Wanwu Council 萬物社
Three day internal council meeting
6 to 8 August 2021
The meeting takes place at Gropius Bau, on the platform in Gropius Wood and in the ancient beech forest in Grumsin, Brandenburg.
“We cannot continue living in the fantasy that humans own this planet. How can art institutions move towards a more-than-human future?”
– Zheng Bo
How can Gropius Bau move towards a more-than-human future?
The Daoist notion of wanwu means “ten thousand things”, “myriad happenings”, but also “more-than-human”, and designates the infinite possibilities of life in all of its forms. With an acute awareness of our current climate and ecological crises, Zheng Bo has initiated the Wanwu Council. Twelve artists, scientists, activists and gardeners come together as council members for three days in August to think about how the Gropius Bau can become wanwu.
During this meeting, the Wanwu Council members are invited to channel the voices of light, plane trees, water, bees, foxes, weeds, seasons, soil, histories, communities, spirits and microbes, forms of beings that are all connected to the Gropius Bau. The aim of the meeting is to develop a manifesto together that cultivates new sensibilities and practices for a more-than-human future at the Gropius Bau and beyond.
Participants: Zheng Bo, Marco Clausen, Yolanda Ariadne Collins, Mandu dos Santos Pinto, Hanin Hannouch, Regine Hengge, Hans Youssouf Kiesler, Luïza Luz, Adrien Missika, Clare Molloy, Matthias Rillig, Joulia Strauss
Zheng Bo channeling Weeds
Zheng Bo is an artist and theorist currently based on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. As In House: Artist in Residence at the Gropius Bau in 2020, he explored how equality between species on the planet can be imagined and realised. His research is based on exchange with scientists and the public during workshops and talks. He is the initiator of the Wanwu Council meeting.
Marco Clausen channeling Water
Marco Clausen co-founded the Prinzessinnengarten in 2009 and the Nachbarschaftsakademie in 2015. Clausen organises events, workshops, and international visitor programmes projects on the topics of the right to the city, food sovereignty, socially and ecologically sustainable urban development, and socio-ecological transformation. His focus lies on self-organised forms of collective learning.
Yolanda Ariadne Collins channeling Plane Trees
Yolanda Ariadne Collins is an environmental social scientist currently based at the School of International Relations of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Prior to this she was a fellow at the ICI - Institute for Cultural Inquiry Berlin. Her work critically examines the ways in which colonial histories inform and resist environmental governance and climate change mitigation activities in the Amazon forests of the Guiana Shield.
Mandu dos Santos Pinto channeling Bees
Mandu dos Santos Pinto is an architect and urban planner. His architecture and consulting company provides innovative, sustainable solutions focusing on cities in the Global South. With his participative projects, he initiates processes of healing and change in urban neighborhoods, their inhabitants and the environment. He currently leads EcoCar Solaire a mobility project in Dakar.
Hanin Hannouch channeling Spirits
Hanin Hannouch is a post-doc at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin in cooperation with the Kunsthistorisches Max-Plack-Institut in Florenz. Her upcoming monograph deals with colour photography in Imperial Germany. She is the volume editor of Gabriel Lippmann’s Colour Photography: Science, Media, Museums. In 2017, she received her PhD on Sergei Eisenstein from the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca.
Regine Hengge channeling Microbes
Regine Hengge is a professor of microbiology and principal investigator at the excellence cluster Matters of Activity (MoA) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Using Escherichia coli as an example, her research group is investigating the genetic mechanisms and regulatory networks underlying the growth and morphogenesis of biofilms and their interaction with plants.
Hans Youssouf Kiesler channeling Communities
Hans Youssouf Kiesler studied Art History and English Studies at the Institut Catholique de Paris and acting at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York. He has worked as a Gropius Bau Friend since 2020. The project Kids Curate_Takeover with Ephra has allowed him to work on a subject close to his heart: The collaboration with children.
Luïza Luz channeling Seasons
Luïza Luz is a Brazilian transdisciplinary artist and researcher who lives between urban cities and the forests. Their practices are focused on the ecological and performative relations among subjectivity, digital culture, environment and communication. Luïza Luz is a MFA student at the Art in Context Institut, Universität der Künste, Berlin, where they also coordinate the AsTA Department for Sustainability and Climate Justice.
Adrien Missika channeling Light
Adrien Missika is an artist, and gardener. He studied art at Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne following a law degree from the Université Sorbonne Paris. He humorously investigates the natural and the cultural. Through a variety of media, from video, photography, sculpture and action, the work digs into the wide range of natural and environmental sciences, such as biology, landscape architecture and geography.
Clare Molloy channelling Histories
Clare Molloy works as a curator. In 2018 she joined the team at the Gropius Bau, initially as a Curatorial Fellow and currently as the Assistant Curator. She is the co-curator of Zheng Bo: Wanwu Council 萬物社. Her latest independent curatorial project is the exhibition Katie Schwab: small wares at Vleeshal Centre for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.
Matthias Rillig channeling Soil
Matthias Rillig is professor of ecology at the Institute of Biology at the Freie Universität Berlin and head of the research group Ecology of Plants. Rillig is also Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research. He investigates the symbiosis of mycorrhizal fungi with plants as well as the effects of climate crisis and globalisation on soil processes and soil biodiversity.
Joulia Strauss channeling Foxes
Joulia Strauss is an artist and an activist. She was born in one of Europe’s last animist indigenous cultures, Mari. She lives and works in Athens and Berlin. She is the founder of Avtonomi Akadimia, Athens, a durational work of art and a practice of transformation of the occidental educational system. Currently she is working on hybridisation of shamanism and politics, a transindigenous assembly and establishing environmental personhood in Europe.