• Reassembling the Natural
    Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin
    Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin

A hornbill and an orangutan specimen in the Sarawak Museum, 2014, Kuching, Malaysia. Photo: Etienne Turpin.

Reassembling the Natural is an ongoing exhibition-led inquiry into the “necroaesthetics” of contemporary natural history led by principal co-investigators Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin. The project combines ethnographic research, field work, archival study, and art-science collaboration in order to convene together and curate scientists, artists, and theorists from the Americas, Europe, Amazonia, and Nusantara for a sustained conversation about the future of “natural history” on earth. The project takes as its objective a serious, transdisciplinary review of the concept of nature—including its role within the knowledge infrastructure of the sciences, its elaborate housing of myths and cultural heritage, and its consistent place within the arts and humanities—in the context of our accelerating planetary extinction. How can those fields of inquiry through which nature came to be shared, studied, and conserved in human cultures begin to reassemble knowledges among the fragmented worlds threatened by anthropogenic transformation? How can new forms of inquiry and collaboration begin to unground the assumptions of knowledge, futurity, and security which limit the discourse of our contemporary environmental crisis? How can we reassemble and exhibit an exemplary plea for a reconsideration of the natural and its vital role in visual culture, design, science and beyond?

Anna-Sophie Springer is a writer, curator, and founding codirector of K. Verlag, an independent Berlin­-based press. Her practice stimulates fluid relations among images, artifacts, and texts in order to produce new geographical, physical, and cognitive proximities, often in relation to historical archives. She received her MA in contemporary art theory from Goldsmiths, University of London, and her MA in curatorial studies from the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig. In 2014, she was associate editor of publications for the 8th Berlin Biennale, and the Craig-­Kade Visiting Scholar-­in-­Residence at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Currently, she is a visiting lecturer at Institut Kunst, Basel. With Etienne Turpin, she is the coprincipal investigator of the exhibition-led inquiry Reassembling the Natural and the coeditor of the intercalations: paginated exhibitions series as part of Das Anthropozän­ Projekt at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as well as of Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016).

Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and founding director of anexact office (Jakarta and Berlin). With Anna-Sophie Springer, he is coprincipal investigator of the exhibition-led inquiry Reassembling the Natural and coeditor of the intercalations: paginated exhibition series published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. He is also the coeditor of Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016), Art in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2015), and Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013), and editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2013). He has taught graduate design and theory at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Michigan; and the University of Toronto.