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SYNAPSE Workshop 2015 | June 30 – July 4, 2015

SYNAPSE – The International Curators’ Network in the context of the “The Anthropocene Project” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt

The SYNAPSE Workshop 2013 (April, 23-27) took place in the context of Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s special focus on “The Anthropocene Project.” The core message behind the Anthropocene thesis is that nature, as we know it, is a concept that belongs to the past; today, humanity forms nature. It announces a paradigm shift whose far-reaching significance might be comparable to Darwin’s theory of evolution. With the long-term project “The Anthropocene Project”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt is the first to explore the epoch of humanity from the point of view of culture.

The workshop addressed the key implications of the Anthropocene, regarding humanity’s tasks and goals in a world formed by humanity while paying special attention to the role of curators and artists. The Anthropocene, a term that has emerged in geological discourse, applies not just to aspects of our existence like the everyday life, consumer behavior, and (self-)perception, but also has significant ramifications for art and for the scientific disciplines. Key topics the workshop addressed were: the historic liaison of art & science; curating in a museum for natural history; genetics & transgenic processes; design.

In a five-day, non-public workshop, eleven up-and-coming international curators received an introduction into questions of curating in the so-called “Age of Man” at the cutting edge between art and science from a team of renowned curators, artists, scientists and other experts. It included lectures and discussions with  Bergit Arends (Curator for contemporary art, Natural History Museum London), Jill Bennett (Professor and founding Director, National Institute for Experimental Arts, Australia),  TJ Demos (Reader in Modern and Contemporary Art, University College London), Jens Hauser (Curator, Paris),  Natalie Jeremijenko (Artist and Director of x-Design Environmental Health Clinic at NYU),  Petra Lange-Berndt (Lecturer of modern and contemporary art, HAMS programme, University College London), Chus Martínez (Chief Curator of “El Museo del Barrio, NY), Agnes Meyer-Brandis (Artist, Berlin), Richard Pell (Director of the Center for PostNatural History, Pittsburgh, PA) and Christian de Lutz & Regine Rapp (Art Laboratory, Berlin) and Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), Armin Linke und Anselm Franke / Authors Anthropocene Observatory.

Eleven young curators have been selected by an international jury among 148 candidates from 37 countries. The jury was made up of: Anselm Franke (Curator and Head of Visual Arts and Film Dept. at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin), Heike Catherina Mertens (Director of Arts and Culture, Ernst Schering Foundation, Berlin),  Suely Rolnik (Psychoanalyst and cultural critic, curator and professor at the Catholic University, São Paulo, and the Independent Studies Program, MACBA, Barcelona),  Adele Tan (writer and curator, Singapore) and Julia Voss (Art historian and journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt).

The following curators have been selected:

Nabil Ahmed (Bangladesh/London),*1978, Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran (Vietnam/Berlin),*1987, Xiaoyu Weng (San Francisco, USA),*1985, Natasha Ginwala (India/Amsterdam),*1985, Alice Carey (London),*1981, Manuela Moscoso (Rio de Janeiro/New York City),*1978, Etienne Turpin (USA),*1980, Margarida Mendes (Lisbon),*1985, Vincent Normand (Paris),*1985, Laura Cassidy Rogers (California, USA),*1983, Anna Sophie Springer (Berlin)*1980

In cooperation with Ernst Schering Foundation


and Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities


Supported by frieze d/e