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As part of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s research on burn-out and exhausted bodies, this series investigates how voice, oral histories, and collective, embodied listening, could be deployed as a counterbalance of the pervasiveness of the image and the growing pressure to put bodies on display. For this first event, Professor of anthropology Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing read, by means of an audio piece, her work The Mushroom at the End of the World.

Tsing’s remote, spoken word performance will be followed by a response by Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator of General Ecology at London’s Serpentine Galleries, and a group discussion. Collective questions will be sent back to, answered and recorded by Tsing, as part of a growing audio archive on Het Nieuwe Instituut’s website. During the evening, sound artist and musician Zeger de Vos will create a soundtrack to guide the listeners through different spaces and times. A recording of this event will be made by De Beeldvormers.

“Without stories of progress, the world has become a terrifying place. The ruin glares at us with the horror of its abandonment. It’s not easy to know how to make a life, much less avert planetary destruction. Luckily there is still company, human and not human. We can still explore the overgrown verges of our blasted landscapes - the edges of capitalist discipline, scalability, and abandoned resource plantations. We can still catch the scent of the latent commons - and the elusive autumn aroma.” 

From: The Mushroom at the End of the World, 2015. 

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, together with Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman, and Feifei Zhou, she is curating Feral Atlas: the more-than-human Anthropocene to be released from Stanford University Press digital projects in early 2020 at She is the author of In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-way Place (1993), Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2004), The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins (2015), and co-editor of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (2017). In 2010, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2013, Tsing won a Niels Bohr Professorship at Aarhus University in Denmark for her contribution to interdisciplinary work in the fields of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts. In 2018 she was awarded the Huxley Memorial Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Lucia Pietroiusti

Lucia Pietroiusti is Curator of General Ecology at London’s Serpentine Galleries, where she has programmed and curated performances and series including Park Nights, Serpentine Cinema and the long durational symposium on interspecies consciousness, The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish (with Filipa Ramos. Anna Tsing participated in the second gathering in this series, in December 2018). As part of the General Ecology project, Pietroiusti is researching eco-feminism, plant intelligence, mysticism, environmental humanities and complexity theories across disciplines. In 2019, she is curating the Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, with the opera-performance Sun & Sea (Marina) by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė. 

Reading Room

The Reading Room is a series of evenings dedicated to the act of collective reading. It is a place to decipher and interpret the world with its countless languages and systems, including phenomena that by their ubiquity evade investigation. Led by an artist, researcher or designer, a small audience will reflect upon a concept, a text, an object or an image. The Reading Room is a space for intimate, provocative conversations. It is a place for creative confusion and sometimes even frustration, in which speakers and audience are not looking for concrete solutions but for higher resolutions. Subjects in previous Reading Rooms include exhibition, surveillance, migration, liquidity, museum, insecurity.


20:30 – 22:00

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.