Known by Art

Believing that creative minds are needed to bring scientific results and the debate on global environmental change into the centre of public attention, PIK has launched or co-launched a couple of initiatives to collaborate with artists.

'TippingPoint' is an originally British, meanwhile international science meets art initiative, which seeks for creative answers to climate change. It is named after the scientific concept of tipping points fathered by John Schellnhuber, Director of PIK. At the heart of the initiative are open-space conferences which are regularly supported by our scientists.

The Climate Media Factory is a project supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Science, in which PIK is working together with the Film and Television University (HFF) "Konrad Wolf" to communicate current scientific knowledge on climate issues through audiovisual media.

PIK cooperates with the 'Orchester des Wandels' (Orchestra of Change) of the Foundation "NaturTon" which was launched by musicians of the Orchestra of the Berlin State Opera. Photo Gallery

Since 2011 PIK has (together with the DAAD and State Captital Potsdam) an  Artists in Residence Programme.

In 2013 we are a partner of the transdisziplinary festival "ODYSSEE : KLIMA" (Stadtheater Bremerhaven).

Photos from left to right: PIK/Nolte, Musée Marmottan Monet, DAAD, Stiftung NaturTon, Steven Pippin.


Drawing from Art to Explore Environmental Issues

Panel Discussion with Mariana da Silva & Pedro Neves Marques

April 29, 2019  |  7 pm
daadgalerie studio    Oranienstraße 161   10969 Berlin, 1. OG

Language: English

With their project »inhabitants«, artists Mariana da Silva and Pedro Neves Marques have been exploring the emergence of new genres, video grammars, and vocabularies online as a way to distribute knowledge on environmental and social justice issues. With their current series on »Deep Sea Mining«, they are mapping the geopolitics and economics minerals such as copper, cobalt, and nickel.

From February to April, Silva and Marques have been further developing their project in the framework of a residency at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. In a presentation in the context of the first Berlin meeting of the newly founded Society for Artistic Research in Germany, Mariana Silva and Pedro Neves Marques will discuss the possibilities of drawing from art in order to play with the often stifling conventions of online news and advocacy videos while retaining journalistic urgency and the capacity to reach non-art audiences.

Free entrance


Screening & talk with Chris Jordan

September 20, 2018 | 04:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegrafenberg A 56 (conference hall), 14473 Potsdam

Language: English

Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time and allow ourselves to feel deeply enough that it transforms us and our future? These are the questions of Chris Jordan, the filmmaker of 'Albatross', who is this year's artist in residence at PIK, and which are at the heart of his film.

'Albatross' reveals the fatal threat of plastic pollution to the local bird population on Midway Island, a remote atoll in the North Pacific. 'Albatross' is not only a documentary but a work of art too.

The filmmaker will be present at the event and will be happy to talk with you about the background of his project after the screening. Introduction by Margret Boysen; film 97 min; discussion from 5:45 on.

Entrance free

Can global warming still be mitigated?

Lecture and Discussion on the Monte Verità

March 24, 2018 | 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Monte Verità, 6612 Ascona, Switzerland

Within the event series "The Utopia of Nature" of the "Eventi Letterari Monte Verità", authors, scientists and philosophers approach the different meanings of "nature" and report in lectures and discussions about their research, expeditions and findings. In this context, PIK-Director John Schellnhuber presents his literary work "Selbstverbrennung" and concisely summarizes the current knowledge behind the "fight for every tenth of a degree".

The event will be held in German language and will be simultaneously translated into Italian and French language.

Tickets can be purchased in advance via the event page and on-site at the event. Moderation: Roger de Weck

Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape

A talk by Jay Griffiths

Friday, 15th of Nov 2013 | 18:00 Uhr
Telegrafenberg A32, 14473 Potsdam

Language: English

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in indigenous cultures. From communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses anthropology, history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children’s affinity for the natural world, for animals and woodlands, and examines the quest element of childhood. Arguing that the risk-averse society enfeebles children, robbing them of the physical freedom they both want and need, Griffiths illustrates how the stress of overscheduled lives denies children their hours of unclocked reverie.

