press release

Information/Transformation is an ambitious project that probes the complex relationship between information and the desire for political and social change. The choice made by both artists and exhibition-makers to increasingly enter into dialogue with social and political reality leads to new relationships between art and society. Information/Transformation is intended to shed new light on these relationships.

The Brussels lawyer and documentalist Paul Otlet unwittingly laid the basis for the internet in 1934 in his Traité de documentation, a standard work on documentation and universal classification. From a stubborn faith in the then prevailing notion of world peace, Paul Otlet was a pioneer in promoting internationalism as the criterion for a peaceful society. Otlet not only laid the foundation for the internet, but was also the brain behind important insights about the world bank and the protection of access to information.

Otlet saw the ideal of world peace embodied in what was apparently his most ambitious project, the Mundaneum. As a run-up to it, he founded the Centre International. It united an International Bibliographic Institute, an International Library, a Documentary Encyclopaedia, the International Museum and an International University.

The exhibitions of the International Museum have never been systematically studied, despite their more than exceptional current relevance. In a citation from Le Musée International (Brussels, 1911), we read that Otlet is searching for a way of making abstract ideas visible. The ‘toolkit’ available to the International Museum was extremely modest: maps, statistics, diagrams and graphs for the depiction of important but elusive developments such as the movements of capital and goods.

Otlet points the way toward a contemporary cultural institute and at the same time discloses the methodology that it reflects: the concept, and its methodology, are inspired by a geographic museum. Otlet’s plans are subjected to new investigation in Information/Transformation. The organisation and development of the Mundaneum, after all, show far-reaching parallels with the strategies of contemporary artists. Like Paul Otlet, they are seeking new connections between world peace and making information accessible in exhibition formats. Today, however, the rhetoric of the Mundaneum and the International Museum inevitably compel a search for new concepts and a more nuanced information positivism.

Information/Transformation tackles issues like internationalism and dialogue from the perspective and the place of information in our society and is conceived as an examination of the possibilities of art and exhibitions in relation to the architecture of knowledge, world peace and current affairs.

The Atlas Group (LB) - Sven Augustijnen (B) - Gerard Byrne (IE) - Banu Cennetoglu (TR) - Willem De Rooij (NL) - Anita Di Bianco (IT) - Andrea Geyer (US) - Jef Geys (BE) - Ivan Grubanov (CS) - Jan Kempenaers (BE) - Robert Kusmirowski (PL) - Dustin Larson (US) - Alon Levin (IL/NL) - Boris Mikhailov (RU) - Kirsten Pieroth (DE) - Tommy Simoens (BE) - Reinaart Vanhoe (BE)

Public Program starts Nov 17, 2005; Exhibition through Dec 4, 2005


only in german

Information / Transformation

mit The Atlas Group, Sven Augustijnen, Anita Di Bianco, Gerard Byrne, Banu Cennetoglu, Willem de Rooij (de Rijke / de Rooij), Andrea Geyer, Jef Geys, Ivan Grubanov, Jan Kempenaers, Robert Kusmirowski, Dustin Larson, Alon Levin, Boris Mikhailov, Kirsten Pieroth, Tommy Simoens, Reinaart Vanhoe