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 - 15th, 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 and think nature differently?

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 medical botanicals, nature as an archive of memory and the philosophy of nature.


Participanting artists and experts:
Amongst others Ayesha Keshani, Chef Kabui, Harriet Ng’ok, Neo Musangi, Artist Collective Lucky 3, h.n. lyonga, Uriel Orlow, Jumana Manna

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)

Filmstill. Mafuke. Uriel Orlow. 2017
Filmstill. Wild Relatives. Jumana Manna. 2018