Art historical field research in the archives of the ZKM | Karlsruhe

Kunst-Raum-Schiff – MS Stubnitz - 1993

The seminar »Kunst-Raum-Schiff« is a cooperation between KIT | Institute of Art and Architectural History/Art History and ZKM | Karlsruhe.

Seminar Instructors: Dr. Inge Hinterwaldner (KIT | Institute of Art and Architectural History/Art History), Felix Mittelberger (ZKM | Karlsruhe)

Starting point is the project »Stubnitz Kunst-Raum-Schiff«: From 1991 to 1994 an international group of artists worked in Rostock on the conversion of a former deep-sea fishing vessel of 80 meters length into a mobile multimedia laboratory and an event platform. In the summer of 1994, the Stubnitz operators succeeded in realizing the Baltic Tour 94 with a three-month tour to St. Petersburg, Malmö and Hamburg. The project was a network project in its planning and execution. Only through the cooperation with numerous partners could it be realized and one of the main goals of the project was to create networks – interdisciplinary networking between different artistic, technological, scientific disciplines; intercultural networking as a mobile, international platform for cultural exchange; and last but not least technological networking on the basis of a 64 kbit satellite link on the ship with connections for telephone, fax and internet.

The »Stubnitz Kunst-Raum-Schiff« was based on the active involvement of a large number of people from different backgrounds and social and cultural backgrounds: artists, writers, media producers, musicians, cultural institutions, sailors, nautical engineers, port authorities, cultural promotion institutions, craftsmen, technicians, experts and volunteers, all of whom contributed important elements in their own way. 

Thus, the Austrian media artist Armin Medosch (1962-2017), together with Urs Blaser, René Römert and Antonia Neubacher, created a decidedly European and experimental undertaking that, shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, allowed curious glances from artists, musicians, activists and young people from the West to the East and vice versa. Kinetic and electronic art met on this self-designated »media ark« with installative works or panel painting, concerts and performances.

In the seminar, the documentary videos made on the shipping were evaluated and scientifically developed. Within this framework, students gain insight into central areas of archival activities. With the help of the archive database, they learned about archival cataloguing and indexing techniques. Students examine the audiovisual sources of the archive holdings, identify persons, places, events and works and relate them to one another. In doing so, they carry out valuable basic research and thus make the sources accessible for further scientific use. Using the audiovisual primary sources and with the help of archival documents from the context of the holdings, the students reconstruct a piece of contemporary art production from the pre-WorldWideWeb era, for which, apart from the audiovisual tapes available in the archive, there are only a few text sources.

The archival sources come from the estate of Armin Medosch. The holdings comprise the complete personal estate of the artist, media theorist, curator and journalist, including correspondence, typescripts, photographs and sketches, as well as video and audio tapes on approximately seven linear meters.

Project team

Felix Mittelberger, Christian Haardt, Ioana Spanachi