Science Becomes Art

Special exhibition "Making Crises Visible" focuses on crises, war and conflict - on view at Senckenberg Naturmuseum Frankfurt until June 2nd

Wars, crises and conflicts dominate our daily news. The exhibition "Making Crises Visible" invites us not to react helplessly to this situation, but actively. The focus is on the encounter between art, design and science. This triad opens up new perspectives on current topics, such as migration, climate change or radicalisation. A total of 50 art pieces by students of the Offenbach University of Art and Design show research results of the Leibniz Research Network "Crises of a Globalised World", which can be seen at various positions in the Senckenberg Nature Museum. Patron of the show is Angela Dorn, Hessian Minister for Science and Art, the project was coordinated by PRIF.

Fictitious rice plants grow around the stump of the sequoia tree in the permanent botany exhibition of the Senckenberg Nature Museum - new genetically manipulated species that could perhaps alleviate the shortage of resources in the future? A 16 square metre carpet shows the cramped layout of a typical refugee accommodation and how people live there. On the upper floor, a coral reef made of numerous plastic packages extends into the room.
30 human rights articles printed on a rescue foil line the exhibition room on the Hominisation and of primeval woman "Lucy". Like the proverbial red thread, red areas mark these and many other works of art that can be seen throughout the museum and that were created by students of the Offenbach Academy of Art and Design during the last two semesters. Together with researchers from the Leibniz Research Network "Crises of a Globalized World" and the Research Network "Normative Orders", the young artists developed creative ideas for the visualization of research results. "The results are extraordinary works that are definitely worth seeing," says Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF).

Science is relevant to society, but often very complex, abstract and sometimes difficult to understand. But how can research on crises, wars and conflicts be transported - how can it be made visible? The "Making Crises Visible" project has ventured this attempt. "The combination of science, art and design offers an extraordinary potential through which we want to actively stimulate a dialogue on topics of global importance. In a changing society, we provide our visitors with scientific facts and artistic inspiration to initiate new ways of interaction and exchange in the museum. This is the basis for actively shaping our future together and we are very happy to support this," explains Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Director of the Senckenberg Science and Society Programme. Prof. Klaus Hesse from the Offenbach Academy of Art and Design explains: "Posters, objects, films and installations have been created in research areas such as resource scarcity, radicalisation, environmental crises, the Anthropocene and its consequences, crises of the liberal world order or crises of international norms, which appeal to the public in very different and unexpected ways. In the central exhibition room on the second floor, the concept of crisis and the rhetoric of crisis are also addressed and the overall project is presented. More detailed information on the visualized scientific projects is also available there to take away.

The artistic examination of the research projects are supposed to on one hand visualise their procedures and results in an exemplary manner, and on the other hand create an awareness of the not only paralysing but also activating power of crises. "Crises are not just the mere exacerbation of a problem, but a transformational process with immense creative potential that can form a starting point for reorientation," says Deitelhoff. The aim of the project is to reflect this and to stimulate public perception and dialogue on crises in society. Visitors are invited to become part of a creative solution process in an experimental exchange of opinions. A further aim of the project is to promote the transfer of knowledge between peace and conflict research, science, art and design.

You can find more information at and

Accompanying Program

Numerous events offer the opportunity to go deeper into the topic and to illuminate its various facets. In addition to lectures and panel discussions in the Senckenberg Museum, Goethe University Frankfurt offers thematic workshops. The all-day climate symposium "All the world's future" on 25 April 2020 in cooperation with the EKHN Foundation and SEEHOF focuses on current knowledge, different perspectives and new ideas on climate change, environmental pollution and biodiversity loss. The "Making Crises Political" show will be presented as a satellite exhibition at the Open House of Cultures in Frankfurt from 19 February to 1 March 2020.

More Information on the entire program can be found at


The sponsors of the interdisciplinary research and exhibition project "Making Crises Visible" are the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in cooperation with the Leibniz Research Network "Crises of a Globalized World" and the Offenbach University of Art and Design.

Further partners and sponsors:

  • Aachen Academy of Crafts and Design
  • Anne Frank Educational Center
  • German Foundation for Peace Research
  • Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN)
  • Research Cluster "Normative Orders"
  • Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences
  • Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
  • Culture Foundation of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau
  • Leibniz Association
  • medico international
  • Nanjing University of the Arts
  • Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts
  • City Frankfurt am Main
  • Polytechnic Foundation of Frankfurt am Main