fig. 5

Hosted by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe,
and the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design
Karlsruhe, Germany

The Driving the Human Opening Festival took place on November 20–22, 2020, the event showcased and engaged with the urgencies of our time. The festival discussed and condensed questions and visions to shape a sustainable and collective future by combining science, technology, and art.

In a digital broadcast accessible to all (on the Driving the Human website, the ZKM Livestream, and the HfG Graduation Studio platform), the festival invited scholars, artists, designers, and other multidisciplinary participants to launch a debate on the themes currently defining our existence – from the human to non-human, from existence to co-existence, from digital to analogue. As a catalyst for experimentation, the festival formulated the questions that will orient the next phase of the Driving the Human investigation.


The festival took place on the premises of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, and was broadcasted to the world. Over the course of three days, the large-scale festival combined different formats, interweaving live programming with pre-recorded segments. The program brought inspiring speakers and visionary voices to the fore, in search of the constructive frictions that define our contemporary moment.

The awareness of an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence leads to the necessity of finding various ways of coping with Earth’s critical situation and reconfiguring how to orient ourselves. Exploring new modes of coexisting between all forms of life, the exhibition Critical Zones, currently on display at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, provided an orientation with which to discuss the current ecological and sociopolitical challenges of our time. Similarly, investigating local resources and sustainable possibilities to redesign and rethink production methods, the Bio Design Lab of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design introduced several formats to discuss practical and sustainable visions for the future.


Driving the Human Project

Driving the Human partners 
Jan Boelen (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design), Freo Majer (Forecast), Martina Schraudner (acatech), Peter Weibel (ZKM | Center for Art and Media)

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 
Sandra Köster, Vera Günther, Martina Grigull 

Project Coordinator
Nikola Joetze

Program Coordinator 
Vera Sacchetti

Communications and Press 
Inês Revés, Kathrin Luz, Camille N’Dri

Greta Kallsen, Luisa Cossu

Thanks to
Agata Lorkowska (Project Manager Skills e.V.)
Hili Perlson (Managing Editor Forecast)

Driving the Human Opening Festival 
The Driving the Human Opening Festival is organized and hosted by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design

Concept and Idea 
Jan Boelen and Peter Weibel with Sarah Donderer and Teresa Retzer

Main Moderation
Barbara Kiolbassa, Julien McHardy

Panel Moderation
Ariana Dongus, Sabine Faller, Anett Holzheid, Michael Kaethler, Lena Reitschuster, Vera Sacchetti

Sarah Donderer, Laura Morcillo (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design Filmcrew), Teresa Retzer, Vera Sacchetti, Philipp Ziegler

Project Assistance
Annina Guntli, Laura C. Schmidt

Technical lead and direction
Moritz Büchner 

Camera & Editing
Johannes Bauer, Benjamin Breitkopf, Moritz Büchner, Mustafa Emin Büyükcoskun, Pauline Cemeris, Jule Heinzmann, Alejandra Miranda Janus, Andy Koch, Xenia Leidig, Peter Müller, Olga Öhler, Sophie Reißfelder, Quirin Thalhammer, Victor van Wetten, Christina Zartmann

Driving the Human visual identity
Studio Yukiko, Berlin

Graphic Design
Felix Plachtzik

Zoom Coordination
Clara Runge

Communication & Editing
Lena Becker, Luisa Cossu, Sarah Donderer, Alexandra Hermann, Juliane Hohlbaum, Sabine Jäger, Nikola Joetze, Greta Kallsen, Jessica Menger, Beate Münzenmaier, Teresa Retzer, Inês Revés, Vera Sacchetti, Laura C. Schmidt, Lena Schneider, Dominika Szope, Johannes Wiesel

Uli Deck, Felix Grünschloss

Yannick Schütte

Make-up artist
Sotirios Noutsos 

Special Thanks to
Nikola Joetze, Anna Maganuco, Freo Majer, Daria Mille, Martina Schraudner, Jan Speckenbach, Desiree Weiler