BBM (artist group)

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BBM, machine operator observer (group picture 2018). v. r. From left: Olaf Arndt, Janneke Schönenbach, Stefan Schürmans, Lars Vaupel, Lillevan, Julia Eisenberg, Stephan Kambor-Wiesenberg
EPKOT 2018: Experimental Prototype Killers of Tomorrow, coproduction with the Kunsthalle Mannheim.
Swarm robot with video projection from inside the machine on a GRP hood. Partial view of the installation with 72 robots from BBM in the "Knowledge" theme park at Expo 2000
BBM tank rolls over LEGO city at "IaCE", documentaIX city program, Kassel
BBM performance “Blei!” At the “Lust auf Hell” festival in Freiburg i. Br.
Installation “nanobots” in the Museum Trapholt Kolding, Denmark
Pixel wall with 20,000 LEDs on 400 m², BBM project "TROIA"
Security staff for the BBM project "Embedded Art"

BBM ( Machine Operator Observer ) is an artist and curator collective. BBM was founded in 1989 in Berlin by Olaf Arndt, Titus Kockel and CFN Werner (April 20, 1965 - April 20, 2018). As a non-profit organization, BBM has been operating a listed farm on the Elbe in Westprignitz as a “subversive think tank” since 2011.


The first exhibition of interactive objects was realized in 1989 by Karsten Rodemann in the producer gallery “Paranorm” in Berlin's Lützowstrasse. Since then, live shows and actions, which were initially committed to the tradition of “auto-destructive art” (see Gustav Metzger ), have dominated the group's work.

BBM see themselves as an open-staffed research platform at the interface between art, science and technology. You have been running your own 800 m² laboratory for kinetic and media experiments in Hanover since 1997 .

Her best-known project to date is the “Knowledge” theme park at Expo 2000 , a swarm experiment with 72 robots, which is still considered the greatest successful attempt in “ collective roboting ” and has been seen by 1.2 million visitors.

From 2003 to 2006 BBM headed the EU Culture 2000 project TROIA (Temporary Residence of Intelligent Agents) on “Technologies of Political Control” and new methods of dealing with unrest in public spaces.

In 2009, together with Cecilia Wee, London and Moritz von Rappard, BBM curated the Embedded Art project at the Akademie der Künste am Pariser Platz, Berlin, in which over 50 artists took part. All of the works of art shown are commissioned work and deal critically with the issues of security and control, the state's reactions to the “new dangers” from “international terrorism”, and the resulting social changes. In addition, BBM presented the New York show “Aesthetics of Terror” as part of Embedded Art, which was canceled in autumn 2008 for political reasons.


BBM deal with the preparation of people through technical, ideological and architectural measures. In always complex stagings in public space, they use robots, self-developed optical control systems and non-lethal weapons such as foam, electricity, shock waves, heat rays, maldorants, flash bangs, pulsed light, soft projectiles and other psychologically effective but less dangerous agents a. Their projects are more like street battles than exhibitions. “Crowd control” and the conflict between system opposition and state violence are consistently important issues for the group.

Since 2003 they have entered a more aesthetically subtle, more research and education-oriented phase of their development. They examine the use of science in the fight against terrorism, as well as the use of high technology to pacify the population in conflicts in democratic states.


An archive with a reference library on the subjects of culture, nature, politics and regional history has been available at the Unbesished location since 2016. An exhibition with the title “Octopus vs. Capital ”.



  • 1989: machines. Hanover.
  • 1990: Bulldozer. Hanover.
  • 1992: The company. Berlin.
  • 1994: This madness has to come to an end. Berlin.
  • 1995: Exercises in the state of emergency. Worpswede.
  • 2000: The model of a new social order. Hanover.
  • 2001: Game without a ball. Post-heroic football theory for art lovers. Hanover.
  • 2009: Embedded Art. Catalog (in English) with 2 DVDs. Berlin.

more publishments

  • 1994: camera silens. Karlsruhe, Hamburg.
  • 1995: Buna 4. Hannover, Hamburg.
  • 1996: passage. Berlin.
  • 1997: The Glass Block 1: Poison Cabinet. Berlin.
  • 2000: Hyperorganisms. with CD-ROM. Hanover.
  • 2005: TROIA, Technologies of Political Control. Munich.
  • 2005: Demonen, On the Mythology of Internal Security. Hamburg.
  • 2009: Pain Machines / On Dealing with Dangerous Dogs. The action 215, Hamburg.

Videos and CDs

  • 1999: Great! 9 + 1 films, The first 10 years, Hanover (89 min. PAL-VHS)
  • 2000: swarm machines, audio / video CD, Karlsruhe
  • 2001: sophisticated building by blind bulldozing, video CD with Zeitblom , Berlin; 45 min. Music plus two films (15 min)
  • 2005: Demonen, non-lethal strategies, radio play CD with booklet, Radio Bremen
  • 2007: DVD BBM "Super 9 + 1" 1989–1994
  • DVD armpod recordings, with material from the TROIA Eastern Europe tour (Vilnius, Prague, Maribor) and from the Phaeno Wolfsburg



  • Noise-generating electromechanical machines , Paranorm Gallery, Berlin
  • Corrida , BAD, Hanover


  • Fleet parade , Kiel Week, Kiel
  • The improvement of Central Europe, machine performance, HfGBk Leipzig
  • Basically we are symbols for inspiration , exhibition grounds, Hanover
  • Bulldozer , BAD, Hanover