‘Reading this book feels like playing in the woods.’ Independent

Jay Griffiths is a British writer living in Wales. With her first book (Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time) she won the Discover award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA. Her second book (Wild: An Elemental Journey) was shortlisted for both the Orwell prize and for the World Book Day award and won the inaugural 2007 Orion Book Award in the USA. In autumn 2013 Jay Griffiths is artist in residence at PIK with a stipend from the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.

Reservation necessary, the entry is free. For reservations call 0331 288 2519 or -2502

Climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber meets bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff

Freitag, 1st of Nov 2013 | 19:00 Uhr
Allianz Forum am Pariser Platz 6, Berlin-Mitte

Language: German


You may like to switch to the German site

Jay Griffiths

JG author pic smaller.jpgJay Griffiths was born in Manchester and studied English Literature at Oxford University.  She is an award-winning British writer and author of non-fiction works 'Wild: An Elemental Journey', 'Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape, and  'Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time.'  Her fiction includes 'Anarchipelago' and 'A Love Letter from a Stray Moon,' which is partly about Frida Kahlo but which is also an allegory of climate change.

'Wild' was the winner of the inaugural Orion Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orwell prize and for the World Book Day award. 'Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time' won the Barnes and Noble 'Discover' award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA, 2003, for which her book was cited as 'cleverness in the service of genius'.

She has written for the Guardian's comment pages and is now a regular columnist for Orion magazine.  She has also written for The Observer, the Ecologist, and the London Review of Books.  She has broadcast widely on BBC radio, including Start the Week and Woman's Hour, and the World Service, and has several times been a guest on Phillip Adams' Late Night Live in Australia.

Her non-fiction work on climate change includes a column for the Guardian and Orion magazine on the issue of academic expertise, and also on the issue of mutability.  (Articles attached.)  She has also spoken at the British Council on climate change and the arts, having attended several Tipping Point conferences.

Her work explores issues of culture, politics, psychology and she is known for her interest in many different societies, and also in the art of communication itself.

Von Klimamodellen, Liebe, Fukushima und anderen Kontrollverlusten

Dienstag, 11. Juni 2013, 17.00 Uhr

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung
im Kleinen Fotorefraktor (A32)


Philipp Weiß, österreichischer Autor und derzeit Artist in Residence am PIK, stellt seinen in Arbeit befindlichen Roman vor – und zur Debatte!

Was eigentlich bedeutet Zukunft? fragt Ingeborg, die Hauptfigur des Romans, in ihrer kulturwissenschaftlichen Arbeit. Die Frage bewahrt sie nicht vor dem, was kommt: Ihr »rhapsodischer Liebhaber« Henri, ein vergeistigter, doch liebenswerter Klimatologe, der, verträumt und entrückt, sich danach sehnt, sich in der hypothetischen Welt des Klimamodells aufzulösen, verschwindet von einem Tag auf den anderen.

Ingeborgs Suche nach Henri führt sie nicht nur in die Welten der Simulationen, sondern vor allem nach Japan, wohin er sich, wie sich herausstellt, vor der Welt und ihren Unwegsamkeiten in eine Klause zurückgezogen hat.

Ursache dafür war ein von ihm verfasster Artikel, in dessen Folge sich jene fatale mediale Kontroverse entsponnen hatte, aus deren Fängen sich der scheue und fragile Forscher innerlich nicht mehr befreien konnte. In der Neuzeit, so hatte er in besagtem Artikel geschrieben, sei es das Christentum gewesen, das gegen die Wissenschaft vorgegangen sei, da es um seine Interessen fürchtete. Heute sei es – aus denselben Gründen – die Wirtschaft.

Noch bevor Ingeborg Henri in Japan finden kann, passiert erneut das Unerwartete.

Terrain vague befragt das Verhältnis des Menschen zu Natur und Technik sowie zu einer unsicher gewordenen Zukunft. Vor dem Hintergrund der Katastrophen in Japan im Jahr 2011 erzählt die Handlung über das Verschwinden von Halt und das Hereinbrechen des Ereignishaften.


Eintritt frei - da aber nur eine begrenzte Anzahl an Sitzplätzen vorhanden ist, bitten wir um verbindliche Anmeldung unter: 0331 - 288 25 19

Philipp Weiss

The Austrian writer Philipp Weiss was born in Vienna in 1982. He writes prose and plays. His studies of people and conditions, German literature, philosophy and German as a Foreign Language took him to the universities of Vienna and Barcelona. After a year of working with handicapped people in 2008, he worked as a lecturer for German literature at the University of Baku in Azerbaijan.

His works have been published by notable literary journals as well as by publishing houses like Residenz Verlag, Walter de Gruyter (about Peter Handke's A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, 2009) Passagen Verlag (egon. Ein Kunst-Stück, 2008) and Edition Atelier (Tartaglia, 2013). He has received various awards, inter alia the Hermann Lenz Fellowship in 2006, the 3. Litarena Literature Prize in 2007, the Austrian State Scholarship for Literature 2008/2009, the Austrian playwright scholarship in 2011 and 2012, the Theodor Körner Prize in 2013 and was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 2009. With his play “Seifenblasenoper. Eine Kritik der runden Vernunft” (Soap Bubble Opera. Critique of Round Reason) he was invited to the Young Playwright Workshop of the Viennese Burgtheater, with “Allerwelt” (All men’s world) he won the Hans Gratzer scholarship at the Schauspielhaus Vienna 2011, where he will be writer in residence for the season 2013/14.

Philipp Weiss's works are characterized by linguistic virtuosity and extraordinary concepts, which are always spotted on the edge of the impossible.

In the last years his works deal with the intersections of the small space of privacy and intimacy with the big picture of the global condition. The subjects of his latest works are migration, global economy, marginalization, exclusion, and the question of the human future.

Impacts & Cascades – a climate conference concert by the Orchestra of Change

Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 8:00 pm

Friedenskirche Sanssouci Potsdam

On the occasion of the international climate conference "Impacts World 2013," organised by PIK, the "Orchestra of Change" will give a concert on 29th May in the Friedenskirche, Potsdam. Members of the Staatskapelle Berlin, whose initiative "Orchestra of Change" is supported by the NaturTon Foundation, will perform works by Darter, J.S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, Toru Takemitsu and Allen Vizzutte.

The concert is free of charge, but reservations are necessary because some seating is reserved for the 300 scientists attending the conference. You can reserve tickets and seats via the NaturTon Foundation up to 7:30 pm on the day of the concert.

Detailed concert programme (PDF)
Information about the conference

"Über Lebenskunst" - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber & Lars Gustafsson im Gespräch

20. Nov 2012, 8 - 10 pm
Deutsches Theater Berlin

Language: German

A collaboration between the project ÜBER LEBENSKUNST, the Berlin Artists Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and PIK. ÜBER LEBENSKUNST is a project of the Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of World Cultures").

"Von Oberflächen und Geheimnissen" - Lars Gustafsson at PIK

Nov 07, 2012, 5 pm

Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research / Kleiner Fotorefraktor


Lars Gustafsson

Nick Laessing

Nick Laessing, born in London in 1973, studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and now lives in Amsterdam. Laessing‘s work has appeared in numerous international joint exhibitions and solo shows, for example at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris; and he has been awarded many prizes and grants, including the Henry Moore Foundation, the Royal Academy, and the Laurenz Foundation, Basel.

