Public Program at Documenta 15: Non-Human Agents During the War

17.09.2022 / 11:00–17:00

Documenta Halle
Kassel, Germany



Driven by the Russian invasion and war in Ukraine "Non-human agents during the war" programme focuses on how non-human agents, such as plants, animals, landscapes, and houses, are included in a large political context forcibly filled with ideological content. It stresses on how those being devoid of agency can reform it in a collective grassroots form by the means of contemporary art.


How ships with plants are involved in invasions. Workshop with Alevtyna Kakhidze (Ukraine)


In her artistic practice Alevtyna Kakhidze is extremely interested in plants. According to her, the plants are still an example for us to follow. The artist sees them as one of the possible illustrations of pacifism on our planet. Her beliefs against the production of weapons —and its fundamental impact on society— are central to her oeuvre. She is currently researching the possibilities of breaking this chain of producing weapons in general, while considering their existence and need for defensive wars. As she is witnessing right now in her home country.

In her performative lecture, Alevtyna is going to present a comparison between humans’ invasions through a historical perspective and invasivity in the world of plants unfolding in many actual questions such as  power, domination, control and surveillance, occupation, stable systems and climate crisis. She will also speak about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in relation to a global context.


Landscape in anticipation of a hero. Discussion with Nigel Clark, Alevtyna Kakhidze, Diana Lelonek. Moderated by Natasha Chychasova. 

The title of the discussion refers to the work of Ukrainian artist Larion Lozovoy, "The Machine and the Garden" (2016 - 2018), in which he reflects on the view of the landscape as broadcast in social realistic cinematography. As the artist notes, the landscape is often reduced to a background in which the human is the central acting figure. This modernist paradigm and view of nature has unleashed a hand for major utopian projects emphasizing human omnipotence and its separation from nature. This is how the idea of the Siberian river reversal, the green revolution, etc., became possible. A war does not change the course of the river, but it also destroys the environment, proving the non-neutrality of technology and the danger in the race for omnipotence. Contamination by mines and shells makes it impossible to live, and the traumatic poison that seeps into the soil and water destroys the environment. At the same time, we watch as non-human agents of oil and gas become the definition of a greater dignity of life where the price of human life is less than the price of a natural resource. As part of this conversation, we want to discuss how humanity can be with nature and renegotiate its relationship with it. How can nature resist through non-human agents? How can humans accept their disconnectedness and give up their omnipotence by learning from nature? Is the position of humans as a hero relevant to our reality?


Algorithmic Solidarity. Workshop and discussion with eeefff group (Belarus-Germany). Moderated by Antonina Stebur.

The workshop ‘Algorithmic Solidarity’ focuses on the infrastructures of coloniality and the infrastructures of solidarity opposed to them. Specifically looking into infrastructural time, algorithmic abstractions and bodies. By form, it can be a collective experience / radical pedagogy practice / walk to the specific location / LARP protocol / digital togetherness / open-ended situation / affective temporary training zone. The role of technology in this situation is multivalued and could be determined by such operations as settling, parasitism, digital violence, ignoring, hacking, etc.

The workshop`s choreography is based on the artistic research of Kassel`s infrastructure. After the practical workshop we will provide a discussion of the participants' experience.

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