Christoph Niemann

Hello, Robot. Design Between Human and Machine (group show)
Vienna Biennale, MAK, Vienna
21 June - 1 October 2017

Christoph Niemann, Hello Robot, 2017. Courtesy of the artist
Christoph Niemann, Hello Robot, 2017. Courtesy of the artist

To some extent unheard and unseen, robotics—driven by Digital Modernity—has already fundamentally altered our working and daily lives. Yet people’s relationship to new technologies is often ambivalent. As the first comprehensive exhibition about the opportunities and challenges surrounding robotics, Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine broadens its scope to include the ethical and political questions arising from these enormous technological advances.

Subdivided into four chapters (“Science and Fiction,” “Programmed for Work,” “Friend and Helper,” “Becoming one”), Hello, Robot. tells the story of a convergence of human and machine, while being organized in an interdisciplinary fashion. More than 200 exhibition objects from the realms of art, design, and architecture, as well as examples from technology, film, literature, fashion, science, and pop culture examine the inexorable hype around intelligent machines and the crucial role played by design. In addition to providing a leitmotif through the exhibition, 14 questions illuminate dealings with robotics. They invite visitors to reassess their own stance towards new technologies and convey that there is a fine line between opportunities and risks.

In the discourse swirling around robotics, design bridges seemingly insurmountable contradictions. While the debate about robots and artificial intelligence swerves back and forth between enthusiasm and criticism, between utopia and dystopia, between hopes for a better, high-tech world and fear that humans will be marginalized, design delivers concrete solutions as well as thought experiments demonstrating that often the truth lies in both extremes simultaneously.

Vienna Biennale


Christoph Niemann

Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists (group show)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
27 June 2017 - 17 December 2017

Courtesy Christoph Niemann, Nicholas Blechman and The Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Courtesy Christoph Niemann, Nicholas Blechman and The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Over the past decade, mobile phone cameras have changed how photographs are made, used, and looked at. Whereas the camera once functioned chiefly as a tool for preserving the past, today people are using mobile phones to share their visual experience in real time and with unprecedented intimacy. Photography has become a fluid, instantaneous, ephemeral means of communication - an act closer to speaking than to writing. Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists, highlights this novel aspect of photographic communiction by inviting a diverse group of 24 artists to conduct visual dialogues with one another on their mobile phones or other devices, sending images back and forth in a game of visual ping-pong. The resulting images will be presented in the galleries in various forms: on video monitors, on touch screens, as exhibition prints, and as photo-books available for viewers to page through.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York