Phenotypes/Limited Forms
/// 2007 /// Interactive User Installation
/// Armin Linke



Armin Linke’s installation Phenotypes/Limited Forms analyzes the public utility of his online-photographic archive. As an interactive internet project Book on Demand, the photographic archive had already been presented as part of the Utopia Station at the Venice Biennale, 2003. Linke’s online archive contains photographs of locations in Nigeria, China, Cyprus, of the G8-Summit in Genoa, a NASA-base in California, the documenta etc. What constitutes the focus of Phenotypes/Limited Forms is less a museum reconstruction of a technological-virtual procedure (Book on Demand) than a poetical transfer. Phenotypes/Limited Forms steps out of virtuality in that the spatial exhibition design simultaneously transports the process of an active, analytical encounter with pictorial knowledge in physical space in the form of Linke’s photographs.
The installation comprises two displays, a rack on which the visitors can individually view, group and select approx. 1000 photographs, as well as a table on which the individual selection of photos of each viewer can be read by means of RFID chips, be given a title by the operation of a touch-screen as well as being printed out directly as Leporello, which can then be taken away. While the visitor takes away his self-produced catalogue out of the museum, the title he has used appears as part of the installation as a projection in the exhibition space along with all the other already existing titles.
Phenotypes/Limited Forms defies the usual “do not touch” command of the museum, the auctorial position of the artist as well as that of the curator and the fixing of the work of art as a finished product for presentation. In that every visitor can make his own selection on the work table, all participants become curators for a period of time. Linke does not allow the visitor to consume but to himself consciously and actively make his own decisions.
In Phenotypes/Limited Forms Linke transfers his working situation into the exhibition room. The idea of the mass and the fragment, of the archive and the collection as well as the cataloging of and connection to various pictures can all be experienced in the installation. At the same time, the installation functions as a laboratory in which Armin Linke assesses the value of different qualities of picture and releases each of them for testing by the visitor.
The work is the result of a cooperation extending over one year between Armin Linke (Professor of photography at the State Academy of Design Karlsruhe), Wilfried Kühn (Professor for exhibition design and curatorial practice at the State Academy of Design Karlsruhe), the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Peter Weibel) and the Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris (Peter Hanappe).

(Text: Doreen Mende)

Armin Linke (*1966, Milan) works as photographer and film-maker on a continually expanding archive on human activities and the most diverse natural and man-made landscapes. His aim is to capture scenarios in which the borders between fiction and reality become blurred and even invisible. He currently holds the position of Guest Professor at the State Academy of Design Karlsruhe.

Concept and development: Peter Hanappe
Graphic design of the website, of the printed-object and typographical realization in the installation: Alex Rich.
curatorial design: State Academy of Design Karlsruhe
Wilfried Kühn, Professor for exhibition design and curatorial practice (State Academy of Design Karlsruhe)
Doreen Mende, lecturer for curatorial practice, Nina Beitzen, lecturer for exhibition design, Samuel Korn, tutor for Phenotypes/Limited Forms
Students: Elena Bozhikova, Katharina Domokosch, Wolfram Glatz, Samuel Korn, Kristina Moser, Steffen Oestreich, Sophie Remig, Felix Vogel, Sarah Waldschmitt, Alice Wilke.
Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris, with support from EU IST project TAGora (FP6-2005-IST-5)
Armin Linke Studio archive coordination: Elisa Scaramuzzino, Brada Barassi
Filemakerstudio archive software engineering: Luigi Corte Rappis
On demand publishing project: a+mbookstore edizioni, Milano
Offset digital printing: Graphistudio, Pordenone
Web host service: Sideralia
Special thanks to Anna Rimoldi, Francesco Mattuzzi, Amedeo Martegani, Anselm Franke, Stefano Mirti, Luc Steels

Photo: ONUK

Armin Linke, Phenotypes/Limited Forms, 2007, interactive user installation, 1000 photographs, 1000 RFID tags, 16 pieces of RFID reading equipment, 2 touchscreens, 2 PCs, 2 BOCA micro ticket printers, 100.000 thermo-paper tickets, video projector, loaned by the artist