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Working in Critical Times

Symposium of the Art Office of the Art Foundation Baden-Württemberg
26.–28. Oktober 2023

Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe

„Present Tense” concerns itself with our immediate present: We live in a complex, crisis-filled age in which the overlapping of climate and energy crisis, post-pandemic times, precarity, social radicalisation and even impending wars already govern our lives and work. Tension is rising, we are faced with imperative responsibilities for society as a whole and are, at the same time, moving towards a state of chronic exhaustion. There is no exception for the field of arts and artistic and cultural production.

Together with artists, curators and other experts from the cultural field, we would like to examine current artistic productions and exhibition practices and discuss possibilities for the (future) perspectives of the arts. Which roles within society can and must art and its producers embrace in a radically changing world? How can art and cultural institutions become venues of active social transformation? What does it mean to develop an (ecologically as well as socially) sustainable artistic and institutional practice in the digital present? The concept of care within artistic and curatorial practices will be a topic of the event as well.

What new relationships do we need, especially in view of intensifying social division and radicalisation? Obviously, the crisis-filled present among other things leads to people looking to authoritarian figures and programmes – one of the tasks for art and culture could be to design other, more independent and free concepts of the future.

In addition to lectures and panels, the symposium will include artistic workshops, interventions and performances, which are also forms of knowledge production and dissemination that we feel to be of equal importance.

With contributions from Gin Bahc, Sascia Bailer, Constanze Fischbeck, Sina Hensel, Alistair Hudson, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Valentina Karga, Matriarchale Volksküche, Jacob Ott and Dorothee Richter

The symposium "Present Tense" is an event of the Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with the MAS Curating program of the Zurich University of the Arts, the Staatliche Akademie of Fine Arts Karlsruhe, the State Academy of Design Karlsruhe and KUBUZZ.

Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
Lorenzstraße 15
76135 Karlsruhe

Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe
Reinhold-Frank-Str. 81
76133 Karlsruhe

Registration for the workshops at is requested.

You can find more information to download here


Thursday, 26.10.
Location: Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe

10.00-17.00 Uhr: Between your Ears, your Eyes are Squeezed
Workshop with Anne Duk Hee Jordan (d/e)

Friday, 27.10.
Location: Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe

10.00-17.00 Uhr: The Building is a Book Made of Potato Energy
Workshop with Valentina Karga & Jacob Ott (d/e)

18.00 Uhr: Welcome & öffentliche Präsentation der Workshop-Ergebnisse
with Valentina Karga, Jacob Ott and participants, moderated by Regina Fasshauer, Ronald Kolb & Antonia Marten (d/e)

ab 19.30 Uhr: E-F-P (Energy Fusion Plate)
Intervention from Matriarchale Volksküche

Saturday, 28.10.
Location: Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Künste Karlsruhe

09:30 Uhr: Coffee

10.00 Uhr:
Marcel van Eeden
Alexander Salomon MdL
Regina Fasshauer & Antonia Marten

10.30 Uhr: Composting Art
Lecture by Valentina Karga (e)

11.30 Uhr: Lambent Earth
Lecture by Sina Hensel (online/d)


13.30 Uhr: Small Projects for Coming Communities
Input from Dorothee Richter (e)

14.00 Uhr: Useful Art and the Useful Museum
Lecture by Alistair Hudson (e)

15.00 Uhr: Beyond the Symbolic: On Building Caring Infrastructures Within the Arts
Lecture by Sascia Bailer (d)

continuous: Angle of Repose (Ruhewinkel)
Intervention from Gin Bahc


16.30 Uhr: Present Tense – Working in Critical Times
Panel with Sascia Bailer, Valentina Karga, Alistair Hudson, Constanze Fischbeck, moderated by Dorothee Richter (e)

18.00 Uhr: End

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