Be-diversity A mental attitude on differences, beyond biodiversity. MUSE, Trento.



A mental attitude on differences, beyond biodiversity

Wim Delvoye (BE), Christian Jankowski (DE), Giancarlo Norese (IT), Khaled Ramadan (LBN), Oliver Ressler (AT), Avelino Sala (ES), Åsa Sonjasdotter (SE)

In the year of Expo Milano 2015, from July 18 to September 30, an exhibition and a platform proposed by Stefano Cagol transform MUSE, the Science Museum of Trento, in a discussion forum open to the most different influences: Art and science are intertwined to stimulate a mental attitude to differences beyond biodiversity.

To safeguard the future of the planet and the right of future generations everywhere to live healthy and fulfilling lives. This is the great development challenge of the 21st century. Understanding the links between environmental sustainability and equity is critical if we are to expand human freedoms for current and future generations.” This is the incipit of the Milan Charter, the document made in the months leading to Expo, which lists the rights and obligations that citizens can subscribe to look for solving the problem of food and malnutrition in some parts of the world. A collective manifesto – therefore – which seeks to sensitize people on the main topic of Expo, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Even the Muse of Trento embraces this challenge, moving, in the months of Expo Milano 2015, among several layers of investigation, science, art, technology, with attention to the interweaving between the local and global elements of the debate.

The artist’s contribution by Stefano Cagol, for the first time working as curator, fits into these reflections and comes into the spaces of MUSE for put in contact a corpus of works by established international artists, selected for their skill to face topics such as biodiversity, sustainability, ecology, food and the future of the planet.

Be-diversity, a neologism coined by Cagol himself during an intervention at Goldsmiths University of London last year, is the title of the exhibition that opens on Saturday, July 18 and will be on view on the second floor of the Museum until September 30. “Be-diversity is an iconic term – Stefano Cagol says – which replaces the word bio in biodiversity with ‘be’, being, opening to multiple readings. In the project I have chosen to present main works of artists I met on my path. Easy to read, they are metaphorical, and with minimal shifts in meaning open to more in-depth insights into the present and the future, composing a wide mosaic. Art is not an end in itself, but is able to make a contribution to the current debate.”

Among the exhibited artworks, some gems such as the video-documentary Leave it in the ground (2013) by Oliver Ressler, which proposes a critical approach to ecology focusing on the influence of the exploitation of the sea and oil deposits on fishing. The work, premiered in Italy in its version subtitled in Italian, it will be also showed at the next Tromso International Film Festival (Norway). On water focuses also the video (2015) by Lebanese artist Khaled Ramadan, former co-curator of Manifesta 8, which reflects the behaviour of cultural communities related to nature and, therefore, affected by its changes, as Cambodian fishermen belonging to the Cham Muslim minority. Human nature and the laws of man affecting biodiversity: the exploration of The Order of Potatoes by Åsa Sonjasdotter moves in this sphere. The artist, who won the award COAL for environmental art in 2014, has always focused on issues such as diversity, power, knowledge. In large lawn that embraces the MUSE and the sixteenth century Palazzo delle Albere are growing, under the eyes of the public visiting the museum, special potato varieties restricted in the European Union for the commercial use. The point of view by Avelino Sala instills in visitors a precise question: does culture make you eat? In the video the artist shows a pack of dogs that literally eat the word CULTURE (culture). In this dialogue between artworks, there is Giancarlo Norese’s installation, as simple as enigmatic. In the ironic video The Hunt by Christian Jankowski, however, the artist is shot while is procuring food with a bow and arrow in a supermarket, while the device realized by Wim Delvoye and called Cloaca recreates with extreme fidelity the process of a digestive apparatus.
“The paths of knowledge – the director of MUSE, Michele Lanzinger, says – that lead to awareness and then to action, are not trails that reach this or that result in an isolated way. There isn’t the way of biochemistry, of mathematics, of nature that could lead to a solution. If the scientific method is the tool that allows us to understand and predict the processes of the real world, the choice of a model to be pursued has to be made not only using definitions or formulas. The exercise of criticism, the recognition of a moral horizon, the definition of a desirable scenario, this is not due only to the application of algorithms.

The idea of separated scientific culture and humanistic culture is a legacy to be overcome in favour of a dialogue of interbreeding between facts and projects, including desire and plausibility. So hosting artistic sensibility in a science museum is an experiment devoted to enable all paths of knowledge that culture knows how to produce.”

Stefano Cagol’s project will be developed through an exhibition and an online platform imagined as a virtual meeting place between researchers, curators, politicians, philosophers to reflect and express their opinion on the issues raised by the project. For the duration of the exhibition there will be public meetings to stimulate debate around the proposed works; the ideas will be showed in progress inside the exhibition.


In attachment


Artists’ bio notes


Artists’ bio notes

Wim Delvoye (1965) lives in Ghent, Belgium. Working in such varied mediums as sculpture, drawing, live tattooed animals, stained-glass windows he plays with the opposition between high and low, between contemporary art and pop culture, combining both craft and concept.

Solo exhibitions of Delvoye’s work have been organized at Louvre, Castello di Rivoli, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Migros Museum in Zurich, New Museum in New York, The Power Plant in Toronto, and Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. His work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as Venice Biennale (1990, 1999, and 2009), Documenta IX, Sydney Biennale (1992), Gwangju Biennale (1997), Lyon Biennial (2000 and 2005), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Moscow Biennale (2009).

