The thing is

Artistic works and theoretical contributions dealing with our enmeshment in the world of things are brought together under this year’s motto: The thing is. The aim is to explore how our shared reality arises from the interplay, the friction and resistances between bodies and things. Since as long as personal relationships are increasingly experienced as disembodied and abstract - not only due to the pandemic - and as long as the ever more complex relationships between people and devices continue shifting the boundaries between the animate and the inanimate and the material foundations for our existence on this planet are at stake, we are confronted with the question of how we can live with things better and perhaps also learn from them.

The exhibition curated by Inga Seidler examines objects of our present time, of everyday life and speculative design. In installations, sculptures, and video works, it asks what constitutes a ‘thing’, and takes a look at quasi-objects and hybrids. Starting from the fact that we are enmeshed with the world of things, the artistic works investigate the nature, production conditions, meanings, functions and design of objects. It thus becomes visible that things facilitate and embody statements about our way of living with others and our environment.

In seven film screenings and a performance, It’s rather a verb, curated by Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat, celebrates the relational aspects of the moving image. The programme calls attention to the movements within positions, and to the verbs that support nouns. It highlights works that utilise and perform non-linear processes, as the interaction with things – such as stones, historical objects, mothers and cars – becomes audio-visual.

Things have always supported or testified to interests, needs and actions. Having their own life cycles, they gain or lose significance depending on the particular cultural contexts. The talks curated by Daphne Dragona explore what it means to live with and take care of things from the perspective of different temporalities, ontologies, and worldviews. They examine the role of art and design in creating, appropriating or calling off things in order to maintain or restore substantial relationships to the environment and the planet.