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Peter Weibel

Peter Weibel, Odessa, 1944 - 2023

Peter Weibel studied literature, medicine, logic, philosophy, and film in Paris and Vienna. He became a central figure in European media art on account of his various activities as artist, media theorist, curator, and as a nomad between art and science.

From 1984 until 2017, he has been a professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. From 1984 to 1989, he was head of the digital arts laboratory at the Media Department of New York University in Buffalo, and in 1989 he founded the Institute of New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt on the Main, which he directed until 1995. Between 1986 and 1995, he was in charge of the Ars Electronica in Linz as artistic director. From 1993 to 2011 he was chief curator of the Neue Galerie Graz and from 1993 to 1999 he commissioned the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He was artistic director of the Seville Biennial (BIACS3) in 2008 and of the 4th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, in 2011. From 2015–2017, he was curator of the lichtsicht 5 + 6 – Projection Biennale in Bad Rothenfelde.

Peter Weibel was granted honorary doctorates by the University of Art and Design Helsinki, in 2007 and by the University of Pécs, Hungary, in 2013. In 2008, he was awarded with the French distinction »Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres«. The following year he was appointed as full member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts Munich, and he was awarded the Europäischer Kultur-Projektpreis [European Cultural Project Award] of the European Foundation for Culture. In 2010, he was decorated with the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class. In 2013 he was appointed an Active Member of the European Academy of Science and Arts in Salzburg. In 2014, he received the Oskar-Kokoschka-Preis [Oskar-Kokoschka-Prize] and in 2017 the Österreichische Kunstpreis – Medienkunst [Austrian Art Prize – Media Art]. In 2015 he was appointed as Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow.

Since 1999, Peter Weibel is Chairman and CEO of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and since 2017 director of the Peter Weibel Research Institute for digital Cultures at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Works at the collection: Das Tangible Bild, The Endless Sandwich, Media May Rewind Reality

Peter Weibel

Das Tangible Bild, 1991 / 2019

In the interactive computer installation Das tangible Bild [The Tangible Image], you are standing in front of a Cartesian coordinate grid. You are filmed standing in front of this grid by a camera, you see the image projected on the opposite wall. When you touch the rubber screen of the monitor, which stands on a pedestal in the middle of the room, the projected image warps. Thus, you can interact with the image via a three-dimensional “touch screen” in real time. Each time you touch the screen, behind which sensors are installed, information is sent to a computer to which the camera’s live images are transferred. In the computer, the signals of the warping of the screen converted into digital data influence the data representing your image within the space. The screen and the Cartesian grid become identical. Real distortions of the rubber screen appear in the projection image as distortions of the grid in front of you. An interface (the rubber screen) is switched on between the grid and the projection image. It is not the changes in the grid that affect the projection, but the changes in the interface. Is our world merely the product of an interface technology, the interface of the natural body ?

Peter Weibel
Peter Weibel

The Endless Sandwich, 1969

Between the TV set and viewer, a function exists whereby the user switches on and off the appliance. He has reproduced this function and made it the content of the TV programme. Sandwich character of real process and reproduction process, of reflection and action. On the screen, a series of viewers is seen sitting in front of TV sets. A fault occurs in the last set shown, meaning the next viewer has to get up in order to repair the fault. This repair brings about a disruption in the next viewer’s screen. The disruption propagates itself until it reaches the real TV set, meaning the real viewer has to rise and eliminate the fault. Time delay: the real procedure is the conclusion of the reproduced procedure.

Peter Weibel

Media May Rewind Reality, 1969

A video of a lighted candle plays in reverse in a TV set, gradually growing as time passes, while a physical candle sitting on the monitor slowly dwindles.​​

“Media May Rewind Reality” is a sort of “vanitas” in which the simple image of a candle flame rethinks temporariness and finitude in a loop in which whatever is consumed also grows in a sort of strange spectacle that inverts appearances.

Awarded with the XVIII ARCO-BEEP Electronic Art Award.

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