Group Exhibition

The World Without Us

Narratives on the age of non-human actors

The exhibition asks what a world without us would be like. But rather than conjuring up a post-disaster scenario, it describes such a world as the result of a gradual development whose origins can be traced back to our day and age. Taking its cues from science-fiction literature and the philosophical school of Speculative Realism, the exhibition largely relies on the principle of extrapolation.

The tools for the creation of a “world without us” are at hand. The first driverless cars are driving on our streets, news articles are compiled by algorithms, and translations are done by machines. Already in 2009 a third of all shares in the EU and the US were traded by algorithms. We can only speculate on the current proportion.

In a “world without us” humans will be replaced by machines, artificial intelligences will be optimized by other AIs and algorithms will be programmed by other self-learning algorithms. In this way, a radically different, post-anthropocentric world could emerge in which non-human life forms could eventually prove better able to adapt than man himself. Benjamin Bratton said of such a world in 2014: “Worse than being seen as the enemy (by AI) is not being seen at all.”

The increasing influence of non-human actors in our everyday life has not only been explored by several recent blockbusters, including Her (2013), and in TV series such as Black Mirror (2011) and Real Humans (2012), but also in contemporary (media) art. Loosely inspired by Timothy Morton’s book Ecology Without Nature, the artists in this exhibition explore the possibility of an ecology after man – an age of the post-Anthropocene, in which other “life” forms, such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, artificially created nanoparticles, genetically modified micro-organisms and seemingly monstrous plants, have taken control. This new era, which has already begun, albeit imperceptibly, is the age of non-human actors.

The World Without Us was originally produced and presented by HMKV in Dortmund, Germany in 2016. For the 2017 Ljubljana version a selection of the Dortmund show was made and some works of the exhibition alien matter (curated by Inke Arns for the transmediale festival, HKW, 2017) were added to The World Without Us.

On September 2017 the exhibition will be on display at the Mali Salom / MMSU in Rijeka.

Credits and more information about this event and its side programme HERE.



Inke Arns
From alien matter to The World Without Us
TUE, 27 June 2017
City Museum of Ljubljana

27 June – 27 August 2017
The Match Gallery / Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana

Curated by: Inke Arns (HMKV)


Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke
Timo Arnall
Sidsel Meineche Hansen
Ignas Krunglevicius
Mark Leckey
Nicolas Maigret & Maria Roszkowska
Eva & Franco Mattes
Yuri Pattison
Sascha Pohflepp
Suzanne Treister
Addie Wagenknecht
Pinar Yoldas

Adam Harvey
Maja Smrekar

Project coordinator: