Ecologies of the Human

Annual Theme 2015/16

Natural scientists call the present Earth Age the Anthropozoan. They thus point out that man himself has long since become the most important factor influencing the geology of the planet and terrestrial life as a whole. Against the background of an increasing hybridization of man and technology, man and machine, and the growing importance of the various forms of artificial intelligence, what could be meant by the term "man" is becoming increasingly vague. Does man become man through specific forms of behaviour and competences or through the genetic programming of Homo sapiens sapiens? What role do subjectivity and individuality play in this context? What is the relationship between the anthropocene and the post-human age?

In film, literature, music and the visual arts, the human condition is often illuminated from its supposed rear side, starting from what is regarded as inhuman, cruel, violent and terrible, in other words as an alternative to the humanistic notion of the rational being human. Thus the philosopher Slavoj Žižek in his volume "The Political Suspension of the Ethical" also poses the question of the human condition from the inhuman or from what man is not. One of his examples is Franz Kafka's story of Odradek - that little mysterious figure who speaks, laughs, breathes, and appears and disappears in the house at irregular intervals. She gives the inhabitants of the house puzzles, because it is unclear whether she is to be treated as a human being. Is she filled with life in the same sense? Is she to be feared?

The artsprogram and Center for Cultural Production dealt with the outlined topic over two semesters. This was done through an exhibition by the New York-based artist Gregory Sholette, who presented alternative histories in an 'Imagenary Archive'. Subsequently, an integrative art project with Anne-Laure Gestering from transformed the Whitebox into a creative paradigm for encounter and exchange. In addition, a lecture series on "Ecologies of the Human" and a final symposium on the Zeppelin Museum's exhibition "Possibility of Man: Bodies, Spheres, Appliances" took place.

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