Humboldt Futures

Humboldt Futures develops a globally accessible
co-creative gaming platform for exchange and participative collective production in order to negotiate dystopian and to envision positive cultural futures.

Humboldt Futures is an experimentation space for ideating the future of museums.

Humboldt Futures is a hybrid environment with immersive interfaces to the physical space.

Based on the Berlin Humboldt Forum’s Digital Twin Humboldt Futures addresses challenges that are at the core of the Forum’s actual status quo, practice and commitment.

In collaboration between Hybrid Space Lab and, a research and development platform of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

Dinner Humboldt Futures @ Hybrid Space Lab, Berlin, 18.00-22.00, 11 January 2024
Workshop Ideation, Presentation & Discussion Humboldt Futures @ Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 9.30-16.00, 12 January 2024
Public Presentation & Discussion, Reception @ Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 17.30-20.45, 12 January 2024


Workshop Dinner
@ Hybrid Space Lab
Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg 6A, 10179 Berlin

18.00-22.00, 11 January 2024

Workshop (AI supported)
@ Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity
Zentraler Laborraum, 2nd floor, Sophienstraße 22A, 10178 Berlin

9.30-16.15, 12 January 2024


Public Presentation & Discussion
@ Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity

Zentraler Laborraum, 2nd floor, Sophienstraße 22A, 10178 Berlin
17.30-19.00, 12 January 2024

Public Reception
@ Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity
Zentraler Laborraum, 2nd floor, Sophienstraße 22A, 10178 Berlin
19.00-20.45, 12 January 2024

(more to be announced)

Dr. Csilla Ariese, Senior Lecturer Master of Applied Museum and Heritage Studies, Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts, Amsterdam
Dr. Marlene Bart
, Multidisciplinary Artist and Researcher, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Horst Bredekamp,
Senior Researcher, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity, Institute for Art and Visual History (Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Nico Brodersen
, Artist and Project Manager Art & Science Forum, Falling Walls Foundation, Berlin
Avinash Changa,
VR Pioneer & Immersive Technologies Expert at WeMakeVR, Amsterdam
Nicole van Dijk
, Anthropologist and Artist, Director and Founder of Stichting Wijkcollectie (Foundation Neighborhood Collection), Rotterdam
Tensae Wale Desta
, Junior Curator Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne
Dr. Marie Cathleen Haff, Cultural Innovator, Head of General Funding at Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), Halle an der Saale
Felix Hahn, Co-founder of Fluct, Conceptual Designer in Digital Communication, Virtual Museum Expert, Berlin
Katarina Haverich
, Performance and Media Artist, Berlin
Timo Kreitz
, Creative Director at Elastique Creative Agency, Berlin
Hans Luyckx
, Director at IJsfontein, Agency for Playful Learning, Amsterdam
Meik Ramey, Media Scientist, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin

Prof. Dr. Kees Ribbens, Senior Researcher and Team Leader Societal Research NIOD, Endowed Professor of Popular Historical Culture of Global Conflicts and Mass Violence at ESHCC, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
Dr. Marguerite Rumpf, Education and Discourse Officer, Department of Culture, Goethe-Institut e.V., München
Prof. Dr. phil. Wolfgang Schäffner, Faculty of Social Sciences and Education, Institute for Cultural Studies, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin

Merlijn Schooneboom, Journalist, Historian, Berlin
Francesca Sciarmella
, Designer, Berlin University Alliance, Berlin
Avni Sethi, Founder of the Conflictorium Museum, Mirzapur, Ahmedabad, India
Paul Spies, Executive Board and Director Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin and Chief Curator of Berlin at the Humboldt Forum, Berlin
Prof. Dr. h.c. Marleen Stikker, Founder and Director Waag Futurelab and Professor of Practice, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam
Benjamin de Wit, Founder of the VR Days, Director of Immersive Tech Week, Rotterdam


