Yesterday, on 9 May 2018, the interdisciplinary project Watch Your Bubble! was launched to Berlin’s public! At 7 pm, Veronika Witte, director of the gallery, and Nicole Loeser, curator of the exhibition, welcome the visitors. Through the disciplinary boundaries of philosophy, linguistics, social psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and aesthetics, the project considers the complex origins of social and personal identities. Watch Your Bubble! deals with bubbles as knowledge formations and metaphors for phenomena of self-identity on an individual and societal level.
For more than a year, international artists, curators, and scientists from the research team headed by Prof. Vittorio Gallese have been discussing the concept of bubbles and working together in an interdisciplinary manner.
The concept of bubbles, especially in biology and neuroscience, is based on Autopoiesis, the process of self-creation and preservation of a living system coined by neurobiologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Because of its publications, this term was used in various other branches of science. The same applies to the concept of bubbles, which is currently being scientifically investigated by the School of Mind and Brain, a research institution of the Humboldt University in Berlin in cooperation with the Charité Berlin. It’s about constitutive, self-determining processes. These include issues of exclusion and inclusion – boundaries, manifoldness, and expansions of the self.
Both the artistic and scientific contributions of this project to contemporary social phenomena were inspired by that. They deal with digitization, migration, globalization, transculturality and other dynamics of hypermodern societies. Watch your Bubble! understands identities as biologically, historically, culturally, and socially determined – and by that as ever-changing systems.
The project includes up-to-date discussions on so-called “social bubble” groups, which are characterized by particular preferences, languages, habits or styles, but also by their dependencies and at the same time by differing from others. Similarly, this leads to an increasing atomization of “society”, where individuals are less connected through personal relationships, but interconnected by digital interactions and virtual social networks.
Watch your Bubble! offers an interdisciplinary and discursive platform for the open-minded reflection and discussion of individual and social phenomena. In the exhibition, the artists and their works are exemplary, as they not only bring along different, culturally and socially shaped backgrounds as personalities. They also explore and reflect different bubbles and their interactions and points of intersections critically through their work in the form of interactive installations, objects, images, videos, performance. In addition, a conference and lectures, discussions and guided tours are offered by and with artists, curators, and scientists.
It is not intended to associate the project with Bubbleogy investigating the creation of water molecules. If we think of financial bubbles we can go deeper: Few manipulate – many bear the consequences. Digitalization and technological platforms can damage the social fabric. However, bubbles also occur in the scientific arena, e.g. when we think about trends in research funding and research management in science that are characterized as Bubble Economies. Social peace is also threatened when software and algorithms spread hate and misinformation on social media – and evoke a seemingly misanthropic future. But shouldn’t we be able nowadays to develop structures and systems that foreigners, displaced people and uprooted people aren’t kept keep outside but within a society?
The whole project deals with the creation of identities in three categories or main questions:
Borders refer to edges and boundaries. They create the framework of what lies within and outside of a particular subject or society. The constitutive process of identity is basically the distinction between the self and the other. Borders are permeable surfaces that connect the interior with the exterior and the self with other selves; They build up separations that can lead to connection, but also to isolation. Representatives of this field are works by Rachel Bernstein, Tomoyuki Ueno, Aiko Tezuka and Muriel Gallardo Valentina Berthelon and PSJM.
The second of the three thematic focuses, Multiplicity, implies multiple dimensions and perspectives that interlock within a given bubble. Identities as combinations of biological materials are built against the background of historical, social and cultural developments. And yet those identities despite their autopoietic characteristic, are taken as unique due to their self-constructed nature and as true as “a personal self”. The artists Magali Desbazeille, Marta Dell’Angelo, Julia Krahn, Aiko Tezuka and Muriel Gallardo reflect this with their works.
Finally, the third topic, Extensions, refers to modern technological developments, which enable the “outsourcing” of mental functions. Social networks offer the opportunity to interact with others in a new way and enable the shift of our self into the virtual world. But how well does the virtual extension of the self-correspond to our non-virtual self? How will we distinguish our virtual and our non-virtual selves in the future? These questions are addressed in works by Marisa Benjamim, Andres Galeano, Kim Albrecht, Casey Reas, Thorsten Goldberg and Albert Barbu.
Maybe today a new form of consciousness is needed for a so-called global consciousness. But how can this arise and respond to the rapid, technological developments? We need a gift that can channel our insights into broader cultural contexts and build our identities as members of global societies. This should encourage curiosity and knowledge about world cultures and world problems as well as the ability to understand our own and other cultural perspectives. In particular, the artists and scientists take over the role to give again and again important food for thought and draw attention to less obvious conditions in our world. Building on this step, we should become aware that our thoughts shape the world – We can grow into the shape we want. The new age of globalization needs enlightened global citizens who appreciate the complexity and diversity of the world beyond their immediate cultural environment. They are able to make sound conclusions, meaning sustainable and sustainable decisions for the planet and the planetary community.
Watch your Bubble! aims to motivate visitors to actively participate in this process. Be inspired by this exhibition and become aware of your power!
Kim Albrecht | Marisa Benjamin | Rachel Bernstein | Valentina Berthelon | Marta Dell’Angelo | Magali Desbazeille | Andrés Galeano | Muriel Gallardo | Thorsten Goldberg | Julia Krahn | PSJM | Casey Reas | Aiko Tezuka | Tomoyuki Ueno | Albert Barbu
The exhibition runs from 10 May through 23 June 2018
Organization team of the exhibition:
Nicole Loeser, Curator, Artistic Director, Institute for Art and Innovation
Muriel Gallardo, Co-Curator, Visual Artist MA
Veronika Witte, Artistic Director, Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten
Julia Heunemann, Curatorial Assistant, Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten
The interdisciplinary project Watch Your Bubble! consists of an art exhibition, a 2-day conference and an extensive accompanying program of experiments, workshops, lectures and guided tours with artists, scientists, and curators.
In a few weeks, a catalog will be published, which is planned as a documentation of the project.
You are cordially invited to the CONFERENCE, which will be opened on 17 May 2018 at 6 pm with a performance by Marisa Benjamin. Get your tickets for the conference HERE. All other events are open to the public at any time without registration and payment.
For the 2-day program on 18th and 19th of May, 2018 renowned personalities were invited such as Carolyn Christov-Bakarghiev | Prof. Ólafur Elíasson |Dr. Joerg Fingerhut | Prof. Dr. Vittorio Gallese | Simon Guendelman | Prof. Dr. Vincent Hendricks | Dr. Laura Kaltwasser | Prof. Dr. Dorothea Kübler | Prof. Pietro Montani | Dr. Marjan Sharifi | Prof. Dr. Andreas Roepstorff.
Organization team of the Conference:
Prof. Dr. Vittorio Gallese, Professor of Human Physiology, University of Parma, Italy; Professor of Experimental Aesthetics, University of London, UK; Visiting Professor, Berlin School of Mind and Brain (as part of an Einstein scholarship for 2016-2018.
Dr. Laura Kaltwasser, Postdoc, Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Humboldt University
Simon Guendelmann, MD. PhD student at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Humboldt University psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
The conference is organized by the Einstein Foundation and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain in cooperation with the Humboldt University. The art exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Galerie Nord – Kunstverein Tiergarten, the Institute for Art and Innovation, with the kind support of the Einstein Foundation.
A heartfelt thanks for the impressive works goes to all participating artists: Valentina Berthelon, Marta Dell’Angelo, Magali Desbazeille, Andrés Galeano, Muriel Gallardo, Thorsten Goldberg, Julia Krahn, PSJM, Kim Albrecht, Rachel Bernstein, Marisa Benjamin, Casey Reas, Aiko Tezuka, Tomoyuki Ueno and Albert Barbu.
Furthermore, a big thank you goes to:
The Berlin School of Mind and Brain team: Prof. Vittorio Gallese, Ph.D. Laura Kaltwasser, Simon Guendelman, Luca Settembrino and Annette Winkelmann
The Institute for Art and Innovation team: Nicole Loeser, Constantin Böhm, Jonathan Kuhl, Yingyi Han
The team of Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten: Veronika Witte, Julia Heunemann, Bernd Rose and the technical team.
Other thanks go to the galleries DAM Berlin, Wolf Lieser and Galerie in der Zitadelle, Ms. Loven.
A warm thanks goes to Andreas Wengel for the website design and implementation as well as Greg Murr for text editing.
Photos by wengelimages.com