Welcome to the website of artist, multi-disciplinary technologist, director, hacker, and composer Martin Backes

VIENNA BIENNALE 2019 Exhibition

I am really happy to announce that my Pixelhead artwork will be part of the upcoming VIENNA BIENNALE 2019 edition. The work will be on display at the MAK DESIGN LAB in Vienna (Austria) for at least the next two years.


BRAVE NEW VIRTUES. Shaping Our Digital World

With the reinstallation of the MAK DESIGN LAB in the context of the VIENNA BIENNALE FOR CHANGE 2019, topics and approaches of a bien-nale will, for the first time, be reflected in the concept of a permanent mu-seum presentation. Taking a multi-faceted approach, the newly conceived MAK DESIGN LAB will present selected positions and projects proving that design is increasingly acting as a motor of change. The role of design at the interface between everyday life, society, digitalization, and climate change will take center stage. The MAK DESIGN LAB will address topics, values, and ideals relevant to all of us in order to shape the way we live to-gether, the way we handle resources, the way we work, and the relation-ship to our planet. Digital technologies and artificial intelligence increasingly accompany and influence our daily lives and work, challenging and overwhelming us, changing our social fabric and our social togetherness. At the same time, natural living space is becoming scarcer, resources are being depleted, and global warming is increasing. Design alternates between preservation and innovation—of the human body, of the ecological balance of planet earth, and of society in general. In the reinstalled exhibition space with ap-proximately 2 000 square meters, the MAK DESIGN LAB will demonstrate the many ways design can contribute to positive rethinking.Design can be much more than creating “things”: Design is an attitude, a way to initiate change, conceive possible new solutions and make them tangible. The dialogue between contemporary and historical positions shows how design has changed and how everyday objects already influ-enced continuous change in previous centuries. The goal of the MAK DESIGN LAB is not only to convey this content but also to inspire and moti-vate us to jointly shape our—increasinglydigital—world as a valuable and resonant living environment for all species. The possibilities available to us in the digital age change our type of rela-tionship to the world. Digital innovation provides new, fascinating, and also frightening ways of shaping the future. In this context, the focus should not only be on feasibility but also on the values we want these po-tentials to be oriented towards. These possibilities and values concern a multitude of questions defining our future: How and what do we want to produce in a post-growth soci-ety? How can we succeed in cooperating in a fair, sustainable, and mean-ingful way? What can a welfare economics imply for the market econ-omy? What role will digital education play for work in the future? How will we have to change our habits and consumption patterns to restore func-tioning cycles? And what can a good life look like after the current overa-bundance?Creativity, especially art and design, plays an important role for the sus-tainable transition of our production processes, ways of life, habits, and systems. The MAK DESIGN LAB will present these potentials in a total of eight rooms and eleven topic areas. Here contemporary projects by de-signers, artists, architects, programmers, activists, and idealists, who con-sider alternatives or provide solutions, will meet historical positions from the MAK Collection. Visitors will be presented with approximately 500 objects but also with tools, scientific research, and technologies making alternative ways possi-ble. Usingimagination, creativity, playful experiments, and a holistic view, the MAK DESIGN LAB will draw attention to the consequences of our cur-rent lifestyle but also to what innovative solutions could imply for the indi-vidual. Design can also be a crafting toolto shape and optimize the hu-man body, as selected exhibits will show. The invisible aspects of the digi-tal world will also be revealed, such as virtual communication, personal and biological data, or surveillance. Visualizations, interactive points, and, last but not least, the MAK Educa-tion App (starting at the end of the year) will connect projects and objects from the MAK Collection in a way that the priority of actively shaping the future will become very distinct and a better understanding of the far-reaching role of design in Digital Modernity will be generated. The innovative method of Citizen Science, in which students, scientific ex-perts, curators, artists, and designers are creatively involved in research, plays a central role for the concept of the MAK DESIGN LAB. Among other things, regular Citizen Science workshops with students will flow into a G8–13 (a summit of 8-to 13-year-olds) where experts from participating classes together with an architect will design the school of the future. Theresults will be incorporated into the new presentation and the MAK Educa-tion App that will complement the permanent exhibition from the end of the year. The MAK Education App: On a digital level, the MAK Education App will be developed as a medium of the MAK DESIGN LAB especially intended for students, teachers, and educators. The completion of the MAK Education App, which will be built in a modular way and will be expandable, is planned for December 2019. Curators:mischer′traxlerStudio (Katharina Mischer, Thomas Traxler)Janina Falkner, New Concepts for Learning, MAK Marlies Wirth, Curator,Digital Culture and MAK Design Collection in dialogue with the heads of the MAK CollectionAssistance: Viktoria Heinrich, MAK Design Collection Graphic Design and Interaction Design: LWZThe reorganization of the MAK DESIGN LAB is financially supported by the EU program INTERREG V-A Slovakia-Austria (Project “Design & Innova-tion”) and is realized in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.


Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna

Exhibition Dates

Opening: 28 May 2019
Permanent as of 29 May 2019
Opening Hours: Tue 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed-Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

More info

Vienna Biennale for Change 2019


Please find more information about my Pixelhead artwork here.