Press release

Press information / Press conference: Thu, 15.06., at 11 am

The exhibition project „SHIFT – AI and a Future Community“ (17.06. – 15.10.23), developed by Marta Herford and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, presents nine international artistic positions that reflect on the complex social contexts of artificial intelligence (AI) and makes them tangible to the senses in expansive installations. Thus, the artworks by Louisa Clement, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Christoph Faulhaber, kennedy+swan, knowbotiq, Christian Kosmas Mayer, Philippe Parreno, Hito Steyerl and Jenna Sutela open up surprising perspectives on a future in which humans, nature and technology are in an ideally cooperative relationship.

AI is considered a key technology of the 21st century. Although it sometimes seems like science fiction, it has long since arrived in the middle of society through well-known applications such as digital image generators, autonomous driving, voice assistants or smart devices. However, it was only in the recent, groundbreaking publication of the text generator tool Chat-GPT that the discussion about the opportunities and risks of this rapidly advancing technology also became widespread. Many AI-driven processes take place more or less in secret and, in conjunction with other scientific methods, are already exerting an almost unnoticed influence on political, economic and social processes. For the development of their works, the nine artists have worked closely with scientists and made complex processes visually tangible in their artistic works.

In this context the term „SHIFT“ (meaning transition, change) underlines the thesis that this digital technology permanently changes the idea of a community. The artistic contributions generously displayed in the Gehry Galleries pose probing questions and, at the same time, open up constructive perspectives: How does AI relate to concepts of reason, freedom and responsibility? Can humans, AI-controlled robots, avatars and biological microorganisms such as bacteria work together constructively? Furthermore, can AI make the world more human?

The work of artist Louisa Clement (*1987 in Bonn, lives there) revolves around real and artificial physicality. In doing so, she takes up the ancient relationship between man and machine and thematises the transformation of the body through digitalisation and technological progress. For example, the photo series „hands are tired” (2021) shows the hands of a „Representative“ (2021) developed by Louisa Clement, an AI-based sex doll that visually resembles the artist. The contortions of the limbs, which would be impossible for a real body, play with themes such as vulnerability and empathy in the digital age. The video „Human Error” (2021) shows two disembodied bot heads of the „Representatives” rolling through the image after a hacker attack and repeating the sentence „I can’t connect to internet“ continuously. Here, Clement questions the fallibility of technology and creates a scenario of helplessness in a world where people discuss the replaceability of humans by technology and AI.

The artist duo kennedy+swan (since 2013), consisting of Bianca Kennedy (*1989 in Leipzig, lives in Berlin) and Swan Collective (founded by Felix Kraus *1986 in Munich, lives in Berlin), deals with the future of evolution in their video and virtual reality works. The animated film „in vivo – in vitro – in silico“ (2023) tells of a future in which biological and artificial intelligence are linked. They refer to the latest research on so-called xenobots, programmable biological microrobots that can reproduce independently. The cinematic work „MD“ (2023), in turn, simulates the resurrection of the famous actress Marlene Dietrich as a deep fake with the help of a strand of her hair bought at an auction platform. Ultimately, the duo prompts viewers to reflect on the supremacy of humans and to question „who actually defines what or who is important in our society“ (Vanessa Souli in an interview with kennedy+swan, April 2020).

The projects of the artist duo knowbotiq (Yvonne Wilhelm and Christian Huebler, since 1991) raise the question of whether machines can break with the progressive scheming of capital, colonialism, patriarchy and technology. In the dense web of cables in the installation „Amazonian Flesh – How to hang in trees during strike?“ (2018-19), bot voices report on wage labour and call for non-violent resistance against the online marketplace Amazon. The two-part film work consisting of „Mercurybodies: Remote Sensations“ (ongoing project since 2021) and „Composting Slow Violence“ (ongoing project since 2021) deals with AI-based technologies that use satellite images to evaluate geological conditions in order to discover mineral resources. In doing so, they bring together the distanced view of AI technology with a polyphony of different forms of knowledge and pose technoethical questions.

In recent years, cryptocurrencies have repeatedly come under public criticism. With „CryptoGallery #ONE“ (2022), the artist Christoph Faulhaber (*1972 in Osnabrück, lives in Hamburg) has realised the first art project dedicated to recycling digital waste, such as logos of cryptocurrencies. For this, he created his own NFT series and fed two image motifs into a pre-trained AI model: a skull from the Mexican death cult and a photo of the German-Bulgarian entrepreneur Ruja Ignatova, the self-proclaimed ‘CryptoQueen’. Her company traded in cryptocurrencies and was exposed as an illegal Ponzi scheme in 2017. On the virtual walk-through platform Decentraland, Faulhaber has created his digital exhibition space „CryptoGallery #ONE“, a virtual replica of Ignatova’s London property. In this project, the artist critically examines the world of NFTs, their functions and market mechanisms.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg (*1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, lives in New York City, New York, USA) is both an artist and a biohacker. For „Probably Chelsea“ (2017), she created 30 different drafts of possible portraits of the US whistleblower Chelsea E. Manning from a genetic sample. With the sculptures, the artist gave Manning public visibility during her imprisonment, where she underwent gender reassignment surgery. The film „T3511“ (2018) addresses the increasing proliferation of genetic biobanks. It tells of a woman who falls in love with an unknown saliva donor, of whom she creates a genetic profile and cultivates his cells. With these works, the artist shows the possibilities of AI-supported DNA phenotyping and, at the same time, poses questions about the shifting boundaries of intimacy and surveillance as well as the relationship between the individual and society. For the multipart sound installation „Lovesick“ (2019), Dewey-Hagborg collaborated with researchers from the biotechnology company Integral Molecular and developed a virus that evokes feelings of love, empathy and connection.

The artist Hito Steyerl (*1966 in Munich, lives in Berlin) is one of the central positions in the critical examination of the use of artificial intelligence and new technologies. Her multimedia work „SocialSim“ (2020) explores the potential of the digital in relation to artistic creativity, museum modes of presentation, social shifts and pandemic conditions in a satirical-critical manner. The title refers to simulation models used, for example, to calculate human actions or the course of natural disasters. A computer simulation shows ecstatic dancing figures created by Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). They are based on data on police violence in Germany and France. The artist playfully and critically questions the constant availability of data and its influence on the actions of individuals and society, as well as the possibility of controlling them.

Jenna Sutela (*1983 in Turku, Finland, lives in Berlin and Kaarina, Finland) not only illuminates the relationship between humans and technology in her work but also includes other ‘intelligent’ organisms. For the video „nimiia cétiï“ (2018), the artist used machine learning to generate a new language: She gives the Bacillus subtilis nattō a voice by tracing its movement and transforming it into a calligraphic structure. The work „I Magma“ (2021) consists of illuminated glass heads modelled on the artist’s portrait, whose insides seem filled with a bubbling mass. One point of reference here is the software programme DeepDream, which mimics mental activity by manipulating images and combining them with other motifs to create compositions that act on the human psyche.

Christian Kosmas Mayer (*1976 in Sigmaringen, lives in Vienna, Austria) deals with immortality in his work. Together with scientists from the Technical University of Dresden, he developed the voice of a 2000-year-old male mummy in 2021. Using AI, a piece of music was created that can be heard in the 8-channel installation „Maa Kehru“ (2021-22). Forms of immortality are also the starting point of his moving photographs, for which the artist draws on portraits by the US photographer William H. Mumler (1832-1884). Mumler’s double-exposure photographs looked like images of ghosts, which Mayer seems to bring to life by using an algorithm to transfer his own facial expressions onto the faces of the portrayed. The sculptures in the series „If you love life like I do“ (2019) are based on research into so-called cryonics. In cryonics, human bodies are kept upside down in cold containers in the hope that they can one day be revived.

The image and sound installation „The Owl in Daylight“ (2020) by Philippe Parreno (*1964 in Oran, Algeria, lives in Paris, France) shows an abandoned landscape in which the scenery and atmosphere gradually change. Sixty-four image sequences in high-end CGI are controlled and continuously developed by an AI. The soundtrack is created with the AI technology Bronze, which reacts to its environment through a composition of sounds and noises and also uses data from a weather station, for example. Parreno thus creates a system that reacts endlessly to itself and its environment and questions the possibility of using AI to create artificial structures that possess their own consciousness.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive supporting programme with numerous artist talks and a symposium (Sat 16.09., 3–6 pm) with experts on topics such as sustainability, the world of work, discrimination and ethical issues in AI technology. In addition, on the occasion of the exhibition, a permanent educational space was set up in the Marta Atelier on the 2nd floor, which makes various AI technologies accessible playfully. Hands-on stations invite visitors to become active themselves and try out simple applications.

The exhibition was developed jointly by Museum Marta Herford and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (on view there from 04.02. – 21.05.23).

Funded by the
German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

The exhibition at Marta Herford is additionally supported by

For the works by Philippe Parreno

For the works by knowbotiq


Fri 16.06, from 6–10 pm, exhibition opening, 7 pm opening speeches in the Marta Forum: Introduction by Kathleen Rahn, Director Marta Herford, and Ann Kristin Kreisel, Curator Marta Herford, from 6.30 to 9.30 pm Marta Art Mediators in the exhibition and hands-on stations in the new Marta Atelier on the 2nd floor: AI technologies can be discovered playfully, from 6 pm Marta Café with sun terrace on the Aa: food and drink offered by Atefeh Catering and Event (cash payment only)

Wed 28.06., 7 pm, „What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean?“, lecture by Thomas Raab (author, lecturer and translator) at the Marta Forum.

Sun 20.08. and 03.09., both from 12–4 pm, „How Do I Encounter AI?“, workshop in cooperation with the Collaborative Research Centre Transregio 318 „Constructing Explainability“ of the Universities of Paderborn and Bielefeld at the Marta Atelier

Wed 06.09, 7 pm, Artist talk with Christoph Faulhaber in the Gehry Galleries

Sun 10.09, 2 pm, At Marta with… Dialogue tour of the exhibition with Prof. Dr. Helge Ritter from (Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics, Bielefeld University) and Marta Curator Ann Kristin Kreisel

Sat 16.09., 3 pm, „AI and a Future Community“, symposium with keynote speeches by experts and moderated discussion, hybrid event with live digital broadcast with Heather Dewey-Hagborg (Transdisciplinary Artist and Biohacker, New York City, New York, USA), Prof. Dr. Catrin Misselhorn (philosophy professor at the University of Göttingen), Dr. Anne Mollen (Institute for Communication Studies, University of Münster, senior research associate at AlgorithmWatch), Dr. David Woitkowski (curator at the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum, Paderborn), Dr. Jürgen Rink (specialist journalist IT and digitalisation, editor-in-chief of c’t until 2023)

Sat 23.09., 7.30 pm, „Why the Smart City Is a Stupid Idea“, lecture by Rena Tangens (co-founder of digitalcourage e.V., Bielefeld), event in the programme for Herford Culture Night

Sun 24.09., from 12–4 pm, „Lego and Robotics – Creative Programming“, workshop in cooperation with the AG medizinische Assistenzsysteme Uni Bielefeld (WG Medical Assistance Systems University Bielefeld) at the Marta Atelier

Wed 27.09., 7 pm, Talk with the artists kennedy+swan and Christian Kosmas Mayer in the Gehry Galleries

Sun 15.10., 2 pm, Last Looks at the exhibition „SHIFT“ with Marta Curator Ann Kristin Kreisel


Press information

This press release and printable press pictures for the exhibition can be found in the press section at The password for access to the images is: M4rt4pr3ss3.
We will be happy to provide background information and interviews on the exhibition.
For this and any other information you can reach us at tel. +49 (0) 5221-99 44 30-27 or by e-mail at

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Exhibition information

SHIFT – AI and a future community

Director Kathleen Rahn (Marta Herford), Dr. Ulrike Groos (Kunstmuseum Stuttgart)

Curatorial Team Roland Nachtigäller (Marta Director until 12/22), Friederike Fast (Marta Curator until 02/23), Ann Kristin Kreisel (Marta Herford), Dr. Eva-Marina Froitzheim, Alina Grehl (Kunstmuseum Stuttgart)

Graphic design studio +fronczek (Karlsruhe)

Exhibits 40 photographs, videos and installations

Artist Louisa Clement, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Christoph Faulhaber, kennedy+swan, knowbotiq, Christian Kosmas Mayer, Philippe Parreno, Hito Steyerl und Jenna Sutela

Publication “SHIFT – AI and a Future Community” with essays by Clemens Apprich, Rosi Braidotti, Jessica E. Edwards, Friederike Fast, Christoph Faulhaber, Eva-Marina Froitzheim, Alina Grehl, Ulrike Groos, N. Katherine Hayles, Hans Dieter Huber, Elizabeth E. Joh, Andreas Kaminski, Ann Kristin Kreisel, Anika Meier and Luciana Parisi, Kathleen Rahn, German/ English, 144 pages, Published by Marta Herford gGmbH and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart in Wienand Verlag, 25 € in the museum, 28 € in bookshops

Exhibition area ca. 1200 qm

Duration 17.06. – 15.10.23

Exhibition venue Marta Herford (Gehry Galleries), Goebenstraße 2–10, D-32052 Herford

Opening hours Tue–Sun and on public holidays 11 am–6 pm, Wed 11 am–8 pm

Tel.: +49-5221-99 44 30-0, Fax: Tel. +49-5221-99 44 30-23



Marta Partners

Marta sponsors The City of Herford, Marta Friends and Supporters

Corporate Premium Partners Sparkasse Herford, Wemhöner Surface Technologies GmbH & Co. KG, Herbert Kannegiesser GmbH

Corporate Partners Hettich Unternehmensgruppe, imos AG, inometa GmbH, Peter-Lacke GmbH, Schaper Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Brax Leineweber GmbH & Co. KG

Founding partners The Land of North-Rhine Westphalia, the Hanseatic City of Herford

Media and advertising partners Zeitungsverlag Neue Westfälische GmbH & Co. KG, Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung GmbH & Co. KG, fine print – digital druck GmbH, T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG

Cultural partner WDR 3

Marta Patronage Fund for New Art Marion Dueball, Hettich Unternehmensgruppe, Leo and Ulrike Lübke, Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Joachim and Elisabeth von Reden, Schaper Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Sparkasse Herford, Guido Strunck, Wemhöner Surface Technologies GmbH & Co.