Research Fellowship IUG · 2024

Daniel Wolter: The Environmental Movement of the GDR: A Media-Ecological Perspective

Volker Döring, Forest dieback, black and white photography, 1980s, © Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/ Volker Döring

Scientist and artist Daniel Wolter, recipient of our 2024 research grant, is currently examining various groups of images from the photographic holdings of the Archive of the GDR Opposition, housed at our cooperation partner this year, the Robert Havemann Society (RHG) in Berlin. This photographic archive of the GDR opposition movement bears witness to the effects of technologization and industrialization on the natural spaces located in the GDR. These photographs act not only as documents of the visible destruction and damage to a specific environment, but can also be considered as evidence of the commencement of the Anthropocene. Wolter is applying his own interdisciplinary approach to the rare perspective presented by this material, examining the photographic holdings as a kind of ecological environmental monitoring throughout the 1970s and 1980s while also understanding this data in the context of the international environmental movements that emerged in those years. The project also looks in-depth at aesthetic parallels with such contemporary land art groups such as the US-based Center for Land Use Interpretation (

Daniel Wolter

In 2023, in the Department of Media Art at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Daniel Wolter submitted his doctoral thesis Sensing Fields: The Cybernetization of Nature Perception Using the Example of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve. In 2011, Wolter completed a diploma in textile and surface design at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, where, until 2012, he was subsequently a master student of Prof. Tristan Pranyko in the Experimental Design department. He spent a guest semester in 2008 at the Estonian Academy of Art in Tallinn. His artistic works were exhibited in a 2023 solo show at the Humussphärenreservat, Stallmuseum, Groß Fredenwalde in Brandenburg. He has been awarded numerous grants, including from the DAAD, with the projects “Go East” (2008) and “Ars Bioarctica Residency Program” (2017), as well as from Migrating Art Academies (MIGAA) from 2014 to 2017. Wolter received the GUI research grant in 2024 for his project “The Environmental Movement in the GDR: A Media-Ecological Perspective.”