In his work, composed of sculptures, installations, films and drawings, Nick Laessing explores the border areas of science, probing its relationship to the inconceivable.  Reflecting the utopian and romantic aspirations of many amateur scientists and mathematicians of the past centuries he designs and builds his own devices.

Often departing from historical research of inventions that never became mainstream or were short-lived, Laessingʼs sculptures and installations attempt to find the unexploited potentials in the obsolete or overlooked. Examples of this include: the Eidophone, an instrument through which the vibrations and resonance of the voice can create images on a surface and Spatial Harmonics, a mechanical installation that employs pendulums to create geometric drawings corresponding to the theory of harmonics. He has also worked with electrical machines alleged to harness energy from the atmosphere, as well as a radio first made by Friedrich Jürgenson to capture the frequency of the voices of the dead.


Links to his work:'%20pages/nicklaessing.html

Lars Gustafsson

Lars Gustafsson (born 1936) is a Swedish, poet, novelist and scholar. He was born in Västerås, completed his secondary education at the Västerås gymnasium and continued to Uppsala University; he received his Licentiate degree in 1960 and was awarded his Ph.D. in Theoretical Philosophy in 1978.

He lived in Austin, Texas until 2003, and has recently returned to Sweden. He served as a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where he taught Philosophy and Creative Writing, until May 2006, when he retired.

Gustafsson is one of the most prolific Swedish writers since August Strindberg. Since the late 1950s he has produced a voluminous flow of poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays, and editorials.

He has gained international recognition with literary awards such as the Prix International Charles Veillon des Essais in 1983, the Heinrich Steffens Preis in 1986, Una Vita per la Litteratura in 1989, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for poetry in 1994, and several others.

"Nicht ich lüge, sondern das Wort" - Reading & talk with Erik Lindner

Apr 20, 2012, 5 pm

Moderation: Katharina Narbutovic

Berliner Künstlerprogramm

The Swiss author and musician Peter Weber

Peter Weber was born in the Toggenburg Valley in 1968. He started writing while living in Zurich, his second home since leaving school. His first literary success was the novel ‘Der Wettermacher’ (The Weathermaker), published by Suhrkamp in 1993, followed by ‘Silber und Salbader’ (Suhrkamp 1999) and ‘Die melodielosen Jahre’ (Suhrkamp 2007). He has a soft spot for train stations, as reflected in his ‘Bahnhofsprosa’, published in 2002. Furthermore, train stations served him as a stage for his music. He has received many literary awards, including the Alemannischer Literaturpreis in 2008.

Peter Weber’s work is marked by his abundant imagination and his strong sense of rhythm. He uses rhythm to investigate language and language to explore rhythm. No surprise, then, that his instrument is the Jew’s harp. No surprise that he uses an orange-coloured mechanical typewriter. No surprise that his working rhythm is in tune with the requirements of his moon-eyed dog, who always greets you with a friendly bark. Although the novelist could translate every single word his dog says, he never interferes with her business.

Peter Weber is a transient, who keeps his own rhythm. It is hard to catch a glimpse of him. But if you do, he is fully dedicated to you and the world around him. Not only to the noises, characterizing landscapes and places, but also the silent things such as mushrooms and clouds. In the dome of our Fotorefractor he discovered a perfect sundial.

When and where the next message or novel from the hidden poet will wash up upon a beach, always remains a surprise. But most certainly it will be according to the tide.

The British photographer and installation artist Steven Pippin

Steven Pippin (born in 1960 in Redhill, Surrey, UK) works with complex mechanical procedures and kinetic structures, which he uses also as metaphors for social mechanisms. He studied engineering at Charles Keen College in Leicester, and sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art in London.

