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Our planet, a shared space

Have we met? Humans and non-humans on common ground promotes new ways for understanding our planet as a shared space for plants, microbes, humans and other animals. The view that the earth exists solely for human exploitation must be radically rethought to confront today's environmental crises. Have we met? therefore examines what attitudes, tools and technologies are necessary to recalibrate the relationship between humans and non-humans.

An urban area in Rotterdam, a regenerative farm in the Netherlands' rural east, and an abandoned North Sea oil rig: these three ecologically diverse sites help to explore the possibilities for interspecies relationships. Nature studies traditionally rely on quantitative data, while human experience is assessed with qualitative means. Could these methods be mixed  to give a better insight into how humans and non-humans can learn to share space and cooperate? As the whole world is, in one way or another, touched by human policies and tools, it is perhaps time to investigate their effects towards multispecies cohabitation. 

Have we met? explores a range of possible collaborative tools developed by practitioners across art, design, agriculture, and data- and marine sciences. Works include Chicken Mobile, designed by Harald den Breejen and Sjoerd van Leeuwen for regenerative farm Bodemzicht. The mobile offers a simple solution for regenerating compacted and degraded soil by recalibrating the natural rhythms between grass and grazing animals. Also on show is Borgþór, a documentary by Brynjar Sigurðarson and Sebastian Ziegler following a hermit spending his winters looking for a bull fish in the remote Icelandic countryside. The hermit patiently investigates what might interest the fish in an attempt to find a common ground. 

  • Commissioner: Aric Chen (General and Artistic Director, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
  • Project Leader: Francien van Westrenen (Head of Agency, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
  • Curators: Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Senior Researcher, Het Nieuwe Instituut) and Ellen Zoete (Programme Manager, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
  • Producers: Nikita Hurkmans and Wietske Nutma
  • Spatial design: Studio Ossidiana (Giovanni Bellotti, Alessandra Covini)
  • Graphic design: Mislav Žugaj and Gailė Pranckūnaitė

The exhibition is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Zoöp

Aric Chen, Artistic and General Director of Het Nieuwe Instituut: “We’re pleased to present these projects by practitioners from, and based in, the Netherlands who are pushing forward the growing movement towards non-human-centric perspectives that is needed to secure a more sustainable and regenerative future for all forms of life.”

Have we met? builds on the Zoöp model collaboratively developed at Het Nieuwe Instituut. A Zoöp commits to making the interests of non-human life part of its organisational decision-making, with a Speaker for the Living representing the voices and interests of non-human life in the organisation. The Speaker acts as observer, advisor and teacher in the organisation. transforming it step by step into a regenerative operation. A Zoöp (short for Zoöperation: coöperation with zoë, Greek for ‘life’) follows an annual cycle of learning to become a symbiotic body in the ecosystems in which it participates. On international Earth Day, 22 April 2022, Het Nieuwe Instituut the museum became the world’s first Zoöp.

Exhibition design

Studio Ossidiana has designed the exhibition as a collective body that doubles as an observatory, combining human, animal, botanical and mineral components. Visitors are welcomed into the belly of this living being that temporarily inhabits the Triennale site. Have we met? also features a dedicated font by graphic designers Mislav Žugaj and Gailė Pranckūnaitė.

The exhibition features contributions from Harald den Breejen and Sjoerd van Leeuwen (on behalf of regenerative farm Bodemzicht), Dear Hunter, Embassy of the North Sea, Joost Emmerik, Christine Hvidt, Philipp Groubnov, Andrzej Konieczny, Alexander Köppel, Leon Lapa Pereira and Vivien Vuong (ArtScience Interfaculty-students of the University of the Arts The Hague, in collaboration with Rodrigo Delso and Eric Kluitenberg), Keer Hu, Yuzhi Liu and Jiafeng Zhu, Ian Ingram and Theun Karelse, Gisto, Takuma Kikuchi, Lucy Li, Florian Sapp and Alan Schiegl, Fiona Middleton, Ania Molenda, Studio Brynjar and Veronika, Julian Abraham “Togar”, Sander Turnhout, Leena Valkeapää and Oula A Valkeapää, and more.

23rd Triennale Milano

Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries is the title for the 23rd International Exhibition, from 15 July until 11 December 2022. It examines the theme of the unknown, exploring 'what we don't know we don't know' through exhibitions, installations and special projects. 

Het Nieuwe Instituut

Het Nieuwe Instituut is the Netherlands' national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture, based in Rotterdam. Through its exhibitions, public programme, research, and wide-reaching national and international initiatives, the institute engages thinkers, designers, makers and diverse audiences to critically reflect on the urgent issues confronting the past, present and future. In addition to housing the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, the institute also manages the 1933 Sonneveld House as part of its campus in Rotterdam’s Museumpark.

Note for editors

For more information please contact Elske Schreurs, communications / e.schreurs@hetnieuweinstituut.nl / +31 (0)6 41188963