Grenzgängerinnen: Über Wucherungen und Sammlungen in Aufruhr
3 November 2017


Round table with Pauline M’barek, Tahani Nadim, Kerstin Stoll and Lotte Arndt. As part of the series of events "Disturbing Objects, Disquiet Objects" conceived by Lotte Arndt and in cooperation with Bétonsalon. Centre d’art et de recherche, Sept-Dec 2017 in Cologne and Paris.

As numerous writers on natural history museums have asserted, exhibiting aims to define stable categories, to arrest and preserve evolving materials. Classifying plants, animals, and humans go together with a display on distance: In showcases, dioramas, behind ropes, on pedestals. Approaching an object too closely unclenches necessarily the intervention of a guard, or the sound of an alarm. The discussion brings together two artists and a writer, who engage in physical contact with the matter of their concern, the loss of overview and a safe outsider position that allows knowing without getting involved. They get intermingled with the material; give up control over the process of taking shape by rendering it purely tactile, enquire about care and touch in the museum, or engage in collaborations with human and non-human collaborators.

In her work, Pauline M’barek (Brussels, Cologne) critically examines the making of things into auratic objects. She highlights the manners in which, as disciplinary institutions, museums classify, organize, conceal and evaluate. Her contribution will reflect on a group of clay and plaster works that took shape blindly, through touch. Tahani Nadim (Berlin) is a sociologist of science and runs the "Bureau for Troubles" at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. Her work focuses on data practices and the scientific, political and aesthetic construction of "biodiversity" and its loss. Kerstin Stoll (Berlin) amply researched the nest building of the potter-wasp and applies it to her sculptural productions. Her project does not only question human - animal divisions but deploys also a huge range of forms that result from these imbricated trans-species production processes.

Funding and Support

PERSPEKTIVE - Funds for contemporary art and architecture is an initiative of the Bureau des arts plastiques et de l’architecture funded by the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français, Goethe-Institute and Deutsche Bank


Kerstin Stoll: Töpferwespennest (Stari Grad, Kroatien), 2013
Courtesy by the artist