Creating a ‘we’ is a collective space—responsive to the main basis building’s renovated exhibition rooms, which contains works by the basis studio artists Olga Cerkasova, HazMatLab collective, Giulietta Ockenfuß and Daniel Stubenvoll. The exhibition is curated by Mine Kaplangı, cofounder of Collective Çukurcuma and the guest curator of the AIR_Frankfurt curator-in-residence programme of 2018/2019. The exhibition is shaped by ongoing conversations that first started with a reading session held by Collective Çukurcuma at the basis reading room in 2019.
As our understanding of time and space has shifted drastically within the last couple of months, Creating a ‘we’ stages a collaborative working methodology as a loud, messy, in-progress artlab in the new exhibition space of basis. Listening to the echoes of mind-bending thoughts and stories of other world makers whose works are mainly based on kin-making and building communities, for example Donna Haraway, Isabelle Stengers, Silvia Federici and Rosi Braidotti, the result is a shared experience of a fluid working activity between one another as a we. Resisting the social-distancing regulations, all artworks interact with each other curiously and extend outwards throughout their processes as they do so.
Daniel Stubenvoll deals with the relations between architecture and power structures within his interdisciplinary practice. He uses found images and photographs to create new stories that are based on fragments and illustrate the absurdity of life with a poetic seriousness. As though in anticipation of the current distanced situation, the heavy breathing sounds from the empty, abandoned rooms of his video Haunted Townhall (Institution of Suspense) spread out and accompany the other works in the exhibition spaces.
Giulietta Ockenfuß uses her everyday observations of patriarchal systems to represent the unrepresented in bold, bright colours and words with her satirical paintings and drawings. For Creating a ‘we’ she is showing drawings that are inspired by her recent observations and stories she gathered during her six-month-long residency period in Mexico.
By considering fantasy as the most reliable ally for imagining other worlds, Olga Cerkasova’s works make unexpected connections between materials and desire. Emphasising the importance of embodying desire, sexuality and intimacy in art, her vulva sculptures and responsive interventions in the exhibition unite human and nonhuman intimacies with their stretched limbs.
All the art pieces are brought together within the expanding lab of the Frankfurt-based collective HazMatLab, consisting of Sandra Havlicek, Tina Kohlmann and Katharina Schücke. By using scientific experimentation methodologies as investigations into art-making and collaboration, they push the boundaries between chemistry, biology, art and scientific imagination. They are queering the concept and space of a lab by occupying it with their practice and turning it into a place of failure and experimentation, while using their multilayered tentacular thinking as the foundation of their shared practice. The three-person team employs materials like nail polish, slime or crystals to co-create their research area, and exhibit their ongoing collective shared-knowledge practice by expanding their studio into the exhibition space within the same building, while cultivating it.
Through a methodology of exhibition-making as a shared experience and kinship, Creating a ‘we’ probes the collective contribution of knowledge and the urgency to creating new kinships with nonhumans, others and beyond.
The exhibition’s public programme is curated by Collective Çukurcuma, co-founded by Mine Kaplangı.
Through podcasts, reading group sessions, film-screenings and talks it focuses on transnational examples of how one can move from ones into a ‘we’, via visual and oral records in current art discussions.