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Two artistic interventions and a contagious takeover of the Experimental Field

17.05.2019 - 08.09.2019

Within the framework of the Contagious Cities project developed by the Wellcome Trust, KOEXISTENZ would like to initiate a new debate on the relationships between humans, animals and viruses together with artists, scientists and citizens.

Simon Faithfull

An Arbitrary Taxonomy of Birds

Derived from the ancient Greek word táxis for order, the term taxonomy stands for the classification of objects. It is an essential part of our scientific research and the starting point for recognizing and describing connections and differences.

Simon Faithfull has always been fascinated by birds. His drawings, which he has been making since 2000, have always led him back to these animals, which he describes as everyday and yet strange - a parallel species that share an immediate habitat with us in our cities. During his wanderings through the Museum für Naturkunde, Faithfull was drawn to the field of taxonomy and, following J. L. Borges' "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins", he has created his very own classification of birds, including a category for ‘those who transmit avian flu’. In his work, he draws attention to how our relationship with nature is shaped by the way we name and categorize it and challenges us in a playful way to engage with this coexistence.

In the newly accessible Brückensaal Simon Faithfull shows us a small part of the diversity of species and leads us into the world of categorisation and naming.

Sybille Neumeyer

Voicing encounters - a narrative cartography of virus (Artistic Walk & Map)

Stories about people, animals and viruses are stories of encounters, environments and relationships. On Sybille Neumeyer's artistic walk - a physical and an acoustic map - places in and around the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin become a storyboard for facts, concepts and questions about influenza pandemics and virology. It does not follow a linear history of infection, but rather traces multidisciplinary, cross-species and entangled stories of influenza, pandemics and viruses. In her search for the different layers and marginal events of this narrative, she gives both living and inanimate actors a voice. As part of their tour, the participants will have the opportunity to take on different perspectives, such as those of vectors, hosts and the virus itself. This kind of vocalization and polyphonic observation serves as a method to break through a purely anthropocentric perspective and invites reflection on coexistences.

At the edge of the experimental field, visitors will have the opportunity to gain insight into Sybille Neumeyer's artistic research. The tour, which consciously leads us out of the museum and into its surroundings, thus gets a home and an anchor point to which it is always worth returning.

The program

During the term of coexistence, the Experimental Field for Participation and Open Science  is also infected by the topic and serves as a space for exchange and debate around the coexistence of humans, animals and viruses.

Following the course of all coexistences, we first perceive the existence of the other by establishing contact with various scientists* who research this coexistence. We now know about existence and have to classify and name the other. How does this work in science, what is a scientific taxonomy?

After the naming follows the getting to know and the exchange. For this purpose, dialogue events and opportunities for interaction with scientists* and artists* are offered.

And finally, we report on the encounters and tell stories. Different perspectives develop in writing workshops and other interactive encounters.

Here you will find all the dates for coexistence. Subject to change without notice.


Artistic tour (only with registration)

15.06.2019, 15:00 Artistic Walk with Sybille Neumeyer

06.07.2019, 15:00 Artistic Walk with Sybille Neumeyer

08.08.2019, 15:00 Artistic Walk with Sybille Neumeyer


Events in the experimental field

11.07.2019, 16:00 A Conversation with Sybille Neumeyer, Terry Jones and Tahani Nadim

21.08.2019, 16:00  Museum Salon

22.08.2019, 16:00 Artist Talk with Simon Faithfull

30.08.2019, 18:00 Performance Lecture with Simon Faithfull

04.09.2019, 19:00 Performative Lecture with Sybille Neumeyer


We are pleased about the cooperation with further partners within the scope of this project:

Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité


Robert Koch Institute