His kinetic sculptures and photographic experiments are often based on physical models. The electronic sculpture Black Hole  combines a representation of the solar system with surveillance  technology, a TV monitor and concepts such as 'black hole' or 'global warming'.Pippin_windowonwall.jpg

Pippin's fascination with physics and astronomy extends as well to the history of measurement and photographic techniques. Nominated in 1999 for the Turner Prize, his entry at the Tate Gallery was based on the work Laundromat Locomotion, in which he converted a row of washing machines into a series of cameras triggered by trip wires, and then rode a horse through the laundromat to recreate Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photographic studies of a horse in motion. Building conservation regulations prevented us letting him turn the photogaphic refractor into a pinhole camera!

In his exhibition at PIK Pippin showed some first images from his series "Simultaneous Symbiosis" (see photo) produced during his stay in Potsdam, as well as photos from his "Point Blank" series, in which cameras record the moment of their own destruction by bullets from a pistol.

In the photo "Window on the World" shown here, a camera placed in a central position shoots a roughly symetrical object simultaneously from two 180° opposite perspectives. A closer look at the image reveals seemingly blurred lines and other distortions produced by blending the two images. The undefined appearance of the picture draws the viewer out of the dead-end of his or her normal, defined and fixed perspective and thus becomes a "window on the world".

This approach is typical for Pippin. In much of his work, his interest in the process of realising an idea and the concept behind it are greater than the finished product, which presents (at an initial glance) a rather boring view, but one in which irony and understatement are combined. In much of his work, Pippin offers a bland and uninteresting view to our gaze: In order that we create from this as much as the imagination allows. In this way the reserved and patient artist succeeds in presenting us with something that is the 180° opposite of what the images we see in our daily lives seek to present to us. Here the artist himself explains the philosophy behind his work.

Artist in Residence at PIK


Artist in Residence at PIK

Since summer 2011, PIK has been using the building of the former photographic refractor as a studio for visiting artists and a place where scientists and artists can come together.

The building known as Kleiner Fotorefraktor is situated opposite PIK's main building. It contains a bright working area beneath the dome which used to house a telescope especially made for the photography of stars and a small kitchen (formerly the photographic lab). From the late 19th century on, Potsdam astronomers contributed to a - never completed - international star map.

The resident artists are thus brought to the heart of the Albert Einstein science park and integrated into the PIK community. Grant-holders are selected by the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), State capital Potsdam and PIK.

Visiting artists:

Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, USA (2021)

Sheila Hayman, Great Britain (2020)

Mariana S. V. da Silva & Pedro Neves Marques, Portugal (2019)

Chris Jordan, USA (2018)

Sjón, Iceland (2017)

Amy Howden-Chapman, New Zealand (2016)

Oleksandr Burlaka, Ukraine (2015)

Dan Peterman, USA (2015)

studioBASAR, Rumania (2015)

Jay Griffiths, Great Britain (2013)

Philipp Weiß, Austria (2013, non DAAD)

Lars Gustafsson, Sweden (2012)

Nick Laessing, Great Britain/Netherlands (2012)

Steven Pippin, Great Britain (2011)

Peter Weber Switzerland (2011)

Support for artists at PIK is provided in collaboration between the state capital Potsdam, the Berlin Artists Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and PIK.

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Photo: L. Lindenhan

"Climate Walk: An Audio-Visual Interactive Installation on Climate - Culture - Change"

Nov 11, 2011
Lecture by Freddy Paul Grunert

„Der Wettermacher“, „Bahnhofsprosa“, „Die melodielosen Jahre“

Oct 25, 2011
A reading by Peter Weber

The Swiss author and musician Peter Weber

Inauguration of the restored photo refractor building and vernissage with Steven Pippin


Jul 08, 2011
Pictures and sculptures by Lana Svirejeva (born in Toronto, Canada)

"Die kleine Klimaprinzessin"

May 28, 2011
Play by / with Eva Rahner and Jakob Runge

20. Nov 2012, 8 - 10 pm
Deutsches Theater Berlin

Language: German

A collaboration between the project ÜBER LEBENSKUNST, the Berlin Artists Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and PIK. ÜBER LEBENSKUNST is a project of the Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of World Cultures").