New Sensorium. Exiting from Failures of Modernization

5 Mar 2016 – 9 Sep 2016

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe, Germany

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The exhibition New Sensorium. Exiting from Failures of Modernization features the work of mostly non-Western, Asian artists.


It focuses on new sensory realms, both bodily and cognitively. They indicate a new consciousness derived from globalization and digitalization; also, they actively establish a close conjunction between our virtual and actual lives.

At ZKM | Karlsruhe, the Japanese curator Yuko Hasegawa presents the work of sixteen artists sensing ways forward into the future and ways out of a dualist modernity. New Sensorium is a step towards a new ecosystem of media and material: The separation of subject and object is abolished, as phenomena are examined artistically and intuitively and thought and action are being united holistically.

Many of the artists shown are digital natives, who utilize new media to change their living environments. In digital space, they can act freely and try out techniques which allow for survival in a world shaped by political and social crises. In this manner, sensations and perceptions with a critical and poetic power arise, which hardly could have been formed in actual space.

Selected Participating Artists

As part of the exhibition, the Lebanese sound artist Tarek Atoui (* 1980 in Beirut, Lebanon) is presenting two new musical instruments, which appeal to both hearing people and the deaf public. Both instruments are part of Atoui’s ongoing project WITHIN, which was initiated in 2013 in collaboration with Al Amal School for Deaf Students in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). The project will continue not only in Karlsruhe but also in Bergen (Norway), Troy (New York) and Berkeley (USA). For each station of his project, Atoui has developed different instruments, which are to be tested and experienced together with deaf and hearing people of different ages.

In his work, Atoui addresses the relationship of the body to the instrument and, in intensive physical performances, combines composition, movement and software and hardware development. In 2012, Atoui took part in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel.

Dancer and actor Mirai Moriyama (* 1984 in Kobe, Japan) has developed the performance Upload a New Mind to the Body, which dissolves the boundaries between subject and object, for the exhibition. Moriyama is wrapped in a membrane, which represents an operating system. With his movements, he peels himself out of the sheath, as if a new operating system, which did not support the existing function, had been installed. Moriyama will present his performance on 16 and 17 March 2016 in the ZKM_Medientheater, as part of the GLOBALE FINALE final weekend. The video Upload a New Mind to the Body can be viewed in the exhibition space.

With the large-scale installation FORCE in the ZKM’s Lichthof_2, Kohei Nawa (* 1975 in Osaka, Japan) visualises gravitational force: Black, viscous oil pours like rain onto the ground into a deep black pool. Nawa investigated the viscosity of the liquid in his studio. Physical states become indistinct, liquid seems to turn into a solid, and a sculptural form emerges.

Daito Manabe (* 1976 in Tokyo, Japan), a founding member of the Rhizomatiks Research group, developed a large-scale interactive installation specifically for the exhibition. It is based on the work Traders, which visualises and artistically transforms live data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For the new installation Chains, the artist has dealt with the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Rhizomatiks Research is a multidisciplinary Japanese artist and designer group, founded in 2006, which focuses on installations and performances with innovative technologies.

The British-Japanese artist Sputniko! (* 1985 in Tokyo, Japan), who was voted “Vogue Woman of the Year” in her homeland Japan in 2013 and became known through her viral YouTube videos, is showing her work Menstruation Machine at the ZKM. The speculative machine, which is reminiscent of a chastity belt, allows the wearer to follow first-hand all aspects of menstruation. Electrodes evoke abdominal pain and a tank full of blood secretes drops. Her second installation is dedicated to Lunar Girl, the first woman on the moon. Her installations and videos were shown at the exhibitions Talk to Me, MoMA, New York (2011) and Bunny Smash, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2013), among other places. Since 2013, she has been an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab.

Maria Taniguchi (* 1981 in Manila, the Philippines) was awarded the HUGO BOSS CHINA ASIA ART Award for Emerging Asian Artists in 2015. Her large-scale paintings of brick walls, which include the series Untitled (Brick Paintings) exhibited at the ZKM, function like architectural elements in the gallery spaces. Taniguchi uses black ink to meticulously fill out the grids drawn with pencil on canvases.

What to expect? Toggle


Yuko Hasegawa

Exhibiting artists

Tarek Atoui

Raqs Media Collective


Rohini Devasher


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