Felix Koberstein is an art historian and curator. His research focuses on documentary processes of and through art, especially spatial artworks. Koberstein is a founding member and was Co-Director of the nonprofit art space Flur11 in Brunswick, Germany, from 2014 to 2018. He then worked at the Heidelberger Kunstverein as Curatorial Assistant, before joining the team at ZKM | Karlsruhe and ZKM | Hertz Lab. Currently, he is working at ZKM | Karlsruhe on the practice-based research project Beyond Matter, where he is involved in the scientific processing of research material on the digital revival of historical exhibitions. He is also Project Coordinator for Experiments in Art and Economics, a short-term residency program by In4Art and ZKM | Karlsruhe launching in May 2021. Prior to his involvement in Beyond Matter and Experiments in Art and Economics, Koberstein was Curatorial Assistant for Drifting, Browsing, Cruising, a site-specific VR installation by the artists Theodoulos Polyvious and Eleni Diana Elias.
Multidisciplinary Preparations for the Virtual Revival of Past Exhibitions
How can digital technologies help to make past exhibitions re-experienceable inside and outside the museum and how can museums proceed in order to use digital technologies efficiently and profitably in this respect? What practices are associated with the revitalization or the reprocessing of historical presentations, and what competencies need to be combined for this purpose?
Within the framework of the collaborative, practice-based research project Beyond Matter, we investigate, among other things on the basis of the historical case study Iconoclash (2002, ZKM), to what extent the virtual revival of its (spatial) form of exhibition offers itself as a starting point for an ordering, presentation, and mediation structure, not only to make the intention of the exhibition tangible, but also to store the associated information and data.
The digital interpretation and presentation of entire exhibition concepts is a novel solution to exploring exhibition histories, their themes, curatorial methods, and approaches to presentation and mediation that have produced these exhibitions. The aim is to get as close as possible to the original intention of the exhibition makers. What was envisaged? How was it realized and what was—due to the historical conditions—not possible to implement?
Assuming that exhibition spaces are physical places of knowledge production and exchange, where spatial qualities play an important role in the contextualization of information, we investigate what new possibilities the transfer of these very qualities into virtual space entails. Such an implementation, however, requires a very specific engagement with the research material, which will not only be found in archive files and museum databases, but also on the Internet and among contemporary witnesses or former participants to interrogate it from different perspectives.
In this way archival, curatorial, aesthetic, sociological and technical practices merge into a hybrid methodology of museological visualization that is, at best, openly accessible, easily understandable and usable for further research.