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Exhibitions 05|2008

The Strong Consumer
A Project by Stephanie Senge

Symposium, Consumer Parade, Exhibition and Ikebana Workshop at the ZKM | Karlsruhe

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Symposium  |  Parade  |   Exhibition  |  Workshop

Consumer society requires strong consumers – yet what distinguishes them? Artist Stephanie Senge of Munich asks this question, gives her own answers, and above all allows others to answer it as well. Taking place before the start of the exhibition “The Strong Consumer” at
ZKM | Media Museum will be a symposium and a consumer parade, and in June the artist will hold an Ikebana workshop under the same title.

Sat–Sun, May 31–June 1, 2008
The Strong Consumer
Symposium at the ZKM_Media Theater,
Sat 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.–4 p.m.,
admission free

Internationally renowned speakers will present their own personal views on what constitutes a strong consumer. Is s/he critical, ascetic, knowledgeable about brands, adventurous, or aware of sustainability? Left and neo-liberal people, consumer protection workers and representatives of LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability), philosophers and art historians are given an equal chance to speak and discuss these issues with one another.

Speakers: Peter Weibel, Bazon Brock, Nico Stehr, Tanja Busse, Alexandra Hildebrandt, Hans Ertl, Stephanie Senge and Wolfgang Ullrich, Wolfgang Fritz Haug (requested), Norbert Bolz (requested), Rupert Hofmann (requested), Robert Misik (requested).

Concept: Stephanie Senge, Wolfgang Ullrich (HfG, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)


Sat, May 31, 2008
The Strong Consumer
Consumer Parade
Meeting place: Stephansplatz, Karlsruhe, 3 p.m.

In May, Senge takes a sculpture representing the strong consumer through the streets of Karlsruhe and carries on a discussion with its citizens, who are meant to formulate their opinions on posters. These posters will be part of a large consumer parade that will proceed through the historical center of Karlsruhe on 31 May. Led by donkeys and grouped around seven of the artist’s sculptures, which stand for different types of consumers, the parade – during peak shopping hours – should make a larger public aware of the determining position of consumerism. The parade is further enhanced by music specially composed by Carl Friedrich Oesterheldt and interventions by performance artists Eva Rostfrei and Bazon Brock.


June 01–June 22, 2008
The Strong Consumer
Exhibition at the ZKM | Media Museum, Project Space
Opening Sat, May 31 at 7 p.m. at the ZKM_Foyer

In the exhibition, along with seven parade sculptures, Ikebana works by the artist will be shown. Senge learned the art of Ikebana floral design in Japan and uses its principles to make products from materials bought at discount department stores. Her aim is to give a certain value to mass-consumed articles that are otherwise not highly regarded. In this, the technique of Ikebaba ennobles the consumer goods. A responsible handling of the goods is thereby demonstrated and a model of the "strong consumer" exemplified. The consumer parade and symposium will be shown as a documentary video in the exhibition.


Sat, June 14, 2008
The Strong Consumer
"More love for the discount department store!"
Ikebana Workshop with Stephanie Senge at the
ZKM | Media Museum, 2 p.m.–6 p.m., admission free

With the workshop “More love for the discount department store!” Stephanie Senge offers her own Ikebana course during the exhibition time. She accompanies participants to a discount department store, advises them in their purchases, and shows them how to make an Ikebana sculpture with just three items.
Senge uses the ritual of Ikebana decorating as a strategy for appreciation. Ikebana is the way of the heart (according to a book by Gusty Herrigel, “Der Blumenweg”, 1957), from the self to the object and back again. When we love, we also appreciate and so we must also ask by whom, where, and how might these discount goods be produced? The objects arranged by the participants will be on view as of June 14 in the exhibition “The Strong Consumer.”
Pre-registration for the class is requested as there will be a limited number of participants.

Stephanie Senge born in Munich in 1972. The Munich artist studied sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich under Prof. Olaf Metzel. She received numerous stipends, among them, the DAAD Stipend for Japan, and the Förderpreis der Stadt München and in 2007 she founded, together with Bazon Brock and Wolfgang Ullrich, the “Ascetes of Luxury – Covenant of the Golden Chopsticks”. Senge thematizes the value of objects and consumer goods in everyday social and socio-political contexts in her installations, videos, and photographic works, and in her actions with participants, both chosen and anonymous. Through her artistic analysis, Senge aims to maintain a critical attitude to consumption and consumer goods.


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