HKW Logo

SYNAPSE Workshop 2015 | June 30 – July 4, 2015

SYNAPSE – The International Curators’ Network 

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”, on July 2, 2015

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) holds its third workshop of SYNAPSE – The International Curators’ Network from June 30 to July 4, 2015 in Berlin. Taking place in the context of the thematic exhibition “Ape Culture”, curated by Anselm Franke and Hila Peleg at HKW, the 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.

The exhibition “Ape Culture” 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 gives 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?

Up-and-coming curators were invited to apply and an international jury selected eleven applicants to participate. Among others the workshop include lectures by 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), Rachel Mayeri (artist, Los Angeles), and Cord Riechelmann (biologist, philosopher, writer, Berlin), as well as contributions by invited speakers such as Kristina Buch (artist, Düsseldorf), Coco Fusco (artist and writer, New York), Anna-Sophie Springer (curator and writer, Berlin), Etienne Turpin (philosopher, Jakarta), Jessica Ullrich (art historian and curator, Nürnberg), and Filip Van Dingenen (artist, Brussels).

The following curators have been selected for the SYNAPSE 2015 workshop:

David Ayala-Alfonso (Bogotá, Colombia), Juan Canela (Barcelona, Spain), Silvia Franceschini (Milan, Italy), Sophia Gräfe (Berlin, Germany), Agnieszka Klepacka (Warsaw, Poland), Renan Laru-an (Quezon City, Philippines), Joan Legalamitlwa (Mafikeng, South Africa), Sofia Lemos (London, UK), Caroline Picard (Chicago, USA), Jenna Sutela (Helsinki, Finland), Rachel Thompson (Cambridge, USA)

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