At a time when we are confronted with a multitude of crises - be it climate change, wars or social injustice - it is more important than ever to take responsibility for a better future, even on the smallest scale. The ZukunftsAtelier 2024, inspired by the ideas of the world-famous German artist Joseph Beuys, motivates students to work together on a project for a more sustainable world.  

Fig.: Pupils at the "Oak planting in honor of Joseph Beuys" at the Staatliche Realschule Trostberg. Photo: DASMAXIMUM

Against the backdrop of "dying forests" and the "Cold War", Joseph Beuys developed the pioneering art project "7000 oaks. Urban forestation instead of urban administration" for the documenta7 art exhibition in Kassel. Over a period of 5 years, 7000 trees were planted in the city of Kassel, each with a basalt stele at its side. But for Beuys, planting trees was more than just an ecological measure. For him, trees and basalt were merely symbols of a changed society. He was concerned with the social process that was triggered by a planting campaign. Beuys called this process a social sculpture. He believed that every person has the potential to actively change society for the better. In his words: "Everyone is an artist".

"The future we want must be invented." - Joseph Beuys

Since 2015, DASMAXIMUM KunstGegenwart in Traunreut has been running the "Oak Planting in Honor of Joseph Beuys" project to commemorate this idea by Beuys. Based on this project, the museum has developed the "ZukunftsAtelier" workshop program for school classes, which aims to create an awareness of social responsibility. The ZukunftsAtelier comprises two four-hour modules in which the pupils develop their own "social sculpture" and create visual symbols for it. Both are presented to the public at a closing event.

The name "ZukunftsAtelier" is derived from two famous quotes by Joseph Beuys, which also illustrate the aims of the mediation project: "The studio is between people" and "The future we want must be invented. Otherwise we will get one we don't want". Creative solutions and approaches for a better future for society and the environment are to be developed through collaborative action.

The ZukunftsAtelier 2024 opens its doors to school classes from grades 8-13 from south-eastern Upper Bavaria, Munich and the surrounding area. Teachers and their school classes who would like to take part can register at by February 18 at the latest. A review of the 2022 and 2023 editions is available here and here.

Fig.: Sculpture of the Freiham secondary school - ZukunftsAtelier 2023, photo: T. Keck

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The ZukunftsAtelier 2024 is financed by: