Distinctions between dystopia and actuality are more and more collapsing within the face of inexorable technological and ecological upheavals. In opposition to this backdrop, “Human Is”—which borrows its title from the quick story by Philip Ok. Dick (1955)—employs science fiction as a religious, narrative and aesthetic car. The works on this exhibition mobilize different future horizons and political imaginations—an exploration of the notion of “being human” as a contestable and reversible class.

For the reason that nineteenth century, with its attendant notions of capitalist and scientific progress, science fiction has supplied a mirror to the altering up to date conditio humana alongside its values, fears and constraints. The seemingly exterior menace of extraterrestrial, supernatural or synthetic beings is usually manifest as a self-made anxiousness and a part of our cultural situation. The monstrosity of the unknown arises to shake up limitations, which, in impact, decenter the human protagonist.

“Human Is” juxtaposes historic with newly commissioned artworks. The exhibition paints a polyphonic image of the mutual penetration of bodily and non-human forces; it addresses the often-violent interdependence of people on their technological environment whereas opposing guarantees of salvation by means of trans-humanistic progress. Concurrently, “Human Is” opens up areas of contradiction during which binary oppositions—human/non-human, nature/tradition, self/different, male/feminine—are overcome in favor of a networked and interdependent existence. “Human Is” engages science fiction to transgress the humanistic unity of the topic by means of materials, narrative and perspectival liminality. Lots of the works gathered on this exhibition uncover the hierarchies of energy which have historically dehumanized the Different. Afrofuturism, as an illustration, imagines a society past the histories of exploitation and discrimination during which individuals can stay in equality, usually by means of methods of mutation, hybridization and camouflage.

For a lot of, the collapse of the programs now we have come to depend on is not a distant apocalyptic future. Visionary science fiction author Ursula Ok. le Guin sees fiction as a container for reinventing the probabilities of human expertise and data past any linear narrative of progress. It’s by means of these tales that the destructions and alienations that mark up to date existence can set off a brand new ethics of relationality—one which can not be really human.

Curated by
Nina Pohl and Franziska Sophie Wildförster

Collaborating artists:
Joachim Bandau, Ivana Bašić, Ian Cheng, David Cronenberg, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Tishan Hsu, Fritz Lang, Mike Kelley, Alexander Kluge, Tetsumi Kudo, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Nour Mobarak, Sandra Mujinga, Mary Shelley, Diane Severin Nguyen, Ovartaci, Analisa Teachworth, Suzanne Treister and WangShui

at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin
till July 23, 2023



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