HANNOVER.-In cooperation with the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek (GWLB) (library) and the Leibniz Universität Hannover (university), the kestnergesellschaft presents the exhibition project bookmarks | worlds of knowledge from cuneiform to YouTube. It will be the first of its kind to spotlight the worldwide aesthetic phenomenon of YouTube. Framed with some of the most valuable books and manuscripts from the Leibniz Bibliothek, the exhibition will also present these texts to the public for the first time. The contrast between old and new forms of archiving and storing knowledge facilitates and necessitates reflection upon a paradigm shift in knowledge production. As a forum for communication transfer between art, culture and audience, the exhibition constructs a laboratory situation in which participation and aesthetisation can be explored and experienced with regard to historical and contemporary knowledge production.
YouTube is perhaps the most popular example of an internet-based knowledge culture. In a very short time, it has developed and altered autonomous cultural practice. YouTube is an open archive and an intimate image spectacle in one. The website demonstrates the result of the changing production technology and communication media, which are widely available for anyone. Because of these developments, an extensive part of knowledge production has dissolved the traditional structures of knowledge production and we find a media-based form of self-governance. Self-produced content is the rule, and the canonical knowledge is now set in fierce competition with self-made authors. The question of intellectual property and copyright of pictures has gotten a new dimension and eligibility. Classical allocations and hierarchies are shifting. Some of the users work with techniques and ideas of video-artists. Accompanying these shifts is the alteration of the rules of the game in the handling of knowledge, authenticity, aesthetics, authorship and the private sphere. One side hopes for democratisation and an involvement in the social process for everybody. Others fear the destruction of culture through the rule of laymen. This is a polarization which calls for a serious debate and more consideration.
The halls of the kestnergesellschaft will be transformed into a production space and the visitors will become producers. The first phase of the exhibition begins within one and a half months of the actual opening: Exhibition information and its preparation will be available exclusively on the internet and will remain there beyond the exhibition´s closing. The user becomes the curator, collecting clips and contextualizing them through links and commentary. With the show´s opening, the already existing online forum will be completed by contributions of different authors, artists and experts.
The manuscripts, books and the calculating machine of the famous scholar Leibniz span the history of knowledge production from the previous centuries.
For the first time, a part of the estate of the one-time court librarian Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), who developed the binary number system, will be shown. The Leibniz Bibliothek stores and preserves the Leibniz estate of more than 200,000 manuscripts with about 15,000 letters with more than 1,000 international correspondents amongst them. It constitutes one of the largest and most scientifically valuable scholarly inheritances worldwide. Within it, the thoughts and work of one of the most influential scholars are documented. The significance of this legacy was cemented in 2007 when the estates content was inducted into UNESCOs Memory of the World programme. In the exhibition, the so-called New Years Letter will be displayed. Written by Leibniz in 1697 and addressed to Duke Rudolf August von Wolfenbüttel, the letter explains the scholars ideas regarding his binary number system, which made it possible to represent all numbers and perform all known arithmetic operations with only the numbers 0 and 1. For Leibniz the binary number system was an allegory of faith, but then it has become the foundation for information technology and therefore the computer. The highlight of the exhibition will, however, be the Leibniz estates Fourth-Species Calculating Machine, which was the first calculating machine to perform all four types of calculation. It is the only remaining original of four models. It was built around 1700, and, since then, has not been on public display.
Lectures by representatives from many diverse areas of the arts and sciences will take place during the exhibition in cooperation with the Leibniz Universität and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek.