MAKING THINGS PUBLIC -Atmospheres of Democracy
An exhibition at ZKM Karslruhe
March - August 2005
Curators: Peter Weibel & Bruno Latour
Francisco de Goya
In this groundbreaking editorial and curatorial project, more than 100 writers, artists, and philosophers rethink what politics is about. In a time of political turmoil and anticlimax, this exhibition and book redefines politics as operating in the realm of things. Politics is not just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public. But how are things made public? What, we might ask, is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public? There are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense, that gather a public around things scientific laboratories, supermarkets, churches, and disputes involving natural resources like rivers, landscapes, and air. The authors of Making Things Public and the ZKM show that the book accompanies ask what would happen if politics revolved around disputed things. Instead of looking for democracy only in the official sphere of professional politics, they examine the new atmospheric conditions--technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks, and mediations that allow things to be made public. They show us that the old definition of politics is too narrow; there are many techniques of representation--in politics, science, and art--of which Parliaments and Congresses are only a part.
Catalogue: ZKM|Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany and The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Available on Amazon.
Bruno Latour is a philosopher and anthropologist working in Paris. His many books on science and culture include Pandora's Box: Essays in the Reality of Science Studies, Science in Action, The Pasteurization of France, and Laboratory Life. He was curator of the ZKM exhibit ICONOCLASH and co-edited the accompanying MIT Press book ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art.
Peter Weibel is Director of ZKM Center for Art and Media. He was curator of the ZKM exhibit ICONOCLASH and co-edited the accompanying MIT Press book ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art.