Dr. Thomas Lilge, Philosopher and Theatre Scholar, Co-founder and Head of Humboldt Universität R&D platform
Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi, Hybrid Space Lab
Prof. Frans Vogelaar, Hybrid Space Lab

AI Curator

Thomash Haferlach, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence, Founder of, Berlin

Supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands


The Berlin Humboldt Forum is causing intense debates: From its exterior which is a replica of the Berlin Palace, resulting into an urban wasteland and heat island, to its exhibits whose origins and ownership are largely unclear, the Forum offers a huge potential for future development.
This potential, which encompasses many of the relevant challenges of our time, has so far been addressed primarily in conventional formats such as text contributions, panel discussions and workshops.
But this is not enough.



Using the means of the 21st century, Humboldt Futures aims at contributing to transforming these challenges into a productive accelerator for future visions. With a Digital Twin of the Humboldt Forum as its basis, Humboldt Futures opens the Forum to the more than 5 billion people and communities worldwide who have Internet access.

As the Forum’s Digital Twin, Humboldt Futures is a projection surface as well as an experimentation space, opening an arena for playful discussion around the big issues of our time: Who owns the cultural heritage? Whose voices dominate the discourses and which minorities remain marginalized and invisible? How does climate injustice feel like? How to envision transcultural narratives that go beyond the focusing on the narrow human interests in the Anthropocene?

By developing an international network of exchange, addressing cultural as well as environmental challenges, Humboldt Futures reflects the approaches of the Humboldt brothers, the name-givers of the Forum: Wilhelm von Humboldt, who researched the networked character of culture, and Alexander von Humboldt, who looked at nature as a networked system.

Drawing on the understanding of culture and of sustainability as a necessarily polyphonic practice and goal, the outreach of the Humboldt Futures includes global voices, involving a far-reaching international network of participants. Engaging international cultural players, artists, game developers, and other experts in collaborative practices, the Forum’s Digital Twin mutates into a fictional universe that is progressively enriched, narrated and built through. This co-creative approach favors the merging, mutual contamination and enriching across different fields, practices, and backgrounds, allowing for experimentation and developing meaningful models to discuss, envision as well as to implement.

In various digital games, these issues and questions are translated into equally entertaining, provocative and forward-looking game scenarios. An emphasis is on cozy/wholesome games that allow the players to collaborate in digital worlds world without violence and win- or lose competition. In this way, users can overcome the biases, co-creating and envisioning productive futures. The passive reception of content is thus replaced by a proactive, action-based and solution-driven engagement with these challenges.

The co-creative gaming platformed can be accessed from everywhere via Internet. Humboldt Futures can also be used as a preparation or a follow up of a physical visit of the Humboldt Forum.

The Digital Twin is also a meeting point in Multiverse, where the experiences of the players are processed in online symposia, discussions and workshops. The content created – that reaches from texts, audio and video, to 3D virtual environments – gradually fills and transforms the Digital Twin. Hence, Humboldt Futures develops into an archive of international contemporary cultural debates and discourses.

Simultaneously, Humboldt Futures is anchored in physical space with the help of AR applications, VR installations and hybrid mobile interfaces that can travel internationally, as well as with the help of workshops in a hybrid format. The project is therefore embedded in sociocultural environments – both in the Humboldt Forum and its urban surroundings as well as in far-flung locations, e.g. in the Global South.


Humboldt Futures is based on and a further development of Hybrid Space Lab’s projects Humboldt Jungle, Humboldt Volcano and Humboldt Kosmos. Whereas Humboldt Jungle formulated a strong vision for the re-wilding of the Forum (that could even have pleased its name-giver Alexander von Humboldt) and Humboldt Volcano developed a concrete architectural design solution that addresses many of Humboldt Forum’s problems and that could be realized in the (near) future, Humboldt Kosmos is a fictional universe based on the Forum, opening up a multiplicity of possible futures.

Humboldt Futures has as a starting point this fictional universe of Humboldt Kosmos, turning it into an online gaming environment that allows transcultural exchange and helps negotiate the multiple conflictual situations around today’s Humboldt Forum and its practices, co-creating possible future scenarios.


