After all, there have always been more than enough examples of the anti-thesis at all times, including the present day.

OUBEY came across the Monadology at an early age and was fascinated by the metaphysics of Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz on which it was based. As a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, metaphysician, mastermind of what we now call the computer and much more, he is still regarded by many as the last true universal genius.

And so OUBEY dedicated one of his early paintings not to the celebrated Isaac Newton but to Leibniz and his Monadology which had long gone unrecognised, calling it “The Journey of the Monads”.

Over the past four months, as part of the “Art of Resonance” show in the Mind Museum in Manila this painting has been viewed and enjoyed by more people than ever before. This alone would be reason enough to take a closer look at Leibniz’s Monadology

Then recently I read a commentary that referred to the thesis of the best of all possible worlds, only to reduce it to absurdity in light of the abysses into which peoples and nations are still plunging in the 21st century – as though history were nothing to learn from for the future and with this justification at the same time to call into question the divine origin of the world.

I do not feel called upon to philosophise on the existence of a God at this point. But I will say this much: it is striking how easily the inadequacy or even non-existence of a God comes to mind when bad things happen to us whether individually or collectively, caused by natural forces or by the brutal violence people and entire nations inflict on other people and other nations, as we are experiencing directly or indirectly today. And this is especially true when even the most barbaric atrocities are committed in the name of a god.

What fascinated OUBEY about Leibniz’s monadology was less its associated theodicy (justification of God) than its inherent understanding of the freedom, uniqueness and indivisibility of every monad, i.e. every soul in this universe. Bold and still far ahead of even many of today’s thinkers, for Leibniz not only his own human species, but everything that exists in the universe belonged to the animated beings.

Humans – at least according to the current state of knowledge – are the only species on this planet with a free will that goes beyond innate instinctive and generic behaviour and enables decisions that no other being can make. And, if the situation requires it, human will can even go against its own instincts and drives. Decisions such as whether one is prepared to harm another person for whatever reason, whether one is prepared to kill one or even many people, or whether one is able to forego one’s own advantage in favour of another living being are just a few examples of decisions of the will.

According to Leibniz, this world is not the best of all possible worlds because it is perfect, i.e. perfect and flawless in every respect. Rather, it is because it has endowed humans with free will as the only species in this world. A perfect world and the free will of its inhabitants to choose one behaviour or another are mutually exclusive. The question of how free human will really is has also been debated down the ages.


Let’s just imagine the opposite: a truly perfect world. People have been dreaming of a perfect world, a paradise on earth, not just since Thomas More published his philosophical treatise entitled “Utopia” in 1516. Just how intelligent Leibniz’s view of the world and mankind was can be seen from the attempts to realise such utopias. Both in the form of small, sectarian communities and in the form of large social attempts at realisation, all ended with the greatest possible lack of freedom for the individual. The fact that these systems are repeatedly abandoned by individuals or overcome by the social collective is a very strong testimony to the strength and power of free will.

For Leibniz, there is no perfect, ideal or even paradisiacal original state of this world and there never was. Quite unlike the belief that human sin was the reason for the expulsion from such a former paradise – as a kind of punishment – and that every human being since then has been born with an “original sin”. I clearly prefer the idea of a universe that accepts human error and even catastrophes and crimes in favour of freedom. In any case, neither the one nor the other can be proven.

Freedom creates space for the possible, for crossing boundaries – in thought and in action, in both positive and negative ways. But freedom also always means responsibility. Everyone decides every day how they use their freedom to make this world a better place or not, and bears the responsibility for doing so. Be it on a small or large scale.

In the “best of all possible worlds”, freedom is a prerequisite. This was probably one of the reasons why an irrepressible free spirit like OUBEY dedicated a painting to Leibniz’s idea. And perhaps this spirit of freedom lives on so strongly in this painting that to this day it immediately casts a spell over almost everyone who sees it.

In his opening address he called this museum a “ “living “house”, with doors open to the peoples of the whole world, where everyone feels represented and where the gaze of the Church leaves no one out.”

An attempt to come to terms with history

That the Catholic Church – notorious for centuries for the way it excludes people – should send such a signal is surprising. That it should do so under the present Pope Francis who ever since taking office has caused quite a few surprises is less of a cause for wonder. Coming from South America, as the first pope of non-European origin, he’s very familiar with the early and later art of non-European cultures.  

The early high cultures of the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs were centuries in advance of the European culture of that time. Until their countries were first discovered by Europeans, that is, and then brutally occupied, opening the way to a wave of smug and autocratic missionaries with the sole purpose of turning the unbelieving heathens into what they termed “better people”.  

For many centuries this sordid chapter of Church history which is also part of our own western European history, was portrayed in our history books as an unabashed triumph.  

With this in mind, I can see a certain sensitivity in Pope Francis’s words and perhaps even something you could call humility as they attempt to correct an arrogant outdate view held not just by the Catholic Church but by the whole of the western world. They’re a sign of respect to all the peoples of the world which our western world in its drive to colonisation has ruthlessly exploited and viciously treated, aided and abetted by the Church whose self-serving dogma proclaimed them subhuman. An attempt to come together in the living house of reconciliation. 

The soul is universal

Nobody knows where the soul lives in people. It’s not a physical organ but of spiritual nature. From Aristotle  to Leibniz, philosophers have believed in the existence of the soul and that it isn’t just peculiar to humans but is found in every living thing. That’s what OUBEY also believed, particularly after studying the two philosophers.  

This soul of the world – which was a part of his innermost being – finds its immediate expression in his art. And since this art is free of all the barriers of language which so often divide people from one another, it can be felt by people of a huge range of cultural backgrounds. It was an uplifting experience that I had time and again on my travels with OUBEYs paintings around the globe. 

Take, for instance, a Maori woman I met in New Zealand, who at her first viewing of OUBEYs pictures spontaneously exclaimed “These paintings immediately start to speak to you when you just glance at them!” 

At moments like this it became clear that OUBEYs vision of the universal language spoken by his pictures could be proven true if his pictures were allowed to travel. This is why I’m glad today that in 2010 I first packed my yellow packing case, to travel with OUBEYs paintings around the world because in that way I could make the astonishing experience that his art did indeed have universal significance. It moves people deeply whether they’re live in Uganda or New Zealand, whether they’ve never been to school or are research scientists.  

When art touches the soul 

As strange as art might appear to us sometimes in the first moment, it does reach us – and not only our minds. This is true of all kinds of art, and particularly the arts that do without words – music and painting. And especially for all those paintings and symphonies which the public at that time ignored or rejected and which have now become indispensable treasures in our lives.  

At one and the same time art is an expression of the Anima Mundi and its incarnation. It takes us further – back into the old and forward to the new worlds of knowledge and self-knowledge. It was so in the early days of human history and it remains so today. Art can enrich and illuminate our inner being as nothing else but love can. It expands our souls, opens our hearts and can overcome barriers.  

And at a time when we might be celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall yet are also pondering putting up new frontier zones and wall, such a thought is more than just a Christmas wish. I hear the message in Pope Francis’s opening address and I hope that it bears fruit. Art overcomes all barriers. And perhaps this has to first and foremost with those barriers which we have errected in ourselves. 

No. On the very next day it became clear to me that the end of his life for me marked the beginning of a new period in which we would continue to be together but in a very different way. I accepted OUBEYs death but I wouldn’t accept that his death also meant the end of his art. Only how and through whom should his art live on and continue to work its magic? To bring an artist still unknown, an artist no longer living whose work was still to be discovered, to the light of posthumous public attention, without putting his pictures up for sale – who apart from me would be prepared to embark on such a venture? I didn’t wait around hoping that someone might turn up who would do it but answered the question myself by starting to get to work. I hadn’t the faintest idea where this first step into the future would lead me. 

Through highs and lows

The first year was a rollercoaster ride of feelings. The shock sat deep. Yet the moments of great pain were followed by ever longer periods of joy as I busied myself with him and his art. And also with all those things we had done and lived through in our time together. But even when you accept the death of someone you love, you still need a great deal of time and strength of mind before you can really understand that the person you love will never again come through that door. In the time together that was given us, OUBEY was the man with whom I spent nearly every day of my life and with whom I was connected by a most intimate symbiosis.  

It also helped me a lot that I never raged against fate, never asked why he had to die so young and so tragically. Such questions only lead into a dark pathless void because there never can be an answer to them. 

An ending that also contains a beginning

Instead of this I was determined to do what OUBEY would have done if he’d been around to do it – which was to offer people the chance to encounter his art. 

I had no idea how this would work out but I was certain that I would find a way. I knew that despite everything we would still share a common future together, at least for as long as I lived. And I was prepared to do everything within my power bring his art to the world and make people all over the world thrill to his art. 

Because I was absolutely certain that an encounter with his art would be a deeply rewarding  experience for people all over the world, one that would  and give them great pleasure as well as some valuable new insights. So I began to travel, taking his pictures to people all over the world. It was an amazing voyage of discovery – both for the people who encountered OUBEYs paintings and for myself too. And it is far from over. 

I would be very happy to have you travel with me on this very special journey  in my free e-book ‘MINDKISS. Following OUBEYs Tracks’.

The idea to publish a book about OUBEY and his art was the first idea that occurred to me after his death in a car accident in 2004. Yet what should or could a book look like that did justice to the man and his art? It quickly became apparent that even though the idea was good and well founded, it would need time to develop. So for the time being I put the idea of a book on the back burner and devoted myself instead to exploring an approach via the internet which was a highly innovative way to take back then. I thought that with a website about OUBEY and his art I could reach considerably more people than with a book, and then there was always the possibility of interaction with all of them. 

At this time by a happy chance I also met the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister and asked him whether he could see his way to designing the internet website for OUBEYs art. His short answer was “I don’t do websites, just books” to which I spontaneously replied “I also need a book” – making him smile.  So surprisingly while searching around for a web designer, one year later I came across someone who could do the book. 

In blissful ignorance

Whether there really is something like chance is one of those questions that many philosophers have dealt with. In my case it’s crystal clear that my first meeting with one of the best and by now most famous graphic designers in the world wasn’t due to chance but rather to the coordinated efforts of a group of well-networked people who had gleefully organised the whole affair behind my back. They smuggled me into a group of patrons of the art travelling to New York and let me know exactly where and when this group would meet Mr Sagmeister – three days later in New York. 

So there I was three days later flying to New York for the first time in my life. And when I actually met Stefan Sagmeister I still didn’t have the faintest idea who he was and what amazing work he’d already done for stars like Lou Reed, Talking Heads and the Rolling Stones – not to mention the Grammy award and all the other coveted prizes he’d picked up along the way. A true star among designers. In such blissful ignorance I just went up to him and asked. His friendly smile was a great reassurance to me. 

 Not yes, not no

“Before I say either “yes” or “no”, I’ve first got to see OUBEYs work. I only take on projects that I really want to do,” he said.  This answer was no cause for gloom, on the contrary, it delighted me. From that moment on I knew with absolute certainty that he was the right choice for this book project. I told him that I’d be back in a couple of months with photos of OUBEYs work in my luggage. And that’s what happened.

Six months later I was sitting in his studio with a laptop full of pictures which Sagmeister was examining intently. I sensed that he found them interesting and put my question to him again. And again his answer was neither “yes” nor “no”. Instead he simply asked me, “What about five volumes in a lovely slipcase? How does that grab you?”

I was immediately thrilled. After just a short time spent with some of the pictures, he’d managed to grasp not only the diversity but the underlying integrity of OUBEYs art. Both these aspects are brilliantly and sensationally expressed in the MINDKISS book: five slender volumes showing the variety and autonomy of OUBEYs work united in a stupendous slipcase that shows that all of it is deeply connected.  

An optical sensation

It took me a whole year to select the pictures for the five volumes and decide on their order of appearance in each of them. This was the basis on which Stefan and his team – particularly Roy Rub and Seth Labenz – began to work on the design. The inside of each volume was given its own colour mood while their covers in brilliant metallic silver are all the same. They even developed a special font for the book, a highly mathematical font of great transparency and lightness that was puzzling for everybody who first encountered it yet still readable. The spine of each volume bore a collection of tiny pixels which formed the name OUBEY when the volumes were placed in a certain order. My astonishment knew no bounds and when I opened a packet containing the prototype of the slipcase, I was simply struck speechless: I had never seen anything remotely comparable before. 

Now that we had got so far, it was time to turn to the text. 

Fancy dress for the learning process

I turned to a famous copywriter who produced a long introductory text for each volume based on what I’d told him. They were excellent texts yet I had the feeling that they weren’t quite what I had imagined for the book. 

It was during a highly charged discussion that my recently deceased friend, the art critic, Annemarie Monteil from Basel, threw me a lifeline in my predicament. “You know what, Dagmar,” she said “The best parts of the text are the original quotes by OUBEY. Everything else does a disservice to art because all it does is dress it up in clothes that art doesn’t need.”  