  • Lead! , Theater festival “Lust for Hell”, Freiburg i. Br.
  • Socioaromatherapy , Düsseldorf
  • The revolution always starts at the bottom , Hanover subway


  • United Colors , with Rob Moonen, “Project 100 Years” of IG Metall, Frankfurt a. M., Stuttgart, Berlin
  • Operation Strong Arm , Frankfurt a. M.
  • Interactive Communication Experiment (IaCE) , documenta IX — City Program , Kassel
  • This madness must come to an end , Kunstverein Hannover
  • Reality machines , Pelikan-Werke Hannover


  • Axis Solitude-Stammheim , with Rob Moonen, Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart, following: poster campaigns in 12 cities in Germany, NL & DK
  • Security , with Rob Moonen, Fontanelle / Virus , Potsdam


  • Exercises in the state of emergency , ZKM Media Museum Karlsruhe; Halle / Saale; Kunstverein Leipzig, October 3rd celebration, Städtische Galerie Buntentor Bremen
  • camera silens , with Rob Moonen; with play Silent Department , director: Hans-Werner Kroesinger , Center for Art and Media, Media Museum ZKM Karlsruhe



  • deep storage , Haus der Kunst Munich
  • V7 or The Whole Art of Compression , Frankfurt a. M., Cologne, Berlin, Stuttgart, Essen, Hamburg & Munich
  • Telekill , media salon in the Marstall, Munich
  • Proposals for a final technique of culture , Welt am Draht , Hanover


  • Put the artistically wanted in a reasonable relationship to the economically necessary , 7 performances for the BBK sculpture workshops, Berlin
  • Pictures of Germany , Martin Gropius Bau Berlin


  • "Knowledge" theme park at Expo 2000 Hanover (design, planning, prototype construction, programming and media production)


  • Days of collective intelligence : Day 1: The crush with Hendrik Dorgathen (animation) + Marc Weiser (music)
  • Day 2: sophisticated building by blind bulldozing , BBM vs. Data center
  • BBM intelligence , EMAF European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück
  • Power plant and cathedral , Aedes East Gallery, Hackesche Höfe, Berlin


  • sophisticated teaching by blind scratching , with RechenZentrum, club transmediale / Berlinale Berlin
  • Drill , Römer Pelicaeus Museum Hildesheim
  • Knowledge Information Communication , World Exhibition Expo 2000 Hanover
  • knowledge / energy , Institut Francais d´Architecture (IFA) / La Villette, Paris


  • Morse , Exit Arts, Cologne
  • IDEA (Intelligent Devices for Evolutioneering Arts) , Long Night of Science, Humboldt University, Berlin
  • Kick Robot , Kestnergesellschaft Hanover
  • DreamGame , Stadium of Dynamo, CCA, Kiev Ukraine


  • Een men who won't speak , Breda / NL


  • la gairre de grat-ciels , Exit Festival Créteil / Paris / F
  • brazilian flowers , VIA Festival Mons / Maubeuge / B / F
  • TROIA Pixelwall , CCB Berlin Congress Center


  • Nanobots , Trapholt, Kolding, DK
  • Open House , OK Center Linz, A


  • For the presentation of terror , artworks Berlin
  • Demonen , Theater der Welt Stuttgart; Überseestadt Bremen
  • ArmPod concert 3.1–3.4 , KISD Gallery, Cologne


  • Crowd control , shows at CAC Vilnius LT, C3 Budapest HU, NoD Prague CZ, Kibla Maribor SI
  • Exces , Z33 Hasselt NL


  • Private machines , Phenomenals, Phaeno Wolfsburg
  • mental radio , theater performance, produced by Moritz von Rappard for Radiovisionen, Tesla Berlin
  • Globots , Galerie Gärtnerplatz 5, Munich


  • Kynex , Galeria e Arteve e Kosovoes, Pristina, Kosovo


  • Embedded Art , Akademie der Künste, Berlin
  • Crisis. Exercises in the state of emergency , Villa Ichon, Bremen


  • Joybots , BMW Welt, Munich


  • exorcising the evil spirits from the Pentagon May 19th 2011 , Unbesanders , Brandenburg
  • Clear out , MAK, Vienna


  • EPKOT, Experimental Prototype Killers of Tomorrow , Hannover, as part of the JETLAG exhibition at the Hannover Messe


  • Bringing the proposal, or what is artistically wanted by reasonably restricting it to the essentials with what is economically possible , Lüneburg, Leuphana University and Dresden, Motorenhalle


  • Po.WER: Poseidon Welfare Enhancement and Rescue Service , Hanover, Kraftwerk Herrenhausen (with Schauspiel Hanover)
  • The Application , Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School .
  • The application , Dresden, as part of the visual emphasis 9.2 in the central plant.


  • Boom Bubble & Blast , Dresden, engine hall
  • SUPRAMARKT , conference and 500-page book on the effects of financial capitalism, Unbranded / Brandenburg


  • Octopus vs. Capital , unsent


  • Un / home , unsung


  • Wilde Welt Wald , Unbranded / ( Gadow (Lanz) / Stavenow), in cooperation with Galerie Divan, Stavenow.
  • EPKOT 2018 , Experimental Prototype Killers of Tomorrow, Kunsthalle Mannheim .

Web links