Driving the Human – Seven Prototypes for Eco-Social Renewal
A room is shown in which a screen stands in the middle, surrounded by scaffolding on which there are luminous elements. The whole picture has a pink colour.
Hosted by ZKM in three parts
Sat, June 17, 2023 – Sun, November 26, 2023

As a catalyst for innovation, the collaborative and international project »Driving the Human« meets the challenges of our time. In three parts, the exhibition presents seven prototypes for sustainable coexistence that were developed within this framework.

Over a process of three years of collaboration, research and experimentation, seven prototypes for ecosocial renewal have emerged in an exchange between artists and scientists, which can now be presented for discussion in different contexts. 

Addressing the symbiosis of human and more-than-human beings in the 21st century changes our conception of what life means. In dealing with global warming, energy cycles and technological upheaval, as well as collective decision-making and novel processes of value and commodity exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration between art, science and technology is increasingly important. »Driving the Human« explores the interrelationships between humans, more-than-human beings, and the environment in terms of how all living things can survive through collaboration. 

The seven prototypes showcase viable concepts for the future that can be used to enable new ways of imagining life in the world. They suggest new ways we can interact with each other and what surrounds us, exploring how AI might mitigate rather than accelerate climate change; immerse us in new forms of community building through ancestral agricultural knowledge; use fiction as an imaginative tool for new forms of cross-species community; or create embodied connections as a means of understanding and transforming human impacts in vulnerable areas. Together, the prototypes reinforce perspectives in which collaboration and interdependence become essential, critical factors for life and survival on our planet.

Together with a comprehensive accompanying program, the prototypes invite people to explore together, to engage, and to find new ways of perceiving and accessing the world.

The exhibition will be on view in three parts:

Artists Featured in the Exhibition

Anne-Sofie BellingBea Delgado CorralesRomy Kaiser Paula Nerlich | alternaa (Andra Pop-Jurj & Lena Geerts Danau) | Vincent Rumahloine & Mang Dian | Akwasi Bediako Afrane | Eliana Otta | Xiaoyu Iris Qu (曲晓宇) | Hyeseon Jeong & Seongmin Yuk

Cooperation partners are the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), Forecast Berlin, and the Karlsruhe State Academy of Design (HfG). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection.

Curatorial Assistant

Nina Liechti
Museum Communication
Janine BurgerAlexandra Hermann
Technical Project Management
Felix Pausch
Leonie Roeck
Regina Linder
Graphic design
Studio Yukiko

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

»Driving the Human« has been initiated by Forecast, and further developed in continuous conversations between Freo Majer with Jan Boelen (Atelier LUMA), Martina Schraudner (Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation (CeRRI)), and the curatorial team of ZKM | Karlsruhe.

acatech: Sandra Fendl, Doerthe Winter-Berke, Hannah Lecheler
Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe/BioDesign Lab: Julia Ihls, Anthea Oestreicher, Hajo Eickbusch, Jehad Othman
ZKM: Peter Weibel (1944-2023), Sarah Donderer, Philipp Ziegler

Project Coordinator: Nikola Joetze
Program Coordinator: Vera Sacchetti
Production Assistant: Sarah Lipszyc
Project Assistant: Rabea Kaczor

Supported by

A project by