Starting in the Spring of 2019, exactly 100 years after the foundation of Bauhaus, Het Nieuwe Instituut transforms into Neuhaus, a temporary transdisciplinary academy for more-than-human knowledge. For a period of four months, this ever-evolving learning environment takes over the institution, occupying and transforming its existing building and facilities, adding new ones, and opening them up - to co-create, co-own, share, and perform the Neuhaus programme of more-than-human knowledge.
From Bauhaus to Neuhaus
Het Nieuwe Instituut joins the worldwide celebration of the Bauhaus centenary not by glorifying the historical achievements of this legendary school, but rather by reactivating and embodying its original spirit through Neuhaus. The contemporary situation of accumulated crises in ecology, economy, politics and society finds a mirror image in the era that immediately followed WW1. In the total burn-out that was the aftermath of that conflict, societal and political orders crumbled, technological developments put great strain on both workers and the environment, and became associated as much with large scale destruction as with emancipation.
The educational format of the first period of Bauhaus focused on the on-going, open enquiry of knowledge production: its initial paradigms embraced the idea of infusing the power of art into the societal and industrial fabric, striving for connective narratives to foster awareness of a new mode of society, a liberated society, based on the motto “reconsidering the world”. The experimental programme adopted a positive, affirmative approach that set out to bypass the unsustainability of the present in search of opportunities to envision it anew.
“Let us therefore create a new guild of craftsmen craftspeople without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman craftsperson and artist. Culture of the few and the many, research and experience, human and non-human, science and poetry! Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting everything in one unity a multiplicity which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystalline living symbol of a new faith.” – Walter Gropius, Bauhaus Manifesto, April 1919; updated by Neuhaus, April 2019.
A Temporary Transdisciplinary Academy for More-than-human Knowledge
The present is, once again, marked by multiple challenges and there is a renewed need for other knowledge. The current crises could all be traced back to an economic system that focuses purely on productivity. It is built on – and in turn continuously acknowledges and reinforces – a system of knowledge production rooted in (mathematical) analysis, quantifiable data and control, in order to facilitate productivity. This system is so omnipresent that, even though we feel the need to think, design and act differently, it has become almost impossible to even imagine anything outside of its constraining logic. Het Nieuwe Instituut proposes Neuhaus as a means to host, generate and share other knowledge, to escape the destructive status quo. Neuhaus aims to explore, investigate and promote knowledge based in marginalized and unrecognized cultures, knowledge that strays far from any traditional reductionist analysis or mathematical modelling, knowledge that lives in plants, animals and machines, and knowledge that relates to the entire physical body and all of its senses, beyond the rational mind.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam