The HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein is a platform for the production, presentation, and communication of contemporary and experimental (media) art. The term ‘media art’ is intended here not as a technologically defined genre, but as contemporary art that is concerned both in content and concept with the present-day world, which is profoundly influenced by media and technology. Among the major goals of the HMKV are exploring contemporary themes and questions, addressing the wider public in its educational work, and an interdisciplinary artistic agenda. The aim common to all of the HMKV’s projects is to implement art in an attempt to facilitate public understanding of the multi-layered social, political, economic, and ecological conditions prevailing today. In a globalised world based on the interaction of these systems and accelerated through technology, this approach fosters a new perspective on contemporary life that enriches individual perception and makes it easier to understand complex connections.

Thus, the HMKV occupies a singular position in North Rhine-Westphalia – and in Germany. It has grown out of a widely variegated international network, which the institution brings together in a multi-faceted programme of exhibitions and events. The exhibitions of the HMKV have met with a high degree of recognition regionally, nationally, and internationally; they are characterised by a broad understanding of the term ‘media art’, which features multiple intersections with other artistic disciplines such as fine arts, film, and the performance arts.

HMKV's exhibition “games. Computer Games by Artists” was elected, by the German section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics), as “Exceptional Exhibition 2003” and received the Innovation Award by the Fonds Soziokultur 2004. In 2011, HMKV was awarded the JUMP Annual Sponsorship Award for Art Organisations funded by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW). In 2017, HMKV received the ADKV – ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations after having been nominated for the sixth time in 2017 (following 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014). In 2013 it received an Honourable Mention in the context of this prize.

Since its founding in 1996, the HMKV has staged almost 90 exhibitions; as well as film programmes, video, music, performances, workshops, lectures, and conferences in various cities in Germany and abroad as well as in Dortmund – for the most part in the 2,200-square-metre PHOENIX Halle Dortmund (2003-2010), a replacement parts warehouse belonging to the former steel mill Phoenix-West, which was erected in 1895. Among the exhibitions of the last eighteen years have been important projects such as Reservate der Sehnsucht (1998), games – Computer Games by Artists (“Special Exhibition” prize of the year 2003 awarded by the German section of AICA, “Innovation Prize” of the year 2004, awarded by the Fonds Soziokultur), History Will Repeat Itself (2007), Anna Kournikova ... Art in the Age of Intellectual Property (2008), Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media (2009), Building Memory and Arctic Perspective (ARTFORUM included Arctic Perspective in its “Best Exhibitions of 2010”), The Oil Show (2011), Sounds Like Silence (“Special Exhibition”of the year 2012 awarded by the German section of AICA), His Master’s Voice: On Voice and Language (2013), INDUSTRIAL (Research) and Requiem for a Bank (2013–14). Scheduled for 2014 were the exhibitions World of Matter: On the Global Ecologies of Raw Material, “Now I Can Help Myself”—The 100 Best Internet Video Tutorials, and Evil Clowns, among others. The Mechanical Corps followed in the footsteps of Jules Verne in 2015, Digital Folklore was dedicated to the archaeology of the WWW in the same year, and in 2016 Whistleblower & Vigilantes presented central figures of the digital resistance. 2017 began with an exhibition on Brutalism. The exhibition Afro-Tech (2017) presented Africa as a continent of technological innovation, while The Storming of the Winter Palace explored one of the most successful "fake news" stories – the story of the photograph of the famous "Storming", which, however, originated from a theatre production in 1920. Computer Grrrls (2018) focused on the relationship between women and technology in the past and present. The exhibition The Alt-Right Complex (2019) examined racist and identitarian (so-called "new" or "alternative") right-wing networks, while Artists & Agents – Performance Art and Secret Services explored the strange connection between intelligence and artistic practices (2019-2020).

More information in our image leaflet.

The HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein puts on large thematic group exhibitions as well as experimental solo exhibitions (i.e. Antoni Muntadas 2003, Barbara Breitenfellner 2011, Suzanne Treister 2012, Artur Zmijewski 2012, Eran Schaerf 2013, Axel Braun 2013–14, Hito Steyerl 2016, Dan Perjovschi 2016, Korpys/Löffler 2018.

The HMKV places great value on the cooperation with external curators and art educators and mediators. The most important exhibitions have come about in the form of collaborations, for instance The Wonderful World of (2006 – 2012, with Jacob Lillemose, Copenhagen), “Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media (2009, with Thibaut de Ruyter, Berlin), Arctic Perspective (2010, with Marko Peljhan, Ljubljana/Santa Barbara and Matthew Biederman, Montréal), Sounds Like Silence (2012, with Dieter Daniels, Leipzig), INDUSTRIAL (Research) (2013, with Thibaut de Ruyter, Berlin), Requiem for a Bank (2013, curated by Fabian Saavedra-Lara), and Whistleblowers & Vigilantes (2016, with Jens Kabisch).

Another format is the HMKV Video of the Month, which presents current, particularly remarkable video works by international artists for the duration of one month each (since March 2014). In 2013–14, performative projects in empty spaces took place in the context of Requiem for a Bank in the inner city of Dortmund: Hedge Knights of machina eX made a guest appearance in the former AOK building, Jens Heitjohann’s I Promise, I Am The Future took participants on a three-hour tour through the Union Quarter adjacent to the Dortmunder U (accompanied by twelve residents), and Utopia Stock Exchange of Invisible Playground invited the citizens of Dortmund to make their wildest dreams public to the city and to trade them live in a stock exchange of utopias.

