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Joint Exhibition "Drängende Gegenwart" in the University Library

Raumausschnitt mit mehreren sichtbaren Wänden voll gerahmter Fotografien
Arbeiten links: Benjamin Ressi; Arbeiten rechts: Monique Petermann © Birte Rauch

The joint exhibition "Drängende Gegenwart" will open on the 5th of December 2023 at 3.30 pm in the foyer of the main building of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Photographic and textile works by students from the Department of Design will be exhibited in the library of the FH Potsdam.

Drängende Gegenwart – Fotografie als Forschungsinstrument reflects the massive societal and social upheavals and challenges that are characterised by the confluence of multiple crises. On display are photographic works by students who have artistically explored the eponymous theme over the past two semesters as part of a course taught by Professor Wiebke Loeper. In times of hyperintelligence, wars and climate crisis, what are the topics we want to address photographically? How can we use photography to explore and investigate the world we live in and discover new things? How can we tell other people's and our own stories, increase knowledge, question things, share experiences and awaken mutual understanding? From the state of shock in the Oderbruch after the fish die-off to stories from the neighbourhood and utopian questions of freedom, community and our responsibility for the planet, the students approach the various thematic complexes artistically, each with their own means and approaches.

"Drängende Gegenwart – textiles in transit" deals with textile materials and manufacturing processes and transforms them into new and unusual contexts. According to a study by the Federal Statistical Office, over 150,000 tonnes of clothing and textile waste are generated in Germany every year from private households alone. The figures are rising steadily and have more than doubled since the study began in 2004. However, consumer waste is only a small part of the fast fashion system, which not only harms the environment but also people in precarious working conditions. With the structural change driven by fast fashion and the disappearance of the textile industry in Europe, textile knowledge has also been lost. Yet textiles have often been catalysts in cultural history, generating a high level of innovation, such as the development of the Jacquard loom, whose binary punch card system can be seen as a kind of first computer. Knowledge of textile processes is essential in order to design textile products with sustainable material cycles. The works on display were created as part of courses taught by Prof. Silvia Knüppel and her academic assistant Samira Akhavan.