Wow, that really hit home. The text, you see, was actually finished and ready when that conversation took place. Yet I instinctively knew that she was absolutely right. And I’m someone who can, if necessary, be enough of a radical and consistent thinker to view something from a completely fresh angle. After all, better is the enemy of good. 

Starting again

The texts were couched in the conventional style of art books and catalogues and talked about OUBEYs art. In other words, someone was telling readers how they had to find the pictures. Yet OUBEYs art is something that everybody has to discover for themselves. People should approach his art as free as possible from any preconceptions and not merely listen to the voice of some worthy laying down the correct way to view them.  

And so it was settled: we needed new texts!

Stefan Sagmeister was a little taken aback. He even began to have doubts that the book would ever see the light of day. Yet fortunately such a strong bond of trust had been forged between us over all our years of working together that he accepted that I had real good reasons for my change of mind and that something much better was bound to come out of it. Obviously such radical decisions are not without their dangers. But of one thing I was absolutely certain: that OUBEYs art should not be described, explained or interpreted. Not in this book and not in any other production of the MINDKISS Project. And this is a principle to which I have adhered to this very day.

The end result was that each of the five volumes has only three short texts: an original quote from OUBEY himself, an excerpt from a book or a poem that meant a lot to him, and finally a short text written by myself and exclusively dealing with the background stories to the pictures. 

The only way

It took another few months before the new structure for the text was fully developed – and what a pleasant three months these were for me! My odyssey of discovery of those qualities that coloured and defined MINDKISS had arrived at a juncture that gave me great clarity of vision, not just about the book. 

In 2010 it was finally finished. The book was published by the Deutscher Kunstverlag in a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies, and soon picked up three prestigious awards for the sheer quality of its design. Together with the first version of the website and the OUBEY Experience film, it had its first public presentation at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe on 23 March 2010. Not all of the copies have yet been sold but there will definitely never be a reprint. Like the story of the book, the book itself will remain a not-to-be-repeated one-of-a-kind.  

I’m often asked whether I would ever sell one of OUBEYs paintings. And many of those people who had an Encounter with one of his pictures would dearly have liked to have kept it. Even so, as I will never sell a single one of OUBEYS paintings, and given that his pictures are seldom seen in public, the book is a way by which people can not only become acquainted with OUBEYs art but actually take it home with them. 

And  if one or other of its happy owners could send me the occasional photo showing it in a bookcase or cabinet or spread out on a desk or on display in the window of their shop, it would give me immense pleasure to think that the long, tortuous and highly unusual story behind the creation of this book has led to something that doesn’t merely pick up prestigious awards but is actually capable of filling people with genuine passion – quite apart from the learning curve I myself went through in the process. 

The article in Monopol Magazin was based on the rather dispiriting experiences made by its author Oliver Koerner von Gustorf at this year’s biennale. But it could easily have been talking about the whole of the present-day’s commercialised art scene.  

Decadent and self-centred

He details and criticises the whole system, from the works on exhibit to the art-makers, managers and potential buyers. Vapid works of art that say nothing but pretend to be meaningful to justify the astronomical prices at which they change hands.  Works that even if not for sale are at least eye-catchingly sensational and thus serve as extremely effective PR for the artists and their gallery agents. And form a perfect match to the codes, conduct and attitudes of the players of the established art world.  

They meet up at all these more or less important events and swell with self-importance at each visiting card they hand out. The biennale as a mere stage for pseudo-intellectual self-presentation. The art scene as a closed society. An exclusive celebration of decadence.  

There’s a lot of truth in this but really little that’s new. It’s a trend that has been in full swing for the past thirty years now, one that’s clearly recognisable by every unblinking critical eye that’s impervious to its poisoned blandishments. And it was precisely his acute awareness of such mechanisms that made OUBEY turn his back on the system after his first and highly successful sales exhibition in 1992. It was a very wise move. 

An air of exclusivity 

The whole system in its present form is only of interest to insiders – in other words the few who live within it and profit from it. I can only agree with the author of the article when he writes, “In the established art world the same rules apply to people that apply to the commodity of art. In one way or another they have to have an air of exclusivity, otherwise the system won’t work.” 

And I also agree with Elke Buhr, editor-in-chief of Monopol Magazin when she says, “Modern art is nothing less than what the art system presents as art. Works that have no label, that aren’t on display in some gallery or other, that aren’t part of an exhibition, that don’t bear the signature of some famous artist, are not considered as art.”

It’s interesting – and also rather paradoxal – that a magazine such as Monopol also forms part of the very system it so vehemently criticises. The question begging to be asked here is, does such insight also lead to self-awareness? And if it does, what consequences should be drawn? Or is such a blast of unanimous criticism an end in itself so that after everyone’s shaken their heads in doleful agreement at just how awful the art world really is, they all return to business as usual? 

Banksy undercover

I rather suspect that that’s exactly what they do.  

The art scene operates for financial benefit. Now there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this. Yet one of the side effects is that it is the instance that decides what is true significant art and what is not. Works that can’t be sold for astronomical prices are uninteresting and fade into insignificance.  

Such a system would have to self-destruct before it could recognise that living art has long been thriving outside of the “sacred halls” of the established art world. Sometimes it even crops up directly next door to them – as was the case at this year’s biennale.  

Banksy, the greatest street artist of our times, took the biennale as an opportunity for his latest action. He set up his own stall with pictures on the side of one of the canals and not one of the art experts realised that Banksy was there. This says more than a thousand words and shows just how startlingly blind they are to living art that takes place outside of the closed world of the art business. How dearly they would all love to assimilate this intractable artist and make him a player in their own game – the man whose works are auctioned for fantastic prices. Yet Banksy does his utmost to ensure that they never will. He won’t let them put a price tag on his success. Shunning the system, yet at the same time brilliantly exploiting its treacherous mechanisms, he’s forged his own way to celebrity. 

There are many people who make or have made art just as fascinating as Banksy’s. Yet none of them are as world-famous as he is. But that’s not the point. The point is to bring art into people’s lives in the places where they actually live, to inspire them, to make them think or to move them to action, or simply to give them great pleasure. It’s this unfiltered joy in art that is so special and we must never allow anything to get in the way of it – certainly not a biennale in Venice. That’s what I think. What about you? 

Is the decision of the galleries a one-off exception or is it the first sign of a radical change?  

Public interest contra profitability

Museums are a relatively new achievement in the history of our civilisation. Up to the French Revolution, art treasures were mainly the private possessions of kings, princes and other members of the nobility who were the patrons of the artists of their time, commissioning them, paying them and keeping their works. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century at the time of the rising bourgeoisie that art treasures gradually began to be placed in state-financed museums where they could be viewed by the general public. This was a great step forward. 

