The Matrix of All Possible Narratives


2018, Sep 13, Thu — 2019, Jan 07, Mon

What are the conditions of possibility and limits of narration? What enabled certain stories to be told at certain times and not others? Is there “a story of all stories”, a structure underlying the world’s myths, its oral and written traditions? What is the genealogy of narratology? And how have the functions of narration changed with the increase in technological communication and mathematical formalization?

The Matrix of All Possible Narratives explores the origins and crises of grand narratives and meta- histories, against the backdrop of conflicts over the definitional sovereignty of cultures and identities. The exhibition presents material from anthropology, archeology, art, literature, and mathematics, from the pre-modern and modern and to our contemporary. The project reckons with the intellectual ambitions and self-claimed authority of literate societies to interpret everything in the world. A "matrix of stories" however relies in a very concrete sense on media techniques - tables of lists and columns, axes and fields, on clay, papyrus, parchment, and paper. And yet, the modern search for “the matrix of all possible narratives has always had to vie with its own impossibility. Considering universal histories and their historiographies through oral, visual, and written records from the eighteenth century to the so-called “end of history,” The Matrix of All Possible Narratives gestures toward a story that may still await.

Curated by Anselm Franke, Nida Ghouse, Erhard Schüttpelz

Part of Kanon-Fragen

Exhibition and discourse

Sep 13, 2018–Jan 07, 2019