“Light, Air and Shit” investigates the history of the environmental question in the 20th and 21st century in connection to current urban gardening and agricultural movements, self-sufficiency, recycling, self-construction and sustainable urban development. The project begins by asserting that the Bauhaus and its exemplary manifestation during the modernist era of the 1920s and 30s formed the cornerstone for the philosophical models, practices and the concept of “sustainability” – ideas which have been discussed in the environmental movement since the 1960s, if not earlier. Even though Walter Gropius and his successors at the Bauhaus did not demonstrate any obvious commitment to protecting the environment and its natural resources, one does find that practically all of the Bauhaus protagonists were intensely interested in biocentric positions, such as Raoul Heinrich Francé. In view of the unresolved environmental crisis in an increasingly industrialised and urbanised world, we must ask why the early holistic approaches which were conceived, developed and tested were not implemented on a much larger scale. And why are many of today’s projects and campaigns seemingly unaware of the innovations and failures of their pioneers? These are some of the questions “Light, Air and Shit” examines from various artistic, scientific and political-activistic perspectives. The interdisciplinary character of the project is supported by a unique constellation of institutional partners which promises a high degree of knowledge transfer and broad public reach. The exhibition, accompanied by various events, will combine contemporary artistic works and archived materials. Based on a scaled structure – from cell to soil, plant, garden, house, city and country, all the way to circular economies and post-humanism – the exhibition shall reassess the relationship between humans and the environment and discuss its future significance. Historical points of crystallisation in the exhibition include the “biosophy” of the writer and photographer Ernst Fuhrmann and the “Sonneninsel” (Sun Island) in Seddin Lake near Berlin which Leberecht Migge and Elisabeth Elsaesser leased in 1933. The exhibition and its accompanying events will be staged at venues in Berlin, e.g. the Botanical Garden, Botanical Museum Berlin, the New Association of Visual Arts, and the Neighborhood Academy in the Princess Gardens, and on excursions through Berlin and its outskirts in Brandenburg.
Artistic directors: Florian Wüst, Sandra Bartoli, Marco Clausen, Silvan Linden, Åsa Sonjasdottir (SE), Kathrin Grotz, Elisa T. Bertuzzo (IT)
Participating artists: Brett Bloom & Bonnie Bloom Fortune (US), Book & Hedén (NO), Oliver Botar (CA), Elisabeth Felicella (US), Katherine Gibson (AU), Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison (US), Aglaia Konrad, Joaquin Medina, François Roche (FR), Gitte Villesen (DK)
Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst | Berlin
Lectures, Workshops & Excursions
Nachbarschaftsakademie Prinzessinnengärten | Berlin
Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum | Berlin