The Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) is a platform for the production, presentation, and communication of contemporary and experimental (media) art. The term ‘media art’ is intended here not as a technologically defined genre, but as contemporary art that is concerned both in content and concept with the present-day world, which is profoundly influenced by media and technology. Among the major goals of the HMKV are exploring contemporary themes and questions, addressing the wider public in its educational work, and an interdisciplinary artistic agenda. The aim common to all of the HMKV’s projects is to implement art in an attempt to facilitate public understanding of the multi-layered social, political, economic, and ecological conditions prevailing today. In a globalised world based on the interaction of these systems and accelerated through technology, this approach fosters a new perspective on contemporary life that enriches individual perception and makes it easier to understand complex connections.
Thus, the HMKV occupies a singular position in North Rhine-Westphalia – and in Germany. It has grown out of a widely variegated international network, which the institution brings together in a multi-faceted programme of exhibitions and events. The exhibitions of the HMKV have met with a high degree of recognition regionally, nationally, and internationally; they are characterised by a broad understanding of the term ‘media art’, which features multiple intersections with other artistic disciplines such as fine arts, film, and the performance arts. In 2011, HMKV was awarded the JUMP Annual Sponsorship Award for Art Organisations funded by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW). In 2017, the HMKV was nominated for the sixth time for the ADKV – ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations (following 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014), and in 2013 it received Honourable Mention in the context of this prize.
Since its founding in 1996, the HMKV has staged numerous exhibitions; programmes of film, video, music, and performance; workshops, lectures, and conferences in various cities in Germany and abroad as well as in Dortmund – for the most part in the 2,200-square-metre PHOENIX Halle Dortmund (2003-2010), a replacement parts warehouse belonging to the former steel mill Phoenix-West, which was erected in 1895. Among the exhibitions of the last eighteen years have been important projects such as Reservate der Sehnsucht (1998), games – Computer Games by Artists(“Special Exhibition” prize of the year 2003 awarded by the German section of AICA, “Innovation Prize” of the year 2004, awarded by the Fonds Soziokultur), History Will Repeat Itself(2007), Anna Kournikova ... Art in the Age of Intellectual Property (2008), Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media (2009), Building Memory and Arctic Perspective (ARTFORUM included Arctic Perspective in its “Best Exhibitions of 2010”), The Oil Show (2011), Sounds Like Silence (“Special Exhibition”of the year 2012 awarded by the German section of AICA), His Master’s Voice: On Voice and Language (2013), INDUSTRIAL (Research) and Requiem for a Bank (2013–14). Scheduled for 2014 are the exhibitions World of Matter: On the Global Ecologies of Raw Material, “Now I Can Help Myself”—The 100 Best Internet Video Tutorials, and Evil Clowns, among others.
The HMKV puts on large thematic group exhibitions as well as experimental solo exhibitions (i.e. Antoni Muntadas 2003, Barbara Breitenfellner 2011, Suzanne Treister 2012, Artur Zmijewski 2012, Eran Schaerf 2013, Axel Braun 2013–14). A new format is the HMKV Video of the Month, which presents current, particularly remarkable video works by international artists for the duration of one month each (since March 2014). In 2013–14, performative projects in empty spaces took place in the context of Requiem for a Bank in the inner city of Dortmund: Hedge Knights of machina eX made a guest appearance in the former AOK building, Jens Heitjohann’s I Promise, I Am The Future took participants on a three-hour tour through the Union Quarter adjacent to the Dortmunder U (accompanied by twelve residents), and Utopia Stock Exchange of Invisible Playground invited the citizens of Dortmund to make their wildest dreams public to the city and to trade them live in a stock exchange of utopias.
The exhibitions of the HMKV are not only shown in Dortmund, but internationally, as well: thus, in 2007 the exhibition The Wonderful World of irational.org travelled to Glasgow (CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts), in 2008 to Novi Sad (Museum for Contemporary Art, Vojvodina), and in 2012 to Leuven (Artefact Festival, STUK); the exhibition History Will Repeat Itself was shown 2007–2008 in Berlin (KW Institute for Contemporary Art) and 2008 in Warsaw (Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle) and Hong Kong (Goethe Institute, Video Days and Hong Kong Film Archive). The exhibition Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media was shown in 2010 in Torun (Centre of Contemporary Art ‘Znaki Casu’). The exhibition World of Matter travels in 2014 to the James Gallery of the Graduate Center, CUNY New York, subsequently to Montréal and Minneapolis, and at the end of 2015 will be shown at the Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm. Also scheduled for 2015 is a guest appearance of the exhibition His Master’s Voice in Montpellier (La Panacée).
