Press : Planet B

Planet B - 100 Ideen für eine neue Welt / Bild: Labor Fou

PLANET B – 100 ideas for a new world

Dates: 02/06-21/08/2016
Opening: 01/06/2016

Press release (PDF)

Exhibition Booklet (PDF)

The future we are dreaming of

With the exhibition project “Planet B”, from the 2 June to 21 August 2016, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf will be presenting alternative designs for the future and an exhibition as a living organism.

"This new vision ... will be the theoretical basis of future constructions, ... as all the reasons for becoming impassioned disappear. … Everyone will, so to speak, live in their own personal “cathedrals”. There will be rooms more conducive to dreams than any drug, and houses where one cannot help but love. … You'll never see the hacienda. It doesn't exist. The hacienda must be built."

Ivan Chtcheglov, Formula for a new urbanism, 1953

The international group exhibition “Planet B – 100 ideas for a new world” engages with the radical changes to our planet – and looks for a plan B, for the future we are all dreaming of. Some 500 years after the publication of Utopia, a novel by Thomas More, artists, designers, architects, researchers and entrepreneurs will be presenting their utopias for the 22nd century. These can be viewed from the 2 June to 21 of August 2016, at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.

Food hacking, the smart city, alternative economies and sustainable consumption – with their projects, the artists will be highlighting alternatives and drawing our attention to social, political and economic injustices. Yet, the exhibition project is not merely about showcasing these ideas - they will also be realised in the exhibition as well as in public spaces. Planet B has been designed as a process and as a living organism, which will evolve – through the participation of the visitors and the collaborative processes with local artists and institutions. At the core of the exhibition, for its entire duration, there will be a research station where artists will be able to live and also work on their utopias, within the framework of artist-in-residence programmes. All the projects that emerge from the research station will become part of the growing exhibition.

“With Planet B we want to generate fresh impetus for a new world. It is about the big social and societal issues of our decade: How are we going to live? Where are we going to live? What will we be fighting about? What will we be eating? We don’t however just want to debate these questions. We also want to find answers and realise those projects”, says Alain Bieber, artistic director of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf.

Participating Artists & Project Orgnisers

Planet B has been curated by Alain Bieber, Nicola Funk and Joanna Szlauderbach in cooperation with Vasco Bontje (Sustainica) and Darija Šimunović (project Hörner/Antlfinger). An accompanying publication by Lukas Feireiss and Matthias Hübner presents many other utopias – from Steward Brand, though Chus Martínez and right up to Raymond Kurzweil – that serve as an inspiration and encourage action. The participating artists include: Agnieszka Pokrywka, Alvaro Urbano, Anna Romanenko, Armin Chodzinski, Atelier für Sonderaufgaben, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Ben J. Riepe, Björn Kühn, Brad Downey, Constantin Schlachter, Eric Winkler, Hörner/Antlfinger, Jan Holtmann, Jana Pejoska, Kathryn Fleming, Labor Fou, Lars Zimmermann, Mathieu Tremblin, Matthias Löwe, Merlin Baum, Mikko Laajola, Norma D. Hunter, per.Vers, Valentina Karga and Vladimir Turner.

The research station on Planet B

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan C. Kay

The core of the exhibition is a research station that has been curated by Joanna Szlauderbach. This is a walk-through room installation in the form of a rocket that will be constructed by the artist collective Labor Fou. Hypothetical approaches for alternative life concepts will be brought together in the rocket where they will be discussed, implemented and reviewed in order to determine their actual potential. Within the framework of artist-in-residence programmes and working in transdisciplinary teams, the rocket will provide artists, activists, visionaries and hackers the opportunity to implement their hitherto unrealised concepts for a new world. In the course of this, they will not only be working in the research station but will also be living there. The research space will form a membrane between the imaginary new world and the world in which we are currently living. Together with local activists, the international residents will create tool kits - alternative resources to help shape a new world. The results of the respective studies and tests will be incorporated into the exhibition and will be passed on to the next research group both in the form of space-defining elements and also a logbook.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to observe the artists, or take part in their work and help to shape the processes with their own ideas.

Research teams on Planet B:

Heralding the start of the artistic research marathon, at the opening evening on 1 June, will be the Polish multimedia artist Kasia Justka, who transforms succulent vegetables into 'juicy sounds' and ordinary cooking utensils into DIY musical instruments. Together with the visitors, she will create the 'Soup Song of the Day', which can subsequently be eaten.


The first research team comprises the artist and researcher Andrew Gryf Paterson, who was born in Scotland but is now based in Finland, together with the international artists Norma D. Hunter, Mikko Laajola, Jana Pejoska, Agnieszka Pokrywka, Anna Romanenko and Björn Kühn. The team will be concentrating on the field of organic hacks and food hacks. They will collect fruit in the city and experiment with fermentation, compostation and coconuts.


The second research duo, the French artist Mathieu Tremblin and the Czech art activist Vladimir Turner, will focus on the city of Düsseldorf and will be creating contextual interventions in public spaces.


The artist Valentina Karga and the artist and business economist Lars Zimmermann will take economic systems to their presumed limits. In workshops, presentations and walks they will consider Open Source hardware, new economic models and slime.


The artist and curator Jan Holtmann and the artist, author and performer Armin Chodzinski will be developing pyjama artefacts during night-time discussion rounds with invited guests.


