Humboldt Forum

Der nächste Staat? – Rethinking State A symposium devoted to visions of the future at the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin

Press release

Berlin, 23 April 2018

On Saturday, 21 April, and Sunday, 22 April 2018, the symposium Der nächste Staat? – Rethinking State took place at the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin. Around 140 representatives from civil society, the arts, activist groups and academia worked together to develop new models for work and pay, governance and participation in an event in the series Which Future?!, a co-production of the Deutsches Theater and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss.

Reflection is a precondition for new insights! The goal must be to create new “mind maps for world citizens” with new “think tanks”. In these new mind maps of the world there will be no longer be a “Mediterranean”.
Neil MacGregor, director of the Steering Committee of the Humboldt Forum

Do we still have the potential for full employment despite digitalization? Shouldn’t those who wish to work still be able to in the future? Do we need a basic income based on solidarity? And what is the state really there for?

These were the questions that emerged from the first event in the Which Future?! series held last autumn as a workshop at the Deutsches Theater. They were addressed by the symposium in light of the changes that globalization and the digital revolution have brought to our economic systems. “The various models that the participants came up with were presented as a range of possible options in a process of listening – that struck a chord with the people there”, said author and film/theatre director Andres Veiel, who initiated the Which Future?! project with author Jutta Doberstein. “This spirit of collective thinking and meeting face-to-face created a special kind of strength. The old-fashioned concept of Enlightenment suddenly made sense again. By working together, the participants were able to shed light on a complex, opaque process. New forms of work in the future were examined and the concept of state was also a focus of discussion. What also became clear at the symposium, however, was that we are ourselves responsible for ensuring that institutions like the European Central Bank or the Eurogroup are brought back under democratic control. This task cannot be delegated to politicians”, said Veiel.

The findings of the workshop and the symposium will now be made accessible to the participants and the public in an extensive archive and will also be translated into art in the form of the stage play #Let them eat money, which will premiere at the Deutsches Theater on 28 September 2018.

Which Future?! began in September 2017 with a workshop at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. International scholars and around 250 participants worked together to develop a fictional, yet fact-based (crisis) scenario for the next ten years. The second part, Der nächste Staat – Rethinking State, now dealt with the issues raised by the workshop. In the third phase, the themes and findings from the workshop and the symposium will flow into a stage play, which will premiere at the Deutsches Theater on 28 September 2018. A final conference to conclude the series is scheduled to take place in the Humboldt Forum after its opening in the Berlin Palace.

When the Humboldt Forum opens its doors in late 2019 it will mark the establishment of a whole new cultural quarter in the very heart of Berlin. The participating actors are the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) with the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kulturprojekte Berlin with Stadtmuseum Berlin, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, with the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss taking on a leading role. In viewing the unique concentration of everyday objects, spiritual items, and works of art in the reconstructed Berlin Palace from the twin perspectives of science and art, these institutions aim to devise entirely innovative approaches to topical themes such as culture and nature, politics and religion, research and history. With its diverse programme of exhibitions, discussions, performances, workshops, films and artistic interventions, the Humboldt Forum has already developed a highly visible presence throughout Berlin.


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Michael Mathis
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