The HMKV places great value on the cooperation with external curators and art educators and mediators. The most important exhibitions have come about in the form of collaborations, for instance The Wonderful World of irational.org (2006 – 2012, with Jacob Lillemose, Copenhagen), “Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media (2009, with Thibaut de Ruyter, Berlin), Arctic Perspective (2010, with Marko Peljhan, Ljubljana/Santa Barbara and Matthew Biederman, Montréal), Sounds Like Silence (2012, with Dieter Daniels, Leipzig), INDUSTRIAL (Research) (2013, with Thibaut de Ruyter, Berlin), and Requiem for a Bank (2013, curated by Fabian Saavedra-Lara).
Today, the communication of contemporary art is taking on increasing importance. It’s a matter of creating access to contemporary art and of showing that artists do not merely sit in their ivory towers, but address themes that matter to everyone. Of course, it’s initially the exhibitions themselves that are the instruments of communication. This could be seen recently in the exhibitions His Master’s Voice and INDUSTRIAL (Research), which included (everyday) material that went far beyond the area of art, but remained closely tied to the exhibition’s themes. In its communication work, the HMKV makes use of the tools of the digital age in a playful and participatory way to create a new understanding for our media world and its patterns of perception and action. In addition, the HMKV works with ‘info trainers’, who are instructed to communicate the themes of current art to visitors. Bilingual volumes are published for almost all of the HMKV’s exhibitions. The HMKV also, of course, offers free guided tours on a regular basis and organises international conferences and workshops (i.e. ISEA2010 RUHR – 16th International Symposium on Electronic Art, 2010, or more recently the international New Industries Conference: Money and Debt in the Post-Industrial World, 2014).
The exhibitions Expanded Cinema (2004) and Sounds Like Silence (2012) were explicitly dedicated to the visualisation of traditions in contemporary art. While Expanded Cinema screened key works of ‘expanded cinema’ and documented more than 70 live performances, film environments, and multiple projections (available at the HMKV for viewing purposes), Sounds Like Silence highlighted the contemporary relevance of John Cage’s composition 4’33’’ in the work of 35 contemporary artists. In the video lecture series HMKV TALKS, which was begun in November 2012, the HMKV embarks on new paths in the communication of art. In addition, videos and photo series document the exhibitions of the HMKV.
Over the past years, through its various projects, the HMKV has built up a web of international and interdisciplinary networks – for instance, in the context of iRights.info, Berlin and the HMKV-initiated project Work 2.0 – Copyright and Creative Work in the Digital Age (2008), as well as the Arctic Perspective Open Space Conference (2010). In 2014 the HMKV cooperates with the Hochschule Coburg (FB Design) in the context of its research project Afro-Tech and the Future of Re-invention. Alternative Technological Energies and Intelligences in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.
The HMKV has played a key role in founding various networks in Dortmund and North Rhine-Westphalia, among others the medienwerk.nrw, in which a variety of different institutions from NRW dedicated to media art and culture have joined together (its headquarters have been located in the HMKV since 2006). On the basis of this statewide consolidation, it was possible in 2010 to host the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) for the first time in Germany. Another element of cultural political work in the region is the HMKV’s participation, since 2000, in various funding committees of the federal land of NRW, which mainly provides support to young artists (i.e. the Promotional Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia in the Area of Media Art and the Fine Arts), as well as the organisation and administration of the North Rhine-Westphalia Grant for Media Artists.
HMKV nominated for the sixth time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations
HMKV nominated for the fifth time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations
HMKV’s catalogue book “Sounds Like Silence” is elected as one of the “Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2012.” 454 books were submitted, 19 books received the prestigious award.
HMKV nominated for the fourth time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Organisations. HMKV receives Honourable Mention in the context of the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations 2013. Read more: http://www.kunstvereine.de/web/index.php?id=20
HMKV’s exhibition “Sounds Like Silence” is voted “Exceptional Exhibition 2012” by the German Section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) during the Venice Biennial 2013. Read more: http://aica.kuk.net/english/meld/index.php?id=186
JUMP Annual Sponsorship Award for Art Organisations funded by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW)
HMKV nominated for the third time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations
The US art magazine ARTFORUM counts “Arctic Perspective” among the “Best Exhibitions 2010”
HMKV nominated for second time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations
HMKV nominated for the first time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations
Innovation Award by Fonds Soziokultur for the exhibition “games. Computer Games by Artists”
“games. Computer Games by Artists” elected by the German section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) as “Exceptional Exhibition 2003”
HMKV is a member of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV).
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV) is the umbrella organization for non-profit, member-based art associations, also known as Kunstvereine, and is dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary art. A total of 297 Kunstvereine from 244 cities and villages are organized in the ADKV. Kunstvereine of ADKV have about 100.000 members and their exhibitions are seen by about one million visitors each year.