Since that time the number of museums has steadily increased. And today, given the decrease in government funding, they are in intense economic competition with one another. Faced with the need for ever more capital in a time of drastic cuts to government subsidies for the arts, they find themselves caught in the “income-from-visitors” trap. Even though museums were intended to serve the public interest and not commercial ends, they find themselves constrained to follow the model of permanent growth. This has given rise to two key consequences. 

First of all, the trend to blockbuster art exhibitions whose stakes are high on the commercial art market. The operative principle here is that if it costs a lot it must be worth a lot and will thus serve to draw in the crowds. This trend means that there’s no room available for experimental concepts or lesser-known artists who don’t figure among the art scene’s galaxy of pop stars. The risk of making a loss on an exhibition is simply too great for the museums to bear. 

The second consequence following on from the first is that in their efforts to finance such crowd-drawing exhibitions, many museums welcome donations by rich private individuals and companies with open arms. 

Money has no smell – or does it?

Now you might be thinking that money has no smell so it doesn’t really matter where it comes from. And if it serves a good purpose like keeping works of art in museums or restoring Notre Dame, then there’s nothing wrong with it and in fact such sponsorship it’s really both cheap and effective.  

And in fact for a very long time nobody was interested in where the money for the sponsorship of the arts came from and what type of consequences such sponsorship entailed. It’s only now that people are beginning to take a more critical look. 

Take, for instance the group of activists who, drawing on the famous “To be, or not to be” from Shakespeare´s Hamlet, call themselves “BP or not BP”. They are investigating the sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the British Museum by the BP oil corporation, and in particular attempts by the oil giant that have now come to light to exert influence on which special exhibitions should figure in the programme of the British Museum.

In the case of the Sackler family, the protest is directed at the fact that their sponsorship of the arts amounts to a “whitewashing” of the money they earn through their morally dubious pharmaceutical business. 

And in mid-April when a fire seemed likely to destroy Notre Dame cathedral and part of the cultural heritage it contained, this triggered not only a universal wave of dismay and consternation but an unprecedented outpouring of donations from the richest families in France. In next to no time a staggering 800 million euros was donated. Undoubtedly this is of tremendous benefit to the badly damaged cathedral. And yet it prompted a wave of indignation from the French people. What is at the root of such discord?

Autonomy and diversity are at stake here

In a pluralistic society based on democratic principles, the question of the autonomy of institutions dedicated to the common good is of primary importance: only a sufficient degree of autonomy can ensure genuine diversity and encourage innovation – works not streamlined to swim with the current of the times but which might be contentious or thought-provoking. This is beneficial to an open society.  

At the end of the day, this kind of sponsorship of the arts can only prevail because the public coffers are too empty to allow institutions to act freely, independent of such support. 

There are many reasons for acts of generosity

All too often the fabulously rich can slip their obligation to contribute to the common good of society in the same unostentatious and altruistic way as the rest of us do. With their voluntary donations they make good on this obligation and by doing so also appear as benefactors. 

Now to avoid any possible misunderstanding, let me add that it would be disingenuous and pure speculation to deny that sponsors have any true feeling for art and culture. Even so, the question of the ends served by many an act of generosity is still a valid one. Whether by a company or an individual, sponsorship is always a form of advertisement and marketing which in most cases comes in combination with an alluring write-off or tax relief scheme. This is perfectly legal and indeed from a corporate standpoint even desirable. 

So without wanting to venture further into the broad field of museum financing in particular, and the arts and humanities in general, I would say that we really do need to take a much closer look at where the money for our cultural life comes from. I for one at least hope that the move taken by the Tate group of British art galleries will not prove to be a onetime event but a laudable example that in similar circumstances deserves to be followed.  

It was a revolutionary enterprise that embraced the principle of “form follows function” as a clarion call of liberation from the ideals of beauty of a bourgeois society rooted in the 19th century, one that sought to create better living conditions for all people. 

Is there a Nonplusultra?

Within a decade, a new, modern, clear style was born. Yet at the same time the Bauhaus declared its own design principles to be the absolute gold standard and the nonplusultra for everything touching on design, art, handicrafts and architecture, and many of its followers still hold this view today. 

My own view is a little more nuanced. Yes, the Bauhaus was a huge step forward at the time because it pioneered new ways of thinking about and designing space. And yes, the Bauhaus was important, perhaps even essential, in helping us to gain a new understanding about major aspects and matters of life.  

Yet when I look at what has happened to urban planning and housing development over the past 60 years in the name of “form follows function” and in adherence to the principles of the Bauhaus, what I see is the huge discrepancy between this erstwhile absolute aspiration and what actually has become of it in the hard light of day.  

What followed was normalization and standardization driven by the imperatives of economy – quadratic, practical, good. Soulless homogeneous residential landscapes hostile to the very notion of communal living. Gigantic silos on the outskirts of cities where people live in stacked up shoe boxes. 

Admittedly – compared to the dark, damp, first or second back courtyard apartments where people used to live without central heating and with no sanitary facilities, this was indeed progress.  Yet even so, it was still lightyears away from the aesthetic aspiration to a beauty of form that follows function. 

The beauty of the Bauhaus aesthetic in architecture which I certainly find in the original buildings that can still be seen, is nowadays limited to a handful of mostly luxurious exceptional instances. The original promise that Bauhaus held up high has failed to materialize in its mass applications. What we need today are fresh and totally different concepts of the kind now being realized – without any aspiration to universal value – in local and regional projects. 

What about women in the Bauhaus? 

Furthermore, it’s not only how the application of Bauhaus principles changed the face of our towns and cities after the Second World War that gives grounds for critical appraisal. 

There’s another quite different aspect which puts me some distance from the absolutist aspiration of the Bauhaus and its founders. Despite the fact that there were always a great many female members – in some periods even more women than men active in the movement – up to present these women remain largely unknown. 

In other words, up to its dissolution by the Nazis, the Bauhaus remained a prime example of a thoroughly male-dominated organisation.  

It’s mainly its 100th anniversary celebrations that we have to thank for shedding the very first light on the role played by women in the Bauhaus. For instance, arte TV recently aired a fascinating programme on “Women in the Bauhaus”. This exhaustively researched documentary shows that even the most gifted and ambitious women were deliberately excluded from management positions and kept well away from such areas of high-interest activity as attracted widespread public attention. Their usual fate was to be sent straight away to the handicrafts sections and in particular to the weaving workshop. This makes it all the more ironic to learn that these Bauhaus women in their preordained niche not only produced acclaimed design with their carpets, furniture and kids’ toys, but were also pretty successful economically too! 

