Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design distinguishes itself through intensive research praxis in all areas. The development of new ideas, critical research of new materials and techniques, as well as the drive for critical discourse on advanced arts and design, form part of the basic program. Here, communication or product design are not perceived as vocational training, rather developed experimental practices out of which pioneering solutions are generated. Research in the latest technologies for communication and information is essential to the production of art with and through media. Some of the current research and development projects include:

Ramon Llull – The Thinking Machine

Together with the CCCB and the philosopher Amador Vega from Barcelona, HfG together with ZKM (Peter Weibel) designs and creates a large-scale exhibition on Ars Combinatoria of the middle-ages, which is seen as an important precursor for the development of algorithmic cultural tools. In this project, on the one hand the Arab and Islamic knowledge culture will be researched, which is already the subject of the “Allah’s Automata” project. On the other, the genealogies of algorithmic artifacts and contemporary art practice will be precisely reconstructed with combinatory machines.

Link to the exhibition at the CCCB

The Archaeology of Image- and Seeing-Machines in the Werner Nekes Collection

The significant collection of film-maker and professor Werner Nekes including artifacts and technical systems for seeing and visualization built over the last decades, constructs a history of perception that stretches across the whole of European modernity. Integral to the project are the deliberate transgressions into Chinese, Indian or Arabic image and representation culture. Concurrently, the planned exhibition at ZKM Karlsruhe aims to construct a permanent research platform for the genealogy of seeing- and image-machinery in Karlsruhe.

Potential Spaces. How can Art and Design be Studied and Researched in the 21st Century?

The conference (February 16–18, 2017) marks 25 years since Karlsruhe University of Art and Design was founded. As with the founding of the university, the most important gesture is not retrospective, but prospective. We ask questions and set challenges for ourselves toward a possible future of art and design research and education as well as future of the university and its connections to ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. The term potential spaces, coined by Donald Winnicott, seems appropriate in order to gauge as radically as possible with free spaces of the future while going beyond exclusively Western perspectives. It is neither our interest to establish a new institutional context, nor to rigidly define any program. It is about thinking through the possibilities that art and design will bring to people all across the world in the decades to come, and how we can teach, study and research them. A re-thinking of the dispositif of art academies should find as much space here as thinking about the possibilities of open, networked collaborations.

On the evening of February 16, 2017, the conference opens in the “Cube” of ZKM, which will be accompanied by artistic interventions. In the following two days, presentations and discussions will form the conference’s core elements. The analysis and its results will be published as an English reader.

Future Design

A series of sub-projects are summarized under this title, in which advanced techniques in image and visualization such as virtual reality (VR) or three-dimensional illusion techniques such as cinematographic stereoscopy, take centre stage. Projects such as “Down the Rabbit Hole” supported by MfG Baden-Württemberg already exist, or like the project on “Future Design” they are currently undergoing application in the Creative Culture Program of the European Union.

Research & Development in Art & Technology

Together with ZKM’s exhibition and research platform, the HfG plans a worldwide unique post-graduate program, where design and artistic projects are generated and taught in close proximity with research in humanities and sciences. The course will take place in English and is concluded with a hybrid international PhD.

Archivists in Residence

In August 2016, HfG Karlsruhe and ZKM collaboratively brought the research and development program “Archivists in Residence” into existence. The four-month residency on offer two times a year is suitable for young researchers working artistically and/or theoretically with archives and archival practices in a broad sense of the word. Objects of study are cultural artifacts that exist in the ephemera of those technological realities at risk of falling victim to cultural oblivion today. Archivists of the present and the future who face up to these inherent challenges must be persons with hybrid qualifications. They must be well versed in information technology and information science, as well as in the archeology of art and media and critical archivology. In order to effectively support such a field of research, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and ZKM pool their resources together and offer an adequate research environment for the residency.


IMAGIT is a cultural project of international cooperation between Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, brainz (Prague), HANGAR.ORG (Barcelona) and The Hungarian University of Fine Arts (Budapest), supported by the Creative Europe Programm of the European Commission. The project is dedicated to explore creative digital communication and brings together artists, designers, researchers and technology experts. Special interests are addressed to the topics gamification, user interaction, non-verbal communication as well as reflexive and artistic approaches of data and sound interpretation.

Project website: www.imagit.net