Blueprints for Studies 

Katharina Pia Schütz

15.03.- 10.12.24 | White Box | ZF Campus

What could a university or an academy look like that does not consume itself, but instead resolutely aligns itself with a planetary future? What role does art play in questioning and reorienting educational institutions? What might sites and practices look like that explore and rethink the relationship between art, learning and life?

The artsprogram of Zeppelin University is addressing these questions under the annual theme “Academic Cannibalism” with the interdisciplinary program, archive, and immersive environment “Blueprints for Studies”.

Academic cannibalism

The starting point for the artsprogram annual theme “Academic Cannibalism – Evaluation, Evolution, Extinction” are the predominantly pessimistic debates about universities and academies within media and academic discourse today. Universities today have a reputation for being in ruins (Bill Readings), places that create false expectations, and leave them to a toxic existence, exhaust their members and even make them sick. In his book “Dark Academia” (2021), Australian management professor Peter Fleming described universities as institutions that have become a psychological hell for many. The American cultural theorists Stefano Harney and Fred Moten characterized the university as a place of white oppression, into which critical minds can only sneak in to steal as much as possible from them.

At the same time, however, there has long been talk of an educational turn in the arts (Stephan Dillemuth 2007).

Artists and cultural theorists working with pedagogies outside of the modern school model dominant across much of Germany/Europe today, understand learning as coming from experiences, enacted through everyday practices, rooted in more-then-human encounters and as a practice that potentially changes socio-cultural as much as political realities. These ideas of learning are not limited to direct criticism of patriarchal, bureaucratic and neoliberal training systems (identified in both the university and the academy). Alternative learning spaces are constantly emerging in the field of art. Today, these mostly take the form of self-organized practices that are committed to collaborative, somatic, feminist and decolonial forms of knowledge, centering interdependent and sensual accesses to the world.

Precedents to the present state of education and alternative education in the arts include the now-mythical Black Mountain College which was founded in the USA in 1933. The school, which saw itself as a progressive educational institution, sought to educate across and through methodology of art, science and life. Antiuniversity was founded in 1968 in the UK by a group of mainly psychologists, as an alternative to higher education models of the time, and has since been revived and referenced by anarchists and artists alike. In Germany, Joseph Beuys and Klaus Staeck founded the Free International University in the 1970s and showed the great promise that the concept of the university also holds among artists. The arts program addresses these and other attempts and experiments with “Blueprints for Studies” and a rotating archive within this exhibition over the coming nine months.

Blueprints for Studies | Environment

Against this background, scenographer Katharina Pia Schütz transforms the White Box into a magical blue study space, creating, through a decisive reductionist setting, an environment in which learning becomes a sensory experience. Materiality, color and furnishings fosters the feeling of an open time and space structure that, quite promisingly, points beyond the here and now. “Blueprints for Studies” is a learning environment, stage, display and growing archive and can be visited and explored by guests and learners from various backgrounds and disciplines. In Katharina Pia Schütz’s anti-hierarchical phantasmatic learning environment, the impulses for an alternative “academia” that can come from the arts are both experienced and critically examined in different formats.

Katharina Pia Schütz

Katharina Pia Schütz | Biography

Katharina Pia Schütz studied stage design at the HFBK Hamburg and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Pari s. Since 2015, she has been designing stage spaces for music and spoken theatre at venues including the Münchner Kammerspiele, Stuttgart State Opera, Theater Bremen, Theater Neumarkt Zürich, Schaubühne Berlin, Thalia Theater Hamburg and Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg. She also develops scenic spaces for films and exhibition architecture. Since 2021, she has been teaching as a guest lecturer at the HCU Hamburg, the ZHDK Zurich and the HFBK Hamburg.

Blueprint for Studies | archive

A display and archive researched and co-curated by the art historian, producer and researcher within the EU-funded FEINART research programme Sophie Mak-Schram offers visitors insights into historical and current artistic learning, teaching and living projects or so-called para-institutions (Sven Lütticken 2015). The spectrum of projects presented ranges from Black Mountain College (1933-1957, USA), Antiuniversity (1968-, UK) and Free International University (1973-1978, Germany) to School of the Damned (2013-, UK), Moabit Mountain College (2013-, Germany) and Antiuniversity Now (2015-, UK).

Through monthly contributions, lectures and performative events, the display and archive shows the variety of educational designs in the field of art, reflects their history and illuminates the conceptual approaches, aesthetics and functionality.

Blueprints for Studies | program

In this environment, a program of events will take place between April and December 2024 with, among others, the sound artist Nazanin Noori, the director Max Linz and the artist Sonja Alhäuser. Through sound performances, film screenings, small workshops and an exuberantly sensual banquet, the space and archive will be activated and aesthetic counterspace are created in a seemingly dark university education system.

More information

Responsible for the project

Rahel Gloria Spöhrer | Curatorial Head of artsprogram, Zeppelin University|

Prof. Dr. Karen van den Berg | Scientific Head of artsprogram, Zeppelin University|

Sophie Mak-Schram | Co-curator of the Archiv | Zeppelin University / University of Leeds |

Marie-Sophie Usadel | Production, Zeppelin University

Niklas Ehret, Jil Tischer| Curatorial Assistance, Zeppelin University

Michael Mahle | Exhibition Architecture

Ramiz Hetemi, Aladi Njei | Technical Set Up, Zeppelin University

Moritz Colsman, Till Leander Schröder, Martine Spöhrer, Heike Schiele and the Library of Zeppelin University, Max Maier, Markus Enderle, Luisa Gouda | Thank you

More information about the lecture series Academic Cannibalism

More information about the annual theme Academic Cannibalism

Blueprints for Studies | Zeppelin Universität

Opened Mo-Fr 10-17h for Eveningevents and on request

Tel.: 07541 6009 1302



Fränkel Stiftung

Sparkasse Bodensee

Weingut Aufricht

Fränkel Stiftung und Sparkasse Bodensee
Time to decide

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