instant theory. Die M-Fotoserie des Merve Verlags

22 February–3 August 2020

Event Series

The exhibition was closed from 13 March to 21 May 2020 due to the corona pandemic. Until 3 July 2020 the opening times where reduced.

nGbK, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
SO 36, Oranienstrasse 190, 10999 Berlin


Diedrich Diederichsen, Cedrik Fermont, Christiane Frohmann, Vika Kirchenbauer, Elke Moltrecht, Morten Paul

Project group

Elisa Barth, Felipe Campos, Dominique Guglieri, Yayla Höpfl, Kai Wisotzky

The 1980s saw the emergence of a boundless interest in philosophical, aesthetic and emancipatory theory. At this time, the West Berlin publisher Merve was a meeting place for intellectual and artistic exchange. This network was documented by the publishers Heidi Paris and Peter Gente in many spontaneous photographs.
The exhibition shows images from this archive – portraits of figures from the Berlin scene and the world of publishing, and of artists and experimental musicians. By retrospectively mapping their relationships and connections, the zeitgeist of the period and alternative modes of production are examined from today’s perspective. Contextualizing texts, video interviews and accompanying events deal with questions like: What are the vectors of alternative knowledge dissemination? What, in this context, are the functions of collectivity, seriality, chaos and friendship? What is the difference between a collective and a network, and what danger lies in their respective openness to neoliberal co-opting? Why have visibilities like that of women or of the work of translating in (independent) text production often been unequally distributed (something that continues to be the case) and which shifts in value are needed here? The exhibition pursues these questions and asserts their ongoing relevance in the present.

Booklet accompanying the exhibition: 2 Euro
(de ISBN 978-3-938515-84-6 / en ISBN 978-3-938515-85-3)


Friday, 21 February 2020, 19:00
Exhibition opening

NEW: Saturday, 1 August 2020, 19:00 (de)
SO 36, Oranienstrasse 190, 10999 Berlin
Screening »Our Difference Is Now Ripe for Consumption. Ökonomien der Sichtbarkeit in der Kunst« with Vika Kirchenbauer
Chaired by: Elisa Barth

On the one hand, many fields of artistic production are invisible, while, on the other, art with an emancipatory orientation often seeks to address issues of representation. Taking Vika Kirchenbauer’s video works »YOU ARE BORING!« and »WELCOME ADDRESS« as a point of departure, practices of making and showing art are discussed in their contradictoriness.

NEW: Sunday, 2 August 2020, 19:00 (de)
SO 36, Oranienstrasse 190, 10999 Berlin
Talk »Music Circuits. Das Politische der Musik in den 80ern bis heute« with Elke Moltrecht, Cedrik Fermont
Chaired by: Anna Bromley

In the 1980s, experimental music opened up new conceptual spaces, making it an important source of inspiration for the field of theory, on which it in turn also drew. The talk will address the movements of music at the time between New York and Berlin, in the former East and West Germany, and about the importance of alternative electronic music networks in Asia and Africa today.

Monday, 3 August 2020, 19:00 (de)
SO 36, Oranienstrasse 190, 10999 Berlin
Talk »Rechte Verlagsnetzwerke, Arbeitsweisen und linke publizistische Interventionen« with Diedrich Diederichsen, Christiane Frohmann, Morten Paul
Chaired by: Yayla Höpfl

Since the 1980s, the network of intellectual and journalistic circles with an ethno-nationalist orientation has grown steadily. The invited guests focus attention on the theoretical underpinnings of neo-right-wing journalism and the political dimension of publishing.