Today, the communication of contemporary art is taking on increasing importance. It’s a matter of creating access to contemporary art and of showing that artists do not merely sit in their ivory towers, but address themes that matter to everyone. Of course, it’s initially the exhibitions themselves that are the instruments of communication. This could be seen recently in the exhibitions His Master’s Voice and INDUSTRIAL (Research), which included (everyday) material that went far beyond the area of art, but remained closely tied to the exhibition’s themes. In its communication work, the HMKV makes use of the tools of the digital age in a playful and participatory way to create a new understanding for our media world and its patterns of perception and action. In addition, the HMKV works with ‘info trainers’, who are instructed to communicate the themes of current art to visitors. Bilingual volumes are published for almost all of the HMKV’s exhibitions. The HMKV also, of course, offers free guided tours on a regular basis and organises international conferences and workshops (i.e. ISEA2010 RUHR – 16th International Symposium on Electronic Art, 2010, or more recently the international New Industries Conference: Money and Debt in the Post-Industrial World, 2014).


2020 HMKV's exhibition "Artists & Agents – Performance Art and Secret Services" (2019/2020) is awarded Exhibition of the Year 2020 by AICA (International Art Critics Association)

2018 Justus Bier Award for Curators: Inke Arns, Igor Chubarov and Sylvia Sasse have been awarded for the exhibition and the publication "The Storming of the Winter Palace - Forensics of an Image" (HMKV 2017/2018)

2017 HMKV receives the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations 2017

2014 HMKV nominated for the fifth time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations

2013 HMKV’s catalogue book “Sounds Like Silence” is elected as one of the “Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2012.” 454 books were submitted, 19 books received the prestigious award.

2013 HMKV nominated for the fourth time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations. HMKV receives Honourable Mention in the context of the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations 2013.

2013 HMKV’s exhibition “Sounds Like Silence” is voted “Exceptional Exhibition 2012” by the German Section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) during the Venice Biennial 2013.

2011 JUMP Annual Sponsorship Award for Art Organisations funded by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW)

2011 HMKV nominated for the third time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations

2010 The US art magazine ARTFORUM counts “Arctic Perspective” among the “Best Exhibitions 2010”

2008 HMKV nominated for second time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations

2007 HMKV nominated for the first time for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Associations

2004 Innovation Award by Fonds Soziokultur for the exhibition “games. Computer Games by Artists”

2003 “games. Computer Games by Artists” elected by the German section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) as “Exceptional Exhibition 2003”


The exhibitions of the HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein are not only shown in Dortmund, but internationally, as well: thus, in 2007 the exhibition The Wonderful World of travelled to Glasgow (CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts), in 2008 to Novi Sad (Museum for Contemporary Art, Vojvodina), and in 2012 to Leuven (Artefact Festival, STUK); the exhibition History Will Repeat Itself was shown 2007–2008 in Berlin (KW Institute for Contemporary Art) and 2008 in Warsaw (Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle) and Hong Kong (Goethe Institute, Video Days and Hong Kong Film Archive). The exhibition Awake Are Only the Spirits” – On Ghosts and their Media was shown in 2010 in Torun (Centre of Contemporary Art ‘Znaki Casu’). The exhibition World of Matter travelled in 2014 to the James Gallery of the Graduate Center, CUNY New York, subsequently to Montréal and Minneapolis. In 2015 the exhibition His Master’s Voice toured to Montpellier (La Panacée). In 2017, Whistleblowers & Vigilantes travelled to Copenhagen (Kunsthal Charlottenburg), and The World Without Us was invited to Ljubljana and Rijeka (Mali salon, Museum of Contemporary Art). In 2018, The Storming of the Winter Palace was presented at the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz.

Over the past years, through its various projects, the HMKV has built up a web of international and interdisciplinary networks – for instance, in the context of, Berlin and the HMKV-initiated project Work 2.0 – Copyright and Creative Work in the Digital Age (2008), as well as the Arctic Perspective Open Space Conference (2010). In 2014 the HMKV cooperates with the Hochschule Coburg (FB Design) in the context of its research project Afro-Tech and the Future of Re-invention. Alternative Technological Energies and Intelligences in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

The HMKV has played a key role in founding various networks in Dortmund and North Rhine-Westphalia, among others the, in which a variety of different institutions from NRW dedicated to media art and culture have joined together (its headquarters have been located in the HMKV since 2006). On the basis of this statewide consolidation, it was possible in 2010 to host the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) for the first time in Germany. Another element of cultural political work in the region is the HMKV’s participation, since 2000, in various funding committees of the federal land of NRW, which mainly provides support to young artists (i.e. the Promotional Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia in the Area of Media Art and the Fine Arts), as well as the organisation and administration of the North Rhine-Westphalia Grant for Media Artists.

HMKV is a member of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV).

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV) is the umbrella organization for non-profit, member-based art associations, also known as Kunstvereine, and is dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary art. A total of 297 Kunstvereine from 244 cities and villages are organized in the ADKV. Kunstvereine of ADKV have about 100.000 members and their exhibitions are seen by about one million visitors each year.


Die Vielen / The Many

HMKV among first signatories of NRW Declaration of the Many. We see arts and culture as open spaces belonging to many. We view our society as a plural gathering. By attacking cultural institutions as agents of this societal vision, right-wing populism stands in hostile opposition to the art of the many. Right-wing groups and parties frequently disrupt events, aim to determine repertoires, polemicise against the freedom of art and above all are working on the re-nationalisation of culture. As a signatory of the NRW art and cultural institutions, their interest groups and independent artists and cultural professionals, we counter these tendencies with the Declaration of the Many! Read the declaration: