Creative Association of Curators TOK ( = Anna Bitkina (DAI, 2018) & Maria Veits) is pleased to announce The New Subject, a series of four interconnected exhibitions and accompanying public events about the evolving challenges of the body in connection to global biopolitics and technological developments, focusing on the legal, somatic and cognitive dimensions. For the first exhibition, Mutating Rights and Conditions of Living Bodies, at Konsthall C, artists Ajla R. Steinvåg (DAI, 2005) Albina Mokhryakova, Anan Fries & Malu Peeters, Anastasia Alekhina, Anders Sunna, Kyuri Jeon, Ofri Cnaani, Oshin Siao Bhatt, Tabita Rezaire and Tore Hallas respond to the notion of a sovereign body treated as disposable by corporations and governments.
Drawing on the ideas of Achille Mbembe, who argues that today’s societies of control rely on the "manufacture of a new subject that is at once a physiological assemblage, a synthetic and electronic assemblage, and a neuro-biological assemblage,” the project aims to decode and expose the repressive and manipulative mechanisms incorporated into various constituents of the contemporary state. By examining the body as a contested site for ideological and political power games, the exhibition series will also explore potential modes of existence that defy the coercive machinations of state engineering.
The first exhibition, Mutating Rights and Conditions of Living Bodies, at Konsthall C responds to the notion of a sovereign body treated as disposable by corporations and governments. Through various artistic mediums the exhibition scrutinizes the ways in which power structures and state apparatuses impact the body, employing legislation as a tool for control, often leading to the violation of rights and freedoms. By highlighting instances of violence and suppression carried out under the guise of legal frameworks, the exhibition challenges viewers to question the ethical and moral dimensions of such practices. The artists look closely at how bodies are used as resources in the context of wars, and technological/military/medical experiments, which often results in the exploitation and mistreatment of historically marginalized groups of people.
The second exhibition under the umbrella of The New Subject will take place at Konsthal NORD in Aalborg (Denmark) on September 29, 2023 - November 25, 2023. This iteration will focus on the aspects of public health and stigmatization of mental states and bodies considered as unconventional. The exhibition will also confront structural disinvestments in state health policy, the emergence of new diseases due to post-capitalist labor and environmental conditions, and the troubling practices of the pharmaceutical industry exploiting vulnerable bodies.
Public program on June 3, 2–5pm
2–2:30pm: Curatorial tour
3–5pm: Manipulation and Resistance: Gendered Bodies under State Instrumentalization
Public discussion with artists Ajla R. Steinvåg, Björn Larsson and Carl Johan Erikson, Oshin Siao Bhatt and Anna Ådahl
View the online exhibition booklet here.
The New Subject is a collaboration between the curatorial duo and four European art institutions: Konsthall C (Sweden), Kunsthal NORD (Denmark), Oksasenkatu 11 (Finland), and KINDL—Centre for Contemporary Art (Germany). During 2023–2024 each participating venue will feature an exhibition co-curated by TOK and local curator(s), addressing global body-related problematics while also acknowledging the specific contexts and challenges of the local communities.
TOK is a nomadic and international curatorial collective founded in 2010 by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits. Their practice is rooted in historical analysis and political imagination, generating multidimensional projects that explore the causes and consequences of mutating realities and oppressive political regimes. Often working outside of usual art spaces, TOK infiltrates into social structures, bringing their strains and corrupt functions into the public discourse in order to revisit the roles and powers of social institutions and redraft their potential future. Their investigations encompass local governance, public space, media, educational and legal systems, with a specific emphasis on excluded histories, communities and experiences, politics of built environments, and the imposed hierarchies between different societies and geographies. TOK's activities involve curating exhibitions, socially-oriented public art projects, educational events, and publications.
Ulrika Flink currently works as the artistic director of Konsthall C, a leading force in the socially engaged art scene in Sweden. Flink works as the director for Konstfrämjandet Stockholm and is also engaged as curator for Black Archives Sweden. Internationally, she has co-curated prestigious exhibitions such as Momentum 9 in 2017, a significant biennial for contemporary Nordic art. In 2021, she co-curated Borås Art Biennial titled "Deep Listening for Longing”. Flink has extensive experience working with art locally, nationally, and internationally. She holds a master's degree in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London.