press release

October 23 – December 6, 2020

The Impossibility of Living Without Each Other

Lou Drago, Anna Ehrenstein + House of Tupamaras, Nina Emge + Yantan Ministry, Nicholas Grafia + Mikołaj Sobczak, Dominique Koch, Shaun Motsi, Omsk Social Club, Stéph + Tina Yemi Reden, Sabrina Röthlisberger, Lauryn Youden

The current crisis reveals tendencies in society that have been present long before the pandemic: the growing disparity between rich and poor, the weakening of social and health services, increasing dependence on the international circulation of commodities, aggressive nationalism, and the marginalisation of certain groups of people. The crisis has turned fear into a viable incentive for action. An apocalyptic end seems more easily imaginable than a world of mutual support. At the same time, the current situation shows how much people are interconnected, and it exposes our reliance on other species. In this moment, the protozone CONTAMINATION/RESILIENCE envisions new and hopeful visions for the future. Contamination means danger—and change: which systems and structures are currently in the process of dissolution? How do they change, and under which circumstances do they reappear in the current crisis? We bring in resilience as counter-image and counter-strategy. The pressing question of our time is: what makes communities and ecosystems resilient?

The protozone CONTAMINATION/RESILIENCE looks for concepts in which science, technology, and the arts can coexist. It investigates forms that facilitate the cohabitation of diverse beings, cultures, and genders. At the same time, this exhibition format, the protozone, is an experimental system that itself is subject to processes and changes. To approach the term resilience, CONTAMINATION/RESILIENCE is building on feminist ideas by science fiction writers like Octavia Butler and Marge Piercy, and on the work of theoreticians such as Vandana Shiva, Donna Haraway, and Silvia Federici. Connection, relation, and networks are at stake. These authors envision a world in which the diversity of life is valued and protected, because it is evident how intertwined with and reliant on families, communities, and eco-systems existence is. We ask a leading question: how could a world look if we decided to do things in a radically different way?

CONTAMINATION/RESILIENCE takes the idea of utopia as a point of departure to describe an ongoing process of acting and (re)negotiating. It is about sickness and care, as well as mutual support, and about reciprocal change. Thus, it also opens a space to rethink own attitudes and learned mechanisms of handling crises. In front of this background, the protozone gathers practices, theories, sci-fi-novels and artworks that pursue queer and eco-feminist ideas and stimulate a new way of thinking about the future.

The Hi-intensity phase, which opens CONTAMINATION/RESILIENCE, invites 12 artists and collaborators to show existing works and the processes linked to them. The Shedhalle is open for two days and two nights starting on October 23. The audience is invited to fully experience the first protozone and actively participate in it. After that, during the low intensity phase, the works can be seen on the weekends through December 6.

In the gallery space, the works evoke different states of consciousness. They propose speculation on playful platforms, and they encourage the application and exchange of knowledge. The pieces invite visitors to work together, to trace connections and interplays, and they promote experiencing and feeling connections from different perspectives. A detailed program is to be found here:

Programmed by Philipp Bergmann and Thea Reifler for Shedhalle

Supported by Stadt Zürich Kultur, Pro Helvetia - Schweizer Kulturstiftung, Abteilung Kultur Basel-Stadt, Saly Frommer Stiftung, Badertscher AG