When it comes to the acceptance of qualified women Bauhauslers as partners of equal value, endowed with equal rights and on an equal footing,  the male founders and protagonists of Bauhaus displayed a mindset that had more in common with conservative 19th century attitudes to women than with any revolutionary forward-looking leap into the future. 

A new concept for the 21st century? 

Today in Germany rented accommodation and living space has mainly become a question of size, price and rate of return. It’s an issue that has long been neglected, if not entirely ignored, by government. The result is, not unsurprisingly, an acute and massive lack of affordable housing.  In the midst of public protest, wild demands calling for the expropriation of property companies are now emerging, yet there has never been a public debate on issues of design such as the Bauhaus movement was once vocal in articulating. I think this is a very serious shortcoming. And this is why – in spite of all the contradictions inherent in the idea of the Bauhaus – I would still dearly like to see such a radically thinking and progressive social force in action as the Bauhaus and its impulses proved to be for society one hundred years ago.   

Kids’ stuff

There was a time when the best thing that adults could say about comics was that they were childish and only of interest to children while strict educators dismissed them out of hand as lowbrow trash.  Yet thanks to my mother who at some point took out a subscription to Mickey Mouse for me, for many years and contrary to the prevalent opinion, I had the joy of finding a new magazine in the letter box each week which I eagerly devoured with great pleasure. And even today I still remember this.  

It was a time when the line between serious highbrow culture and pleasurable lowbrow entertainment was rigorously drawn. Especially when such entertainment happened to come from America. Comics together with English pop and rock music were frowned on as trivial forms of entertainment, not to be taken seriously and they found their first real home in youth culture and the subculture.     


Nowadays comics are not only am integral part of the adult world but have also been accepted – quite rightly I think – as part of our culture and a valid expression of art. OUBEY always considered them as such. He always had a huge and continually growing collection of comics which included many of the wonderful publications of the Jean Giraud, who used the pseudonym Moebius and was one of a kind, or the magazines of the Japanese comic series “Akira”. They are all remarkable not only for the outstanding quality of their artwork but also for the philosophical issues they deal with in stories like “The Airtight Garage”. “Up to the Stars” is “one of the most fascinating science fiction adventures Moebius did ever create” commented the publisher. The header photo of this article shows the cover of this outstanding comic. Jack Lang, minister of culture in France at that time, awarded Moebius for his outstanding artwork with the “Great Prize of the French State for Graphical Arts” in 1984.


The comic genre finally established itself in the mainstream when Stan Lee brought the comic heroes of his Marvel world to the big screen, Today they’re a standard part of most movie-goers’ fare. And with the merchandising that goes with them, they bring in revenues in the billions. Stan Lee – a marketing superhero. Is it through Stan Lee’s marketing skills that once despised comics have now achieved the status of a “cultural asset” due in large part to their lavish blockbuster versions?  

An age-old longing

Sure, that’s a big part of it, but I still think that there’s another and much deeper reason. Boundaries have now become blurred, we’re now much more open-minded and our longing for fabulous fantastic tales of heroes have found a new outlet in many comics.  

Such longing is nothing new. It was expressed in the old sagas about gods and heroes and today as a reflection of our times comes dressed in modern garb. The fantasy that animates these improbable tales of indestructible heroes has its roots in our need to see good eventually triumph. Comics satisfy this need, and satisfy it in a highly entertaining way. In them, the rational world of enlightenment finds its pleasurable counterpart which is not above making the occasional charged political point. This doesn’t just apply to the rather clone-like heroes of Marvel comics. It applied and still applies to a great number of other comic series which are now perhaps showing their age like Asterix & Obelix or the tiny but all-powerful Marsupilami.

“Yes, but what’s all this to do with art?” you might be asking.  

The freedom of fantasy

This is a question to which I can give no adequate answer here. Yet I do see points of similarity between what we call art and what we call comics. 

I got the idea to write this post from a conversation I had some time ago about OUBEY. The man I was talking to knew some of OUBEYs very deep and multi-layered paintings and drawings and so was completely astonished when I let drop at some point that OUBEY used to enjoy drawing comics.  .  

Even as a young schoolboy he drew and produced his own comic series “The Adventures of André Noir”. Back then there were no public photocopying machines so as he wanted to produce and sell as many copies as possible, he produced each single magazine by hand.    

Anything is possible in art. And this applies even more to comics. They create and visualize new beings, new worlds, whole new universes. The mind takes wing and wanders in the free realm of fantasy. When I look at certain pictures and drawings by Paul Klee, who undoubtedly was a truly great artist, this kind of interrelationship becomes clear to me. As it does with part of OUBEYs work too. 

In my view it’s a step forward when boundaries are no longer drawn so dogmatically. Art broadens its spectrum and what’s fun is no longer excluded just because it’s entertaining. 

Rigid boundaries are a challenge to the spirit that it will seek to overcome. That the spirit continually and increasingly often succeeds is doing this is something I find excellent, highly refreshing and a most invaluable development. 


Header: Moebius – Up to the Stars (Cover), Schwermetall Volume 5, 1987

Art without a storm shelter

Popularity and your name written large in glittering lights is a dream many artists dream about, as long as they’re unknown and relatively unsuccessful. Yet if one of them should become a superstar, or even achieve iconic status, then they often find that such popularity becomes a burden, as it makes it practically impossible for them to lead a “normal” private life, constantly besieged as they are by hysterical fans and hounded by raving paparazzi. Well, this is just the price of fame, you might think, the price to be paid for living a life of luxury with no other worries.  

But this isn’t my view. Many artists are driven by what the media and their fans expect of them. How do you deal with such expectations and still remain human? How can you steer and control them or, even more difficult, how can you ignore them and continue calm, collected and free to pursue your own way?  Such visions of life are beyond the grasp of many artists and they fail in their attempts to achieve them – think of stars like Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, groomed from earliest childhood to be a performing figure on a stage. They were both mega-famous, objects of boundless adulation now enshrined in the collective memory of people across the whole world. Yet were they truly happy during their lives? 

Happiness might be possible in the limelight of the stage or under the spotlights of the movie set. After, all these are the privileged places of art where the division of roles is clear. Yet what happens when artists leave these bunkers and are left to their own devices? Or when they can (no longer) meet the expectations of the masses? 

Many are broken by this as success is no meal ticket for finding human happiness. When success means achieving a certain level of fame, the price to pay is very high indeed.  

Trapped in the public eye

For artists, art, the stage and the studio are first and foremost home ground, places where they profoundly belong. But also places they can escape to. Places where they can express just what they are. Places where they can be sure that in the process of its creation art is invulnerable. Artists only become vulnerable when they turn to the public and expose their works. 

Good art reveals our most hidden feeling and thus is always deeply personal. This is why artistic creation causes anxiety and costs much energy. But when the general public comes into play, it tries to turn the persons behind the work into something they might well not be. 

Some artists are broken by this, others develop resilience. Or they are securely embedded in a protective family environment – like a storm-proof boat steering them across the choppy waters of public attention and publicity.  

Standing strong

My absolute number one favourite artist – and also as an unyielding strong-willed personality – was always and still is Bob Dylan. I’ve been going to his concerts for years. In 1966 when he first accompanied his latest composition “Like a Rolling Stone” with electric guitar and organ on stage, he was roundly booed and vilified as a “traitor” by his fans who only saw in him the folk singer and political rebel. For him, this new sound was a discovery and a broadening of the possibilities of his art yet these were perspectives for which his self-righteous (blinkered??) fans had nothing but contempt. What they wanted was for him to conform to the image they had made of him, and they made it very clear that Bob Dylan as an artist and Bob Dylan as a man wasn’t of the slightest interest to them. 

Only Dylan himself can know what he felt at that time. Yet it’s now common knowledge that he remained impervious to such blatant disapproval and has continued in his own dogged way to do only what he thinks is good and right – even “against all odd”. In his concerts, he’ll change his songs just as he feels right, like singing “Blowin´ in the Wind” in waltz rhythm if the mood takes him. The first time I saw him perform, I couldn’t instantly recognise a single one of the songs he was singing. I’ve never experienced anything similar before or since with any other artist. Yet astonishingly, this lack of instant recognition didn’t lead to any disappointment on the part of the audience. On the contrary, he soon had the whole arena firmly in his grasp, following the sound and the rhythms with everyone – myself included – having a marvellous unforgettable evening. 

What Bob Dylan wants to make known of himself is expressed in his lyrics and his music. Interviews with him are pretty thin on the ground. To me, this all seems extraordinarily consistent on his part, strong and honest and – with its inevitable downsides – also highly successful. Let’s just call it serendipity. The man and the artist are at unity, a fact that the fans have long accepted. He’s made his own way, proven his own point and they respect him for it and respect his personality too.  

Their attitude mirrors my own feeling about people in general – and about my relationship with OUBEY. 

OUBEY – the man in the artist

Famous or not – I always see the person in the artist. 

This is why I never found it difficult to accept OUBEY just as he was. He too was a brilliant artist with a strong and resolute character, a man who always strode out on his own way. He needed a great deal of free space for his thoughts and his work just as he needed the loving support of another being – both of which I gave to him gladly. 

I love the artist and honour him, yet at the same time I always see a man who deserved empathy and respect, a man whose freedom would have been limited by pushy overbearing attempts to gain his intimacy. A man who didn’t take kindly to strangers trying to gatecrash his life. This makes it all the more wonderful that OUBEY actually invited me into his life and let me share in his work.



“Marilyn Monroe – The Woman behind the Icon”, exhibition Historisches Museum der Pfalz in Speyer.


Photo credit: wikimedia/creative commons 

You might think that this question is hypothetical? Not at all. Because the “somebody you don’t know” was me at the beginning of the MINDKISS Project. 

And the end result of emails of this type that I sent out is extraordinary: a set of Encounters with OUBEY.

Camera on! 

The idea of the “Encounters“ goes like this: someone views a painting by OUBEY they’ve never seen before and talks about the thoughts and feelings this painting inspires in them – in front of a running camera. Nobody knows which picture they’re going to see. And the painting remains covered until that camera starts to run. It’s a totally new form of spontaneous interaction between painting and viewer – fresh, unconstrained and original. 

I am constantly amazed and thrilled by the sheer richness of the thoughts, insights and discoveries that have emerged from the 25 Encounters with OUBEYs paintings. To give just one example, when a palaeontologist of the calibre of Professor Friedemann Schrenk of the Senckenberg Institute in Frankfurt remarks that a whole 7 million years of human evolutionary history is contained in the painting he is viewing, this is a truly astonishing statement that neither I nor probably anyone else could have made. , It’s a unique and truly brilliant insight. 

New dimensions

When I first took up the Encounters I fully realised that with its many long-distance journeys to people all over the world this was going to be a huge, time-consuming and very expensive project – yet at the same time one that also offered marvellous one-of-a-kind opportunities for OUBEYs art and for my own life.  

For the Encounters are not just about other people viewing one of OUBEYS paintings, for me they are also always fascinating encounters with these interesting people. I got to know scientists and researchers, musicians, dancers and extreme athletes and through them became familiar with quite new perspectives on OUBEYs art. In the shortest time, my life became enriched by many new dimensions.  


You can find out what they are and how I first hit on the idea for the MINDKISS Project in my new e-book MINDKISS: Following OUBEYs Tracks. Download it, it’s for free. 

I was pleased to read this news because one thing is very clear to me – art is good for us! Art has a beneficial soothing effect than can be balm for the soul. To be moved by art is something very special. If we are to believe the latest research, our Stone Age ancestors were also fascinated by the magic effects art can produce – whether in the sounds and rhythms of early music or paintings on the walls of caves.

And it’s the same with me today: whenever I hear particular pieces of music or get the opportunity to see certain paintings in the original, such as van Gogh´s “Church at Auvers” or Manet´s “Olympia” in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Even when I can’t explain it, looking at these pictures has a very deep effect on me which produces a feeling of real happiness. 

Feelings of happiness

Now you might find this strange or a bit over the top? Perhaps because you’ve never had such a reaction standing in front of a painting. But just think of a piece of music you love. A ballad makes us sad, an aria awakens longing in us, the right rhythm makes us want to dance and sing, liberates the soul.

Music makes us cry, makes us laugh, makes us freak out, makes us thoughtful. On YouTube you can find countless numbers of videos of babies who can’t yet walk but are still wiggling around excitedly in their diapers in blissful response to music. Art awakens something that lies very deep inside us.

A species of art lovers

Even very small babies can often react quite ecstatically when shown bright and colourful paintings. This is what I have found with OUBEYs paintings. The babies thrash around and squeak in an excess of pure joy and enthusiasm at the view of certain pictures. It was truly wonderful to see! This in itself would be proof enough for me that art is not merely an intellectual game but has a great deal to do with our energies and feelings as a species – and has been so ever since our species first existed. 

Art is simply good for us. Art is vital for our well-being and our soul. Art awakens emotions that would otherwise remain hidden in our day-to-day lives. At this juncture OUBEY would probably play Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique symphony; for my part I would prefer his piano concerto No. 1 in B minor. But as I’m now thinking of Brian Wilson´s album “Imagination”, I shall now put that on and listen to it once more. Good art is never boring. You can look at it and listen to it again and again, and again and again it never fails in its magical effects. Marvellous effects that I wish every person in this world to have – even on prescription. 

When is a person young? When is a person old?

Ludmilla Larusso, who by now is over 50, appeared youthful as she stood on the stage and sang. How come? It was her vibrant personality, her voice but above all else the tangible joy and passion she put into what she was doing. Compared to her many another candidate seemed truly “aged” even though several decades younger than she was. How can this be? 

For me age is much more than just the sum total of the number of years you’ve been living. The question of age has a lot more to do with the question of what mental attitude you hold. And it’s this outlook compounded of curiosity and sheer zest for life and the knowledge that it’s never too late to make new discoveries that creates the energy that makes people young – whether they’re 15 or 50. 

But what about the hard facts of biology, you might quite rightly object. Sure, they also play a part, and with creeping age there are many things that you can’t do as well and easily as when you were 20 or 30. Fortunately, however, we humans are also individuals and as such capable of encountering hard biology with a mental attitude which means that our lives are not necessarily over and done with when we reach 50 or 70. 

An invitation to curiosity

Some people – even though still young in years – have already planned out their whole lives through to retirement and reject everything that doesn’t fit into their plan. Now you might think that this shows great purpose and is a perfectly sensible thing to do and shouldn’t be criticised. 

To avoid any misunderstanding let me say that I am not criticising it. Everybody can and should live as they see fit in a way that makes them content as long as they do not hurt other people. And yet I think that this is a road which if followed can deprive us of a few wonderful opportunities which make life eventful and full of surprises. What otherwise remains is often enough just the surprises with which life confronts us and to which we often react helplessly when they torpedo all our carefully laid plans.  

For me, trying something new and surprising myself has been a vital constant factor in my life. Naturally, you always have to first step back and see that what you want to do really is within your grasp, and that you really do want to do it. But when that is the case, then you should simply go ahead and do it. And if you don’t succeed, at least you can say you’ve tried. As far as possible at the end of my life I want to avoid asking myself why I never made any use of the great opportunities that came my way. This is why I’ve always given myself the liberty to tackle something new when the right opportunity arrived, and so far have never once regretted it. 

An empty canvas is a call to new discoveries

And I like people who act in the same way. To some extent an artist must “begin afresh” with every new picture. Some artists might paint whole series yet again and again each empty canvas calls up something new. This is what I’ve seen personally in living together with OUBEY for over twenty one years. If OUBEY hadn’t been ready and capable of continually striking out in new directions as an artist, the body of work that he left behind would never have been as interesting and wide ranging as it is and would certainly never now fascinate and thrill such a great number of people across the whole globe. Each answer for OUBEY only called forth the next question. Nearly all people have this attitude during childhood. Only when they grow up they tend to shed it because they believe they know all the answers – at least the most important ones. This is an error because nobody ever knows all the answers. Wonder and discovery are just as important as knowledge.  

Seeing with the heart

And so it is that a certain Ludmilla Larusso on The Voice of Germany managed to bring the enthusiastic audience to its feet and the attentive coaches as well. Perhaps it helped her that in this show they sit with their backs to the stage and cannot see how old or young, big or little, fat or thin, pretty or less pretty a candidate is. They don’t know what this person looks like, they just hear the song. And Ludmilla touched people’s hearts with her song. It’s a wonderful example of how right Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was when he once said “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”. 

Age is not the result of adding up the years. Age is a question of vigour, openness and curiosity – in the heart and in the mind. There is always still time to learn, experience, and discover something new. Curiosity is an elixir that creates zest for life and by so doing keeps you young.  

Another brilliant coup by the artist Banksy in which he succeeds yet again in laying bare the absurd mechanisms of the commercial art market for all to see. To fully appreciate this you have to know that Banksy is a street artist who attaches great importance to the impact that his graffiti and art performances have yet who refuses to take part in the speculative games of the art market. His independence is much more important to him than fame and riches. 

So it’s even more astonishing that his Girl with Balloon has now been put up for sale at Sotheby´s auction house and at the very moment that the picture was bought by the highest bidder it self-destructed and so became worthless. But this is exactly where Banksy shows himself to be such a brilliant debunker – because in such a system is a shredded picture necessarily a worthless picture? This case shows that the very contrary is true – it increases, even substantially increases, in value. And so the shredded picture becomes a kind of magnifying glass through which we can view the absurdities of the commercial art market close-up and as they happen. 

Girl with Ballon – a test balloon?

As an artist as soon as you engage in this speculative art market system, you can hardly avoid becoming entangled in its coils, and run the danger of gradually exchanging your inner freedom for money. This is the reason why I don’t sell OUBEYs pictures. They were created in the greatest possible spiritual freedom. And I wish to conserve this freedom for them and also for myself in what I do. They don’t need to have any material value put on them in order to assert their value as works of art. Naturally, the position taken by Banksy and the intelligent consequences of his actions are a deep source of pleasure for me. He too has set his sights not on sales but on impact and public perception. 

When he does sell, the transaction becomes enveloped in a kind of aurora of enlightenment. Take, for instance the time when an anonymous seller at a stand in New York’s Central Park sold passers-by original Banksy works for 60 dollars. Whoever bought a picture by an unknown artist from this stall did so not because they were buying a “Banksy with expectations of a rapid increase in its value” but because they were buying a picture they liked. Banksy taped this action and published the video – much to the chagrin of all art dealers who had missed this unique opportunity to make a killing. Unquestionably, they would have dearly loved to resell these works at a vast profit. 

It would even seem that Banksy had given away his Girl with Ballon with the proviso that the receiver would never put it up for sale. A test balloon to show how strong the counterforces need to be to withstand the blandishments of the art market. Counterforces such as “respect for the wishes of the artist”; “appreciation of the mark of trust shown in bestowing this gift”; or simply “love of art”. 

Apparently such forces were not as strong as the magnetic attraction of the art market on which the picture became yet another item for auction. 

Higher value through destruction 

Despite the very different character of his work – in their free spirit, their need for autonomy and the marked distance they keep from the art market, OUBEY and Banksy are very similar. Both of them have resisted the powerful attraction of the art world. OUBEY mainly did this to paint the pictures that sprang up in his head without being in the slightest influenced by expectations from the outside. Banksy does it so that his works might debunk, demystify, and criticise but also bring his art to that place where he thinks it truly belongs: among people who cannot afford expensive art. 

