NGBK Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst

Licht Luft Scheiße

Perspectives on Ecology and Modernity (nGbK)

16 Aug - 27 Oct 2019

Exhibition view: Licht Luft Scheisse, 2019, nGbK, Photo: Frank Sperling
Perspectives on Ecology and Modernity (BGBM)
16 August - 27 October 2019

The selection of archive material, historical sources and artefacts on display at the nGbK dates mainly from the first half of the twentieth century and bears witness to conceptual and practical forerunners of current ecological models and solutions. Highlights, inter alia, are the experiment in self-sufficiency launched by Leberecht Migge and Elisabeth Elsaesser in 1933 on their »Sun Island« in Lake Seddin, near Berlin; and Raoul Francé and Annie Francé-Harrars’ research into, and illustration of, soil organisms.

With artistic contributions by:
Marte Aas, bankleer, Marcella Malin Brunner & Prima Mathawabhan & Patricia Tibu, Jone del Valle & Ricarda Hörmann, Michael Klein & Sasha Pirker, Aglaia Konrad, Gitte Villesen

With scientific and documentary contributions by:
Tal Alon-Mozes, Siegfried Bergmann, Oliver Botar, Gilles Clement & CCA, Ekhart Hahn, David H. Haney, Martina Hanusová, Joachim Krausse, Wolfram Kunick, Stefano Mancuso & LINV, Joaquín Medina Warmburg, Kaj Osteroth, Alessandra Ponte, Daniel Spruth, Tal Sterngast

Historical Protagonists:
William Ascroft, John James Audubon, Otto Bauer, Adolf Behne, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Joseph Beuys, Wilhelm Bölsche, Marie Buchhold, Bürgerinitiative Westtangente, Edgar Chambless, Charles Darwin, Samuel R. Delany, Rudolf Doernach, Johannes Duiker, Siegfried Ebeling, Elisabeth Elsaesser, Hans Peter Elsaesser, Environmental Action Coalition, Alfred Ernst, John Evelyn, Jean-Henri Fabre, Leopold Fischer, Richard S. R. Fitter, Raoul H. Francé, Annie Francé-Harrar, Ernst Fuhrmann, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Hugo Gernsback, David Goode, Leo Hartley Grindon, Walter Gropius, Curt Grottewitz, Ernst Haeckel, Hermann Hähnle, Marianne von Harnack, Ida Hofmann, Ot Hoffmann, Luke Howard, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, J.-K. Huysmans, Hans Kampffmeyer, Margrit Kennedy, Friedrich Kiesler, Franklin Hiram King, Ludwig Klages, Rudolf von Koschützki, Rose Lenzner-Migge, Ulrich Linse, El Lissitzky, Ewald Könemann, Merete Mattern, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Leberecht Migge, John Stuart Mill, Lucia Moholy, László Moholy-Nagy, Josefine Müller, Tohl Narita, Edward W. Nelson, Florence Nightingale, Christian Franz Paullini, Max von Pettenkofer, Georg Pniower, Adolf Portmann, Otto Porsch, Joseph Priestley, François Antoine Rauch, Élisée Reclus, Hans Bernhard Reichow, Paul Robien, Gustav Rohde, John Ruskin, Roger Schabol, Alice Schalek, Fritz Schumacher, John Seymour, Sally Seymour, Mary Shelley, John Sinclair, Selig Soskin, Richard G. Stein, Herbert Sukopp, Sigurd Svensson, André & Gabriel Thouin, W.G. (Bunny) Teagle, August Friedrich Thienemann, D'Arcy Thompson, Endres Tucher, Jakob von Uexküll, Vladimir Vernadsky, Elisabeth Vogler, Konrad Wachsmann, Martin Wagner, Passenger pigeon Martha, George Edwin Waring, Joseph Wharton

»Licht Luft Scheiße [Light Air Shit]. Perspectives on Ecology and Modernity« proposes a diverse series of twentieth-century concepts and practices that resonate with our current ideas of sustainability. They are both historical references and points of departure for novel or updated reflections on alternative ways of living in the globalised world. In light of the on-going destruction of Planet Earth we must fundamentally rethink our relationship to the biosphere and all non-human beings.

The ecological question is nothing new. In response to industrial growth and sprawling urbanisation under capitalism, numerous ›reform movements‹ were launched over a hundred years ago: from cooperative housing associations to anarcho-syndicalist settlements, from self-sufficient urban gardening to ecological agriculture, to concepts for recycling waste. These innovations were based in part on pre-modern knowledge and their significance came more clearly to the fore during the economic and social crises that followed on the First World War. They mirror not only a systematic appreciation of the interplay of human beings and the environment, of nature and technology, but also people’s growing awareness at the time, of the fact that the modern age carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. Too, the Bauhaus, although its architectural programme was far removed from ecological concerns, remained intently preoccupied with the relation of bio-philosophy to functionalism, pursuing a design practice informed by natural structures and processes.

The project’s two-year research phase culminates now in two exhibitions combining contemporary art production and archive material, and a parallel independent programme of education and outreach. These three aspects of the project, along with a number of complementary events and publications, address the past and present of the ecology movement, socio-ecological urban development, garden culture and plant and soil research.

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The project is a joint production of: Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum der Freien Universität Berlin (BGBM), Martin-Elsaesser-Stiftung, Nachbarschaftsakademie im Prinzessinnengarten Kreuzberg and neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK).