Press release, Oct 30, 2020

HKW will be closed from November 2. Program continues in digital form

As of Monday, November 2, 2020, HKW will be closed to visitors.

Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne – The Original continues in digital form at
The Disappearance of Music will take place in the digital space.
The Shape of a Practice: All content is available online.

In spite of coronavirus restrictions, the HKW exhibition Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne – The Original has already recorded more than 10,000 visitors. But even during lockdown, the public can enjoy the exhibition:

A 3D guided tour produced by our project partner the Warburg Institute makes it possible to explore, interrogate and view the atlas without physically being there.

The exhibition Between Cosmos and Pathos is also available as a 3D presentation. At the Gemäldegalerie (until November 1, 2020), it brings together works of art from prehistory and early history to modern times that Warburg used for his encyclopedic picture collection. 3D tours are in German with English subtitles.

In the four-part video series Befragung des Atlas, Anselm Franke, in collaboration with Matthew Vollgraff and Guillaume Cailleau, offers a kaleidoscope of interpretations with changing conversation and sparring partners. What story does the Atlas tell; where does it go beyond the scope of storytelling? How does Warburg’s psychological history of modern Europe relate to non-European colonial history? Episode 1 deals with the basics of the Atlas and arranges it in a – still unfinished – global cultural history. Three more films will be added at weekly intervals.

Befragung des Atlas
Anselm Franke in collaboration with Matthew Vollgraff and Guillaume Cailleau
4 approx. 30 min. episodes
With the exhibition curators as well as Erhard Schüttpelz, Griselda Pollock, Claire Tancons, Alice Creischer / Andreas Siekmann, Steffen Haug, Giovanna Targia, Syros Papapetros.

A Kind of World War, a film essay by Anselm Franke and Erhard Schüttpelz, will follow in mid-November. Aby Warburg’s famous lecture on the Hopi snake ritual in Arizona is one of the most commented art history transcripts of the twentieth century. But while Warburg’s snake ritual essay is firmly anchored in the canon of art history, to a wider public – especially in Europe – little is known about its source, the Hopi snake ritual and its history. A Kind of World War is dedicated to the political history of pictures of this ritual, which Aby Warburg himself largely ignored and which he helped to spread (film, approx. 60 min. in English with German subtitles).

In the video Gertrud Bing and Aby Warburg: Sharing the Denkraum, Laura Tack, author of a monograph on Gertrud Bing, and the cultural theorist Clio Nicastro examine the presence of Gertrud Bing in the exhibition. (English with German subtitles)

The audio guide Warburg for Beginners also makes the 3D tour a pleasure for visitors who want to learn about the complex worldview of the picture collector step by step.

The contents of the conference are now available in the HKW-Mediathek. On September 25 and 26, 2020, art historians and curators gathered to discuss the concepts that Aby Warburg and his research team developed and their continued impact on contemporary art history and visual studies.

Last but not least, the folio volume Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne – The Original, edited by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Warburg Institute, London; Roberto Ohrt, Axel Heil, Hatje Cantz, 2020, offers the complete overview: Aby Warburg developed his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne in the 1920s. It became a legend in modern art and visual studies. The publication compiles the 63 picture panels – newly photographed from the original pictures and with essays by Roberto Ohrt, Axel Heil, Bernd Scherer, Bill Sherman and Claudia Wedepohl.

Tickets that have already been purchased will be taken back and refunded. HKW will contact ticket holders promptly by e-mail ()

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The festival The Disappearance of Music (Nov 13-15, 2020) will take place in the digital space. We are currently working on implementation concepts.

Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 9pm – Live stream on

Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma (Mouse on Mars) bring the sounds of four artists from different locations in the United States into harmony via video conference. Multimedia artist Olivia Block contributes found and electronic sounds from Chicago while music theorist DeForrest Brown Jr., also known as Speaker Music, operates the sampler in New York City. Forbes Graham plays his trumpet from Boston and improv musician and poet Bonnie Jones contributes words and video from Providence. The session will be mixed in real time, integrating the fallibilities of contemporary video communication into improvisation practice.

Information on the rest of the program will be announced shortly.

Tickets that have already been purchased will be taken back and refunded. HKW will contact ticket holders promptly by e-mail ()

Press contacts: and

The Shape of a Practice. Negotiating Context in the Anthropocene will take place as planned until Saturday, Oct 31, 2020 on site at HKW and online at

The installation The Current – Mississippi. An Anthropocene River can be viewed on site at HKW until Sunday, Nov 1, 2020. The recordings from the one-week program, the content of the installation and many more research projects are available online until Nov 30, 2020 at

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Haus der Kulturen der Welt is funded by the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the German Foreign Ministry.

Press contact:
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
D-10557 Berlin
phone. +49 30 39787.153/196/192
fax +49 30 3948679