Witte de With is pleased to present two upcoming exhibitions in the Morality program begun in the Fall of 2009: Act VI: Remember Humanity, and Act VII: Of Facts and Fables. They open simultaneously on 12 May. Act VI runs until 29 August and Act VII continues until 26 September 2010.

Many of the themes that have dominated contemporary political thought point to the ominous view that ‘humanity’ has become an historical subject, no longer essential to contemporary economic and political considerations. For instance, the notion of ‘bare life’ taken up by Giorgio Agamben, suggests a bankruptcy of the human rights charter in terms of humanity’s capacity to hold to its principles of freedom and equality. The notion of ‘immaterial labor’ most famously developed by Maurizio Lazzarato, indicates a further alienation of the world from its material fabric and concrete foundations. The imperative suggested in the title of this exhibition, to ‘remember humanity,’ is therefore an allusion to a present condition in which humanity has become an historical subject rather than part of our objective reality.

The exhibition Remember Humanity starts from this hypothesis and includes the work of artists who approach ‘our’ present as a field on fragmented existences and isolated interests. Together, these works provide a partial sense of how the construction of the world and the construction of the idea of humanity are mutually conditioned. The works here included do not set out to affirm ‘humanity’ in a nostalgic way or attempt to ‘retrieve’ it from the record of lost ideas. More central to the logic of these works is an examination of how the notion of human is constructed in opposition to the animal, to madness, to the idea of the primitive, in contraposition to War and also in the affirmation of ‘labor’ and ‘consciousness.’

—Supported by

Fonds BKVB; Creative New Zealand; and Cyprus Ministry of Culture.