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| in the spirit of Bauhaus | human and more-than-human knowledge | humans / machines / plants / microbes / magic / animals | learning with the senses and sensors | co-existence | ‘rethinking the world’ | multi-species world-building |

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Neuhaus reacts to the current era's planetary burnout with a multifaceted curriculum in the spirit of the Bauhaus, which tried to re-imagine and recreate the world after the devastation of the First World War: to see and design the world anew through radical design and educational innovation.

Refocus to other subjectivities

Because the notion of progress has revolved for centuries around the specific needs and interests of some humans, the realities of almost all other bodies, species, creatures and ecosystems have been sidelined. Today’s ecological and sociopolitical crises are a direct consequence of this ethos and exclusionary mechanism.

Neuhaus argues that for the future of the planet, relationships between humans and between humans and non-humans should be transformed from the current, mostly exploitative dynamic into anti-racist and non-species, non-extractive forms of coexistence. This means a radical refocusing of attention on other subjectivities. Humans need to understand that matter is the common ground of all beings and is much more than just latent material to satisfy individual humans’ needs. Humans must learn to take into account time spans and dimensions in which their own existence is not the only measure, and must learn to move with the help of collective bodies and intelligences, and learn to design from a form of embodied empathy.

The Neuhaus opening symposium brings together artists, designers, theorists, makers and more-than-human bodies who will set the tone of the academy by outlining the challenges and presenting the core themes, and thereby introduce the curriculum.


Neuhaus asks all attendees to commit to creating safer spaces. Spaces that make Neuhaus as accessible and comfortable as possible, and that foster compassionate action on ‘thinking the world anew’. Spaces where all bodies with different experiences and backgrounds feel not only included but centred. Our Code of Conduct sums up our common rules and responsibilities.


Video registrations of a number of contributions are available in their entirety below.  

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Confirmed Speakers and Performers

participants (in alphabetical order)

Merle Bergers

Merle Bergers makes work that evokes empathy and connects people, micro-organisms and plants alike. Most of us feel a certain compulsion to give people and animals priority over greenery. Plants do not talk, they move too slowly for our eyes to see and do not seem to think and feel the same way humans do. The result is that we treat plants as decorative, inferior beings we have a hard time connecting with. But what if we could start to learn their language? Would that bring us closer? Lingua Planta is Merle’s graduation work on the possibilities of plant sentience. She studied at the department of man & food at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Federico Campagna

Federico Campagna is a philosopher and writer. Before moving to London in 2007 he spent more than twenty years in Milan, where he was active in the anarchist/autonomist networks and co-founded the street-poetry collective Eveline. In his latest work Technic and Magic Federico suggests an entirely new worldview and reintroduces non-Western mysticism and magic as an alternative way of shaping the world and life.

Cooking Sections

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners based out of London. It was born to explore the systems that organise the WORLD through FOOD. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture and geopolitics.

De Beeldvormers

De Beeldvormers is a collaboration of visual artists Machteld Aardse and Kyra Sacks. In their drawings they capture both the essence and less visible aspects of a story or situation. Through close observation and the quick translation of impressions onto paper, their combination of situational sketches, metaphors and text offer a unique medium which can be reflected upon and worked with afterwards by the audience.

Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand

Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand create sensory immersion environments that merge physics, chemistry and computer science with uncanny philosophical practices. Having dismissed the use of recording and fixative media, the artists’ installations exist as ever-transforming phenomena offered for observation. Because these rarely seen phenomena take place directly in front of the observer without being mediated, they often serve to vastly extend the observer’s sensory envelope. Especially for Neuhaus they assembled a range of works that facilitate real-time meetings between humans and matter that make it palpable that matter is so much more than just latent material.

Elaine Gan

Elaine Gan is interested in mapping worlds otherwise. Her transdisciplinary practice combines methods from art, science, and digital/environmental humanities to study the timing and temporal coordinations of more-than-human socialities. Through writing, drawing, interactive media, and installation, Elaine explores historical materialisms and temporal coordinations that emerge between species, machines, and landscapes, with a particular interest in plants and fungi. Elaine teaches at New York University, Centre for Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement (NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science), where she also leads the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab.

Ruben Jacobs

Ruben Jacobs is a writer and sociologist. He teaches at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. He is also a regular contributor to the online philosophy platform His book Artonauten. Op expeditie in het Antropoceen was published in 2018 by V2_Publishing, Rotterdam. He wrote the essay ‘How Do We Get Home on this New Earth?’ that reflects upon some of the ideas behind and possible interpretations of Neuhaus.

Raoul de Jong

Raoul de Jong travelled around West Africa at the age of nineteen, survived four months in New York with fifty dollars in his pocket and walked from Rotterdam to Marseille in the name of his dog Puck. He writes columns, articles and published six books amongst which Life is horrific (2005) and Diary of an adolescent (2018). Together with writer Sanneke van Hassel, he wrote the reading performance In Suriname for Theater Rotterdam, based on his novel about Surinamese heroes that will be published in October 2019.

Annika Kappner

Annika Kappner is a visual artist working with a deconstruction of the sensorium to create glitches in perception. She is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary artist collective Elephants & Volcanoes. Her compositions combine elements from installation, sculpture, sound and performance art to explore alternative experiential perspectives to the contemporary relation between human, matter and fellow beings; a possible emancipation through sensing and feeling.  Especially for Neuhaus she created a soundwalk to connect oneself to the surroundings of The New Garden and experience the hybrid, seemingly conflicting elements of the environment through the senses.

Patricia MacCormack

Patricia MacCormack is an interdisciplinary theorist and, among other things, a lecturer in continental philosophy, queer theory, posthumanist ethics and film sciences at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Patricia’s research is about queering as a vehicle that facilitates thinking ‘beyond man’ through art, ethics and nature, and to live together more empathically, as human and non-human beings.

Grâce Ndjako

Grâce Ndjako is a political scientist, philosopher and writer, as well as a teaching assistant in non-Western Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and lecturing in African and Afro-Caribbean Philosophy at the Black Renaissance Foundation. Grâce’s work includes tracing African philosophy, the daily lives of people of African descent, and the magic they represent.


‘Mais si nous voulons que l’humanité avance d’un cran, si nous voulons la porter à un niveau différent de celui où l’Europe l’a manifestée, alors il faut inventer, il faut découvrir’ (Frantz Fanon).

Tabita Rezaire

Tabita Rezaire who is, in her own words, an 'incarnation of infinity', works as a video and performance artist, researcher, activist and yoga teacher in search of technologies for connection, healing and emancipation. Navigating digital, corporeal and ancestral memory as sites of struggles, she digs into scientific imaginaries to tackle the pervasive matrix of coloniality and the protocols of energetic misalignments that affect the songs of our body-mind-spirits. Through screen interfaces and collective offerings, her digital healing and energy streams remind us to open up to our inner data centres - to download beyond western authority but from soul.

Menno Schilthuizen

Menno Schilthuizen is an evolutionary biologist and writer. He works as a senior researcher at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and is Professor of Biology at Leiden University. Menno questions the traditional distinction between nature and culture. In his latest book Darwin Comes to Town he shows us that evolution in cities can happen far more rapidly, and more strangely than Darwin had dared to dream.

Plants & Animalia

Plants & Animalia (Christina Ertl-Shirley alias C.E.S. and Felicity Mangan) explore the sound phenomena produced by plants and animals. Using synthesizers and samplers, they they create electro-acoustic compositions combining modified field recordings of animal voices with the sonic impulses of biochemical processes of plants thus creating virtually bio-acoustical environments.

Squirrel Nation

Squirrel Nation (Erinma Ochu and Caroline Ward) are an art-design studio who consider co-existence as an ethic, leading with intersectional, ecological practices spanning installation, moving image and event curation in a range of settings. Their research-orientated practice tunes into the harmonies, tensions and contradictions at the boundaries of nature, geobiology and technology to cultivate culture through different voices and spaces. Squirrel Nation were artists in residence with The Stuart Hall Library/Iniva and Jerwood Fellows at Manchester International Festival.
The moderation of Neuhaus Symposium is undertaken by Squirrel Nation.

The Empress

The Empress (a.k.a. Aissa Traore) is an actor and krump dancer. She participates in krump competitions and has travelled to compete in battles and gain more krump knowledge. She thrives to stay feminine in a male-dominated arena: ‘My delicacy and confidence translates into strength when I dance, which I believe can be understood by men and women alike.’


The Otolith Group

The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun) is an artistic and curatorial duo, occasionally expanded with fellow researchers and (visual) essayists. In their work they explore, among other things, the complex environmental issues of the present time, the different experiences and speeds of time, the mutual alienation of human, inhuman and more-than-human actors and the way in which aesthetics, (geo)politics and the course of history are interrelated. From 25 May until 18 August, the Van Abbemuseum will present Xenogenesis, the first large-scale exhibition by The Otolith Group in The Netherlands.

Elfie Tromp

Elfie Tromp is a writer and columnist. Underdog, her second novel, has been nominated for the BNG Literature and Diorapthe prizes. She is an opinion maker for De Nieuws BV and a regular presenter on the VPRO radio programme Nooit Meer Slapen. In 2018 she published her poetry debut Victorieverdriet, a travelogue through the landscape of mourning and loneliness to eventually come to a new, more vulnerable connection with the world.

Elisa Yvelin

Elisa Yvelin works with performance and dance. Her research led her to look for translation frames to host channelling phenomena. She studied energetic practices, Reiki, Kundalini, auto-hypnosis and phenomenology. Within the context of the Neuhaus Symposium she takes on the role of mediator between lichens and the symbiotic organisms that humans consist of. Originally from France, she is based in Brussels, where she graduated from P.A.R.T.S. in 2010.

10:00 – 18:00
English, Dutch and more

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam