Zinkfabrik Altenberg


In Zinkfabrik Altenberg, or the Altenberg zinc factory, workers rolled and processed zinc sheet from 1854 to 1981. In 1997, the Rhineland Regional Council opened the “Heavy Industry” exhibition on the history of the iron and steel industry in the former rolling hall. Since 2018, the museum has been undergoing reconstruction. After major repairs, a new permanent exhibition will be launched in 2023, which will show what effects the industrial age has (had) on people’s lives and their work and will continue to have in the future.


Sculpture Factory

Futur III | 05.03.2022 - 12.03.2022

In the rolling hall of Zinkfabrik Altenberg, where monumental machines interacted with humans for more than 100 years, Italian artist Quayola presents Sculpture Factory, an industrial robot that models endless variations of antique-looking sculptures from blocks of material. The artist replaces the sculptor's unique dexterity with a machine intelligence controlled by algorithms, and in it questions the increasing superfluity of human action in the face of advancing automation.

Visitors experience in real time how new sculptures are created from the “hand” of the industrial robot. Inspired by Michelangelo's technique of “non-finito” (the “unfinished”), the installation explores the tensions between form and matter, the real and the artificial, the old and the new.
Similar to how museums view historical industrial forms in the mirror of today’s societies, Sculpture Factory uses cutting-edge technology to establish a dialogue about forms of creative work from antiquity to the future.

Justine Emard

Soul Shift

Futur III | 05.03.2022 - 12.03.2022

In her video Soul Shift, French artist Justine Emard stages the meeting of two generations of a humanoid robot. Projected onto an interior facade of Zinkfabrik Altenberg’s rolling hall, the film follows two androids equipped with rudimentary artificial intelligence who become aware of their surroundings and their own presence via sensors and gestures. The process of supposedly becoming human is transferred from one generation of robots to the next.

Soul Shift speculates on the encounter with a version of oneself and raises questions about the translocation of knowledge and identity. The video is one of several artworks created in Japan since 2016 in collaboration with scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka University) and Takashi Ikegami (University of Tokyo). Based on the research paradigm that life-like actions can be learned based on signals and sensors, Soul Shift illuminates the impact that transferring knowledge, developed from “learned experiences”, can have on a next generation.


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