Contemporary challenges such as climate emergency and accelerating biodiversity loss urge us to go beyond the nature-culture divide, as this dichotomy between humans and their environment is closely connected to world-views that consider humans separate from – and superior to – the context from which we emerge – with all negative consequences of such an attitude towards the Living.

Humboldt Futures is therefore committed to a world view that considers nature and culture so tightly interwoven that they cannot be considered separately. Hence, Humboldt Futures follows the explorer and sustainability pioneer and name-giver of the Forum, Alexander von Humboldt, not only in his collecting and categorizing of species but also in his approach to nature as an interconnected network.

Therefore, Humboldt Futures focusses on a broad range of interrelated challenges around Humboldt Forum with the building housing it and its site and history, the controversies concerning the artifacts and man-made objects but also around our habitat as our common networked heritage that needs to preserved and positively developed into the future. Hence, the games of Humboldt Futures focus next to (inter)cultural controversies also on sustainability-oriented story-finding and the co-creation of narratives that go beyond the Anthropocene.


Humboldt Futures consists of a gaming environment based on a Digital Twin of the Berlin Humboldt Forum and anchored in physical sociocultural environments with the help of hybrid interfaces. A Digital Twin is computational model of physical objects or processes, updated using data from their real-world counterpart.

To start with, some gaming scenarios are predefined. Nevertheless, the gamers interpret these while having the freedom to determine their own rules of the game. While playing they inhabit the Digital Twin with content – texts, audio, video as well as 3D virtual environments, transforming the Humboldt Forum’s Digital Twin.

Hence, Humboldt Futures develops into a meeting point in Multiverse, hosting online symposia, discussions and workshops as well as into an online archive of international contemporary cultural debates and discourses.

Humboldt Futures is a hybrid project, anchored in physical space. Augmented Reality applications make it experienceable within the Humboldt Forum and its direct surroundings. Virtual Reality installations present it in the Forum’s exhibition spaces as well as in other venues. Distributed mobile infrastructures equipped with such hybrid interfaces travel internationally, supporting the global access to Humboldt Futures. These technical tools can assist hybrid workshops in different locations, fostering a strong trans-local engagement and exchange. The project is therefore embedded in sociocultural environments – both in the Humboldt Forum and its urban surroundings as well as in far-flung locations, e.g. in the Global South.


Humboldt Futures offers a space for playful interactions, exchange, and negotiations around utopian – and dystopian – cultural futures.

With such conflictual situations including various forms of contested cultural heritage, Humboldt Futures develops a proactive approach towards the biased debates and conversations on restitution processes.

Humboldt Futures focusses also on conflictual situations around global climate (in)justice and looks at alternative narratives that integrate other systems of knowledge and ways of conceiving the world that could help us address the challenges of the Anthropocene.

As Humboldt Futures is developing into a dynamic digital, networked archive that enables the integration of side-lined voices, it also considers issues connected with digital heritage, bolstering innovative ideas on (the future of) heritage in the Digital Age.


Open to speculative artistic practices, Humboldt Futures starts with a Digital Twin of today’s Humboldt Forum, covering the Forum’s exterior with lush vegetation and with a triangular (infra)structure. This gives space for all sorts of digitally supported global interactions, exchange, and negotiation – ranging from role-games, mini-theaters and improvisation sessions, to new symposium-formats, supporting the development of new narratives.

This feeds the Humboldt Futures gaming platform and transforms the Digital Twin – until the lush vegetation has taken over the Forum and the digital representation of the Baroque façade is crumbling, giving space for more innovative venues dedicated to global cultural interaction and exchange.

Humboldt Futures thus integrates worldbuilding gaming methods and artistic processes of constructing imaginary worlds, feeding into and contributing at making other future worlds possible by imagining them and telling their stories.

Humboldt Futures is an experimentation space for ideating the future of museums!

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