Wunder der unscheinbaren Dinge – Stephan von Huene und die Geburt der Medienkunst
Stephan von Huene with his installation »Text Tones« in 1983.
KIT as guest at ZKM
21. – 22.10.2022, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Conference
Languages: German, English

To mark the 90th anniversary of Stephan von Huene's birth (1932, Los Angeles – 2000, Hamburg), the Institut für Kunst- und Baugeschichte (Department of Art and Architecture History) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe are organizing an international symposium in which both established researchers and young scholars will participate.

Stephan von Huene was an American artist of German origin. He is considered a pioneer of media art, and made important contributions to the field of kinetic sound art. However, his legacy goes far beyond his sound sculptures and art installations. As one of the first teachers at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG), which was founded in the 1990s, he advocated a qualitative conception of media art that continues to inspire perceptual reflection on communication processes and human–environment relations. Perceived by his students as a feminist "teacher" at CalArts in the 1970s, and highly regarded as a researcher-artist, Stephan von Huene can be understood as a pioneering figure of discourses that are highly topical. For example, he deliberately used the term "intra-action" with recourse to cybernetic theories to explain his art–human systems — long before this term was reintroduced into neo-materialist discourse by physicist and philosopher Karen Barad.

During the last years of his life Stephan von Huene was closely connected with Karlsruhe, both as an artist and as a teacher. In 1992 he was awarded the Siemens Media Art Prize of the ZKM, and from 1992 to 1997 he taught at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG). Since its foundation his works have been exhibited at the ZKM in numerous solo and group shows; currently, the installation »TischTänzer« [Table Dancer] (1988–1993) and the sculpture »Greetings« (1996) are on show in the exhibition »Writing the History of the Future«. The sound installation »Blaue Bücher« [Blue Books] was acquired by the ZKM in 2015 for its collection with financial support from the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the cultural foundation of the German Federal States. Further key artworks as well as large parts the artist's estate and his library were donated to the ZKM. This makes the ZKM the most important place for preserving and researching Stephan Huene’s work.

The symposium »Miracles of Inconspicuous Things: Stephan von Huene and the Birth of Media Art« will focus on the analytical and conservational development of his oeuvre, the art historical classification of the artist, and a critical analysis of his work from the perspective of new discourses.


Marvin Altner, Horst Bredekamp, Ursula Frohne, Yannis Hadjinikolaou, Petra Kipphoff, Achatz von Müller, Yashuhiro Sakamoto, Mira Schor, Olav Westphalen, Thomas Zitzwitz;  Alexandra Brjezovskaia, Lara Di Carlo, Denise Ganz, Alexandra Star und Linhui Yang.

On behalf of ZKM and KIT, Peter Weibel and Oliver Jehle will welcome the attendees.

Moderation: Dr. Dr. Jesús Muñoz Morcillo. 


Friday, 10/21/22

10 am 


Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Weibel (artistic Chairman ZKM | Karlsruhe)

Prof. Dr. Oliver Jehle (Dean of Studies of Art History at KIT)
10:30 am

Stephan von Huene. Personal and historical

Prof. Dr. Horst Bredekamp (Humboldt-Universität of Berlin)

11:15 am

—Coffee Break—

11:45 am

The "Idea of Art". Stephan von Huene as researcher and teacher

Prof. em. Dr. Achatz Freiherr von Müller (University of Basel)

12:15 am

Mind Mapping as a Conservation Practice - Stephan von Huene's Contribution to the Preservation of Kinetic Art

Prof. Dr. Ursula Frohne (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
1 pm

—Lunch Break—

2 pm

Stephan von Huene: Reinventing the Cultural Body

Alexandra Brjezovskaia, BA (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

2:35 pm

Language in Motion. The Translation Motif in the Work »Erweiterter Schwitters« (1987) by Stephan von Huene

Denise Ganz, BA (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

3:10 pm

How »Erweiterter Schwitters« (1987) handles the term of soul 

Linhui Yang (KIT)

3:45 pm

—Coffee Break—

4:15 pm

„It’s the Danger to the machine“

Thomas Zitzwitz (Artist, Cologne)

5 pm—End of the first Day—


Saturday, 10/22/22 

10 am

Agency and Reception. The mobile viewing of Stephan von Huene's kinetic sculptures

Dr. Yannis Hadjinicolaou (Universität Hamburg)
10:45 am

Sound as forms of thought – the distortion of perception

Prof. Dr. Yashuhiro Sakamoto (Shinshu University)

11:30 am

—Coffee Break—

12 am

Aspects of ethnological transfer in the works »Glass Pipes«, »Drum I« und »Drum II« by Stephan von Huene

Alexandra Star, BA (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

12:30 am

»Tischtänzer«,  don't stop! An Attempt at virtualization as a preservation and mediation measure

Lara Di Carlo, BA (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

1 pm

—Lunch Break—

2 pm

Sound, Material, and Mechanical Choreography

Prof. Dipl.-Phys.Werner Lorke (University of Art and Design Offenbach am Main)

2:45 pm

Book and screen. On the survival of Stephan von Huene's media art using the example of the digitorial for his sound installation Lexichaos

Dr. Marvin Altner (Kunsthochschule Kassel)

3:30 pm

—Coffee Break—

4 pm

Stephan von Huene as an Eccentric Teacher, Mentor, and Researcher

Prof. Olav Westphalen (Artist, Årsta-Stockholm)

4:45 pm

»Stephan von Huene. Feminist Teacher«

Mira Schor (Artist, New York)

Supported by

The event is supported by funds from the KIT Faculty Teaching Award 2022, which was awarded to Jesús Muñoz Morcillo.

Organization / Institution
An event of KIT in cooperation with ZKM | Karlsruhe.