Symposium: Have You Ever Been Fully Human?

Free entry
Language: English
Graphic design: Lasse Krog Møller.
Graphic design: Lasse Krog Møller.

Galleri Image will present a symposium with the title “Have you ever been fully human?” at Kunsthal Aarhus. The symposium is presented in connection with the exhibition Destiuent Bodies? by Lise Tovesdatter Skou, which will be shown at Galleri Image in the period 13.01 – 10.03.2024.

The speakers are:

  • Keynote speaker Erin Manning, cultural theorist, political philosopher, artist and professor at Concordia University, Montreal.
  • Mikkel Bogh, director of the Center for Practice-based Art Studies at Copenhagen University.
  • Sidsel Nelund, founder of (art
  • Jacob Lund, associate professor in Aesthetics and Culture at Aarhus University
  • Mille Breyen Hauschildt, ph.d. student in Aesthetics and Culture at Aarhus University
  • Moderated by Kamma Overgaard Hansen

About the symposium

The symposium explores the questions: What defines us as humans in today’s Western capitalist society – and what kind(-s) of humans do we want to be? The symposium will seek answers to these questions from a posthuman, neuro queer theoretical, feminist, and capitalism-critical perspective. Furthermore, it will include reflection on questions such as: What does society demand of its citizens? How do we react when we are unable to meet these demands? And how can art contribute to the investigation of these questions?

Defining ourselves as humans, and analysing our positions regarding this matter, implies defining what humanity is. The symposium will shed light on the ways in which citizens become humans, rather than just mechanical pieces of the capitalist production machinery. This will include a critical look at the means by which we as human beings twist, turn, and stretch ourselves in order to fit into the system and remain valuable to society as measured by labour, societal engagement, and home maintenance. Not least, the symposium will problematise the ways in which maintenance work is underestimated and overlooked in everyday life as well as in the public debate despite its obvious and essential role in upholding a functional society. A question asked here could be one of whether our dawning posthuman reality has led us even further away from the recognition of the basic needs covered by (somebody else’s) maintenance effort.

Furthermore, the symposium wishes to discover the strategies used by those unfit to meet the societal expectations – those being representatives of groups overlooked in the general debate or simply neglected as valuable contributors to society due to departure from societal norms. What happens if an individual retraces from the mass or is simply excluded from it? And do the strategies of retraction and destitution hold a potential to liberate the individual and make room for a more empathetic, inclusive, and fully human individual?

Finally, the symposium aims to investigate the potential of art as a way to hold on to our humanity in a posthuman time. Does Art hold a potential to research and reflect upon more sustainable ways of being in the World? And if so – how do we facilitate and remain in a fruitful dialogue with art

As part of the symposium, we will include a visit to Lise Tovesdatter Skou’s exhibition Destituent Bodies?. The title of the exhibition emphasises the idea that the body will never be performing at an adequate level in the late capitalist society where productivity is high, work of caring nature is not valued as real work, and the framing of work does not leave any room for neurodivergent individuals. The symposium thus serves as a supplement to, and an expansion of, the themes processed in the exhibition.

The exhibition and symposium are supported by the New Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, Jutland’s Art Foundation, the city of Aarhus (Kulturudviklignspuljen), the A. P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, and the Hoffmann & Husman Foundation.