Open Codes, ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE), OCT 20, 2017 – May 2018 - extended until JUNE 2, 2019

The aim of the upcoming ZKM exhibition Open Codes: Living in Digital Worlds is to give visitors an opportunity to understand the world we humans live in, and the world we live from. This is a new approach, for the ZKM, of directly addressing the visitor, in an attempt to change a form of visitor behavior that has been shaped by over two hundred years of looking at pictures on walls. This is a new approach, for the ZKM, of directly addressing the visitor, in an attempt to change a form of visitor behavior that has been shaped by over two hundred years of looking at pictures on walls. The new status of new-media art calls for a different, more immersive kind of interaction, a way of viewing that is not merely contemplative. Instead of a reform school, the exhibition spaces will resemble a cross between laboratory and lounge, study area and summer camp, offering visitors new experiences and new opportunities for insight.

With the aid of artifacts, props, scientific experiments, and works of art, the ZKM will attempt to trace the development of physics and mathematics, wireless communications and digitization, over the last three hundred years. The exhibition will present the current state of today’s most innovative digital technologies, from robotics to artificial intelligence to sensor technology to biodesign, in all their social, political, and societal ramifications. Exhibition partners, appropriately, include: the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation; the FZI Research Center for Information Technology; Akademie Schloss Solitude; and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. At the heart of it all is the concept of codes: the modern digital world is built on binary code, typified on the scientific side by the names Leibniz, Boole, and Shannon, and popularized in the form of Morse code.

Curator Peter Weibel selected Koen Vanmechelen's Book of Genomes in which the DNA information of the Planetary Community Chicken is presented. In the accompanying DECODE video, people representing the different countries that make up the diversity of the PCC project, read aloud the series of letters and numbers composing the book.