In Search of the Pluriverse

Can we as humans and other living beings learn to live together, in difference? Can we create a future that actually has a future? Join Sophie Krier and Erik Wong in their search for alternative perspectives, for radical imaginations, for a world in which many worlds can thrive. A search for something that is already present: the pluriverse is all around us. Wong and Krier have adopted a perspective put forward by Arturo Escobar in his book Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds (Duke University Press, 2018). What are the consequences of these pluriversal notions in daily life? For their search Wong and Krier visit five locations at the fringes of Europe: İstanbul, Casablanca and Berlin (often seen as gateways to and from Central Asia, North Africa and old Europe) and two rural areas: the Isle of Mull and Asturias (as places for self-sufficient living). For every edition four makers join Erik and Sophie, two locally based, and two based in the Netherlands. Every conversation and encounter builds on the previous one in an effort to create a vibrant network that connects different places, different types of knowing and ways of living. Listen in, the door is open.

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Episodes

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

We do realise that outside our hyperfocused Berlin bubble, this city hosts many other lives and voices that deserve to be heared and recognised. And that is why – in this short intermission – we make room for Doreen, Vasille, Fluss Puss and Johanna, Berliners we met while walking the streets. What does fluidity mean to them? What brought them here? Who exactly is Berlin?
Berlin Pigeons:https://www.exberliner.com/berlin/berlin-pigeons/Fluss Pluss:https://soundcloud.com/flusspluss 

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

Sabine Zahn lives and works in Berlin. She investigates how choreographic strategies can help understand how urban space can be lived, expressed and transformed. She creates public research projects and processes which are often based on scripts that set something – often bodies – in motion. In 2021, Sabine was appointed a fellow in the DAS Graduate programme in Amsterdam.
We had this conversation at Floating University, a place for learning and experiment in a neglected water basin at the fringe of Kreuzberg. Zahn thrives in places like this, where new ways of living and being – human and more than human – can be tried out and ‘rehearsed’.  A talk at dusk, when the light faded and the cold started to creep in. A conversation about the body as a tool to understand words, and words as the start of a choreography. 
References:
Floating University Berlin:https://floating-berlin.org/Fremdgehen:http://www.lovelabours.net/Stadterweitern:https://stadterweitern.de/publicationDAS Graduate Programme:https://www.atd.ahk.nl/das-research/third/third-cohorts/sabine-zahn/ 

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

Tomás Espinosa is artist and activist. He works in both in Berlin and Bogotá. The tension between the ‘intimate’ and the ‘public’ fuels his work. He installed two hanging mirrors with holes in a Berlin park, where men meet for sex. He filmed the installation and put a soundscape under it in which you hear Espinosa cruising through the greenery, making contact with other male bodies. Is this a disturbance of a secretive meeting place, or an attempt to emancipate? He took this installation to Bogotá where he engages since 2015 with La Red Comunitaria Trans, a trans activist network. Together they develop actions, performances and videos. 
A talk on a crisp, cold morning about fighting violence, having sex in public places, the urgency of protest, the worth of a life and the darker sides of fluidity. 
References:
Tomás Espinosa:https://www.tomasespinosa.comLa Red Comunitaria Trans:https://redcomunitariatrans.orgCruising:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruising_for_sexNecropolitics, Achille Mbembe:https://criticallegalthinking.com/2020/03/02/achille-mbembe-necropolitics/ 

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

Architectural researcher Kornelia Dimitrova co-founded Foundation We Are, a collective of nine creative minds and makers. We had a Warming Up Talk in 2020 with Kornelia and her co-founder Bernhard Lenger. Dimitrova’s analytic and bright approach of the built environment and social dynamics stuck with us, so we asked her to join us for our Berlin edition. In her own practice Dimitrova helps care organisations to address spatial and architectural issues by imagining alternative scenarios for use. In the past years she developed a strategic vision for De Grote Beek, one of the largest mental healthcare facilities in the Netherlands. Kornelia published her proposals in the Playbook for Healing Environments. 
A talk – with a blazing fire in the background – about the value of mapping, working with what there is, and the art of proposing the right possibilities at the right time. 
References:
Kornelia Dimitrova:https://www.kodimitrova.com/The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, Berlin (1919-1933):https://magnus-hirschfeld.de/ausstellungen/institute/Sectie C Eindhoven:https://www.sectie-c.com/site/Stock photography:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_photography 

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

We start every pluriversal trip with a joined experience: a vertical fieldtrip, or an ‘acupuncture of place’ as Sophie Krier calls it. Guided by participant Sabine Zahn we (Tomás Espinosa, Kornelia Dimitrova, Benoît Verjat, Sophie Krier and Erik Wong) attempt to ‘feel’ one of the oldest, but now quite nondescript parts of Berlin: Fisherinsel. Sabine invites us to use our whole body and all our senses. We start at motor ship Heimatland that houses Hošek Contemporary, a residency/studio space that functions as our home base. 
We walk, jump, stumble, roll, smell, touch, listen and observe. At the end you can listen to some personal audio notes. A very physical start of our fluid trip.
References:
Fisherinsel:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FischerinselHošek Contemporary:https://www.hosekcontemporary.comBei Lydia:https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g187323-d15036865-Reviews-Bei_Lydia-Berlin.html 

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

Although in time it was our last conversation, we decided to start this string of talks with Daan van Kampenhout. His take on fluidity is inspiring and a perfect introduction to our series ‘Fluid selves, fluid Berlin’.
Van Kampenhout’s interest in shamanism started after having vidid dreams during a malaria infection. He graduated from art school with a series of costumes and rituals. After a life of travel, learning, publishing and teaching, Van Kampenhout still combines his ritualistic, systemic practice with designing costumes and performing. A talk on a quiet winter day about antidotes for hate, mediating between matter and spirit, a queer ancestors ritual and the importance of Berlin’s KitKatClub as a fun, fluid techno temple. 
References:
Daan van Kampenhout:https://daanvankampenhout.com/Bert Hellinger:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_HellingerStretch Festival/Village:https://www.stretch.berlin/Radical Faeries:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_FaeriesKitKatClub:https://www.kitkatclub.org/ 

Thursday Apr 21, 2022

Ghanaian-Filipino architectural scientist Mae-ling Lokko is active in the field of biomaterials. A recent work discussed in this talk is Thresholds of Return, a gate made of waste from the Ghanian coconut industry. It is a reconstruction of the Door of No Return in Elmina (Ghana), through which the enslaved were led out of Africa. Wong & Krier got to know about Lokko’s work in Mull through Tom Morton (Arc Architects), with whom she designed an ‘open air classroom’ for the Future by Design Cove park residency in the lead up to COP26.
Designer and researcher Henriëtte Waal co-initiated Atelier Luma, an experimental design laboratory in Arles, France, in 2016. Among other programs, Waal helped set up a residency programme there for designers, which is how she first met Lokko. Waal’s system-level projects integrate design, community and ecology and involve collaborations with scientists, communities, an international network of makers, and students.
In this joyful and at times technical Friday afternoon talk, Lokko and Waal share memories and insights about food as a community binder and talk about practices of hardscaping versus ‘mounding’ (contouring permeable earth) to resolve water circulation problems in cities. Mae-ling introduces the idea/theory of generative justice (the bottom up creation, translation and circulation of value) and very vividly describes her recent installation Thresholds of Return. Henriette chimes in when ‘bioregional design’ come to the table: localty and Co2 footprint are easily overlooked in biobased design. Let’s start from the feet up. 
https://henriettewaal.com/about/www.z33.be/en/programma/mae-ling-lokko/

Thursday Apr 21, 2022

Just before we left we handed all the sounds we recorded along the way, over to sound engineer Martin Low. He mixed it into this soundscape. The last pearl of the string. Thank you Martin, Mull and everyone we’ve met along the way.

Tuesday Apr 19, 2022

Aslı Hatipoğlu is weaver, researcher and cook. “By cooking in specific environments, and engaging with people from different cultural backgrounds, I run into stories, which lead me to subjects such as history, psychology, spirituality, ecology and science. I translate these stories into textiles or printed edible materials, and curate dinners around these topics, making use of the social interaction that takes place when we eat together.” Sadly enough Aslı could not join us on Mull, so Erik looked her up in Maastricht where she was a participant at Jan van Eyck Academie, a post graduate programme for art, design and reflection. A talk about cooking, recipes, the locality of food and culture, our relationships with microbes and the deeper understanding of life they provide. 
We were inspired and overwhelmed by Mull and everything the island contains and shared with us.  This is one of 13 talks. We edited it like ‘a string of pearls’. It works best to jump from one pearl to the next, starting at the beginning… Enjoy! 
For more context and information about our search for the pluriverse and the upcoming exhibition we are curating: go to pluriverse.hetnieuweinstituut.nl

Tuesday Apr 19, 2022

After all these 1 on 1’s with our hosts Miek and Rutger, the neighbours, and guests Tim & Reiko, Tom and Anne it is time to listen, share and discuss in a larger local context. We invited more local voices: theater director Rebecca Atkinson-Lord (Tobermory), new generation Mull crofter Renatus Derbidge, Oban-based curator Naoko Mabon, artist Mhairi Killin (Iona) and fiddle player and researcher for South West Mull and Iona Development (SWID) Hanna Fischer. Neighbour Judy Gibson was present, Jimmy and John were too busy at their farms. We (Erik & Sophie) scripted this talk in many ways, but in the end we decided to just give the floor to the participants. We set up a circle, introduced the guests and a ‘talking stick’ and talked in two rounds: Round & About radio, based on the monthly local news magazine with the same name. 
A long and horizontal talk about sourdough cultures, the (local) food economy, the big and complex question of how to thrive, the pain of ‘the 1750-1860 Highlands and Island Clearances’, the effects of tourism on the precarious housing situation and much more. And what about that swan that needed to be rescued? Sit back, go for a walk, or do the dishes and listen. This is the closest to Mull we can bring you. Special thanks to Hannah for playing the tune and Martin Low for making everyone very audible. 
We were inspired and overwhelmed by Mull and everything the island contains and shared with us. This is one of 13 talks. We edited it like ‘a string of pearls’ It works best to jump from one pearl to the next, starting at the beginning… Enjoy! 
For more context and information about our search for the pluriverse and the upcoming exhibition we are curating: go to pluriverse.hetnieuweinstituut.nl

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