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Peter Weibel «Synthesis»
Peter Weibel, «Synthesis», 1967
© Peter Weibel

 Peter Weibel

b 1944 in Odessa; studies of Literature, Philosophy, Medicine, Logic and Film in Paris (F) and Vienna (A); since 1966 conceptual photo-literature as well as audio pieces, - texts, -objects and -actions; end of the 1960s, he worked in the field of Expanded Cinema, action art, performances and film together with his partner Valie Export; his interdisciplinary activities comprise scientific, artistic as well as literary, photographic, graphic, plastic, and digital works. As theoretician and curator he was a.o. curator of the Neue Galerie, Graz (A), and Professur at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna (A), as well as the commissioner for the Austrian pavillon of the Venice Biennale; 1989–94 director of the Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt/M. (D); since 1999 chairman of the ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (D); lives and works in Karlsruhe.

Beginning with work in the tradition of visual poetry, Weibel produced «media-based literature» in the form of paper, photographic and object poems, body texts and material poetry, text objects and video texts. Conceptual works and actions followed, together with media analyses employing the media under scrutiny, initial TV experiments on Austria's ORF, and later numerous installations deploying film and video. The publication of candid sexual representations in a black book on Viennese Actionism led to a lawsuit against its publishers Valie Export and Peter Weibel in 1970. Both artists continued to support each other's projects into the late 1970s, with Weibel writing the screenplays for Export's films «Unsichtbare Gegner» («Invisible Opponents»), 1977, and «Menschenfrauen» («Humanwomen»), 1979. His subjects are less body-oriented, however, and deliver from a media-specific and semiological viewpoint socially critical analyses of systems and machines like film, television, and the visual arts. Weibel was an early and eloquent champion of a theory of media and communication, which he repeatedly applied in investigating the inherent laws and mechanisms of the various media.