La Biennale, Panel Discussion



The discussion explores a technological revolution that is already in progress, which will bring about massive changes in the way we work and live, and have an enormous impact on our culture and the arts. This transformation cannot be compared to earlier technological revolutions, because artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and robotics, with their interlinked dynamics, are unfolding faster and more intensely than any technical innovation that has come before. For the first time in human history, machines are not only replacing human muscle power, but also human thinking and analyzing. Hence the issue at hand is nothing less than the fundamental role of the human being in the universe, and the human being’s determining influence on the path of civilization. While societal, political and economic realities are determined to an ever increasing degree by a growing number of factors that in their complexity and interrelatedness are less understandable, politics and business are desperately trying to maintain the linear planning logic of the industrial age. And education and research systematically cling to a fragmentation of knowledge and an intellectual division of labor. Although for decades commentators have been bemoaning the crisis of science and its practitioners, scientific careers are increasingly developing along the lines of quantitative indicators, which promote self-referentiality and a narrowing of scope. In a world shaped by artificial intelligence, digitization and robotics, the human being can only exert a relevant effect on society and the economy by cross-linking creative thought processes and by making new connections between increasingly automated fields of action and knowledge in ways that have until now remained unthought or been considered unthinkable. The transformation of work, education and leisure, as well as the transformation of our societies through internal demographic developments and migration, are giving rise to new challenges in human coexistence, and with them new potential fields of action. But how will the arts be affected by these global digital transformation processes?

And what is art’s role in these changing times? Works by students from the Department Art & Science, headed by Virgil Widrich at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, are exhibited.


Gerald Bast, President University of Applied Arts Vienna

Martina Mara, Head of LIT Robopsychology Lab, Johannes

Kepler University Linz Ute Meta Bauer, Founding director,

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Nanyang Technological University Singapore

Ruth Schnell, Head of Digital Arts, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Virgil Widrich, Head of Art & Science, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Moderation: Stephan Hilpold, Head of the Arts Section, Der Standard

Organized in the context of Biennale Sessions – Special Programme for Higher Education Institutions at La Biennale di Venezia’s 58th International Art Exhibition