In Search of the Pluriverse

“Lately, as makers and as human beings, we have been feeling deep discomfort with the way we – as Western capitalist society – live with each other and with other-than-humans on this planet. Patriarchal thinking and doing, greed, waste, inequality. To secure a future for all living entities on this planet, we feel that a radical shift is needed. But how? We chose a book as our guide: Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds  by Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar. His writing brings together many different ways of knowing (eco feminism, systems theories, indigenous cosmogonies). We set to work with some notions from the book: the realisation that we are all interdependent, the idea that autonomy and communality can go hand in hand and – if we want to ‘make a world in which many worlds can thrive’ – the need for radical imaginations.” – Erik Wong & Sophie Krier, 2022.

Initially asked by Francien van Westrenen / Agency (Het Nieuwe Instituut) to be the first curators of the Travelling Academy – an initiative to explore how formal and informal forms of knowledge development can reinforce each other in tackling social and spatial issues, Wong & Krier set out to search for manifestations of the pluriverse in daily life. A search for what is already there: the pluriverse is all around us. But we somehow lost our capacity to dance with it.

For this edition, Wong & Krier stretched the idea of a ‘designer’ to that of ‘thinker/maker’ and tuned into five locations at the fringes of Europe: İstanbul, Casablanca and Berlin (often seen as gateways to and from Central Asia, North Africa and old Europe) as well as two rural areas: the Isle of Mull and Asturias (as sites of self-sufficient living). For each trip, four thinker/makers joined them: two locally-based, and two based in the Netherlands. Locals and contextual guides enriched each constellation. Every conversation and encounter built on the previous one in an effort to create a vibrant network that connects different places, types of knowing and ways of living.

The insta account @insearchofthepluriverse functions as a radio guide. You can also look for all the talks on the podcast platform  of your choice or read a nice introduction to the pluriverse by Dirk van Weelden.

Backstage photos by Wong & Krier, 2020-2022.


“For this exhibition (on show from April 7 to August 7, 2022 at Het Nieuwe Instituut), we reshuffled the geographical narrative of the podcast series into a circular story of four chapters that you can look at as seasons or moments of the day. Time to Harvest. Letting Go. New Beginnings. Heat of the Action. There is a lot to see and to do in this digital version of our ‘pluriversal yard’ you are about to enter. Probably more than you can handle in one visit. There are 27 doors into the pluriverse: some small, some a little bigger. We not only want to show a glimpse of the pluriverse, we are also trying to be pluriversal.” 

Exhibition views by Aad Hoogendoorn, 2022