Christian Jankowski (1968) is currently based in Berlin. Creating video and photo with subtle sense of humour, Jankowski often involves magicians, artists, therapists, psychics, and theologians… He has been appointed Chief Curator of Manifesta 11, the European biennial of contemporary art, which will be in Zurich in 2016.

He participated in the Whitney Biennial (2002), and the 48th Venice Biennale, Sydney Biennale (2010). He exhibited internationally in solo shows in places such as Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Swiss Institute, New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London, Macro Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Miami Art Museum, The Power Plant in Toronto, De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, List Center for the Arts of MIT in Boston.

Giancarlo Norese (1963) since the mid-eighties has been involved in numerous collaborative art projects. He was one of the initiators and the editor of publications of the Progetto Oreste, a network for Italian artists which organized several common initiatives as residency programs, databases, websites, conferences, books, and which was invited by Harald Szeemann at the exhibition dAPERTutto at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. His work has been also exhibited in such venues as Villa Medicis (Rome), Galleria Neon (Bologna), the 42nd Venice Biennale, P.S.1 (New York), Galerija Škuc (Ljubljana), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano), Performa07, Tent (Rotterdam), Red Gate (Beijing), MAMM (Moscow), Platforma (Bucharest), ASU Art Museum (Phoenix).

Khaled Ramadan (1965) 
Aesthetician, révélateur, curator, documentarian and art writer.

Areas of expertise are the history of Visualism and constructed media.  Exhibited in ‘The Politics of Water’, Kumho Museum of Art, ‘Masculinity’, The Artsonje Center Seoul 2014, Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Modern Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, and KW in Berlin. 
In 2009 Al-Jazeera TV produced a documentary about Ramadan’s activities. Member of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT). International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Founder (since 2004) of art collective CPS Chamber of Public Secrets that curated Manifesta 8. 

Oliver Ressler (1970) lives and works in Vienna. Produces installations, projects in public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, global warming, forms of resistance and social alternatives. Oliver Ressler has had solo exhibitions in Berkeley Art Museum; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, in Egypt, The Cube Project Space in Taipei, Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk and Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz. Ressler has participated in more than 250 group exhibitions, including Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, or the 4th Athens Biennial.

Avelino Sala (1972) lives and works in Barcelona. Is artist, curator and editor.

His work as an artist has led him to question the cultural and social reality from a late romantic perspective, with a continuous explore the social imaginary and trying to put finger in the sore to check the power of art as experimentation spaces capable of recreating new worlds.

His work has been presented in various exhibitions, national and international, highlighting among the latest, at Puma Pungo Museum in Cuenca, Laboral Art Center in Gijón, NCCA in Moscow, Matadero in Madrid, Royal Academy of Spain in Rome, National Museum of Art Sofia, 10th Bienal de la Habana, A Foundation in London, Tina B in Prague, Chelsea Art Museum in New York.

Åsa Sonjasdotter (1966) is a Swedish-born artist based in Berlin and in Tromsø, Norway. She won the COAL Art prize for environmental art (2014). She has been a founding member of Women Down the Pub from 1996 to 2006, is a member in Copenhagen of CRIR, the Christiania Researcher in Residency steering group, in Sweden of JA! separatist organisation for feminist artists, and life time member of PODS (Proyectos Orientados al Desarollo Sostenible) Rain Forest Conservation Project in Costa Rica. 

Sonjasdotter’s practice focuses on questions of diversity, power and knowledge. He showed her projects at Bucharest Biennale, the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Konsthall C in Stockholm and the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Wien.

Stefano Cagol (1969) studied at Ryerson University in Toronto, and the Accademia di Brera in Milan. He is recipient of VISIT #10 of the RWE Foundation, Essen and Terna Prize 02 for Contemporary Art, Rome.

Selected solo exhibitions and projects include ‘The Body of Energy (of the mind)’ (2014-2015) at Museum Folkwang in Essen, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Museion in Bolzano, Maxxi in Rome, Madre in Naples, ZKM in Karlsruhe, ‘Be-diversity’ at Goldsmiths University in London, ‘The Ice Monolith’ for Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, ‘The End of the Border (of the mind)’ for the Barents Art Triennale in Kirkenes, Norway (2013), ‘Concilio’ at San Gallo Church at the 54th Venice Biennale.



A mental attitude on differences, beyond biodiversity


Stefano Cagol

General supervisor

Michele Lanzinger

Coordination of the exhibition design MUSE

Patrizia Famà, Alessandra Tomasi, Manuela Gastainer


Stefano Cagol

Research of scientific data

Patrizia Famà

Communication MUSE

Loris Berardi, Chiara Rinaldi, Elisa Tessaro, Chiara Veronesi, Monika Vettori

Graphic and exhibition design

Stefano Cagol

Administration MUSE

Massimo Eder


Renzo Vicentini


Franco Modena

Artists: Wim Delvoye (BE), Christian Jankowski (DE), Giancarlo Norese (IT), Khaled Ramadan (LBN), Oliver Ressler (AT), Avelino Sala (ES), Åsa Sonjasdotter (SE)


Hashtag: #MUSE_Museum #be-diversity

From-to: 18 luglio – 30 settembre 2015

Location: MUSE – Museo delle Scienze – Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza, 3 – 38123 Trento

Opening times: Thu-Fr: 10.00 – 18.00, Wed: 10.00 – 21.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00 – 19.00 

Info: t. 0461 270311



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