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“BONDS: Guilt, Debts and other Liabilities”
Conference. Cartography. Theater.

December 6th to 8th, 2012, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

With: Ralph Bollmann, Christina von Braun, Eric Brian, Michael C. Burda, Peter Eigen, Elena Esposito, Aris Fioretos, Michael Freund, Ulrike Harms, Marcel Hénaff, Ulrike Herrmann, Jochen Hörisch, Michael Hutter, Maurizio Lazzarato, Maria-Sibylla Lotter, Wolfgang Pircher, Birger P. Priddat, Tomáš Sedláček, Leopold Seiler, Stephan Seiter, Ulrike Vedder, Elisabeth Weber, Sigrid Weigel, Holger Zschäpitz

Theater: Tomáš Sedláček | Cartography: Bureau d’Etudes | Film: Sasha Pirker & Irini Athanassakis | Reading: Aris Fioretos | Resource Area / News Room with films, documentaries, research material, facts & figures | Systemic Constellations & Workshops: Hunter Beaumont, Rica zu Salm-Rechberg, Wanda Golonka

Free admission to the conference, exhibition and systemic constellations; theater: 6 € / 4 €. All events in German-English simultaneous translation.

No registration required for the conference. Registration for the Systemic Constellations: bonds(at)

A project by Humboldt-Universität, Berlin / Institute for Cultural History and Theory in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Project management: Thomas Macho (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin), Artistic director: Irini Athanassakis (Berlin / Paris).

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung.



“The analysis of progressive and regressive guilt transformation processes also implies the question of how such processes can be discontinued and remedied. What could, in reality, constitute emancipation? And what constitutes forgiveness? Or waiving economic debts?” — Thomas Macho, 2012

Debt is the subject of a great deal of debate at the present time. Characterized and accompanied by assignments of guilt, the figures, definitions and emotions that are in play have become entwined in a knot that will be very hard to undo. The transdisciplinary international conference “BONDS: Guilt, Debts and other Liabilities” aims to work out possible directions, questions, dialogues and practical steps to bring more light to the situation.

Driven by the assumption that the current monetary debts and the debates and emotions surrounding them are closely linked to experiences of guilt – with evidence of existential and genealogical guilt, but also the perception of moral and legal guilt – a specific focus is placed on the transdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches from the areas of art, culture, the economy and academia.

In diverse talk and discussion formats, freed from the obligation to make professional assertions, representatives from the fields of anthropology, sociology, cultural history, psychology, economics, finance and the arts have been asked to bring their special expertise and skills to the debate.

An expanded understanding of political, economic, moral and cultural aspects surrounding the complex range of topics pertaining to guilt and debt calls for complementary performance-based and artistic perspectives. And, in interactive systemic constellations, possible positions with respect to guilt and debt will be rendered individually tangible and made visible. Economic theory will be performed on stage in the theatrical piece “Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street” by Tomáš Sedláček.

Link To Program