Seen By #16
Regeneration as Medium

26.11.2021 to 16.01.2022
Museum für Fotografie

The works in the exhibition "Seen By #16" use the concept of regeneration as an artistic, poetic, and ethical medium, as did the US poet and activist Audre Lorde (1934-1992).

Written while she was battling both breast cancer and the medical practices used for its treatment, the poet and activist Audre Lorde articulated a series of propositions on how she battled despair during the laboured process of effecting change; namely, by

“knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means knowing that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others.”

(Quotation from Lorde, Audre. “Introduction” in The Cancer Journals. New York City: Penguin Classics, 2020 (originally written on August 29, 1980).

Published with a series of essays titled The Cancer Journals, the introduction aimed to generate passion for survival and agency, as well as its continuity - not only for herself and her contemporaries, but for the continuum of generations inspired by her words. 

Concept of regeneration as a process and strategy 

"Regeneration as Medium" takes Lorde’s words as “poethical” inspiration for thinking through the concept of regeneration as a process of renewal, restoration, and regrowth performed not only within nature by energy sources, microorganisms, flora, and animals such as ourselves, but also as an artistic, poetic, and ethical medium. If we consider Lorde’s quote as pointing towards the possibilities of reading the past practices of artists and activists as generative for ourselves, or our practices as regenerative for the future, we can begin to think the concept of regeneration as practiced within the natural world and apply it within the work of artistic and poetic practices. Regeneration as Medium adopts the concept of regeneration as a strategy of resilience, survival, and agency and enacts it as an artistic and poetic medium that can work in service of present-day enunciative and political needs. 

Works of the exhibition

The works in "Regeneration as Medium" examine regeneration through the vectors of affective and personal histories and cosmologies, by decolonizing and healing from established narratives, by activating and transforming the body (both physical and social), by representing the failures and promises of new media and technology. The works engage non-human perspectives in order to address collective issues and to think about cross-species alliances, giving space for the earth to serve as a vessel and protagonist of history.

Much of the work addresses the close relationship between destruction and creation, wondering at possibilities of regeneration through historical or somatic transformation, or through the detritus of disappointment and loss. The concept of regeneration serves as a process of resilience and recovery which is a reworking, a recovery, a break, or a detour in order to live beyond or through that which had been there before, and exists within artistic and poetic practices as an integral modality of remembering, reimagining, and re-enlivening discourses, practices, and ourselves. 

Participating artists: Benita von Hornstein, Domenik Krischke, Elina Saalfeld, Hannah Lansburgh, hari_klia, Heiko-Thandeka Ncube, Kimia Godarzani-Bakhtiari, Nico Arauner, Selou Sowe, Torben Jost, Victoria Martínez. Curated by Nomaduma Rosa Masilela 

A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Universität der Künste Berlin

Exhibition Series Seen By

Seen By #16 is part of the exhibition series Seen By, a joint project presented at the Museum für Fotografie and organized by the Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). Its aim is to rethink curatorial and artistic strategies for working with contemporary photography. More information: www.smb.museum/seenby

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