forms of the surrounding futures
Kunsthalle Münster, Münster
Curated by João Laia in dialogue with Merle Radtke
4 May  –  4 August 2024

“The way to deal with asymmetries and violent frenzies that mark the present is not to forget the future—the here and now is simply not enough, queerness should and could be about a desire for another way of being in both the world and time, a desire that resists mandates to accept that which is not enough.” (José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, 2009)

forms of the surrounding futures responds to the current state of permanent crisis by embodying and celebrating plural narratives beyond a normative dominance for a tomorrow in the exhibited works and performances. The exhibition bypasses prevailing paradigms that uphold the status quo and anticipate possible futures to conceive of our present time as a moment of transformation full of potentiality. An expanded notion of “queer” forms the starting point for questing prevailent paradigms and power structures and rethinking and reshaping the construction of bodies, spaces, and times.

With the adaptation of the GIBCA 2023 (Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art) Kunsthalle Münster takes up the works of international artists such as Rodrigo Hernández, Agnė Jokšė, Tarik Kiswanson, Esse McChesney, Rasmus Myrup, Ania Nowak, Luiz Roque and Ana Vaz , narratives that harness the collective capacity to imagine and try out future worlds: dreams, community-building practices, vulnerability, and desire serve as starting points for reinventing the potential as well as the limits of bodies and language.

Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the crucial activity of feminists, LGBTQ+ and racialized voices had an unparalleled place in dismantling longstanding structures of inequality, manifesting as beacons of alternative scenarios. Change regularly results from the struggles of the oppressed: sexualized and racialized others have been imposed a proximity to critical situations that place them at the forefront of social dissent. Their aim to dismantle dominant structures entails an intersectional struggle for equal and nonconforming forms of existence, one that echoes the mutually dependent and entangled life-systems on the planet.

Forging an alliance of others, forms of the furrounding futures addresses shared urgent needs and celebrates plural narratives for tomorrow. It endorses the views of geographer Natalie Oswin: queer proposes a challenge of the norm by “operating beyond powers and controls that enforce normativity”, entailing “radical (re)thinkings, (re)drawings, (re)conceptualizations, (re)mappings that could (re)make bodies, spaces and geographies.” (Natalie Oswin, Critical Geographies And The Uses Of Sexuality: Deconstructing Queer Space, 2008). Through this expanded notion, queer unravels as a collective, emancipatory position, embracing racialized, sexualized and naturalized others in a nonnormative affinity which makes visible the constructed features of the present and the emergence of multiple futures.

Curated by João Laia in dialogue with Merle Radtke

Photo by Kunsthalle Münster / Volker Renner