Professor Hybrid Space @ KHM

The Academy of Media Arts (KHM) was founded in 1990 and offers an educational concept, unique within Germany, which brings film, art and science together.
The Academy of Media Arts is a teaching and research institution for media in Cologne, Germany.

Frans Vogelaar
Professor for Hybrid Space

1 April 1998

@ Academy of Media Arts
Cologne, Germany

Hybrid Space

A new interdisciplinary field of design, researching the transformations of architectural, urban/regional space of the emerging “information age”, explores the dynamic interaction of architecture/urbanism and the space of mass media and communication networks. It develops scenarios for the interplay of public urban and public media space.

The products of these alliances of urban/regional and media networks, of architectural and media space, are bastards: ambivalent spaces that are at the same time analog and digital, tactile and abstract, material and immaterial, expanding hyper-sensuality in the time- and placelessness of media flows. These hybrid spatial morphs act simultaneously in urban (local) and media (global) space and mediate between them, unfolding the undefined space between the local and the global, occupying the vacuum between local place and global space. Within the inversions of identity (communication), within the fluid ever-changing densities in the knitted networks, fused analogue/digital cultures are idensified.

Viral Space

The COVID-19 pandemic forces us to rethink space in a “more-than-human” perspective as a networked interconnected multi-species habitat that considers the humans in their relationship to the global environment, including viruses.

The pandemic-induced lock down creates the necessity to develop new digitally and social-distancing supported public communication spaces, as for large parts of the planetary population the ‘real’ world is and will stay inaccessible and cultural spaces such as exhibitions, museums, conferences, pop-up meetings, workshops and academies are shut down. In this critical situation we have the chance to develop a spatial conceptual approach to support collaborative interactions in order to actively shape these future hybrid (digital and physical) exploratory spaces – and not just the current main mode of collective social contact: the tele-conferencing-formats that have been developed for other purposes.

Examining the relationship of physical spaces with digital and media networks, enables us to explore the potential of hybrid space for artistic research and to develop new cultural formats. By exploring contemporary hybrid spaces in the context of sociopolitical, environmental, climate-related and technological acceleration, this investigation questions and informs the future of cultural space.