“Thought Exhibition. On critical zones, cosmograms, and the impossible outside” presented by Irrgang


Session Title:

  • Museums – Curation (full papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Thought Exhibition. On critical zones, cosmograms, and the impossible outside

Presentation Subtheme:

  • Symbiotic Imaginaries




  • The paper discusses the curatorial concept of “thought exhibition” coined by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel and developed in collaboration with curators, artists, and researchers during four exhibitions at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (Germany). Thought exhibitions transgress the distinctions between philosophy, art, and science by testing ideas in an art museum, a space of discourse, representation, and participation. They engage visitors in a spatio-aesthetic thought experiment by bringing them into a position where preconceptions derived from epistemes of European Modernity are explicated and where alternatives are suggested. The analysis focusses on the most recent exhibition, in the preparation of which the author was involved: “Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics” (May 23, 2020 – January 9, 2022) mapped the symptoms and origins of the “New Climatic Regime” (Latour) of the late Anthropocene. In this paper, Critical Zones is framed within its theoretical context (Descola, Haraway, Margulis, Whithehead, among others) and discussed as relational spatio-aesthetic approach (Dikeç). The analysis concludes with Sarah Sze’s installation “Flash Point (Timekeeper)” (2018) as one of the exhibition’s central works – a representation, or “cosmogram” (Tresch), of a common planet that may provide an alternative to the globalized world of late capitalism.