UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 – Decolonizing Nature

TALKING OBJECTS LAB @Goethe Morph* Iceland

The two-day performative conference UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 will take place as part of the festival Goethe Morph* Iceland at Nordic House in Reykjavik on September 13th & 14th, 2022.


“We must all decolonize our minds in Western culture to be able to think differently about nature, about the destruction humans cause.”

bell hooks (Belonging: A Culture of Place, 2008)



Just like its predecessor event in Berlin and Nairobi, UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 is dedicated to the theme of decolonization. This time we put a focus on nature, from different perspectives. The UNEXPECTED LESSONS are organic. As part of the TALKING OBJECTS LAB, they provide starting points and intermediate points, interweaving thematically with think tanks in Dakar, Nairobi and Frankfurt (2022).

The extraordinary nature of Iceland, the geologically highly interesting area that can be experienced as an archive of the earth's history, becomes the “other object” in Reykjavik, based on the idea of an expanded concept of an “object”. What makes nature the other? What role does the decoupling of nature and culture play in this? Is the culture/nature dichotomy tenable at all? And how can we decolonize our view of the world?

UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 is preceded by a think tank in July 2022 in Nairobi. The event addresses seed archives and their colonial entanglements, colonization of land, lost indigenous knowledge on plants and planting, nature as an archive of memory.


Participants: Ayesha Keshani, Harriet Ng’ok, Jumana Manna, Neo Musangi, i.a. 

Curatorial Team: Mahret Ifeoma Kupka (Frankfurt, Germany), Njoki Ngumi, The Nest Collective (Nairobi, Kenya), Chao Tayiana Maina, African Digital Heritage (Nairobi, Kenya), Isabel Raabe (Berlin, Germany)

Jumana Manna, Wild Seeds (2018)
Jumana Manna, Wild Seeds (2018)
Jumana Manna, Wild Seeds (2018)