The Dividual

July 5th to July 16th, 2021

Among the artists and authors whose work is included in the exhibition are: Jacob Lawrence, Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, Emmanuela Soria Ruiz, Drexciya, Roee Rosen, Octavia Butler, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Sergei Eisenstein, Sylvère Lotringer, Ruth Patir, Andrei Platonov, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, Georges Bataille, Emanuel Almborg, Shana Lutker, and Platon Kerzhenetsev.

The exhibition „The Dividual“, curated by Joshua Simon at the Kunstraum of Leuphana University Lüneburg, explores an emergent subjectivity, divided from itself, and always-already part of something. Since antiquity, the individual (átomos in Greek, individuum in Latin) has been defined philosophically, legally, and psychologically as an entity that is distinctively separate from the rest, and indivisible from itself. In our society, the individual is perceived as an objective subjectivity. As the relations and social institutions that constitute the individual and those that are formed around it are changing, throughout history there has been a constant struggle regarding the gender, class, race, ethnicity, and species of those recognized as individuals. While the long history of individuation is well documented in philosophy, literature, law, and social sciences, it is in the history of the arts that we find iterations and examples of the dividual. The dividual denotes a broad set of subjectivities that are divided and at the same time always in relation to others. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, this exhibition will explore these contingent subjectivities using vast sources. The term „dividual“ was coined at different points when anthropologists, philosophers, and artists tried to describe a relational subjectivity that does not comply with the logic of the individual.

“The Dividual” brings different perspectives as entry points to the dividual, taking its cue from anthropological literature of South Asia, Melanesia, Amazonia, and the Andes as it appears as a form of kinship; in the critique of the „society of control“ and the rise of digital and financial networks, where it is presented as a distributed subjectivity; in Black Studies, Afrofuturism and marronage, as it is experienced as a presence that expands historically and by that generates the solidarity of the undercommons; within the shock of modernity it emerges as a form of being that both expands and divides the individual in Surrealism and Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Feminism; in relation to shock work, the first five-year plan, and the Soviet science of management, it delineates a pursuit for a measure or scale between individual and mass, or person and collective; And in the philosophy of biology it is perceived as a holobiont – an assembly of elements folded into one another, in a way that puts symbiosis, rather than separate organisms, at the center of evolutionary processes.

Informed by the persistence of these social imaginaries, „The Dividual“ considers the potentialities of relations for living, thinking and organizing, through the means the dividual suggests for other ways of being in the world, beyond the individual.

The exhibition has been developed within the framework of the Critical Studies Master Study Programme at Leuphana University, and is organized by the students in The Dividual seminar led by Joshua Simon, with the Kunstraum of Leuphana University and research assistant Simone Curaj. The exhibition includes contemporary artworks, archival materials, books, films, posters and historical artworks, courtesy of the Museum of Applied Arts in Zurich, from Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the University of Texas in Houston Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection of Aztec maps, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino California, the Marx and Engels manuscript archive at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, and private sources.

An extended version of the exhibition is scheduled for display at Los Angeles Contemporary Archives, September-November 2021.

curated by Joshua Simon with assistance by Simone Curaj