The 3rd chapter of AISTIT / coming to our senses – Resonant bodies – takes place at KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art in Berlin’s Neukölln district between May 22 and June 20, 2021. It comes forth from an ethical urgency. The global pandemic has exposed the already critical condition of interdependencies among bodies, human and nonhuman. We are attached to others, constituted by those attachments, and vulnerable to their loss. Judith Butler claims that “Loss has made a tenuous ‘we’ of us all”; when we lose our ties to others we do not know who we are – we go missing as well. (1)
The group exhibition at MASCHINENHAUS M0 consists of a set of video and sound pieces presented in the same space in a particular sequence. The rhythm of the sequence and the spatial dramaturgy aim to immerse the viewer into the experience and address their bodies as containers for vulnerability, empathy, grief, loneliness, intensity and interdependence.
AISTIT / coming to our senses has commissioned a new video installation by Terike Haapoja: the work moves in the intersections of ecology and social analysis, connecting animalization, animal agriculture and loss of habitats with social devastation caused by industrialization and capitalism.
Dominique Knowles’ video piece Tahlequah (2019) is a moving tribute to the capacity of animals to mourn and show empathy, and an invitation to come together in the act of grieving.
The poetic essay film Salt of My Eyes (2020) by Kati Roover observes “species loneliness” that Robin Wall Kimmerer describes as a deep, unnamed sadness stemming from the loss of relationship. (2) The film records an encounter between a human and a humpback whale and a cultural activity we both have in common: signing.
When the video pieces disappear an inaudible sound leaks through the building. Christine Sun Kim’s sound installation 4 x 4 (2015) permeates the room and the bodies and is absorbed by the surroundings. Like a force too big to be detained the silence becomes physical.
1) Judith Butler. Precarious life: the powers of mourning and violence. Verso, 2004
2) Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed, 2013