Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Geologist Marcia Bjornerud’s latest book, Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, can easily capture your inner philosopher, scientist, activist, and writer. When I received this book from Princeton University Press, I was immediately intrigued by the book’s cover. I’ve always been fascinated by ideas that necessarily mix up life’s ingredients into creative nature stories, and this book does just that. The choice of title and cover design (with its elegant series of mineralogy lithographs) offers clues to the layered Earth-story within: unwrapping the scientific ways of knowing our home’s deep planetary history; how we humans have come to discover these stories; how knowing them can re-educate us and thus drive us to become better citizens as part of the whole community of life

Bjornerud’s title, Timefulness, intrigued me as a grander understanding of our current temporal limitations. The subtitle, “Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World,” shares how looking into the deep time of Earth’s rocks breaks open an opportunity for us to become more aware of the damage we have done while concurrently offering hope. Bjornerud offers tips on re-imagining how we can comprehend our humanness on this planet by coming to re-know ourselves as Earthlings. Marcia Bjornerud’s Earth story elaborates this interweaving of a deep past with a deeper future and explores how we might expand our human sense of temporal directions in order to arrive at some meaningful place of resilience.

Anja Claus (AC): In Timefulness, you breathed great life into this magical story of rocks; that’s a big feat in our flashy, fast-paced, capitalist culture.
Marcia Bjornerud (MB): In most people’s minds rocks are dumb, mute, and dull perhaps. So I tried to bring them back to life and share the stories that they have to tell us.
AC: In a way, your book is a storytelling of Earth—Earth’s past but also its now. You say in your book, “The dramatic narratives of the geologic past are perfectly suited to the human appetite for storytelling.” Why do you think that? What is it that makes for such good storytelling?
MB: I’m positioning the idea of storytelling in contrast to the physical, pure sciences of physics and chemistry, which are of course important fields—and I am partly trained myself as a physicist. But what’s lacking in them is this sense of narrative arc. The triumph of physics is that it has distilled out these universal, timeless laws and rules. But if something is timeless, there’s no story to really tell. There’s no character development.
Earth as a whole system has had a very interesting series of personalities, in a sense. It’s had a childhood, an adolescence, a middle-age. It’s seen cataclysm and wonderful, bountiful times as well. So that’s what I mean. That there are stories in the natural world, and they match our appetite for seeing how things unfold. I think that’s the way to draw people in: Tell these Earth stories, develop some kind of relationship with the protagonist, and they’re hooked.  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Με δέχτηκαν αργά στην ενδοχώρα.

Με δέχτηκαν αργά στην ενδοχώρα.

 Με όρους νησιού
 Χωρίς γέφυρες 
Με άδεια που εκκρεμεί
 Για ν’ αναπτύξω κάποτε δικούς μου πληθυσμούς
 Τοτέμ, φυλές, προγόνους
 Ν’ ασκήσω το δικαίωμα του τόπου
 Να γίνω πατρίδα. 
Για λόγους ταραχής, και για τις εντυπώσεις
 Με είπαν ηφαίστειο.
 Κάθε στεγνό χωράφι χρειάζεται
 Την ελπίδα της λάβας. 
Θέλουν να κάψω τους παλιούς θεούς 
Να σβήσω τους νόμους.
 Εγώ, μου λένε, δεν θα κινδυνεύσω.
 Με προστατεύει το νερό που με κυκλώνει.
 Όμως ξεχνούν. 
Ήρθα για τη σοδειά. 
Δεν σιγοκαίνε όλες οι αυτονομίες. 
Δεν θέλει κάθε ανταρσία να εκραγεί 
Μέχρι επανάστασης.

 Λένα Καλλέργη

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Love has its triumph

Η αγάπη έχει ένα θρίαμβο και ο θάνατος έχει έναν, ο χρόνος και ο χρόνος μετά. Εμείς δεν έχουμε κανένα. Μόνο το βύθισμα των άστρων γύρω μας. Λυκαυγές και σιωπή. Κι όμως, το τραγούδι πάνω από τη στάχτη μας θα επιζήσει.

Ingeborg Bachmann.

Love has its triumph and death has one, in time and the time beyond us. We have none. Only the sinking of stars. Silence and reflection. Yet the song beyond the dust will overcome our own. 

