Kempelen - Man in the Machine

Media Art and History ExhibitionExhibition organized by the C3 Foundation and ZKM, Karlsruhepart of the Bipolar Programme of the German Federal Cultural Fund, the Ungarischer Akzent – German Cultural Season in Hungary, and the

Opening: 23 March, 7 p.m.

Ken Feingold, Péter Forgács, Severin Hofmann – David Moises, György Jovánovics, Gergely László, Péter Rákosi, Gyula Pauer, Katrin von Maltzahn, Simon Penny, Martin Riches, Tamás Waliczky, Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák – Róbert Langh – Márton Fernezelyi - Richárd Aczél, Robotlab, Georg Winter – Michael Markert.

Curator: József Mélyi
Co-curator: Rita Kálmán
Technical director: Márton Fernezelyi
Design: Gábor Palotai Design Free guided tours
on Thursdays at 5 p.m.
Further info:
Klára Héjj +36 14607018

Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle, 24–25 March 2007. A scienti.c symposium accompanies the Budapest exhibition, following and complementing the subjects of the show, such as chess and the machine, sound simulation and automatons, robotics, the development of arti.cial intelligence, the connections between art, science and technology, and the cultural and social events of von Kempelen’s era.

The history of the chess-player automaton of Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734 — 1804) and its legend have engaged artists, scientists and laymen for centuries. Now, more than two hundred years after von Kempelen’s death, the joint exhibition of C3 Foundation and the ZKM in Karlsruhe, setting the two outstanding mechanical inventions of the polyhistor – the chess-player automaton and the speaking machine – at the centre, attempts to focus not only on the most enduring memories of his almost unfathomably far-reaching career. Alongside the portrayal of von Kempelen as scientist, engineer, artist, showman, civil servant and private individual, the exhibition broadens the picture onto the Court of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, the mechanical inventions of the epoch, the invention of the era of invention, the Freemasonry movement, and the Turk- and puppet-mania of the century.
Even though we are separated from von Kempelen’s world by more than two hundred years, we can still recognise the similarities between that atmosphere of scienti.c discoveries constantly outbidding each other, with technical and technological innovations appearing in the second half of the 18th century, and the multifariousness of art forms, and our own present.
The other aim of the exhibition is the elaboration of the history of innovative thinking, and the presentation of elements of technical and conceptual history inspired by von Kempelen and his mechanisms. Alongside the historical correlations, the show presents contemporary media artworks – in part, commissioned speci.- cally for this occasion – that, taking the sphere of thought of von Kempelen’s inventions as their point of departure, discover the relationship between the ideas of the Enlightenment and the questions of the present day.

Following its presentations in Budapest and Karlsruhe, the exhibition is planned to travel to Slovakia and Austria from the second half of 2007 through the end of 2008.

This project is supported by Bipolar German-Hungarian Cultural Cooperations and Ungarischer Akzent. Bipolar is an initiative of the Federal Cultural Foundation.
2007. March 23. - May 28.

Kunsthalle, Budapest

2007. March 9. - March 16.
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2007. April 24. - May 25.
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