Finally, the interaction designer Matthias Löwe will transform Planet B in a playful way and will create games in the public space as well as in the digital and exhibition rooms. The Düsseldorf-based artist Merlin Baum will look into the question of which interfaces will become prevalent in the future and will develop his own alternative interface solutions for the future.

International Group Exhibition in the NRW-Forum

Besides the research station, which will be continuously changing, the second focus of the project will be a group exhibition of works in the exhibition room and in the public space. At the heart of the group exhibition there will be a walk-through room installation by the Düsseldorf-based Ben J. Riepe Kompanie where, during the entire exhibition period, various performances will be played out. The "UUUUU(topia)“ installation with its huge lawn, where games can be played, will bring a natural environment into the exhibition space.

Since 2005, the artist duo Hörner/Antlfinger has been undertaking time travel experiments with participants in various countries. The process of imagination is the focus of these experiments. In a compilation entitled "Back to the Future, Forward the Past. Three Time Travel Experiments", Planet B will present some of these journeys in time through Sofia, Istanbul and Sarajevo. Moreover, in three workshops, Planet B will undertake imaginary guided tours through the city of Düsseldorf. The project has been curated by Darija Šimunović and will be realised in cooperation with the imai Foundation and supported by the Ministry for Families, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

In her works, the designer Kathryn Fleming explores the connections between science, technology and art. For the "Endless Form / Endless Species“ series, using taxidermy, she developed new life forms that would be ideally adapted for life in the future.

Eric Winkler developed new uniforms for the police. His project provides utopian alternative concepts to the current visual appearance of the police and security service providers and examines the political dimension of visual uniformity.

Through temporary interventions, the works of the Berlin-based American artist Brad Downey reclaim privatised and commercialised urban spaces. In his Fence Hack series, 2014-2015, he created openings in places where fences had put up boundaries and he used the fences to make frames for art works.

The photographs by Constantin Schlachter show abstract natural motifs and mental landscapes that appear to be images of an unknown future.

International Group Exhibition in the public space

The Swiss conceptional artist duo Atelier für Sonderaufgaben [Studio for Special Tasks] realise social and political interventions in public spaces. From 31 May to 2 June 2016, they will be driving through the city in their "Quatschmobil" [or, ‘chatmobile’] and will take passengers free of charge so long as they "quatschen“ [or, chat]. As soon as conversation starts to flow the car will begin to drive, if there is no conversation it will stand still. The spoken word will become the fuel and thoughts will be turned into capital. For every 10 kilometres that are driven a random act in a public space will be triggered, such as, for example, a free haircut, a shoe repair, or a pizza.

Alvaro Urbano creates synergies between living organisms and dynamic structures through his installations, films and performances. As part of the Planet B exhibition, he installs an aviary in the outdoor area of the NRW-Forum, regarding the series „Utopias are for Birds“. For the ongoing project he develops aviaries based on drawings and drafts that originated from utopian projects and architectural concepts which could never be realized.

The theatre project "Niemandsland-Unterstadt“ [No Man's Land-The City Below] involves an excursion to a disused railway tunnel. The project is from the theatre collective per.Vers., in a co-proudction with the ASPHALT Festival, in cooperation with the ZAKK cultural centre and the Rheinbahn AG. This "underside" of the luxury district situated above is the living space and refuge for people for whom the world has become too hostile. Supported by the Ministry for Families, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State of NRW.

The work of Vladimir Turner ranges between documentaries, interventions in the public space and political activism. The French artist Mathieu Tremblin is known for his interventions in the public space; they are frequently minimalist and ironic. Together they will analyse the city of Düsseldorf with its conditions and structures and subsequently create contextual interventions in public spaces.

Sustainica – international consumer fair, conference & art exhibition for sustainable lifestyles and innovation

The first edition of the Sustainica fair will take place, parallel to Planet B, from 2 to 5 June 2016, on the upper floor of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. Here, inventors, business startups and designers from all over the world will be presenting innovative solutions for sustainable living and sustainable consumption. This international consumer fair has been organised by the Sustainable Lifestyle Initiative in cooperation with the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. On show will be innovations and future trends from the fashion, technology, mobility, food and art sectors. Young designers, such as Gesine Jost and Carolin Schulze, as well as international businesses such as Van.Eko, Grohe Germany and FREITAG will be showcasing their projects. One of the main exhibitors at the Sustainica fair will be the Tesla Motors firm, which will be presenting its new “Model X”.

At the Sustainica Conference 2016, which will accompany the fair, in a series of talks, presentations and workshops, speakers from NGOs, businesses and the creative and cultural industries will discuss the challenges of and developments in sustainability.

Cooperation Partners of the Sustainica Fair include the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), "10YFP“ from Paris, "CSCP“ in Wuppertal and the Office of Economic Development of the state capital of Düsseldorf. |

Press contact for Sustainica: O3PR | Linda Azar, Marketing & PR | Phone: +49(0)211 9954 5968 |

Press images

The listed image material may be used free of charge for topic-related reports (in print and online media as well as social media channels) and provided that a notice of the respective copyright is included. The right to use images free of charge shall lapse six weeks after the end of the exhibition.

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Funded by

In Partnership with

Partners Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf Otto Beisheim Stiftung Hoffmann Liebs Max Brown Midtown CCS