:: A Fantasy with Petro and Master Ko


Detail: Marc Chagall, Jacob’s Ladder, Lithography, 30s


Whenever I think of religions, delving into this ambiguous subject, I try to imagine what a force they once were and what a significant influence they had. For me, this is expressed in the cathedrals that have been built over the centuries. Religions were once necessary inventions, through numerous achievements they have shaped numerous epochs, but also the modern crisis of our thinking and acting would not have come about without them. At present, the sciences, religions and the arts are forced to rethink their premises. We are perplexed by the drifting apart of many sciences and their technical and technological achievements.
This crisis, which drags on endlessly, has also affected the arts, which were an anticipation of the conditions of life and whose artificiality we should understand with foreboding: We live in a century in which the surprising can happen.

A Fantasy with Petro and Master Ko

As usual, Petro places his right foot on the last step of the ladder, pushes himself off with the force of his body to the level where he meditates for an hour. But what he sees there shocks him until he gets used to the sight. Someone took his seat in front of him. “Call me Master Ko,” he greets him. “What are you doing here?” Petro looks into the old man’s brightening face. “Your master has come to see you,” the old man says, adding, “I’m checking up on you.”
“You talk too much smugly for me,” says Master Ko, looking questioningly at Petro. To which Petro replies, “Didn’t I work my butt off to get there? A little further every day. Isn’t that some kind of a service? And you say I am complacent.” Master Ko doesn’t let up, “You are in love with what you have learnt, nothing more. You lack all courage.” Petro, upset, says to the old man, “You are the talking temptation.” Laughing, Master Ko replies that he already knows what Petro is doing. “You cannot escape being.” That hit him. Petro looked around for help. Petro looked around seeking help. “Is it true what Master Ko says about me? Have I lost my courage? What is he talking about? Don’t I crawl up here every morning and prove to myself that I can do without speech?” Master Ko looks at him a little worriedly and adds thoughtfully, “You want to force an answer to your questions. In doing so, you have completely forgotten what actually motivates you, like so many things that can make one quite sad. Turn on the light that gives you motivation. Look at the elevation of the platform. Distrust the hasty answers. Leave this platform!” Petro was helpless against the fall, once he reached the bottom he felt his way: “I will reach other levels that will lead me into the unknown.”
(Arthur Engelbert, Berlin – March 2021)

:: The Future of the Kiosk



The thesis of the kiosk is the following: What takes the place of the social institution of the kiosk? For this purpose I try to give a detailed description of “The Kiosk of Łódź”, including an artistic discussion of this topic. An interesting answer to this question depends on the current change in late shopping (Spätkauf). If you look away from the historically changing range of offers at the kiosk and if you look away, for example, from the competition in time between late shopping and supermarkets in Germany, the social role of late shopping has also changed, to put it simply: you see (young) people sitting together for a drink at some late shoppings, as was previously only the case at the corner pub.
The Future of the Kiosk
Manuscript (PDF) see below:


:: Associative Art Library (alphabetically supported, partly name and topic based)


From 01.10.2020 at sprachConcept, Hortensienstr. 28, 12203 Berlin I Before that at Studiolo, Hagenstr. 9, 14193 Berlin


:: Art as a Medium of the Message?



From my balcony.


2015, Graffiti (detail), Francesco Engelbert, 3 m x 1 m


Verlaufslinien der Kunst- und Medientheorien (2019), Herausgeber: Felix Urban
FESTSCHRIFT for Arthur Engelbert


Mit Beiträgen von Claus Baldus, Peter Bexte, Wolf Borchers, Tomke Braun, Bazon Brock, Timo Brüsewitz, Mauro Cappotto, Christo Doherty, Stefan Eikermann, Nirto Karsten Fischer, Raanan Gabay, Winfried Gerling, Detlef Günther, Celine Keller, Anna Maria Maier, Nina Meinhold, Clara Meister, Ulrike Riemann, Daniela Schmidtke, Sebastian Schmitt, Kay Schönherr, Hartmut Schröter, Semjon H. N. Semjon, Eckhardt Siepmann, Achim Trautvetter und Felix Urban.

Broschiert/kartoniert: 290 Seiten I Baden-Baden: Tectum Wissenschaftsverlag 2019

:: Erweiterter Kunstbegriff – Das Kunstlicht. Artificial Light (2016-2018)

Meditations-, Sound- und Kunstausstellungsprojekt auf Sizilien, jeweils im Juni



:: Teaching at IIT/ IDC Bombay, funded by DAAD and IIT Bombay (2017-2019)

2017: Pedestrian Republic. Realization: Romeo and Julia on the pavement -> Pedestrian Republic
2019: Das Bauhaus oder die Frage nach dem Bett – Indien -> Productions

Towards the end of my teaching last year in India this picture was taken directly after the visit (29.11.2019) of the Global Vipassana Pagoda (north of Mumbai) at the nearby beach (Gorai Beach).

Long term recording 25 min., AE sitting (photos: Marek Pozniak)

:: Medienpass

Symposium (in Planung)


Im Anhang des Buches Idiorrhytmie findet sich ein konkreter Vorschlag zur Umsetzung des Medienpasses. Das historische Vorbild für einen Medienpass ist der Ausweis über die abgeleistete Fahrten-Schwimmer-Prüfung. In der thematischen Vorbereitung (navigare necesse est) ist u.a. ein Symposium geplant.

:: Was braucht man wirklich?

Symposium (in Planung)

Reduzierung lebensnotwendiger Dinge:
a: Adressen – formale Identitäten
Hotel/Wohnung, Smartphone, Computer, wLan, Listen mit Namen
b: Netzwerk
Cafés, Bibliotheken, Mensen, Car Sharing, Foren im Internet
c: Sport-, Schlafmatte
Sportschuhe, Sportkleidung, Nachtzeug
d: Musikinstrument und Hörliste
Koffer, Bluetooth/Kopfhörer/Lautsprecher
d: Persönliche Sachen
Was in einem Koffer geht


:: Bauhaus or the question of the bed

Student theses of the second year.
These works are the result of my teaching activities (Oct.-Dec. 2019) at the IIT/ IDC Bombay in India.

Two examples of the students*/Anagha Aneesh, Drishti (of a total of 60 students) at IIT/ IDC Bombay, 2019.

:: The role of the curator – A critique of the art system today. (1)
“There is a saying, that says that a plan is a list of things that will not work”

(1) This text has a long prehistory; originally developed orally in collaboration with the Kunstwerke in Berlin (Renate Wagner), it was able to be made known to different audiences in different places. The lecture takes up some questions, which were discussed for the first time in seminars and tested in lectures from 2013 on and have been continuously expanded since then:
– Lecture: The Art of the Possible, 7th Annual Conference of the Association for Cultural Management, 17-19 January 2013, Potsdam.
– On 03.03.2018 the lecture “The Role of the Curator. A Critique of the Art System Today” took place at the NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Art). The lecture was financed on the occasion of the exhibition “Nature Embedded. A Design Technology Experience” (02.02.-04.03.2018) – curated by Dr. Ajanta Sen, by the Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan and the IIT/IDC Bombay.
– This text form of the lecture was written in October 2019.

Read the complete text (PDF) HERE.

left: Documenta 14, Kassel 2017, Tempel in front of Fridericianum I right: Column with books I photos by Arthur Engelbert


:: Arthur Engelbert: The perception of the catastrophe as a media event,
based on research of three technical-ecological disasters with an extensive data base of images,

in: ders.: Bild und Politik. Eine Langzeitstudie zu Wahrnehmungsumbrüchen der letzten dreieinhalb Jahrzehnte
Marburg: Tectum Verlag 2016, S.493-539.

* Vortrag im Ramen der Vortragsreihe des Graduiertenkollegs „Sichtbarkeit und Sichtbarmachung – hybride Formen des Wissens“ in Potsdam 2012.

* Workshop „Die kommende Katastrophe“ in Grimme (im Nordosten Brandenburgs) 2012.


:: Twelve Years „Digital Gallery“ at Gemäldegalerie Berlin, an art-historically based overall system, realized by the Gesellschaft für Medienproduktionen in Berlin (MIB GmbH), Managing Director: Arthur Engelbert, 1998-2010.

Until about four years ago, the trilingual animation ran in the rooms of the Gemäldegalerie, visitors came only because of this form of information and discussion: it was pioneering in its kind of associative logic, unique technologically by incorporating the click activity of museum visitors, and corresponded in content to a three-volume work of art history. A total of 30 scientists, technicians, museum experts and designers worked on the Digital Gallery for one year. It opened at the same time as the Dahlem Picture Gallery moved to the Cultural Forum in 1998. All in all, this animation represents a milestone in the history of digitization in a museum context.


:: Bildanalyse und Technologischer Standard – A critical review of multimedia, Zeitenblicke 2 (2003), Nr. 1.


:: Die Grenzen der Reflexion im Spiegel des Bildes, in: Phänomene der Derealisierung,
published by Susanne Scharnowski and Stephan Pomolka, Wien 1999.

Based on this text an animation was developed, which was presented from time to time at lectures or in the use of mediation. An idea of this is given in the essay “The Limits of Reflection in the Mirror of the Image” in the book “Politics and Image. A long-term study on perceptual upheavals within the last three and a half decades”, published by Arthur Engelbert, Marburg: Tectum Verlag 2016, S.295-308.


:: Lumpensammler im Datenraum – ein virtuelles Museumsportrait, CD-ROM, concepted and realised by Arthur Engelbert u.a.,
published by Medieninstitut am MD Berlin in cooperation with Werkbund-Archiv Berlin, Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König 1993.


:: updates. Visuelle Medienkompetenz – Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2002.


:: Kunst als Medium der Botschaft? – Gießen: Focus Verlag 1991. (Parabel; Bd.14)


:: Diskussion des Kunstbetriebs heute – A company trip with Michael Fehr, Erich Franz, Veit Loers, Karlheinz Nowald,
Britta Schmitz and Arthur Engelbert, published by Hochschule der Künste and Arthur Engelbert, Materials 3/89, Berlin 1989.


:: Industrie im Bild – Bild der Industrie, in: tendenzen, Zeitschrift für engagierte Kunst, Industriekultur,
published by Arthur Engelbert, issue no. 159, 28. Jg., Neuss: Damnitz Verlag 1987.


:: Leonardo da Vinci : Joseph Beuys, Der Codex Leicester


Arthur Engelbert: On the problem of the relationship between tradition and the constituent factors of the medium of DRAWING
unveröffentlichtes Manuskript
März/ April 1982, 57 pages




Institut für angewandte Realitätsveränderung

Kognitive Kontingenzforschung I kuratorische Kontexterkundung eigenständiger Kulturen I Kritik narrativer Lebensformen

Pedestrian Republic

Insbesondere am Beispiel des digitalen Bürgersteigs, werden Fragen der Digitalisierung aufgeworfen.

Sonnenwende Ficarra (Sizilien)


Die Treppe

Eine kulturgeschichtliche und medienkritische Studie


cultrans I Cultural Transfers (1999-2019

Study series cultrans – cultural transfers, with numerous project-oriented stays abroad funded by the DAAD.



Arthur Engelbert was Professor of Media Theory and Art Studies at the FH Potsdam from 1996 to 2017. In 1998 he habilitated in “Media Theory and Art Studies” at Bazon Brock. Prior to his studies, he worked for seven years as an industrial electronics technician at a steelworks in Dortmund. In 1985, he received his doctorate with a study on the line in drawing from Gottfried Boehm and Max Imdahl, then worked on the conversion of the Völklingen blast furnace plant at the Staatliches Konservatoramt in Saarbrücken and from 1987 to 1992 as a research assistant at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. This was followed by teaching assignments (1992-98) at various universities and art colleges to teach contemporary fine arts. In addition to his teaching activities, Arthur Engelbert has headed a multimedia company (MIB) in Berlin for ten years, was on the board of directors of the Werkbund Archive in Berlin for many years, and from 2002 to 2004 headed the research group “Criticism of Visual Media”.
In 1999, Arthur Engelbert set up the interdisciplinary research project “cultrans”, which investigates cultural transfers between cultures and arts and is linked to many sponsored study trips (Gibilmanna 1999, Cairo 2001, Johannesburg 2003, Mexico City 2005, Hong Kong 2007, Jerusalem 2008, Mumbay 2009 and others) and intercultural cooperation. The focus of the intercultural project “cultrans” has been Israel for seven years. Since 2010, he has been a member of the DFG Research Training Group “Visibility and Visualization” at the University of Potsdam. In 2012 he and others founded the Institute for Applied Reality Change (i-a-r). Since 2013 he has been developing the transcultural project “Pedestrian Republic”. Arthur Engelbert will retire in April 2017 and will continue to be a research member of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. Over a period of three years (2017-2019) he developed and supervised the walking, meditation and art exhibition project “Artificial Light”, each June in Sicily. This was followed in 2017 and 2019 by teaching assignments at the IIT/IDC (Indian Institute of Technology/ Industrial Design Institute) Bombay (financed by DAAD and IIT Bombay).


Subject Area


Copyright: Arthur Engelbert/Detlef Günther, Berlin 2019
The question of the individual and the core of possibility is central to Arthur Engelbert’s studies. Starting from the thesis that every individual in Western societies currently generates fits that correspond to the general standard or standardization and thus systematically ignores the possibility of an individual difference in order to consciously display, i.e. affirm, the status of delusion and schizophrenia.
In the tradition of artistic modernity, the iconic difference in the visual arts opened a distance to the imprinting of what constitutes the individual with the observation that there is the possibility of something by making something visible to the individual that permits this or points this out to him. If the freedom of the individual was coupled to that of the aesthetic possibilities, it can be stated that the possibility core of the iconic difference is concealed by technical-technological as well as political-social forms of the individual’s destiny.
The trilogy, which began a few years ago with HELP! and was supplemented by a study of the staircase as a physical and mental instrument, focuses on considerations of what follows from the historical turning point in the determination of the individual outlined above. The premise is that the determination of the individual as well as of the other must be extended to a construct of the group for which the traditional core of possibilities of art is taken up and shifted, so that in the imaginable, imaginable and feasible a field of differentiation is introduced, which should allow a distance of individual and individual * as well as reality and reality*. Such a field of differentiation could make something visible that goes beyond the perfect fit, even if this manifests itself in imperfect abandonment, stuttering or limping, thus only indirectly making visible a difference to the perfect fit. This is the topic of the third part of the study, which is currently in progress.
In addition to the considerations about the consequences with regard to the turning point of the possibility core, there have been intercultural projects for fifteen years in which questions about the difference of the individual under the conditions of other cultures and power constellations are practically examined. It was recognized through discourse-oriented cooperation projects that apparent diversity must endure confrontation with the simplicity of the real. For this reason, for about seven years there has been a concentration on cooperation with partners from Israel, in which topics are jointly formulated. Intercultural projects represent, so to speak, relocation work on the project of the core of possibility, in which hidden differences not only become visible, but, in relation to the observation’s own location, become apparent in the first place.

Supervision of promotions (selection)

:: Felix Urban: Delay. Diabolisches Spiel mit Zeitmaschinen. Technik-Musikproduktion-Rezeption, Uni Potsdam 2018
:: Kay Schönherr: Die Filme Terrence Malicks und ihr konzeptueller Weltbezug vor dem Hintergrund der amerikanischen Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, Uni Potsdam, voraussichtlicher Abschluss 2019
:: Manja Herlt: …von mir aus… Bewegter Leib – Flüchtiger Raum. Studie über den architektonischen Bewegungsraum, Diss, Uni Cottbus 2009.

Vita (PDF)



Arthur Engelbert lives and works in Berlin.
E-Mail Arthur Engelbert