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Terrapolis – arkbooks
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in Ark Review/Essays/Manifesto by

We, Ariane Veiergang and Ditte Nesdam-Madsen, founded Terrapolis. It is a platform for text, conversations and dialogue. Our desire is for Terrapolis to become a stage on which literature can cooperate and co-create with other art forms: as in an exhibition space of text-based art, as in the publishing books and so on — somehow rethinking the relation between literature and artwork, text and performativity. We want Terrapolis to be a fluid space, able to take on different shapes. Terrapolis is not restrained by universals but filled with all sorts of forms. We imagine it as a cohabitation, an opening pattern because Terrapolis is a place of vitality for co-operations, experiments and collectives.

Picture a space where literature takes on other meanings and is performed in other ways. A way of doing that would be to talk about the piece of literature and the artwork as a perpetual creation and recreation throughout its different readers and readings; the work is never done, but constantly oscillating between different points. Imagine the artwork, the piece of literature, as a process. Let’s stop talking in definite terms, but open ourselves up to perception, sensibility, emotions and associative thoughts. Let’s take the extra, the in-between and the surplus into account. Let’s try and read the texts together, read them up close and occasionally also far away. Let’s try to be open, but also acknowledge that flux could come with consequences. Imagine it as Donna Haraway describes string figures (sort of like cat’s cradle, a game of strings between a set of hands, could be your own, could be with a friend): “Playing games of string figures is about giving and receiving patterns, dropping threads and failing but sometimes finding something that works, something consequential and maybe even beautiful, that wasn’t there before, of relaying connections that matter, of telling stories in hand upon hand, digit upon digit, attachment site upon attachment site, to craft conditions for finite flourishing on terra, on earth”.

Picture a space where new connections are made constantly and where we collectively regroup and reconsider. It’s a place for cohabitation and radical equality, but also a place to abolish those categories keeping us constrained, on the outside. For all those things to exist at the same time, Terrapolis might be a utopian idea, however, it is one that we believe in.

The meaning of this comforting space doesn’t close Terrapolis off nor do we strive to be self-containing. Terrapolis is political and planetary: the importance of being connected, as well as responsible. We are political because we believe in taking responsibility for our actions and privileges and we strive to add some healing to the dystopian reality that we’re trapped in. This also comes with recognizing how we’ll always be connected to everything and everyone on this planet. We take the political and the planetary serious and strive to make both feel and become better. We care about all species; we care about the planet, its populations and politics; and everything in between.

Terrapolis is looking for its own place to call home, but until then it’ll pop up here and there. Our upcoming projects this year include Seminars on Greenland and the independence process the relationship Greenland-Denmark in both Greenlandic and Danish contemporary art and contemporary literature. Seminars on science fiction and speculative theory. Seminars on poetics of translation, when poets translate.

Together, let’s rethink how we think, re-craft crafts and consider the conditions. Reach out or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.


Tonight at Xenon, Terropolis will be holding a radio cinema presentation of “Blodstænket Måne” by the late Danish writer Morti Vizkis. Click here for more details. 

All photographs by Maria Dønvang.

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