Screen City Biennial
September 23–October 20, 2022
Screen City Biennial (SCB) Other Minds looks into the liminal states of consciousness that arise in the symbiotic relationship between the human mind and that of other living and non-living matter—including plants, bacteria, fungi, and technology. The project interrogates and challenges the notion of the human, embracing instead an idea of the more-than-human—a concept that expands personhood to entities beyond our species—by stressing the crucial connections among all living and non-living matter, both on a planetary and a cosmic scale. Other Minds, chapter one will take place at an extraordinary site, the Archenhold Observatory in Berlin. At this significant astronomical vantage point, the exhibition will bring together the voices of various artists, whose work draws connections across layers of history, spacetimes, worldviews, and speculative narratives for the future. The program will present lens-based and time-based newly commissioned artworks, including performances, activations, artist talks, and online events.
With Anna Ehrenstein, Eli Cortiñas, Espen Sommer Eide, Grace Ndiritu, Jacob Kirkegaard, Jenna Sutela, Lundahl & Seitl, Metahaven, Patricia Domínguez, Viktor Pedersen, Ingrid K. Bjørnaali, and guests
Curated by Daniela Arriado and Vanina Saracino.
Consciousness is a constantly morphing concept that has been at the center of philosophical inquiry for centuries. Its definition and application have changed radically during the course of history as a consequence of new scientific findings and the emergence of alternative worldviews. In recent years, animals like the cephalopods—the octopus in particular—have led to a broader understanding of how non-human minds function, with their decentralized brains distributed all over their fluid bodies, merging what we call ‘understanding’ and ‘sensing’ into one single gesture. With their tentacles (deriving from Latin tentāre, to attempt), cephalopods have inspired Donna Haraway’s notion of tentacular thinking—a strategy that allows us to think and act beyond binary divisions and dual opposites, opening our awareness to the multitudes that we are still unable to fully recognize and comprehend.
How can we learn to understand our worlds tentacularly, and what do we need to unlearn in order to achieve this? How can these strategies enable a shift in our paradigms and in our modes of seeing, a shift that creates a planetary consciousness, rather than an individual one? And have we ever been one, or are we essentially manifold? Emerging evidence points to the fact that the bacteria, viruses, and fungi in our bodies not only support our metabolism, bodily functions, and evolution but also directly affect our thoughts and feelings, ultimately influencing the way we act. If our thought-processes and emotions are influenced by other life forms that co-inhabit our body, then is our mind acting on its own? Or is the human mind merely a small component in a much larger planetary assemblage of more-than-human minds, collectively shaping a cosmic intelligence—something that we may not yet be able to grasp and describe?
Screen City Biennial (SCB) is dedicated to the expanded moving image in public space, featuring artworks that explore the relationship between the moving image, sound, technology, and urban architecture. For this upcoming edition, SCB seeks to expand the traditional spacetime biennale structure by proposing a multi-location model across two cities, Berlin and Oslo, spanning an extended exhibition period during 2022-2023. The first chapter of Other Minds will be centered at the Archenhold Observatory in Berlin, which is home to the longest movable refracting telescope on Earth. This optical object was first activated in 1896 and is still functioning to this day. Other locations will include the Schering Stiftung, and a network of outdoor sites departing from Pariser Platz and embracing the urban landscape of the city. More information will be announced on SCB website and social media in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Other Minds takes its title from Peter Godfrey-Smith’s book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, 2016.