Section 2: HABITAT

Driving the Human Festival

++ Please scroll down for the videos ++

Where Do We Live? Where Can We Land?

There is an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence. There are no tools yet, but to address these problems and one way to map this new Earth is to understand it as a network of Critical Zones. Although human activity is barely visible at the planetary or universal scale, it is hugely disruptive in the thin, fragile, and highly complex layer that is the habitat upon which all life on Earth depends. Can we engage with our habitat in other ways? And can we work together to become »terrestrial« – to build a common ground? This section explores how we can learn how to live within the Critical Zones.


Julijonas Urbonas (artist, designer, researcher, engineer and founder of Lithuanian Space Agency) with Jan Boelen

A conversation on the project »Planet of People« which will be shown at the 17th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2021. The project is a thought experiment in which the biomass of human bodies becomes a new planet.

Julijonas Urbonas, »Rehearsing a planet made of human bodies«

A performance about the laws of physics which come into play when human bodies are moving in space.

Panel discussion
Frédérique Aït-Touati (historian of literature and modern science, theater director), Alexandre Monnin (philosopher, Scientific Director of Origens Media Lab), Guillaume Pitron (journalist, author and documentary filmmaker), moderated by Sabine Faller

The panelists reflect on the effects of human activity on the habitat upon which all life on Earth depends. Regarding the exploitation of the resources of the Earth, different methods to create a more sustainable future are discussed from different viewpoints.

Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonas, »The Swamp Observatory«

»The Swamp Observatory«, which is also part of the »Critical Zones« exhibition at ZKM, illuminates the vital urgency of human cohabitation with other forms of life. The swamp offers an opportunity to test the idea of sympoiesis – coming together in order to find a new ethos of coexistence, a direction that stems from the act of recognizing the poetic power of the ecologies surrounding us.

Vivien Tauchmann, »Self-As-Other-Training: Smartphone (2)«

Vivien Tauchmann produced five »Self-As-Other-Trainings« that were shown throughout the festival. The »Self-As-Other-Trainings« address the necessity of educating our bodies through the de-contextualisation of these silent exclusions and the active embodiment of the ‘other’ in choreographed storylines, in order to evoke critical self-reflection and eventually provoke behavioral change. The work seeks to demonstrate that empathy is not only a rational capability, but also a physical state of mind through which we can reshape our connections to people beyond our known scope.


Driving the Human Festival | Section 2: HABITAT

Driving the Human Festival
November 20–22, 2020

Organized and hosted by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design

The »Driving the Human« cooperation is initiated and coordinated by four institutions: acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, the international mentoring program Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

»Driving the Human« is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.


Part of the Future Architecture program

A project by