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Ceremony (Burial of an Undead World) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt | 23.10.-30.12.2022

Editors’ Choice

We live – and survive – in the ruins of the modern/colonial world system: its institutions, structures of inequality, border regimes and subject forms. This undead world and its refusal to die is discharging with increasing violence. It needs a funeral to make other futures possible.

Image. above: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection, 2020, film still, courtesy the artist and Memento Film International

The exhibition Ceremony (Burial of an Undead World) speaks about commonalities and continuities in cosmologies and myths of origin across times and spaces. Only against this background is it possible to rethink the prevailing (self-)narrative of modernity as a historical caesura. Ceremony refers to the work of the Jamaican theorist Sylvia Wynter, for whom the “downside costs” of modernity are closely linked to the “mutations” from Christian cosmology to a secular discourse of modernity – from dispossession and slavery to extractivism and climate change.

Ceremony brings together works from different genres and eras as well as historical documents with many interlocutors. It includes an extensive programme of events and a publication.

Curators: Anselm Franke, Elisa Giuliano, Denise Ryner, Claire Tancons, Zairong Xiang

Exhibition with contributions by Leo Asemota, Shuvinai Ashoona, Richard Bell, Raymond Boisjoly, Gaëlle Choisne, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann, Mario Cresci, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Mariana Castillo Deball, Stan Douglas, Albrecht Dürer, Léon Ferrari, Jermay Michael Gabriel, Luigi di Gianni, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, Leah Gordon, Nicolás Guillén, Ho Rui An, James T. Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi. Hong, Dapper Bruce Lafitte, Carlo Levi, Jane Jin Kaisen, William Kentridge, Will Kwan, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Titina Maselli, Cecilia Mangini, Guadalupe Maravilla, Peter Minshall, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Ernest Nash, Le Nemesiache, Rachel O’Reilly, István Orosz, Huang Yong Ping, Rosa von Praunheim, Tabita Rezaire, Elza Soares, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Kidlat Tahimik, Rosemarie Trockel, Joyce Wieland, Tania Willard, David Wojnarowicz, Xiyadie, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and many more.

How can modernity and the developments of global capitalism be described in the same terms as “other cosmologies”, which are usually understood as pre-modern belief systems? The publication contains two texts by Sylvia Wynter, “The Ceremony Must Be Found” (1984) and “The Ceremony Found” (2015), which serve as a basis for a discussion of cosmology beyond the modern order of knowledge. Several authors contribute commentaries to these two texts. They explore the role that histories of origin play in shaping the categories of our thinking, language and perception. The editors are particularly interested in showing how Wynter’s paradigm of a human “ecumenism” claims a counter-universalism that can unhinge the orthodoxy of modern and capitalist alternativism. And for this, Wynter argues, ceremony is required.

Publication with contributions by Maria José de Abreu, Mario Bellátin, James Burton, Mariana Castillo Deball, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Giulia Damiani, Esther Figueroa, Anselm Franke, Cécile Fromont, Yervant Gianikian, Elisa Giuliano, Ayesha Hameed, Whess Harman, Aaron Kamugisha, Catherine Keller, Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Joshua Chambers Letson, Canisia Lubrin, Leora Maltz-Leca, Felix Mayer, Patricia Reed, Rachel O’Reilly, Denise Ryner, Ho Rui An, Jon Solomon, Kerstin Stakemeier, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Claire Tancons, Elena Vogman, Michael Washington, Sylvia Wynter, Zairong Xiang and Dorothy Zinn. 


Vernissage: Saturday, 22 October 2022

Exhibition dates: Sunday, 23 October – Friday, 30 December 2022

Opening hours: Daily, except Tue, noon – 8 pm


Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin-Tiergarten


Entrance free

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