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The Cultural Turn and its Practice in the Humanities

Thu, March 29, 2012 6:00 pm CEST

That climate and environment are both themes relevant to culture and that should no longer be considered apart from one another, are issues which will be taken up and discussed by noteworthy representatives from science and politics on the panel "The Cultural Turn and its Practice in the Humanities" on March 29, at 6 p.m. This will be followed at 9 p.m. by a ZKM premiere show of Andrea Molino’s scenic opera "Three Mile Island". The opera thematizes the reactor disaster in Pennsylvania in 1979, specifically showing how cultural perspectives can shed light on a drastic event.

In the 1990s, the Enquete Committee of the German Bundestag submitted a study on which the socalled 3 pillar model of sustainable development is based, and with which the United Nations also operate. Its dimensions embrace economic, ecologic and social sustainability, Since the end of the 1990s, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) turns against a limitation of sustainability on those three pillars and, in return, presented an integrative concept of sustainable development, which includes cultural aspects and is still used nationally and internationally today. The discussion, originally decisively initiated in Karlsruhe, will thus be updated at the ZKM.

A satellite software (EDO) developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and commissioned by the IAES – conceived as the basis for a new International/European Criminal Court for Crimes against the Environment - will be presented; it renders clearly visible the totality of environmental damage, only then making social and cultural consequences verifiable. Together with the experts, the panel's objective is to compile a recommendation, in the form of an initiative, for the UN conference "Rio plus 20" by June of this year. Possible forms of commitment between members of the international community, understood as a plea for a post-Kyoto protocol, will be negotiated.

Just how essential culture as pillar of international social understanding is becomes evident in the following evening program. Andrea Molino's scenic opera "Three Mile Island" investigates the incident that occurred on March 28, 1979 at the nuclear power plant Three Mile Island, in Pennsylvania (USA), and provides direct access to the complex themes of climate, environmental protection and sustainability. The accident at "Three Mile Island" in 1979 was the worst of its kind to have occurred at the North American nuclear power plant. The seriousness of the incident was such that since then no new nuclear reactor has been built in the United States. The most recent catastrophe in Fukushima has once again evoked the memory of the incident at Three Mile Island.

Participants of the Panel:

Antonino Abrami – Acting President of the International Academy of Environmental Sciences (IAES), Prof. em. of the University of Nova Gorica
Giorgio Agamben − Professor IUAV in Venice
Gianfranco Anzini − filmmaker and author
Luigi Bassetto – Director of International Relations and Vice President of the Municipality of Venice
Dorothée Benoi – Browaeys Chief executive VivAgora, Paris
Saša Dobricic – University Nova Gorcia, Director of “Doctorate in Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage”
Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger – Magistrate at the Federal Constitutional Court
Dr. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel– President of the IAES and Nobel Laureate for Peace (by video stream)
Xavier Greffe − Professor University Paris I – Sorbonne (by video stream)
Marino Folin – President “Venezia Foundation”; Founding member of the IAES, Former chancellor of the Institute for Architecture, Venice
Freddy Paul Grunert – Freelance curator at the ZKM | Center of Art and Media Karlsruhe, Founding member of the IAES
Olaf Gerlach Hansen – Director Culture | Futures, Senior Advisor to the Danish Institute of Culture
Wolfram Jäger – Mayor for Culture of the City of Karlsruhe
Derrick de Kerckhove − Professor University Toronto, Canada (by video stream)
Paolo Maddalena – Magistrate, former Vice President of the Italian Constitutional Court
Michael Malindretos – Director of the Institute “Architectural Construction” of Aristotle University Thessaloniki
Enzo Siviero – President of the Italian University Council
Paolo Dalla Vecchia – Culture Assessor of the Province of Venice
Peter Weibel – Chairman of the ZKM | Karlsruhe

Moderation: Gottfried Langenstein – Germany, ARTE President and Director of the ZDF European satellite programs


Organizing Organization / Institution



ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Lorenzstraße 19
76135 Karlsruhe

+49 (0) 721 - 8100 - 1200