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Haus der Kulturen der Welt announces The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside

Haus der Kulturen der Welt announces The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside on view April 26–July 1, 2013.

In San Francisco in 1966, a young man named Stewart Brand handed out a button reading “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?” Two years later, the NASA image of the Blue Planet illustrated the cover of the first issue of the Whole Earth Catalog. The image of the Blue Planet emerged as a new universalist icon emblematizing the Whole, it replaced a different image that had dominated during the post-war years: the atomic mushroom cloud. The Whole Earth Catalog featured the image of the Blue Planet on each of its numerous issues. The contents were entirely dedicated to the statement that the photograph seemed to communicate: the whole Earth as one interconnected system. In its structure often seen as an analog precedent of search machines such as Google, Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog became one of the most influential publications in recent decades, spanning the worlds of cybernetics and hippie culture, nature romanticism and technology worship, psychedelia and computer culture, thus providing decisive impulses not only for the environmentalist movement, but also for the rise of digital network culture.

The exhibition The Whole Earth is an essay composed of cultural-historical materials and artistic positions that address the rise of the image of “One Earth,” and the ecological paradigm associated with it, revealing numerous surprising connections. The visibility of the whole Earth and the use of the image of the Blue Planet in the projects, ideologies, artistic and architectural, musical and political activities of the Californian counterculture proves to be a source of the current constellations. It reveals how the political element of the counterculture came to embrace cybernetic models of regulation that emerged in the post-war period, often in direct proximity to the very military-industrial complex that life reformers, hippies, and the commune movement ostensibly sought to set themselves apart from. But The Whole Earth exhibition does not seek to repeat the old narrative of the sold-out, failed counterculture. Instead, the exhibition intends to describe pivotal ideological and visual figures, points of transfer, conflations and closures in the sign of the “Whole Earth,” beginning with the reversal of the outwardly directed gaze of the Space Age as it turned back onto planet Earth.

The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside is a project in the framework of the “Anthropocene Project 2013/2014″ at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

With works by Nabil Ahmed, Ant Farm, Eleanor Antin, Martin Beck, Jordan Belson, Ashley Bickerton, Dara Birnbaum, Erik Bulatov, Angela Bulloch, Bruce Conner, Öyvind Fahlström, Robert Frank, Jack Goldstein, Nancy Holt und Robert Smithson, Lawrence Jordan, Silvia Kolbowski, Philipp Lachenmann, David Lamelas, Sharon Lockhart, Piero Manzoni, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Ira Schneider, Richard Serra, Alex Slade, Jack Smith, Josef Strau, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, The Otolith Group, Suzanne Treister, Andy Warhol, and Bruce Yonemoto, among others.

Curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin, Germany