Nieuwe Instituut
Nieuwe Instituut
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Weaving Worlds


10 May 2023 - 14 June 2023

Gallery 3 by Topological Atlas and Borders & Territories

How do we get to know the world, and how do we locate ourselves within it? For spatial practitioners these are crucial questions that guide the way we produce knowledge, and the kinds of practices we value in our work. On a planet faced with multiple crises, Weaving Worlds is a call to create speculative models that work with multiple truths and actively envision other realities. Paying attention to the entanglements of the many, heterogeneous, and situated worlds, Weaving Worlds asks, how might we produce maps differently? And how might we reimagine the practice of representation, giving precedence to different ways of knowing the world and committing to developing forms of practice that weave together what are potentially contradictory positions into future scenarios? Featuring work by a diverse range of architects, artists and spatial practitioners, the multi-media exhibition includes installations, sound and video works.

Join us for a launch event on 25 May 2023 at 18:00 for a gallery tour with a selection of exhibiting artists and keynote discussion with Alexandra Arènes.

The pop-up exhibition in the words of Topological Atlas and Borders & Territories

A deep unease with the limits and complicities of visual representation and official histories underpins the exhibition. Working with the term ‘blind distance’ taken from radar technology, researchers Tiago Patatas and Raya Leary address that which escapes regimes of perception and visualization within the context of the French nuclear program in Algeria. The scopic vision is also the subject of artist and urban researcher, Henrietta Williams’ film that traces the aerial view through objects from Iraq, twenty years after the war. How we tell histories matters, as can be seen in the mappings of landscape architect, Aisling O’Carroll, who critiques the conflation of geohistory with human history in the reconstructed Alpine landscapes of French architect Viollet-le-Duc.

The many failures of reimagining worlds are also the topic of artist and filmmaker, Tekla Aslanishvili’s video, that addresses the narrow technological approach to development encapsulated in visions of smart cities, infrastructural developments and large-scale territorial design. The maps of Borders & Territories chart the transformations associated with such projects immersing the viewer in their intricacies, spatial complexity and often incongruous nature. This entanglement of infrastructures across different worlds is revealed in a different guise in researcher Raviv Ganchrow’s sound installation revolving around the weather and radio transmissions of a shipping forecast. In the maps of Alexandra Arènes we move from the atmospheric, through the surface and into the thickness of the critical zone of the Earth where nearly all life processes occur, including the geologic imprints of our anthropogenic interventions.

A concern with archives and the telling of other stories runs through the exhibition. Artist and architect, Swati Janu, archives the city of Delhi through long-term engagements with communities who are being evicted and in danger of being forgotten. An unfolding cyanotype print traces the histories and inhabitations that are removed from technocratic planning drawings. Architect Michael Hirschbichler also traces lost inhabitations through superimposing material from official archives with material traces from landscapes that are inhabited by ghosts and spirits in Kyoto. In the work of Topological Atlas we see a different kind of ghostly figure and lost inhabitation emerging, that of the undocumented migrant whose transitory passage through borders is addressed in a research archive that can be explored through narratives and a digital platform. Researchers Linda Zhang, Maxim Gertler-Jaffe and Biko Mandela Gray also combine the digital and ethnographic as a way of speculating on future worlds where present experiences are folded into a future scenario through storytelling. Finally, making room for other perspectives and forms of life is the subject of Hardware Stories by designers Animali Domestici (Antonio Bernacchi & Alicia Lazzaroni), Jakob Sieder-Semlitsch, and Lynn Hyun Kieffer, who reimagine the mundane object of a floor tile to actively encourage insects to burrow and find shelter.

About Topological Atlas and Borders & Territories

Topological Atlas is a long-term project and transdisciplinary research programme that investigates the relationship between technologies of border security, systems of documentation, border landscapes and the experience of crossing borders without papers. We combine intensive field research with digital methods of mapping and modelling to challenge the evidentiary urge in social and cultural practice by exploring ideas around affective witnessing, incalculability and opacity in relation to the circulations and unsettlements of migration.

Borders & Territories (B&T) is an architectural design and research collective engaged in the critical relationship between architectural theory, spatial analysis and architectural design. The group considers architectural construct as a precursor of 'now’ discourse, and addresses 'indices of other possibilities' in architecture by speculating on the relevance of the appropriation, implementation and application of methods and instruments that have been progressively externalized to the disciplinary core (cartography, literature, art, philosophy); and the constructs and objects that historically have not been considered as architectural 'material' as such.

About Gallery 3

In addition to its own programming, the Nieuwe Instituut offers a platform for third-party initiatives from the field of art and design in its building in Rotterdam’s Museum Park. Since the beginning of 2020, pop-up exhibitions in the Gallery 3 space have given individual makers and organisations the opportunity to show their work to a wider audience in a museum setting.