NOWs: Your country of two dimensions is not spacious enough. Limits of Perception Lab. By Ivana Franke

18 - 28 June 2020 / Nows

Ivana Franke. Planetary Nebula, World t012345_A6_0, 2019. Photo Martina Mihaljevic

Your country of two dimensions is not spacious enough. Limits of Perception Lab by Ivana Franke


SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin

Entrance; Plantagenstraße 31



Open to the public (max of 15 people in the gallery at same time), visitors wanting to participate in the experiments should register HERE


WITHJarita Holbrook, Taita Juan Martín Jamioy Juajibio, Juan-Andres Leon, Sangeetha Menon, Ida Momennejad, Monica Narula, Lisa Randall, Tomas Saraceno, Sunčica Ostojić


WITHIsrael Lopez
In the Limits Lab in Berlin-Moabit – Open to the public by appointment HERE

…your country of Two Dimensions is not spacious enough to represent me, a being of Three, but can only exhibit a slice or section of me, which is what you call a Circle. – Edwin Abbott Abbott.1884. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

For one week,SAVVY Contemporary transforms itself into the LIMITS OF PERCEPTION LAB, a hybrid of an artist studio and a scientific laboratory, using multidisciplinary methodologies to study experience and as a means of knowledge disruption and production. [2] It is grounded in artistic practice within an extended context, drawing from and working with practitioners from the fields of cognitive and vision science, neuroscience, experimental psychology, mathematics, and architecture while being in conversation with critical practitioners from the fields of humanities, including but not limited to art history, history of science, and philosophy.

The project serves an experimental phase of a long-term platform for investigation of perceptual limits as potential sites of social transformation. This materialization of the open lab at SAVVY Contemporary focuses on perception and imaginations of extra dimensions.

The SAVVY Contemporary iteration of LIMITS OF PERCEPTION LAB concerns itself with limits of perception and epistemological categories, including Western definitions and how they shape the ways in which we are taught to think, feel, and rationalise our sensing of ourselves and the world. Ivana Franke’s work probes possibilities of approaching consciousness in “a multidimensional way,” [3] seeking means of affirming our imaginations beyond already known categories and habituated ways of perceiving – going beyond what Harvard physicist Lisa Randall calls the “pervasive but quite possibly mistaken assumption that we live in a three-dimensional world.” The weeklong exhibition and laboratory installed at SAVVY Contemporary materialises as a zone to provide experience in which to question the habitual ways of seeing and knowing in three-dimensional environments.

Visitors are invited to navigate the gallery space transformed into an open studio, and to engage with spaces of darkness, epiphanies of lights, visual quandaries and thought experiments. In addition to the public experiments, a discursive programme and a radio broadcast will address Western scientific assumptions about consciousness and the limits of perception. The project connects to and draws upon SAVVY Contemporary’s programme THE INVENTION OF SCIENCE and its long-term explorations and challenges of the frailties and fallacies of objective scientific knowledge.

The laboratory problematises the potential of “epistemological ruptures” that break with “normal science” [4] and evokes experiences to challenge existing common modes of knowledge-production, to question the “hegemonic assertions of Enlightenment ideals of the liberal white male subject,” [5] to crack open preconceived ideas of reality, and to lend it other dimensions that are decidedly fictitious, imaginary, and cosmic.

We concern ourselves with a set of questions: What is an experience and what conditions it? How does the meaning from the experience itself? How does cultural embeddedness influence perception and cognition of experience?

Every single view from within speaks the truth about its own reality. It is irreplaceable, so invaluable, and equally valid as all others are. Experiencer’s experience holds the power to subjective truth. Disrupting the Cartesian tradition of placing mind over matter, and interrupting the idea of the “liberal subject, represented as having a body, but not being a body,” as Alexander G. Weheliye states, the experiments also grapple with redrafting the hegemonic Western version of personhood, and engage with “inscriptions of humanity” … “that always incorporate their own multiplicities, as opposed to mere uncritical echoes of the white liberal humanist subject.” [6]

This project engages with scientists alongside indigenous, non-Western and non-positivist modes of investigating human consciousness. It reflects on lived experiences, which combine first and third-person perspectives, while suggesting new ways of sharing them. This opens possibilities for producing and disseminating knowledge in an unterritorialized, non-hierarchical, multidimensional, and more-than-human future planetary imagination.