Everything is alive: More than human worlds

1 Jan 2024 – 31 Dec 2030

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Everything is alive: More than human worlds

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Museum der Kulturen Basel

Basel-Stadt, Switzerland


Travel Information

  • Tram no.2 to 'Kunstmuseum’ stop
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Event map

What happens when mountains, rivers, trees, animals, mushrooms, things, spirits, ancestors and people meet?


The focus of the exhibition is the question of how people can rethink and change their relationships with other beings in order to find ways out of the planetary crisis.

Based on 165 objects from the MKB collection, contemporary works of art and many voices from different regions of the world, the exhibition questions a human-centered worldview.

From this perspective, land, mountains, rivers and things are resources that are exploited for a global, profit-oriented economic system. This is accompanied by violence and dispossession, displacement and oppression. Colonizing and extractivist practices endanger the habitability of the earth.

The planetary crisis challenges us to rethink and re-establish our relationships with the world around us. What if other beings were alive and equal?

More than a tree
The carved tree in the first room is more than a tree for Kamilaroi communities in Australia. It is an ancestor and family member, embodies knowledge and has the ability to act.

In the indigenous understanding of the lowlands of South America, the forest is a living being with life force that has a body and breathes. Drawings of hunting, gathering, fishing and plants from the Paraguayan Chaco show in a second room that there is no separation between nature and culture there. Plants, animals and spirit beings have the ability to feel and act and lead a life in their own collectives.

Rights for earth, mountains and rivers
In a third room, altars with powerful images, sculptures and offerings make people aware that beings like Mount Meru are manifestations of the divine. Pachamama, Mother Earth, was included in the national constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia as the giver of life force. In 2017, the New Zealand government granted the Whanganui River, which is an ancestor and family member for the Maori, the status of a legal entity.

Recent research shows that life is about symbiosis and interdependence. Humans and other beings create and inhabit their worlds together.

Inspired by the diary drawings of Basel activist Bruno Manser, who campaigned for the preservation of the rainforest in Borneo, the Institute for Textile Research in Basel has created a giant tree for the exhibition. It invites visitors to join in the weaving and thereby experience themselves as part of the web of life.


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