Nikolaus Gansterer, Theory Casing IV (of the Middle of the Moment), 2013 | wooden sticks, sticking tape, polystyrene balls, ca. 130 x 80 x 80 cm, Courtesy the Artist


Dictionary of Now

Series of events and publication


The changes and disruptions of the past hundred years have shaped our conception of reality, our thought, and our language. The Dictionary of Now series reflects on the capacity of language to both depict and create reality. Since the modern age this has gone hand in hand with the search for universal truths and codified usages. The Dictionary of Now confronts this assertion of linguistic universalism with specific contemporary positions.


Since 2015, renowned representatives from academia, politics and the arts have been questioning and updating the established meanings of selected words: Jonas Mekas devised a perspective of Time; Dipesh Chakrabarty and Eyal Weizman debated the meaning of the political along the term Forum; Wole Soyinka and Manthia Diawara examined concepts of Truth; Sharon Macdonald, Tony Bennett and Arjun Appadurai scrutinized the Thing in the museum, Kader Attia and Françoise Vergès developed a filmic and theoretical narrative on the Body; Taiye Selasi, David Goldberg and Achille Mbembe studied the normalization of racist Violence; Joseph Vogel, Allen Feldman and Sinaan Antoon discussed the interconnections of Fear, terror and trauma; Herta Müller and Marcel Beyer explored the facets of Language; Karin Knorr-Cetina, Philip Mirowski and Nick Srnicek on the topic Market in December 2017.

Over the course of 2018, the last three issues of the series will be devoted to the shifts and spectrums of meanings, possible interpretations and subtexts of the terms Image, Justice and Animal. How does cultural knowledge reproduce itself in images and what and how do these processes change in virtual spheres? What are the limits of justice, where do they lie and how are they negotiated today? What significance does the animal hold for humankind’s understanding of itself? These and other questions will be dealt with by W. J. T. Mitchell, John Tresch, Hito Steyerl, Nikita Dhawan, Christoph Möllers, Anne Peters, Philippe Descola and others.

A publication released in 2019 brings together the key words and participants from the individual editions, establishing connections and allowing new, dynamic constellations of knowledge production to emerge.

Dictionary of Now takes place as part of 100 Years of Now.