Dictionary of Now : Lectures, discussions, film, publication

Haus der Kulturen der Welt , Berlin, Germany
10 Oct 2016 - 03 Nov 2016

Dictionary of Now : Lectures, discussions, film, publication

Female sculpture, Ident.-Nr.: III C 41177. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz/Ethnologisches Museum. Photo: Marion Benoit.

In the context of 100 Years of Now, the discussion series Dictionary of Now reflects the capacity of words to both depict and create reality. The selected terms for the dictionary organize complex fields of knowledge.

Since the modern age this went hand in hand with the search for universal truths. The Dictionary of Now will confront this assertion of linguistic universalism with specific contemporary positions. Following discussions on “time,” “forum” and “truth,” the Dictionary of Now series continues in October and November 2016 with the terms “thing” and “body.” Both events take place outside the HKW at specific historical sites in Berlin.

On October 10, 2016 the museologist Sharon Macdonald, the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai and the cultural sociologist Tony Bennett will explore the “thing” at the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin-Dahlem. The event will be held shortly before the artifacts or art objects are to be relocated to the Humboldt Forum. The three renowned experts of museum studies and object theory will debate the implications of this migration of things between the different institutional frameworks, analyze the economies of representation as well as identify possible counter-narratives that might be told through the things themselves.

They will explore which strategies, developed by conceptual artists over the past 100 years, could inspire the display of these objects at their new location. How do the things change between the status of artifact and art and what does this imply for the relation between globalism and universalism?

On November 3, 2016, Kader Attia will develop a theory of the “body” in three fragments: from the history of cosmetic surgery and medical repair, he will draw a line to the politics of beauty and gender identities to bring these concepts into dialogue with the political theorist Françoise Vergès’ notion of the post-colonial body in global history. The artist sees the concept of “repair” as a constant of life—both in a bodily, psychological, historical and artistic dimension. The event will be held in a 19th century anatomy lecture hall at the Charité hospital in Berlin Mitte, in direct proximity to one of the most comprehensive collections of historical medical specimens, especially skulls. The 19th century categories by which these human remains are sorted and analyzed often come into conflict with today’s ethical standards. The same holds true for current notions of beauty: 100 years ago, the damaged bodies of world war veterans became the impetus for the development of aesthetic surgery. Which connections can be drawn between global history and body concepts?

A publication to be released in 2018, at the very end of the HKW project 100 Years of Now, will bring together the keywords and participants from the individual discussions in the series.

Dictionary of Now series takes place as part of 100 Years of Now. Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.



HKW – Out and About
Dictionary of Now #4—Thing
Monday, October 10, 7pm

at Ethnologisches Museum
Lansstrasse 8, 14195 Berlin
Exhibitions open from 5pm, free admission


HKW – Out and About
Dictionary of Now #5—Body
Wednesday, November 3, 8pm

at Friedrich-Kopsch Auditorium at the Charité hospital
Philippstrasse 12, 10115 Berlin

access via Luisenstraee 56



All content © 2024 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT