Abbildung von: HOPE - Hatje Cantz Verlag


Hatje Cantz Verlag
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Erschienen am 15. November 2023
248 Seiten
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978-3-7757-5619-8 (ISBN)
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What is there to hope for today? How does hope manifest itself at a time when a linear understanding of the future, of growing prosperity, security, and progress is canceled? How can hope be thought beyond market-driven forms of worldbuilding? Is there a third approach in which hope as a critical practice opens a path to alternative futures?
After Techno Globalization Pandemic and Kingdom of the Ill, HOPE is the third chapter of the long-term project TECHNO HUMANITIES, exploring the urgent questions of what it means to be a global citizen in the present-day dependency between ecology, technology, and economy. HOPE brings together a wide range of artistic positions from different generations that see the end of future as the start of new beginnings and an incentive to validate more circular and re-generative practices as a source of wonder and collective movement.

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978-3-7757-5619-8 (9783775756198)
Schweitzer Klassifikation
Thema Klassifikation
DNB DDC Sachgruppen
BISAC Klassifikation
Warengruppensystematik 2.0
Title Page
Index Verzeichnis Indice
Hope: Is There No Alternative?
Artifactual Hope
Beyond Hope
Hope: The Art of Quantum Storytelling
Hoffnung ohne Alternative?
Artefaktische Hoffnung
Jenseits der Hoffnung
Hoffnung: Die Kunst des Quantenerzählens
Speranza: non c'è alternativa?
Speranza artificiale
Oltre la speranza
Hope: l'arte del Quantum Storytelling
Copyright page
Back Cover

Bart van der Heide


On May 5, 2023, a historic event occurred, catching many of us by surprise. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, announced, "It is therefore with great hope that I declare covid-19 over as a global health emergency." As he spoke, Ghebreyesus reflected on the profound changes that had unfolded over the past three years. covid-19 had laid bare political fault lines within and between nations, eroded trust among people, governments, and institutions, and thrust millions into the depths of poverty.

It is no secret that the pandemic exposed the embedded inequalities and vulnerabilities of a post-Fordist globalized world. In this context, Ghebreyesus's proclamation of "great hope" can only be understood symbolically rather than literally. At first, the idea of a "return to life as we knew it" may bring comfort in the face of ongoing uncertainty, but it falls short as a measure of social progress and innovation in our current reality.

The concept of hope and its application have always been riddled with contradictions that can be traced back to Greek mythology. By the time the unfortunate Pandora closed her ominous box, she had already released every imaginable evil on humanity: sickness, suffering, disease, war, greed, jealousy, and hard labor. The only one she managed to keep trapped inside was hope. This raises the question of why hope was even in the box in the first place. Does its containment benefit humanity, or does it perpetuate our suffering? How can we effectively harness hope at a time of growing hopelessness?

The TECHNO HUMANITIES research project at the Museion has placed particular emphasis on understanding the impacts of covid-19, as it was initiated in the midst of the global lockdowns. But rather than adopting a dystopian view of the future, the project chose to explore existing subcultural practices that were overlooked in a pre-pandemic world. This shift in perspective shone a spotlight on club culture as a model for social coexistence and inclusive world-building. During the pandemic, it became evident that clubs were vital for the well-being of freelancers, who have constituted a significant portion of the post-industrial workforce since the 1980s. Freelancers face immense pressure to be productive, and the club provides a crucial space for them to practice the release of stress, mental regeneration, and collective solidarity. It is therefore not surprising that the prolonged closure of clubs led to an increase in mental health issues and substance abuse, especially among this group of workers. Work and release, or the output and input of energy, had become detached to such a degree from daily life that people were trapped at home in a spiral of productivity without effective tools to step out of it.

The first TECHNO HUMANITIES exhibition, TECHNO, opened just as clubs in Europe (at least those that survived) were reopening after fifteen consecutive months of lockdowns. TECHNO marked a significant departure from the traditional understanding of techno culture as a subculture. Instead, it delved into the broader connections between the club and global ecological, economic, and technological trends. The accompanying reader cast a contemporary light on techno's multi-billion-dollar market, with some contributors exposing an imbalance between self-interest and collective solidarity and highlighting the need for alternative economies, which mushroomed during the lockdown period.

The second exhibition, Kingdom of the Ill, focused on personal and activist forms of empowerment that push against mainstream narratives surrounding health and illness. The texts in the reader focused on lived experience and advocated for alternative forms of care or institutional critique.

The third exhibition, HOPE, unexpectedly takes place in the same period that an end to the covid-19 global health emergency has been officially declared, even though the virus continues to exist and evolve among us. In this respect, the end is not a new beginning but rather a license to downsize the global emergency care infrastructure. HOPE renews the project's emphasis on the humanities and their profound historical connection to collecting institutions. It serves as a poignant reminder of the pivotal role museums play in shaping a shared world and driving social change by conserving collective memory and cultural heritage. At a time when welfare states are becoming increasingly unstable, can museums truly become a source of collective hope that can inspire individuals to imagine a future together?

In accordance with the contradictions inherent to the concept of hope, the ambition of this exhibition is not without its pitfalls, and its research team-Leonie Radine, DeForrest Brown, Jr., the Museion Passage Group, and myself-have always been aware of this. Nevertheless, instead of avoiding the challenges such a topic poses, we decided to approach them in solidarity. One major challenge is, of course, the anachronistic nature of the humanities, especially when we see how they have been sidelined within the academic landscape in favor of more empirically or commercially driven forms of research. In addition, history has shown us that the humanities are far from neutral when it comes to the perpetuation of embedded inequalities, exclusions, and racism. The structuralist movements in the 1960s and the postcolonial movements in the 1980s successfully exposed its colonially driven methodologies. The problems arise when we view the world from an exclusively anthropocentric perspective, as it always raises the question: Whose ego is considered the standard for this world?

Here, a possible alternative is offered, once again, by the techno club. Within the club, elements of time, space, place, and sound are no longer constituted by the bounds of the human body. For instance, time extends beyond the conventional confines of a mere 24-hour day, and music's dependency on skilled musicians and rehearsal times is replaced by preprogrammed sound files. We are therefore extremely grateful that rhythmanalyst, media theorist, and curator DeForrest Brown, Jr. joined the research group of HOPE and agreed to be the guest editor of its current reader.

In his book Assembling a Black Counterculture, Brown skillfully cultivates techno's deep connection to the Black experience by drawing parallels between diasporic movements, industrialized labor, and the rich history of Black music. This connection ultimately paved the way for the emergence of Detroit's techno scene. Brown highlights the vital significance of provenance writing and world-building within the early techno communities, an essential aspect to acknowledge within the context and aspirations of HOPE.

One remarkable testament to this overlooked aspect of techno culture is the Drexciya myth, initially conceived by the pioneering Detroit techno duo Drexciya. The story that unfolds is of an alien culture situated in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The myth was effectively communicated and shared among techno communities through various mediums, including sound, album art, and club culture. As a result, its themes and cultural references permeated the projects of other artists, both directly and indirectly, and continued to reach global audiences through the hybrid space between the online and offline realms. This occurred independently, outside the purview of conventional cultural and academic institutions, and remained firmly embedded within a global community.

In HOPE, the Drexciya myth and those myths traditionally favored by the humanities stand face-to-face in the context of a European institution.

On the one hand, the exhibition reveals the anachronistic standard of the European humanities but, on the other hand, it paves the way for a contemporary understanding of the importance of archival practices and provenance writing in shaping collective experiences and spaces of belonging.

I believe that the humanities, disconnected from anthropocentric motives, remain meaningful today and that museums, the traditional strongholds of the humanities, are far from obsolete. They fuse physical space and imagined space at a time when geographies are being transcended by a growing networked world. Together, a temporary shelter against the continuous "free fall" of commercial productivity can be generated-one that both inspires and offers new perspectives or even places where (as with Drexciya) the oppressed can plot their liberation. Certainly, this is an opportune starting point for beginning to unpack, in solidarity, hope's ongoing contradictions and to imagine collecting institutions as unlimited hope machines.

Bart van der Heide is an art historian, exhibition maker, and director of the Museion Bozen/Bolzano, where he initiated the multidisciplinary research project TECHNO HUMANITIES: a three-year undertaking (2021-2023) comprising exhibitions, publications, and art mediation programs. The exhibition series focuses on pressing existential questions concerning human existence at the intersection between ecology, technology, and economics. In TECHNO HUMANITIES, external international research teams explore and expand on the issues addressed. At the same time, the project provides young talents with a platform through which they can express their aspirations. A special feature is the promotion of local initiatives.The exhibition HOPE represents the third chapter of the project, launched by van der...

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