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.

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