Peter Weibel

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Peter Weibel (5 March 1944, Odessa, Ukraine - 1 March 2023, Karlsruhe) was an artist, curator and theoretician. From 1999 he was the director of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

Raised in Upper Austria he starts to study French and cinematography in Paris. In 1964 he begins to study medicine in Vienna, but changes soon to mathematics, with an emphasis on logic.

Peter Weibel’s oeuvre can be described in the following categories: Conceptual Art, Performance, Experimental Film, Video art and Computer art.

Starting from semiotic and linguistic reflections (Austin, Jakobson, Peirce, Wittgenstein, ...) as from 1965 Peter Weibel develops an artistic language, which leads him from experimental literature to performance. In his performative actions he explores not only the "media" language and body, but also film, video, audiotape and interactive electronic environments. Critically he analyzes their function for the construction of reality. Besides taking part in happenings with members of the Vienna Actionism he develops as from 1967 (together with Valie Export, Ernst Schmidt jr. and Hans Scheugl) an "expanded cinema". It is inspired by the American Expanded Cinema and reflects the ideological and technological conditions of cinematic representation. Peter Weibel elaborates these reflections as from 1969 in his video tapes and installations. With his television action "tv und vt works", which is broadcasted by the Austrian Television (ORF) in 1972 he transcends the borders of the gallery space and queries video technology in its application as a mass medium.

Peter Weibel follows his artistic aims using a large variety of materials, forms and techniques: text, sculpture, installation, film and video. In 1978 he turns to music. Together with Loys Egg he founds the band "Hotel Morphila Orchester". In the mid 1980s he explores the possibilities of computer aided video processing. Beginning of the 1990s he realizes interactive computer-based installations. Here again he addresses the relation between media and the construction of reality.

In his lectures and articles Weibel comments on contemporary art, media history, media theory, film, Video art and philosophy. As theoretician and curator he pleads for a form of art and art history that includes history of technology and history of science. In his function as a university professor and director of institutions like the Ars Electronica, Linz, the Institute for New Media in Frankfurt and the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe he influenced the European Scene of the so called Computer art through conferences, exhibitions and publications.

As from 1976 Peter Weibel teaches at numerous universities, among others at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada und the Gesamthochschule Kassel. In 1984 he is appointed to teach for five years as Associate Professor for Video and Digital Arts at the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York. The same year, 1984 he becomes Professor for visual media at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, where he is teaching until today. In 1989 he is assigned to set up the Institute for New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, which he heads until 1994.

Curatorial Activities[edit]

Since 1986 Peter Weibel works as artistic advisor for the Ars Electronica, which he then heads from 1992 until 1995 as its artistic director. From 1993 to 1999 he curates the pavilion of Austria on the Venice Biennial. In the same period, from 1993 to 1999, he works as chief curator at the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz. Since January 1999 Peter Weibel is Chairman and CEO of the ZKM.

  • 2005 "Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht" (with Gregor Jansen), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 2005 "Making Things Public" (with Bruno Latour), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 2003 "M_ARS: Kunst und Krieg" (with Guenther Holler-Schuster), Neue Galerie, Graz
  • 2002 "Future Cinema" (with Jeffrey Shaw), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 2002 "Iconoclash" (with Bruno Latour), ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 2000|01 "Olafur Eliasson: Surroundings surroanded", Neue Galerie, Graz and ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 2000 "Net_condition" (with Walter van der Crijusen, Johannes Goebel, Golo Foellmer, Hans-Peter Schwarz, Jeffrey Shaw, Benjamin Weill) ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 1999|2000 "Der anagrammatische Körper" Kunsthaus Muerz, Muerzzuschlag | Neue Galerie, Graz and ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • 1999 "Open Practice", 48th Venice Biennale
  • 1998 "Jenseits von Kunst", MUHKA, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen; Neue Galerie, Graz; Ludwig-Museum, Budapest
  • 1996 "Inklusion: Exklusion", Steirischen Herbst 96, Graz
  • 1993 "Kontext Kunst", Neue Galerie, Graz
  • 1991 "Das Bild nach dem letzten Bild" (with Kaspar König), Galerie Metropol, Vienna
  • 1990 "Vom Verschwinden der Ferne" (with Edith Decker), Postmuseum, Frankfurt on the Main
  • 1987 "Logokultur", Universitaet fuer angewandte Kunst, Vienna
  • 1976 "Oesterreichs Avantgarde 1908-38" (with Oswald Oberhuber), Galerie naechst St. Stephan, Vienna






  • Peter Weibel – Mein Leben, dir. Marco Wilms, 2010, 43 min. Documentary. [2]