Aernout Mik, Untitled, 2013, performance in the context of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects realized by BAK and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, 18.–24.03.2013, photo: Florian Braun*
Over the course of the next three years, the program of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst—a discursive space of interlocution between art, knowledge, and advocacy—unfolds through a project titled Future Vocabularies. As a multifaceted series realized between 2014 and 2016, the project is organized as a succession of enquiry-fueled programs of collaborative research, exhibitions, curricula of learning, conferences, and publications. The programs are brought to life in dialogue with research fellows—artists, scholars, and activists—who accompany us in codeveloping the semestral agenda while concurrently exploring the possibility of—and, importantly, the new evolving tasks and accountabilities for—a theoretically-informed and politically-driven art institution in the face of the radically changing structure of power relations within the global condition of the present.
Future Vocabularies is initiated in 2014 with an opening vocabulary entry on survival. Brought together under the common denominator of (rethinking) survival, the project attempts to act out concrete propositions that explore the “conditions of possibility” from within what is largely considered the crisis-ridden, ruinous folds of today— working not against, but “in spite of the times” we live in.
Future Vocabularies/Survival/ Program
Cardboard Walls/Aernout Mik, 02.03.–16.05.2014
opening 01.03.2014, 20:00 hrs
Aernout Mik, Cardboard Walls, 2013, still, courtesy carlier | gebauer, Berlin
Uncovering the ecological ramifications under the regime of the Anthropocene, yet another exhibition—this time by artist Aernout Mik and titled Cardboard Walls—steers us towards the aftermath of the (un)natural nuclear disaster of 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. Claimed to be an act of nature, this event of huge global consequence might better be understood as a result of our enduring hazardous, obscene, and abusive genealogy of relations to both the environment and to each other. The installation addresses how what we thought we controlled (nature), or created and thought to control (capitalist doctrines), has in fact taken charge of our lives in an authoritative swoop, announcing loudly that the era fully engineered by the actions of humans has reached a level that batters the very prospect of survival. Shifting seamlessly from daunting questions of the planet’s future to present-day disparities of power and politics, and exploring the subsequent pressures that the status as refugee from one’s very own “humankind” have placed on individuals, the work weaves together the various lineages of thought that we have marked for ourselves as critically important for rethinking, and outliving, survival.
Aernout Mik (b. 1962) is an artist based in Amsterdam. The work has been produced by Aichi Triennale, Aichi and Aernout Mik, with additional support by the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam and the Netherlands Film Fund, Amsterdam.
* BAK, basis voor actuele kunst takes responsibility for any inadvertent omissions and pledges to rectify them in the future.