The Július Koller Society’s newest exhibition in Bratislava dives deep into the archival past and re-imagines the continent through new cosmic archipelagoes. Curated by Canan Batur, the show opens up the space to speculation, new contemplative modes of operation, futurological thinking and alchemical cosmohumanism. In doing so, it imagines safer, inhabitable spaces and gives material shape to possibility.

Earth drains down the Old Man
River and runs out
in swamps and shallows of the Caribbean.
They do not remember the body of
them waters
But stand with feet upon the ground
against the
Run to the mythic sea, the fabulous

Robert Duncan, The Continent

Ezra Šimek, Joyful Flame, photo: Leontída Berková

Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World: The Continent explores the engaged and contemplative practice(s) of Julius Koller and the poetics of his imagination for a more politically just and ecologically sound worlds.

Anchoring through his search for Atlantis, seismically shifting from the Mediterranean Sea shifting to Bermuda Triangle, Julius’ search for Atlantis becomes a persistence of resistance in the actualisation of speculative memories of possible timelines. Expanding from what Koller describes as ‘between earthly beings and the unknown cosmic world’, and the archive at the Julius Koller Society, both considered as terras in this exhibition, and through them the exhibition seeks to create new imaginations to seed a wider sense of this search, a larger view of time, and the imagination to manifest inspiring kaleidoscopic visions.

Even with our ideological differences, as the water levels rise, it will first destroy the already existing social relations but later it will give birth to new ones.

An epoch characterised by shifting terrains and receding shorelines, carbonised oceans and melting ice requires that we think differently about what constitutes an archival record: could an archival record be a search of a continent? What imaginaries could be manifested through bringing together the archive at Julius Koller Society, a solid construction, with the fluidity and porousness of Atlantis? What social relations might it give way to?

As a means of radical wayfinding and sensemaking, the exhibition begins as a journey within this search, a longer trajectory to formulate a practical and poetic toolset—one that deepens critical awareness of the reciprocal interplay between archives, cosmohumanism, futurological thinking and alchemy, one gestures toward more regenerative life-relations. It brings forward alternative histories and possibilities embedded in this archive and reflects on some of the key issues surrounding archives—inert and active modes of resistance, transformative potential in expanding collective histories beyond the dominant modes of erasure as well as the embedded seeming silence and repositories of a small selected portion of extremely complex past. How can we give voice to archives?

The Juliús Koller Society, photo: Leontída Berková

By strengthening the archive which fills those gaps, by giving a voice, by reading it against the grains and actively listening and voicing the silences, and distinguishing between voluntary and forced silence; by leaving it open to whatever might make its way in; by containing, holding together and breaking apart.

Between the shore and the islands
Make their announcement
In the heart of things.
Here Our West’s the Orient,
Our continent the sea.

Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World confabulates through and offers renewed sensibilities for social and environmental through sensorial, critical and spiritual approaches engaged in contemplative propositions and performative vocabularies. Probing into the ‘imagined geography’, it brings together exercises in sensing with and encourages a relational approach generating both inner transformation and the conditions of possibility for social re-imagination.

The Juliús Koller Society, photo: Leontída Berková

Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World embodies a language of movement in situated contexts, strengthening transnational imaginaries, and redistributing ways of knowing within our surroundings. It also expresses how Koller’s practice can serve for reconciling our relationship with ourselves and what surrounds us.

The rest remains
In ashes. There is only
The one continent, the one sea

Moving in rifts, churning, enjambing,
Drifting feature from feature.

Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World: The Continent
Artists: Noor Abed, Basel Abbas a Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Shiraz Bayjoo, Cihad Caner, Cansu Cakar, Cian Dayrit, Merve Iseri, Július Koller, Emma McCormick-Godhart, Ezra Šimek, Amol K. Patil
Curator: Canan Batur

9 June 2023—9 September 2023
The Július Koller Society, Bratislava (SK)

Archival collaboration: Daniel Grúň
Graphic design: Stan de Natris
Spatial design: Matej Gavula
Special Thanks: gb agency, Paris and Květoslava Fulierová
Photo documentation: Lenotína Berková