On the dependence of our world view on the duration of our moment


“And might there yet be in nature quite different vibrations which are too fast for us
to experience as sound, and too slow to appear to us as light? Is there not perhaps
a sounding of outer space that is audible to ears quite different to ours?”
Karl-Ernst von Baer, 1864


Solo show at Mannheimer Kunstverein
30 October 2018 – 13 January 2019

Augustaanlage 58
68165 Mannheim, Germany

In his 1864 lecture titled “Die Abhängigkeit unseres Weltbildes von der Länge unseres Moments” [On the dependence of our world view on the duration of our moment], Russian biologist Karl Ernst von Baer discussed the subjectivity of human sensory perception, explaining that human beings can only process one sensory stimulus per second. His insights helped to lay the foundations of a theory of virtuality, effectively making him a precursor of cybernetics. The limitations of human sensory skills, along with the resulting inexperiencability of the totality of the outside world, are a recurring concern in the discourse of cybernetics – and in the work of Susanna Hertrich.

The cybernetic perspective on the world considers human beings to be part of a larger, nonhierarchical system made up also of machines and other actors, interacting with one another in automatic reciprocity. In the face of the present dynamics of algorithmic control of our social realities, cybernetic thinking is more relevant than ever. Considering how the human is integrated into a wider system, acknowledging the limitations of humans also means opening up a space of possibility.

The artworks of Susanna Hertrich describe this space, they imply it and simultaneously move within it, then deconstruct it. In the scenarios she designs, various devices and apparatuses promise to make up for the limitations of the human spectrum of perception, and to expand it as sensory prostheses. These objects are essentially vessels for a critique of the contemporary.


Curated by Hortense Pisano and Dr. Martin Stather


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