The Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik was founded in 1999 as the first interdisciplinary centre of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, initially for five years. When it was founded, the HZK consisted of three departments: the research project “Bild Schrift Zahl” and the working group “Das Technische Bild” (archived website as of 2002) and the project of scientific collection cataloguing (archived website as of 2002). A particular concern of the HZK was to convey the knowledge gained to a public outside the university by means of exhibitions and public lectures. This was achieved through the exhibition series “On the way to the Humboldt Forum” (archived website), the exhibition “Theatrum naturae et artis. Wunderkammern des Wissens” 2000/2001 in the Martin Gropius Bau and the regular Helmholtz Lectures.
The founding members of the HZK were:
Prof. Dr. Horst Bredekamp, HU Berlin / Art History Seminar
Prof. Dr. Jochen Brüning, HU Berlin / Institute of Mathematics
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Coy, HU Berlin / Institute of Mathematics
Prof. Dr. Friedrich Kittler, HU Berlin / Seminar for Aesthetics
Prof. Dr. Sybille Krämer, FU Berlin / Institute for Philosophy
Prof. Dr. Bernd Mahr, TU Berlin
Prof. Dr. Thomas Macho, HU Berlin / Cultural Studies Seminar
Prof. Dr. Horst Wenzel, HU Berlin / Institute for German Literature
In 2012, the HZK was established as the central institute of the HU and has since been dedicated to researching the history and design of cultural techniques in the sense of cultural practices for the production, transmission and processing of knowledge. The HZK understands scientific collections, knowledge architectures and forms of design as cultural techniques of interdisciplinary knowledge, which it reflects and opens up for interdisciplinary cooperation in teaching and research. The HZK makes its results accessible through university teaching, conferences, publications, exhibitions and public events.