I'm standing in front of the ZKM building, and I'm like, »Whoa, hold up! This place used to be an ammunition factory? What an upheaval!« I mean, we're going from a former armory to art and media. Quite the plot twist, right?
But this transformation is no joke. It's a powerful statement about how art and media can challenge our understanding of the world. It's like a big neon sign that says, »Hey, folks, art is not just pretty pictures. It's a way to radically reshape history, society, and even how we think about technology.« And let's not forget the connection between art, technology, and us humans. It's like they're holding hands, skipping along and saying, »We're in this together, folks!«
So, if you're up for an adventure that combines history, creativity, and a touch of absurdity, the ZKM is the right place for you. It's a reminder that life can take unexpected turns, and sometimes the most surprising transformations can lead us to the most awe-inspiring experiences.
The look back …
It is hard to picture the ZKM without the Hallenbau at Lorenzstraße. Yet the old industrial building conceals a bitter history.
At the time of its construction in 1915 to 1918, Hallenbau A was considered one of the largest architecturally progressive industrial buildings in Germany. But the light-flooded, impressive building of reinforced concrete, supported by wide pillar grids, also looks back on dark times.
At the east entrance of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe there is a commemorative plaque with the inscription: »More than 17,000 forced laborers [were] employed. One third were women. 12,000 came from Eastern Europe. Abducted from their homeland, their labor was exploited by the war economy. More than 600 of them met their deaths in Karlsruhe.«
One institution – a hundred question marks
Hello, my name is Farzane. I am a visual artist from Iran and I am invited to the ZKM to share my impressions in this blog. I am very excited to explore the wide range of activities that ZKM offers and to get in contact with you.
To express my thoughts and feelings, I will work with drawings, words and images. In this way I want to better understand the many dimensions of the ZKM, its tools and techniques and use this knowledge to create meaningful and impactful artworks.
But first, I am left with many questions.
I'm not sure if I'm in an art museum, a media hub, or a black hole! The idea of having an institution like ZKM is intriguing, but I can't help but wonder:
- Is the ZKM really more than a »white cube« or a »black box«?
- Can it bring people together, or are we doomed to just stare at screens and pretend we're connecting?
- How could the ZKM cure technophobia?
- Will ZKM's futuristic vibe make you feel like a cyborg or rather remind you of a sci-fi movie set?
- What do artists really need from an institution like the ZKM – besides free coffee, Wi-Fi, and a good spot for Instagram selfies?
- If the ZKM were a person, what kind of artist would it be? A conceptual minimalist, a maximalist maximalist, or something in between?
- What do you get when you cross a media artist with a ZKM curator? A thought-provoking exhibit, or a never-ending debate about the definition of »media art«?
- Does the ZKM have a secret underground bunker where all its archived media works are kept?