Beyond Borders and Binaries

Beyond Borders and Binaries

Extended! On show until April 16

While divisions in the world seem to be getting sharper and sharper, for those who look closely, ever more complex realities are actually emerging. Many of these complexities have a relationship, to a greater or lesser extent, with what we think of as nature. Strangely enough, that very nature and our knowledge of it is often used to justify black-and-white and binary thinking. 

Nonetheless, our understanding of life and living matter continues to deepen and expand thanks to life sciences and biotechnology, but also thanks to our willingness to broaden our 'enlightened' knowledge with the knowledge of long maligned or totally new intelligences. 

For instance, there is increasing recognition of the difference between being labelled a man or a woman and feeling and being allowed to be a man, a woman and everything in between; it is better not to make the boundary between water and land nearly as hard as we certainly have done for centuries in the Netherlands, and the distinction between reason and feeling is also more fluid than we often 'think'. As 'natural' as it is for many to perceive the world in dichotomies like man/woman, water/land and ratio/feeling, they are simply not as sharp as they are often considered to be in debates. Historically opposing magnitudes, they are being increasingly expressed as sliding scales.

As a result, the paradigmatic dualistic ways of thinking so long dominant in economies and cultures, sciences and societies are increasingly crumbling to make way for more polyphony and less dogma. For daring to think and imagine beyond existing borders and binary oppositions.

In Beyond Borders and Binaries, the three winning teams of the Bio Art & Design (BAD) Award 2022 all present good examples of daring to break through and enrich existing visions. So do the five recent projects by other makers we have gathered around them. They tell us about the nourishing salt of waves and the healing salt of tears, about sleep as a form of eco-activism, about old and new relationships between humans and animals, and freedom of movement in the earthly and the extraterrestrial.

Together with the partners who want to help make the BAD Award possible this year and in years to come, MU is fully committed to continuing and expanding the close collaboration of talented young international artists/designers and scientists working in the Netherlands. The enthusiasm is great on all sides and provides fertile ground for rich insights with which we can contribute to much-needed change now and in the future. Many thanks to Bio Art Laboratories, Dutch Design Foundation, Next Nature Network and St. Joost School of Art & Design / Master Institute of Visual Cultures for joining forces with MU in this endeavor. Because by joining forces, we create added value not only for the talented teams in the competition, but also for the Dutch creative industry in the field of Bio Art & Design in general.

The following works are on show at Beyond Borders and Binaries:
MUD & FLOOD ~ The return of Nehalennia by Nonhuman Nonsense & Marte Stoorvogel *BAD AWARD WINNER
How to make an Ocean by Kasia Molga
Hybrid by Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Genital*Panic by Mary Maggic
Dear Interlocutor TX1, TX1 and Xenological Entanglements 001b: Saccular Fount by Adriana Knouf
Perfect Sleep/Sleep Study by Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne