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Working on a new exhibition

Coming soon: The World As We Don't Know It - A New Bond Between Human and Earth

24 September 2021 – 12 January 2022

Image: Maria Friberg - Night Vision, 2019

What would it be like to create a work of art that would only be finished in 100 years? What if animals, plants and other living creatures were given the same rights as humans, or if rivers and mountains could sue us for the pollution we cause? What if we actually listened to the voices of the residents of the North Sea before erecting windmills in the sea? Or if we listen to the children who simply state that eating lamb is the same as slaughtering a baby, and who think that because we caused the environmental crisis it is up to us to solve it.

In the exhibition The World As We Don't Know It - A New Bond Between Human and Earth, 22 international artists share their visions of the climate crisis. They argue for a different relationship between human and earth, a different way of structuring society. Two closely interwoven lines of thought run through the exhibition. The common thread is: a modest place for humans on this earth and a strong connection between ecology and ethics. The exhibition The World As We Don't Know It - A New Bond Between Human and Earth is on show @droog in Amsterdam from 24 September 2021 until 12 January 2022.

“Let’s stop talking about the climate crisis: we need to talk about a humanitarian crisis.”

- Terike Haapoja and Laura Gustafsson on the film Becoming

Long-term thinking

The first line of thought is that human life is just a dot on the geological time scale. Artists take us back to our ancestors or create works of art that will only be completed in the distant future, such as Katie Paterson who planted a forest in Norway in 2014 that will provide the paper for a book that will be finished in 2114. Some of the artists pin their hopes on children: Maria Friberg, for example, took photos of surly-looking teenagers tucked into hoodies, and Melanie Bonajo documented children’s views on pressing issues in her film Progress vs Sunsets.

Equal rights

The second line of thought in this exhibition is formed by the belief that all living things in and on this earth have equal rights to flourish. The artists give a voice to the landscape, for example Cristina Lucas in her film The People That Is Missing, they listen to the voices of the residents of the North Sea, like Ziega van den Berk, and consider legal cases which plead for the rights of nature in the face of human destruction, like Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares in the film Forest Law.

New society

It is a wide range of voices. Sometimes they are utopian, sometimes dystopian. Sometimes they are politically charged, at other times philosophical or literary. But together, they paint a picture of an inclusive society in which humans do not play the leading role, a society that gives all living things the right to flourish, that takes into account the well-being of future inhabitants of this earth and ensures that they are not saddled with our mess. In short, a society that does not harm the ecosystem of our planet.

Is this new society the world we would like to live in? Is it a utopia or can we actually make it come true?


A programme has been organised to accompany the exhibition The World As We Don´t Know It - A New Bond Between Human And Earth. Especially for this exhibition, philosopher Maarten Doorman and filmmaker Eva van Pelt created three short films that critically examine the theme of the exhibition. The films will be screened at the exhibition.

Studio Zeitgeist (Farid Tabarki and Rindert de Groot) is organising a programme titled Revolution!. In live debates hosted @droog, they will have incisive conversations about large-scale changes for the sake of the Good Life.

Live Artist Talks will also be organised during the exhibition.

Participating Artists

Melanie Bonajo (NL), Otobong Nkanga (NG/BE), Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson (FI), Carlijn Kingma (NL), Katie Paterson (SCO), Maria Friberg (SE), Eric Klarenbeek & Maartje Dros (NL), Ziega van den Berk (NL), Hans op de Beeck (BE), Jonas Staal (NL), Giulia Cenci (IT/NL), Ursula Biemann (CH) & Paolo Tavares (BR/UK), Marina Zurkow (US), Superflux (IN/UK), Cristina Lucas (ES), Tomáš Libertíny (SK/NL), Julia Lohmann (DE/UK), Mirte van Laarhoven (NL) and Rachel Sussman (US).


@droog: Staalstraat 7B, Amsterdam.

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