Knowledge Cloud + What do we know?

Höller takes  knowledge literally – he scours books from various disciplines for that one word: knowledge. Books dealing with questions of ethics,

society, the universe, economy and  faith. The  artist  appropriates  this  knowledge by cutting it out and saving it in his personal “Knowledge Cloud“.  What results is a cloud-­shaped collage, which can be understood  as the visualization of digital knowledge. The cloud depicts the chaos of

virtual knowledge, which can only be used once one learns to ask the right questions.

Next to it stands a paradoxical sculpture of the books whose knowledge was precisely cut out word for word with a Stanley knife. The collective

knowledge has been freed from its original context and the knowledgeless books balance on the edge. While the knowledge cloud continues to swell,

one  only finds holes in the paper where knowledge once was. But what does this mean, what is knowledge? Standards of knowledge change,

knowledge is relative and lively, like our language itself.



Knowledge and faith are closer than science and religion. You cannot have knowledge without faith. Only one

who believes in his ideas can reach understanding, and what then becomes understanding will later also become knowledge. Here too the books do not remain unscathed. Höller not only removes all knowledge, but faith as well. The  words  “knowledge“  and  “faith“  from  the  books  of  faith of the five

world relgions are arranged in piles next to  each  other.  The  form  that  results  from  comparing  the  two  word  across  different  books  of  faith  is

itself significant  in  what  it  reveals.  Nevertheless,  Höller  isn’t  conducting  research,  but  rather  takes  apart  the  contents without focusing on a particular assertion.

The filtering of single words is something very current. Complex themes are broken down into individual words and are spread through the media. This is how content is lost. And it is also true here: there is not just black and white, but also a million shades of grey in between.



The idea of the polymath dates back to antiquity. If one  was informed in the seven liberal arts (lat. septem artes liberales), he commanded a broad basic knowledge in grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Höller chose an exemplary key work from each of the seven liberal arts to begin his search for all of the question marks. This is how the artist, book for book, filtered through all of the open questions from the basic knowledge

of mankind. Principia Mathematica (Russel/ Whitehead, 1910) was the only work without questions – mathematics is not considered absolute logic for nothing. All  of  the  books’ questions have left  their  original  position. Only knowledge remains. Books and image turn into a confrontation of knowledge and lack of knowledge. The  questions  from  mankind’s  accumulated  basic  knowledge  are  ultimately  presented  as  stars  of  our universe.  The  question  mark’s  position  is  actually  determined  by  the  position  of  stars  in  a  picture  of  the universe taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Each of the  more  than  10,000  question  marks  becomes  a  fixed  place in our universe, and the questions shine like stars in the sky.



Potential visions of the future from 28 science ficition books converge into one point. Lines of text come from each book and all ideas about the future concentrate in the  blue  eye  of  the  oracle.  In  the  search  for  answers,  oracles have served to cryptically answer questions about the future or decisions since antiquity. When knowledge reaches its limit and it is suddenly no longer about logic, then we turn to a symbol of religous or pagan origin. The reflection  in  the  eye  of  the  oracle  allows  for  contemplation about the past and future and suggests one thing: the answers one seeks lay within. According to the philosopher Machiavelli, one must first look to the past in order  to  see  the  future.  These  books  do  not  deal  with  fantasy,  but  rather  with  a  possible  development  of  our societal  reality.  When  looking  into  the  eye  of  the  oracle,  the  question  of  reality,  fact  or  fiction  arises.  However, Höller’s oracle does not give us any anwers, instead it sets questions loose into the space.


Book Loop

Books broaden our knowledge little by little, so each book can  be  seen  as  one  more  step.  Höller’s  “Book  Loop”  presents a sort of unending spiral,

a small cross-­‐section of an  endless  spiral  staircase  made  from  the  classics  of  world literature. The loop theoretically never ends – it is a perpetual  circulation  of  books,  which  are  considered formative  for  modern  society.  The  knowledge  contained  in them is without a specific beginning or end. The more we know, the more we know about what we do not know. So does our knowledge really grow? Or are we constantly spinning around the same axis as this book loop?


Question about Question

2nd Order Question

Wittgenstein - Generator

Jochen Höller -

Ein Zustand

Epilogue from the

book „An vielmehr

nahe muß wirklich“

Jochen Höller -

“An vielmehr nahe

muß wirklich”