Ingeborg Bachmann

Monday, July 15, 2019

Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics

Frédérique Aït-Touati, Alexandra Arènes, Axelle Gérgoire, The Soil Map (detail), Terra Forma, manuel de cartographies potentielles, 2019. © the artists.
By now everybody knows that there is an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence, but very few people have any idea of how to cope with this new Critical situation. It is very strange, but citizens of many developed countries are disoriented; it is as if they were asked to land on a new territory, an Earth that they have long ignored having reacted to their action. The hypothesis we want to propose is that the best way to map this new Earth is to see it as a network of Critical Zones, which constitute a thin skin a few kilometers thick that has been generated over eons of time by life forms. Those life forms had completely transformed the original geology of the Earth, before humanity transformed it yet again over the last centuries.
Over the years, scientists have installed multiple Observatories to study these Critical Zones and have made us aware of the complex composition and extreme fragility of this thin layer inside which all life forms, humans included, have to cohabit. They have renewed Earth science in a thousand ways and very much in a way that Alexander von Humboldt would have approved. Increasingly, scientists, artists, activists, politicians, and citizens are realizing that society is not centered solely on humanity, but it has to become Earthly again if it wishes to land without crashing. The modern project has been in flight, unconcerned by planetary limits. Suddenly, there is a general movement toward the soil and new attention to the ways people might inhabit it. Politics is no longer about humans making decisions on their own and for themselves only, but has become an immensely more complex undertaking. New forms of citizenship and new types of attention and care for life forms are required to generate a common ground.
The ZKM thus continues the comprehensive engagement and collaboration with local communities and institutions that was explored during the Open Codes exhibition (2017–2019), opening up a space for common action and discussion to recompose the world we live in: Over a period of five months ZKM will host an exhibition conceived as a scale model to simulate the spatial novelty of this new land as well as the diversity of relations between the life forms inhabiting it. It will serve as an Observatory of Critical Zones allowing visitors to familiarize themselves with the new situation. This special combination of thought experiment and exhibition was developed by Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour in their previous collaborations at ZKM. Iconoclash in 2002, Making Things Public in 2005, and Reset Modernity! in 2016 constitute the three former “thought exhibitions” (Gedankenausstellungen) that resulted from their intensive working relationship which now spans 20 years.
The ZKM website will soon publish the intense program accompanying the exhibition. We invite thinkers and scholars, activists and initiatives from all over the world to share and discuss ideas—please contact us at hellocriticalzones [​at​]

Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics
May 9–October 4, 2020 

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe 
Curated by: Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel with Martin Guinard and Bettina Korintenberg
Curatorial Committee: Alexandra Arènes, Jérôme Gaillardet, Joseph Koerner, Daria Mille, and the Critical Zones Study Group at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG)
Collaborating partners: Karlsruhe University of Art and Design (HfG), State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe, Hydrogeochemical Environmental Observatory: The Strengbach Catchment

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My boat-roofed shed

My boat-roofed shed, 2018
Acrylic, oil and pencil on paper
100 x 70 cm 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Ἡ Εὐρυκόμη

«Θάλασσα, πότε θέλ’ ιδώ την όμορφη Eυρυκόμη;
Πολύς καιρός επέρασε και δεν την είδα ακόμη. 

Πόσες φορές κοιτάζοντας από το βράχο γέρνω

Kαι τον αφρό της θάλασσας για τα πανιά της παίρνω! 
Φέρ’ τηνε, τέλος, φέρ’ τηνε». Aυτά ο Θύρσης λέει, 

Kαι παίρνει από τη θάλασσα και τη φιλεί και κλαίει· 
Kαι δεν ηξέρει ο δύστυχος οπού φιλεί το κύμα
Eκείνο, που της έδωσε και θάνατο και μνήμα

Διονύσιος Σολωμός, Ἡ Εὐρυκόμη

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

L’autre moi – a reflection on Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore

Artist talk \ Dialogue \ Q&A
Tuesday 02.07.19
Lothringer13 Halle, Munich

After a double nice Vernissage full of tremolo and transpiration, the gates of the Lothringer13 are now open for the two exhibitions in the Halle and in the Nest.
The framework-program launches today with a special anniversary, looking not just 50 years back to Stonewall but to 100 years Claude Cahun: The successful Danish author Kristina Stoltz devotes herself in her freshly printed book "Cahun" to the phenomenon of the artist pseudonym Claude Cahun in a literary way. In her novel, the artists Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe are the central figures, who as a couple and partners playfully broke up gender roles but even more lived out the role of the doubled individual and the shared identity. 
An evening for the "Early Masters of Twinning" about whom Kristina Stoltz in the exhibition booklet writes: „To speak of Claude Cahun leads us as a matter of course into the thematic field of twinship, for barely has one scraped the surface of Cahun’s art and biography before it becomes clear that what is known to us as Claude Cahun’s experimental self-portrait art involved not one person but two.“ 

Kristina Stoltz has been invited to participate into the exhibition at Lothringer13 Halle and we have the wonderful opportunity to welcome her in Munich.
As a specialist into Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore’s biography and work, she recently published a book, that is written after yearlong research. The novel Cahun is a free interpretation and imagination that leans into the all possible details you can gain in the interesting life of the couple, work relation and sisterhood of Cahun & Moore.
In a close cooperation Kristina Stoltz & Lene Harbo Pedersen selected the most relevant excerpts from the book & photographs for the exhibition. The text excerpts are exclusively translated into English & German and draws upon an observation and strengthen that behind the name ‚Cahun‘ a couple appears, not one but two very special people Lucy Schwob also known as Claude Cahun & Susanne Malherbe with the artist name Marcel Moore. Both with more than one identity, working with multiple genders and during the wartime with multiple voices – and making a very special mark in the history of arts.
The evening will be precious hot hours with Kristina Stoltz talk, a dialogue with the curator and open talk with the audience on twins, twinning and the queer world.
The talk will be held in English
The translation was made possible with a generous support by the Danish Art Foundation.
English by Martin Aitken / German by Peter Urban Halle