Be A Public Historian

For the programme axis found:erased:palimpsest, the Academy of the Arts of the World is initiating a participative, digital archive project in public space that stands in the context of contemporary memory practices. Together with selected cooperation partners from Cologne and NRW districts, the Academy develops and installs so-called memory stations. These are multifariously designed ‘contact points’ for memories and thus have an important key function between the everyday life of the respective district, its inhabitants, their stories and the digital archive.

At each station, personal objects, texts, photographs or other archive material can be submitted, which is later uploaded to the digital archive ( This archive is publicly accessible, which means that everyone has access to it and can independently create their own contributions, upload material and delete it at any time. The archive platform aims to democratize the process of historiography. Every memory, every story is relevant and enriches the cultural memory of a city. Remembering is knowledge and thus a knowledge from which we should all benefit.

Noordkaap Taxi is one of the nine Memory Stations and deals with the importance of the automobile in the 21st century against the background of increasing digitalization. The automobile, once a synonym for technological progress, has now become a burden. It pollutes the environment, is noisy, antisocial and, thanks to Google, stores our routes – and thus important data and personal experiences. The artists MAX DOVEY, ABNER PREIS and the artist duo JODI have each taken a critical look at the automobile from very different artistic perspectives and developed performative taxi rides that will certainly change your perception of Cologne.

Regardless of if you took a futuristic taxi ride or just happened to walk by our Memory Station, you can leave us memories. Maybe the taxi ride has awakened old memories of past trips or tours by car? Or maybe you made some concrete experiences during your trip and gathered some impressions you would like to share with the public?

Maybe you would like to tell a completely different story, which has nothing to do with cars and taxi rides, but describes a formative and memorable event in your life. This could be, for example, a demonstration in which you participated, or the flight of your great-grandparents from Prussia to North Rhine-Westphalia. You can record and submit your story(s) directly here, in the form of photographs, sketches, drawings, photographed objects and collages. In principle, there are no limits to your creativity. We provide you with the corresponding material here at your free disposal.