The exhibition - curated by Inke Arns - asks what a world without us would be like. But rather than conjuring up a post-disaster scenario, it describes such a world as the result of a gradual development whose origins can be traced back to our day and age. Taking its cues from science-fiction literature and the philosophical school of Speculative Realism, the exhibition largely relies on the principle of extrapolation.
The tools for the creation of a "world without us" are at hand. The first driverless cars are driving on our streets, news articles are compiled by algorithms, and translations are done by machines. Already in 2009 a third of all shares in the EU and the US were traded by algorithms. We can only speculate on the current proportion.
In a “world without us” humans will be replaced by machines, artificial intelligences will be optimized by other AIs and algorithms will be programmed by other self-learning algorithms. In this way, a radically different, post-anthropocentric world could emerge in which non-human life forms could eventually prove better able to adapt than man himself. Benjamin Bratton said of such a world in 2014: "Worse than being seen as the enemy (by AI) is not being seen at all".
The increasing influence of non-human actors in our everyday life has not only been explored by several recent blockbusters, including Her (2013), and in TV series such as Black Mirror (2011) and Real Humans (Äkta människor, 2012), but also in contemporary (media) art. Loosely inspired by Timothy Morton’s book Ecology Without Nature, the artists in this exhibition explore the possibility of an ecology after man – an age of the post-Anthropocene, in which other "life" forms, such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, artificially created nanoparticles, genetically modified micro-organisms and seemingly monstrous plants, have taken control. This new era, which has already begun, albeit imperceptibly, is the age of non-human actors.
The World Without Us was originally produced and presented by HMKV (Hartware MedienKunstVerein) in Dortmund, Germany in 2016. For the 2017 Ljubljana version a selection of the Dortmund show was made and some works of the exhibition alien matter (curated by Inke Arns for the transmediale festival, HKW – The Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2017) were added to The World Without Us.
Artists: Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, Timo Arnall, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Ignas Krunglevicius, Mark Leckey, Nicolas Maigret & Maria Roszkowska, Eva & Franco Mattes, Yuri Pattison, Sascha Pohflepp, Suzanne Treister, Addie Wagenknecht, Pinar Yoldas.
The World Without Us: Narratives on the age of non-human actors
June 27 - August 27, 2017