TECHNO HUMANITIES is a three-year multidisciplinary research project consisting of exhibitions, publications and public programs. Conceived by MUSEION director Bart van der Heide, it is the young museum’s most extensive experiment to date, involving all staff members and regional stakeholder communities. It permeates every part of the institution with an atmosphere of creative dialogue and debate.
TECHNO HUMANITIES explores the urgent, existential questions of what it is to be a global citizen in the present-day dependency between ecology, technology and economy. It calls for a new understanding of the humanities that is not ego driven but shared among living and non-living entities.
The first chapter of TECHNO HUMANITIES, entitled TECHNO, was held between 9 September 2021 and 18 April 2022 and gravitated around the topics of freedom, exhaustion and compression. The research featured an exhibition that explored the impact of electronic music outside its subcultural domain for the first time. The second chapter, Kingdom of the Ill, runs between 30 September 2022 and 5 April 2023 and addresses the power dynamics that today constitute a healthy or unhealthy body.
Assembling themes emerging from confrontations between humanity, ecology, technology and economy, TECHNO comprises an international group show that will occupy the entire Museion building, a public program, a day rave and the TECHNO Reader — an anthology of commissioned critical texts on techno and globalisation.
Articulated through three themes — Freedom, Compression and Exhaustion — the exhibition puts the techno experience center stage, adopting it as a lens through which to capture a contemporary human condition and social order. Museion invites an international group of artists, thinkers and producers to explore how cultural phenomena related to techno have become interlaced with the ways we experience our identities today.
Kingdom of the Ill seeks to respond to the current debate on health and illness, contamination and purity, care and neglect by asking how and by whom a body is defined as healthy or sick. The title of the exhibition is a critique on American author Susan Sontag’s work Illness as Metaphor (1978), which investigates the relationship between the individual and the contemporary social, corporate and institutional systems that influence our experience of healing and well-being.
Coming September 2023
TECHNO HUMANITIES is not only an exhibition series, but also a think tank and an institutional manifestation of an ethics of practice and solidarity. An international team of thinkers and practitioners develop and deepen the topics of TECHNO HUMANITIES and connect the chapters with alternating research teams. At the same time, projects feature active constituency building, regional representation and partnerships. TECHNO HUMANITIES positions MUSEION as a civic institution that promotes and fosters perspectives on knowledge production, responsibility and engagement that are globally significant as well as regionally relevant.
“MUSEION as a young organization has the opportunity to create new structures faster than more established institutions can, and to test their effectiveness in order to create conditions for the museum of the twenty-first century. The project TECHNO HUMANITIES requires a re-tooling of the institution within a global landscape. For MUSEION this is not a theoretical or philosophical discussion alone. As museums for modern and contemporary art have always operated within the power relations that constitute civic institutions, they can investigate and change these relations from within. ‘Practice what you preach’, for me, is at the heart of the identity crisis that museums are currently experiencing.”
— Bart van der Heide
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