The first edition of STATE Festival, STATE OF TIME, brought together over 1200 international scientists, artists and cultural dwellers for four days in October 2014 to Berlin to celebrate scientific ideas and artistic expression. The unifying theme: Time. What exactly constitutes time? What, if anything, does time even measure? A diverse selection of over 100 participants ranging from internationally renowned researchers to up-and-coming media artists has been invited present their works within the festival’s different program formats: talks, performance, exhibition, workshops, film and interactive science formats.

A former mint in Berlin's central Mitte district was transformed into the STATE Festival main venue. Interactive exhibition spaces led to workshop suites, the courtyard and the main stage. Open spaces at integral points in the exhibition design gave the breathing space necessary for ideas to be processed and further discussed. The film program was shown at Platoon Kunsthalle, a cultural venue in Mitte with top level facilities for screenings.

Talks and Forum

A series of 7 talks over 2 days on topics from chronobiology, to general relativity, to the depiction of Time in language. Renowned scientists brought their research and unique personalities to a packed audience of enthusiastic non-specialists. With a buzz of big ideas, discussions spilled out into the courtyard, permeating the festival space.     
The Art-Science forum featured panels and a keynote that engaged a professional and critical audience in discussions on the interaction between art and science and the various regional, national and international initiatives that support it.

Exhibition and Performances

The exhibition was at the heart of the festival and showcased the works of 10 young international artists. Each piece offered a different way – literal, conceptual, or metaphorical – to engage with or experience the idea of Time. The pieces included projections, interactive objects, and installations, and ranged from purely artistic takes on the topic to interdisciplinary works at the intersection of art and science. 

By evening the main exhibition space shifted focus to performance, uniting the festival in a program of contemporary classical music, dance, and the official closing party with live audiovisual and DJ sets.


The film program, curated in partnership with Imagine Science Films (NY), was screened over two evenings prior to the main festival event. It featured an eclectic collection of 36 recent short and feature length festival films from 13 countries, all exploring ideas of Time, and included the European premiere of the UK art-science feature documentary ‘The Creeping Garden’. 

Film was also brought into the main festival exhibition space with the installation ‘MicroCinema’: nine short film loops, screened on small screens with headphones, presented impressions of Time unfolding at the microscopic level.


Actively engaging visitors through innovative interactive experiences is key to the STATE Festival concept, and was approached in different ways: Five fully-booked workshops explored Time in a very hands-on way, with concepts varying from training in mindfulness meditation, to design-thinking, to DIY science. 

In the playful ‘Time Bureau’, mediator consultants roleplayed visitors through standardised tests to reveal how their individual time perspective influences their decision-making, based on the work of leading US psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Additionally, over 200 people participated in the STATE Experiment, developed together with researchers from the University of Minho, Portugal, to gather data for their study on how attraction affects the perception of time.

A big thank you to everyone involved who helped to make the festival happen: our participants, partners, sponsors, media partners, supporters and volunteers! After its successful debut, STATE Festival is working towards establishing itself as a permanent platform for interdisciplinary activities at the intersection of science and art in 2015 and beyond.