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FUTUR 21 kunst industrie kultur Logo Futur 21

Introductory text FUTUR 21 kunst industrie kultur

From working on the production line to industrial robots and artificial intelligence – how will new technologies change our work and our daily lives? What are the challenges for a future-oriented use of resources? And how can creativity and art contribute to creating visions for a new industrial culture?

Project declaration FUTUR 21 kunst industrie kultur

The project FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur encourages us to think about the future of work, about questions of sustainability and climate change, the influence of digitalization as well as the limits of growth and consumption.

From November 2011 until March 2022, digital art works, light installations and spacial interventions will be created in 16 museums in North Rhine-Westphalia, the cradle of industrial culture in Germany. In dialogue with these exceptional places and their histories the invited artists will build bridges to the topics of the future, while enabling viewers to experience them and involving them in their experiments. Complimented by an extensive program of panels, film screenings, concerts, and workshops, FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur will create interdisciplinary laboratories of the future, where industrial culture, cutting edge research, and visual arts will merge.

Giant factories, awe inspiring industrial ensembles – the museums of the network are authentic places and lively cultural sites. As symbols of change and transformation they turn their vigorous gaze towards the past as well as current events. With FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur the museums open up perspectives on the world of tomorrow and how we want to live in it. FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur is cooperative project of the Regional Associations Rheinland (LVR) and Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) on occasion of the 75. anniversary of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.


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LOCATION: LWL-Industriemuseum, Zeche Zollern, Dortmund LVR-Industriemuseum, Peter-Behrens-Bau, Oberhausen
TIME: November 4-5, 2021

Technical conference declaration FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur

The cooperative project FUTUR 21 – kunst industrie kultur, which is set to take place between November 2021 und March 2022, is the first of its kind to bring together current research in the field of Industrial Culture Studies and the Digital Arts at the 16 industrial museums of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) and the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL). The project thus initiates the engagement with and reflection on topics related to the future precisely at those historical locations that testify to two hundred years of modernization and that – as sites of change – throw into relief the limits of progress.

The opening of FUTUR 21 makes it mandatory to negotiate questions pertaining to the future and to open up a space for exchange and discussion. After decades of engaging with socially relevant topics from a historical-cultural perspective, the industrial museums of the LVR and the LWL wish to tread new paths and discuss future-oriented questions together with a variety of actors from academia, the art world as well as from cultural institutions, in particular museums. Such questions may include: Which are key questions on the way to a diverse, sustainable and digital society, to which an engagement with industrial culture pay provide answers? In how far shall industrial museums as community forums take into focus the future-related topics of (post-) industrial society, and in how far are they capable of doing so? Which common narratives require critical examination and further development? How does industrial culture relate to, or is immersed in, power structures, and is it time to approach industrial culture through the theoretical lens of power? In how far are the Digital Arts capable of inspiring new forms of representation and mediation in museums? What can the Digital Arts contribute to the conceptualization of a “New Industrial Culture”?

Those and other questions will be scrutinized and debated at the conference „Industrial Culture for Future“ (IC4 Future) at the LWL-Industrial Museum Zeche Zollern in Dortmund on November 4-5, 2021.

As the official opening of the collaborative art project FUTUR 21, the conference also includes various installations of well-known artists, both in Dortmund and Oberhausen. The official kick-off at Dortmund will be continued with a collective immersive art experience at the LVR-Industrial Museum Peter-Behrens-Bau in Oberhausen on the evening of November 5, 2021.

The academic and artistic engagements with the future of industrial culture are oriented around four thematic clusters:

  1. Key Questions on the Way to a Sustainable Society;
  2. Industrial Museums as Forums for the Most Urgent Issues of Our Time;
  3. Powerful Narratives – Narratives of Power;
  4. Future Visions of Representation and Mediation in Museums.

We would like to invite you to participate in our joint effort to conceptualize industrial culture anew! Due to the pandemic, the event is planned as a hybrid conference.

With our Call for Papers we invite proposals to the panel „Powerful Narratives – Narratives of Power” by May 30, 2021. Decisions will be announced in July 2021. Find more information in the link below. Conference language will be English and German.

Conference office

Konrad Gutkowski
Tel: 0231 6961 270


Supporters and Sponsors

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