Terms of Belonging

Overgaden ICA, Copenhagen | 2011

2 September - 30 October, 2011

Exhibition Notes:

Terms of Belonging was curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh for Overgaden ICA (Copenhagen, DK), 2011.


Preview article in Kunsten.nu by Mia Yates, August, 2011; column in Kunstkritikk.dk by Jacob Lillemose, October, 2011; and a Critics' Picks in Artforum by Stephen Squibb, November, 2011.

  • Superflex, Corruption Contract, laser-jet print on paper, 2011. Legal consultation by Daniel McClean.

  • Terms of Belonging, installation shot.

  • Terms of Belonging, installation shot.

  • Terms of Belonging, installation shot.

  • Althea Thauberger, The Next 78,6 Year's, September 2nd, 2011.

This past spring, wave after wave of social and political change swept across Northern Africa and parts of the Middle East. After decades of dictatorial and unjust rule the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and others took to the streets to overthrow their leaders. In Greece, Spain and the UK, young people and old alike have taken to their city centers to protest against forced austerity. Prior to the ‘Arab Spring’, Sudan was the only Arab country to have successfully conquered its authoritarian regime. In the decade leading up to these popular revolutions, more quiet, structural, top-down transformations have taken place in other parts of the world. A combination of neo-liberal ideology and nationalism has been spreading like wildfire, turning once-progressive nation states with strong welfare and justice systems, like Denmark and The Netherlands, into places where aggressive privatization goes hand in hand with xenophobia and where prejudice has taken over the political discourse.

Terms of Belonging, a residency, an exhibition, and a forum bound together by an online publication addressing the future and being together. The project featured Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson; Kajsa Dahlberg; Luca Frei; Olivia Plender; Pia Rönicke & Nis Rømer; Superflex; Althea Thauberger; and Johan Tirén. Terms of Belonging was initiated in order to devote time, energy, and creative thought toward the question: How can we realize ways of sharing our world beyond the confines of nationalism? Participating artists presented new and recent works which will weave and alter social fabrics to enter into new and unexpected relationships with their collaborators and audiences. By fostering temporary communities, employing strategic separatism, or reframing social and legal contracts, the artists generated other modes of being-in-common.

The production residency was a collaboration between Overgaden, CPH AIR, and the Factory for Art and Design in Copenhagen and took place during August. It gave the artists an opportunity to form a community amongst themselves and to establish ties with Copenhageners who are participants in the project. The exhibition took place at Overgaden’s from early September to the end of October, and was the key point of contact between artists and audiences, serve as a meeting point for participants, and become an active space for the objects and images produced by the artists. In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, the curators organized a public forum which is a collaboration between Overgaden and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Here, exhibiting artists and curators will be joined by local artists, art historians, curators, and activists–including Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen and Tone Olaf Nielsen–in a series of presentations and panel discussions. Olivia Plender did a perfomative audience survey, involving the forums participants and audience alike. For more information on past, current and upcoming events, please see the projects website.