consumer Century".

Over the past years, the ZKM | Media Museum has already presented in the context of its collection of interactive art, the largest in the world, the most important pathfinders and currents in participatory art of the twentieth century: Op-Art, kinetic and cybernetic art, Arte Programmata, Conceptual art, Fluxus, and Happenings, interactive computer-aided installations, and virtual environments. Instructions for use and changeable objects activate beholders. In this way, you, the visitor, take part in the construction of the artwork. In the Internet, portals such as,,; and virtual worlds, such as or blogs now offer a newly structured space for the creative statements of millions of people. The artist no longer has a monopoly on creativity.

Users deliver or generate the content or put it together. They become producers and program designers and thereby, competitors to television, radio, and newspapers, the historical media monopoly. Audience participation reshapes itself as consumers’ emancipation.

These transformations concern not only the global expanses of the Internet, but also the museum. It reacts to the changed cultural and social behavior and supports those tendencies, which, in an Enlightenment spirit, are applied for democracy and the idea of access to education for all.

The new installations presented in the exhibition transfer the potential for co-designing by the user that has been developed on the Internet into the context of art and allow the visitors to emancipate themselves.

They can act as artists, curators, and producers. The exhibition visitors, as users, as emancipated consumers, are at the center of focus. YOU are the content of the exhibition! The museum is bound to a fixed location and set times. Through the Internet, it can develop into a communicative platform independent of place and time. The historical model of culture, in which Darwinist selection takes place and only a few select find acceptance in its storage and distribution apparatus, embodied by the principle of Noah's Ark, has been displaced.

The new Noah's Ark of the Internet has an endless storage space, which, in principle, is open to all inhabitants of the industrial and newly industrializing countries.
Is this the new cultural space for the emancipated consumer, the visitor as user who will decide the culture of the twenty-first century, just as slaves, workers, and citizens as historical subjects have done in the past?

Project team

Bernhard Serexhe (project management)

Organization / Institution

SüdBest GmbH