NOWs: Retreat into Darkness by Ivana Franke

27 April - 16 July 2017 / Nows

Image: © Ivana Franke


Ivana Franke:

Retreat into Darkness. Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown

Exhibition opening:
Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 6–9 p.m.
Hours: Thursday through Monday, 1–7 p.m.
except: June 24: 1–5 p.m.
Free admission

Schering Stiftung
Unter den Linden 32–34 | 10117 Berlin

Symposium “Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown” in cooperation with SAVVY Contemporary
June 27, 2017, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Schering Stiftung/silent green Kuppelhalle

On June 27, 2017, the Ernst Schering Foundation organizes in cooperation with SAVVY Contemporary e.V. the symposium “Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown” at the Kuppelhalle in Berlin. The symposium aims to explore the experience of seeing the “unknown” on a phenomenological level, while also shedding light on its transformative potential. The symposium is part of the project “Retreat into Darkness. Towards a Phenomenlogy of the Unknown” by the Berlin-based artist Ivana Franke. With Ivana Franke, vision scientist Bilge Sayim, curator and art historian Elena Agudio, artist and author Patricia Reed, science historian Jimena Canales, and Sylvia Pont, leader of the Perceptual Intelligence Lab in Delft.

How do we perceive and experience entities and events that we cannot properly categorize – how does the unknown as a subjective experience come about? What is the relationship between the unknown and the known within visual perceptual experiences, between the visible and the legible? What is the significance of the experience of the unknown in our lives, and what is its function in society?

These and other questions will be discussed by the speakers out of their various backgrounds. The symposium will provide a glimpse into this fascinating, little investigated aspect of human experience, while letting the audience engage in a scientific and artistic voyage into the mysteries of perception and the human mind – into how we fundamentally encounter and shape the world around us.

Please register by June 19 at

Find the programm here.

Please note whether you will join the exhibition tour and the talks or the talks only.

The project Retreat into Darkness. Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown by Ivana Franke investigates the limits of our perception.

“The peculiar property of the pure spirit is seeing, not knowing.” (Justinus Kerner)

Do we only see what we know? What can dislocate us from our comfortable, predefinded point of view and challenge our gaze on the world? With her new installation, Ivana Franke takes us into a visual and bodily experience able to break our preconceived idea of reality, lending it other dimensions that are decidedly fictive, imaginary, and cosmic. Creating “epistemological ruptures”, those experiences give us the capacity to imagine, to challenge existing common modes of knowledge, and to create room for different possible futures.

The project includes an exhibition curated by Elena Agudio, a symposium, and a publication, along with a series of experiments on the experience of seeing the unknown, conducted by the artist in collaboration with the vision scientist Bilge Sayim.

Further events:

Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften
June 24, 2017, 5–12 p.m.
Schering Stiftung
Lectures, artist talk, guided exhibition tours
With: Elena Agudio, Ivana Franke, Anil Seth, Philipp Sterzer, Melanie Wilke et al.

Ivana Franke, Retreat into Darkness. Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown, 2017. Schering Stiftung, Berlin. Film Mario Furicic