Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality

Logo of the Project Beyond Matter

BEYOND MATTER is an international, collaborative, practice-based research project that reflects on the virtual condition with a specific emphasis on its spatial aspects in art production, curating, and mediation.

Its numerous activities and formats include the digital revival of selected past landmark exhibitions, art and archival exhibitions, conferences, artist residency programs, an online platform, and publications, from 2019 to 2023.

One of the goals of the project is to develop novel solutions for the accessible digital documentation and networked presentation of exhibitions that currently exist, or previously existed, in physical space – including their artworks, artifacts, and educational materials. In future, these methods of virtualizing exhibitions could be used by museums and galleries to document and revive their exhibitions in new ways. With our experiential, research-based methodology we will provide a basis for developing museological and technological aspects simultaneously.

Exhibition spaces are physical locations of knowledge production and exchange, where spatial qualities play an important role in the contextualization of information. Virtual productions, emulations, and revivals should therefore maintain these qualities, but also be able to include digitized and born-digital content, whether these are artworks, exhibits, or informational materials. This is equally relevant to the reconstruction of spaces that no longer exist.

To ensure that the methods developed remain in use in the longer term, the project aims to contribute to the capacity building of museum professionals through seminars and conferences.

Partner museums and galleries will also host large and small-scale exhibitions to measure and further practice-based innovation, as well as events to disseminate the project’s results. In a framework of artist-in-residence programs, artists are invited to develop new pieces for these exhibitions, ensuring that the project resonates with the latest contemporary trends.

The project was initiated at ZKM | Karlsruhe and is managed by ZKM | Hertz-Lab and enjoys the partnership of organizations from a wide range of European countries – from almost all regions of the continent—and foresees cooperation with various other organizations that have a broad spectrum of experience in fields such as digital art conservation, digitizing tangible and intangible heritage, exhibitions of contemporary and new media art, and experimental museology.

»Beyond Matter« is co-funded by the European Union, the software and hardware development for the museums of the future in the framework of the project is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Project Partners

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou
Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum
Tallinn Art Hall
Aalto University
Tirana Art Lab

Associated Partners

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL
HAWK – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim
GIM Gesellschaft für Innovative Marktforschung mbH
Netzbewegung GmbH 

Project website
Project team

Felix Koberstein: Project Assistant
Felix Mittelberger: Archivist
Thomas Schwab: Technical Manager
Bernd Lintermann: Artistic Advisor
Silke Sutter: Project Administration
Matthias Heckel: Digital Product Manager

Amanda Tristao Parra: Research Fellow
Constança Babo: Research Fellow
Tim Moesgen: Research Fellow (Aalto University Helsinki)
Mirka Sulander: Research Fellow (Aalto University Helsinki)

Eva Scholl: Student Assistant
Moritz Konrad: Student Assistant
Luka Zimmer: Intern
Priori Seal Acharya: Intern
Aurora Bertoli: Research Fellow 
Jiaxuan Cai: Intern
Danica Detelic: Intern
Theo Ferreira Gomes: Intern
Aline Weber: Intern
Imad El Kechen: Intern
Jennifer Greb: Research Fellow (Aalto University Helsinki)
Natassa Philimonos: Research Fellow
Marianne Schädler: Trainee ZKM | Publications, Managing Editor 
Masha Zolotova: Intern

BEYOND MATTER Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality

Project Partners

Associated Partners

Co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union

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