Whoever believes that the higher value of Girl with Balloon after the picture self-destructed means that Banksy’s action has missed the mark or even achieved the contrary effect, is quite wrong. 

Because it’s precisely this increase in value that shows just how strong the power of speculation is, and that the spotlight here is not fixed on art. Rather it’s the market that annexes art just as it pleases. Even when that art is destroyed. 

Banksy´s coup was perfect. In its unique way it is a clear demonstration of how the market functions, how it twists and turns, adapts to circumstances and eventually triumphs. Whether you find this good or bad is another question. But it’s clear that this is how it is. The goal which was to reveal this has been achieved. The whole world is talking about this stunt and it won’t be forgotten so quickly. 

Beauty as the epitome of outer uniformity

This principle is in accord with the building regulations in Alpach and is precisely what distinguishes this place from all the other villages in Austria. And it’s paradoxical because it’s the rigorous uniformity in the facades that gives the place its special character. Alpach is different because everything there is the same. It’s the uniqueness of the place that has made it famous and that draws in huge crowds of visitors. 

But what about individuality in all thus unreal outward beauty? The individuality of the people who live in these houses can only be expressed behind the scenes. A strange world which somehow reminded me of the artificiality of the attractions in Disneyland.

Beauty as a deviation from never-ending sameness

Then I walked through the little cemetery of the village and I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like a thicket of elaborate wrought iron crosses each one the exact replica of the last. All the same height and the same width – only the names and photos of the deceased were different. Outward uniformity even in death. 

But then I came across a grave that wasn’t quite the same. It was the grave of the Austrian Nobel Prize winner Erwin Schrödinger, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century whose work has always inspired both OUBEY and me and filled us with enthusiasm. And I found it rather moving in such a place to see that a respectful homage had been paid to such an extraordinary genius as Erwin Schrödinger by allowing his grave to deviate from the otherwise strict uniformity. Even in Alpbach an exception had been made for a man of such outstanding calibre.  In that moment beauty for me was an opening onto the possibility of individuality. 

Beauty as a mark of respect

Outward homogeneity can be seen as beautiful but can also take on an unappealing or even ugly form. Compared with the grim depressing facades of many modern apartment blocks and purpose built constructions in our cities, the outward conformity of the houses in Alpbach seem like a soothing benediction for the eye. Conversely, something is not automatically beautiful just because it’s individual or deviates from the norm. 

So what is beauty? This is a question that much cleverer people than I have asked across the ages. Aspects of what constitutes beauty have been defined by aesthetics, by the natural sciences and geometry and also by manifold findings of psychology. What someone subjectively finds beautiful adheres to some extent to these definitions yet always remains a subjective perception. What you might find beautiful someone else might well find anything but beautiful. And this is how it should be because it’s an expression of human individuality. 

In the Alpbach cemetery the principle of absolute conformity was bent to honour the extraordinary individuality of one single man and make an exception for him. And in this very moment it flashed on me once more that respect for the individual is the precondition for the creation of a beauty based on diversity. And such respect – it should go without saying – belongs to each and every person and not just a world famous Nobel Prize winner. 

If architects, urban planners, landscape artists and designers of all strips would whole heartedly embrace this basic principle instead of following the dogma of bare functionality and minimal costs for maximum efficiency, the living circumstances of many people today would certainly be at least a lot less unattractive than they now are. 

The brilliant design artist Stefan Sagmeister, who also created the award-winning MINDKISS book on OUBEYs art, will soon be opening a major exhibition in Vienna on the theme of Beauty. I certainly intend to see this. And perhaps I will gain some fresh perspectives there which I shall be glad to share with you on the social web or in this blog. 

VR, AR and other new high tech (OR and the like)

The Buddha statues were reconstructed in their full size using 3D printing technology. Yet another technology makes it possible for you, me and those who come after us to see the ancient cultural sites in a totally new manner – in GIF animations! With new technologies we can view the most famous buildings in the history of the world stone by stone and pillar by pillar. The original structures have been awoken to new life even though in some cases hardly any basis for reconstruction could be found. And lo and behold many of the buildings appear quite different to what history has taught us to think. 

Augmented reality (AR) really can give us the opportunity to admire the ancient ruins in their former splendour on our smartphones! I think this is an awesome development! Probably many of us are still not fully aware of what amazing new opportunities 3D printers, virtual reality (VR) and other new high tech offer us. But what is certain is that the New World doesn’t just create new things but also brings the old world back to life.  

New spheres

The old gasworks in Pforzheim, for instance, will be hosting the exhibition ROME 312 up to the end of the year. The world’s biggest 360 degree panorama gives you an in-depth view how the ancient world’s most splendid capital must have been in the year 312 AD.  

Researchers are now equipped with 360 degree cameras which they take on their expeditions, bringing back breath-taking views and clips the like of which we’ve never seen before. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Clockwork Ocean project? The findings of the expedition around the eddies in the ocean were captured in a panoramic film experience that makes the highly complex but deeply fascinating subject matter understandable to non-experts, entertaining and utterly compelling. In this case the technology of the New World takes us on a trip through the astonishing depths and vistas of the living ocean. 

Synergies for eternity

Now there are certainly people who are relatively indifferent to the monuments of the ancient world and who can get along perfectly well without a pulse-racing immersive trip through the ocean. “What’s this got to do with me?” they might well ask themselves or more pointedly “Who cares?”

Obviously the past is over and done with in the sense that it cannot be repeated. And yet I am convinced that the past isn’t over and done with in the sense that the past constantly exerts its influence over our present. Past and present are fused and blended with one another in synergies. It is this interconnection that allows us to build on the discoveries and knowledge of our ancestors, use them and continue to extend our present-day body of knowledge. It was the ancient Greeks who more than 2,000 years ago first discovered the Golden Ratio, aesthetic proportions, basic mathematical formulae and even regularity of movement among heavenly bodies – all of which is knowledge we are still using today. I think that such achievements by our ancestors deserve respect! The past deserves respect! 

Still so many undiscovered worlds

The GIFs of world-famous cultural sites are just one small example which shows how much more is out there waiting to be discovered. We can and we should use these opportunities to continue to educate ourselves and to grow – because we should not stand still. I am delighted to be living in times of such progress and I hope that I yet may discover a little bit more of our world. 

PS: If you haven’t seen these GIFs, please take a look here: