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SYNAPSE Workshop 2015 | June 30 – July 4, 2015

SYNAPSE 2015: Call for applications now open

04.12.14 | PROJECT: Blog | AUTHOR: editor
SYNAPSE Workshop 2013, Presentation by Rich Pell, Center for PostNatural History, Photo: Dante Busquets

SYNAPSE Workshop 2013, Presentation by Rich Pell, Center for PostNatural History, Photo: Dante Busquets

Open Call: SYNAPSE – The International Curators’ Network 

Deadline for entries: January 20, 2015

Workshop: June 30 – July 4, 2015, with a public performance by Coco Fusco (artist and writer, New York), “Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist” (2013), on July 2, 2015

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and Schering Stiftung invite up-and-coming curators to apply to take part in the third workshop held by SYNAPSE – The International Curators’ Network. The network is moderated by an international team of curators, artists, scientists, and other experts, including the jury members Anselm Franke (curator and Head of the Department of Visual Arts and Film, HKW, Berlin), Chus Martínez (curator and Head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel), Cord Riechelmann (biologist, philosopher, journalist, Berlin), and Rachel Mayeri (artist, Los Angeles). This third workshop will focus on modes of interaction between science and art, with a special thematic emphasis on “Ape Culture” and the human/animal relationship. Among other questions, it will address how scientific topics and methodologies can be approached by curators.


SYNAPSE Workshop 2015

The Curators’ Workshop 2015 (June 30 – July 4, 2015) takes place in the context of the thematic exhibition “Ape Culture”, curated by Anselm Franke and Hila Peleg at HKW. The exhibition traces the long cultural and scientific obsession with humanity’s closest relatives. For a long time, in Western history of representation, apes and monkeys have been exclusively used as paradigmatic tokens of subhuman animal nature. Recent primatology however has begun to increasingly acknowledge the complex organization of ape society, and now speaks of an “ape culture” in its own right. The exhibition “Ape Culture” examines the way apes and monkeys have featured as signifiers in human representations and civilizational narratives. The exhibition presents a range of existing and commissioned artworks next to films and documentation from the history of science and popular culture.

The SYNAPSE Curators’ Workshop uses the exhibition as a starting point in order to raise questions regarding the relationship between science and art. It will give ten curators from various countries the opportunity to explore these issues in discussions with artists, scientists, art historians, curators, and other experts. A special focus will be placed on possible translations into an exhibition format. What is the role of the documentary in a project situated at the threshold between science and art? What new formats are necessary to realize a project that presents science at an artistic location? What curatorial languages must be developed to meet academic demands on the one hand and, on the other, to express scientific findings in cultural terms?

Visits to contemporary art galleries, museums, and project spaces as well as science museums will bring SYNAPSE participants into contact with the Berlin art scene.



Haus der Kulturen der Welt, located in the former Congress Hall in Berlin’s central Tiergarten, is a cosmopolitan place for contemporary arts and a forum for current developments and discourse. It presents artistic productions from around the world. Visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film, academic discussions and digital media are all linked in an interdisciplinary program that is unique in Europe. With theme-based exhibitions and international conferences, HKW engages with today’s globally relevant artistic and societal processes and devotes itself to questions of artistic research and knowledge production.



The Schering Stiftung aims to promote science and art, with a special focus on the natural sciences and the contemporary visual and performing arts. In addition, the Foundation promotes the scientific and cultural education of children and youth and the dialogue between science and society. Particular emphasis is on projects in frontier areas, especially at the interface of art and science.



An international jury will review the applications and determine the ten selected participants by the end of February 2015. Participation in all workshop activities is compulsory and free of charge. Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Schering Stiftung will cover travel and accommodation as well as food during workshop hours.


Jury members

  • Anselm Franke (curator and Head of the Department of Visual Arts and Film, HKW, Berlin)
  • Chus Martínez (curator and Head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel)
  • Rachel Mayeri (artist, Los Angeles)
  • Cord Riechelmann (biologist, philosopher and publicist, Berlin)


Application requirements:

The call is open to international curators with initial experience. Applicants must be able to speak and write English fluently.


Deadline for entries: January 20, 2015

Please submit your application online. To apply, please register here.

  • After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail
  • You will be asked to provide information about yourself, a curriculum vitae and a portfolio of previously realized curatorial projects OR a paper on a theoretical subject related to the thematic framework of SYNAPSE 2015.
  • Further information regarding the application can be found in our FAQ.



If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at


SYNAPSE is developed in cooperation with Schering Stiftung under the artistic direction of Kirsten Einfeldt and Daniela Wolf. 







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