Thematic Focus: Mutations

Thematic Focus

Interdisciplinary thematic residency 2020–2021


Mutations are processes with unpredictable outcomes: transformation, loss of control, and irreversibility, but also diversity, metamorphosis, and hybridity. It is this indeterminacy and associative richness that makes mutations uncanny and attractive at the same time.

In the fields of biology and genetics, mutations refer to a change in DNA, the elementary code of life. Mutations occur as variation and alteration, as unforeseen transformation of material or environment. Mutations happen at the intersection of information and manifest in a modification of all aspects of life; in the physicality of living beings. In the environment and its ecological, social, and political conditions they apply to the formation of cultural spaces. Mutations hold an enormous potential for radical thinking and change. They contradict the existing order, challenging hierarchies and perhaps heralding the dawn of a new age.

Today’s ecological crisis and social inequalities pose serious structural challenges to all societies of today. Residence programs serve as an experimental space in which the participants observe, analyze, and challenge mutant processes. Through the lens of mutations we can assess and rewire these processes from the ground up. In this sense, how can we think about mutations in times of profound socio-political and ecological change? How can we unleash the diversity and multiplicity that is inherent to mutations? What does »mutation« mean in the interrelationship between artistic, social, and planetary work? In this sense, »mutations« serve as a subject to be explored from intertwining points of view, both scientifically and artistically. The group of seven selected fellows will be committed to working on the topic jointly for the time span of nine months. They will contribute to the Akademie’s internal program via monthly labs, and will also participate in public events. Accompanying mentoring will be offered during the entire stay of the residence.

»Mutations« is a cooperation of Akademie Schloss Solitude and KfW Stiftung to foster transdisciplinary and transcultural dialogue between the arts and sciences. By inviting artists, scientists and creative minds from all fields to engage in a focused group conversation within a given thematic frame, the 9-month-program encourages critical reflection and artistic production as well as encounters across disciplines.

KfW Stiftung is an independent non-profit foundation based in Frankfurt/Main which addresses the challenges facing society today. With the aim of raising awareness, encouraging people to take on responsibility, and shaping diversity in today’s globalized world, KfW Stiftung is active in four major areas: Environment and Climate, Social Commitment, Responsible Entrepreneurship, and Arts and Culture. The Arts and Culture program initiates various platforms for international contemporary arts, with a focus on non-European and non-Western art. It initiates and funds projects such as residency programs for emerging artists and curators, or writers’ workshops.



The duration of the residency is October 2020 to June 2021. All successful applicants are expected to spend the full nine months in Stuttgart to engage in the program.

The first six months of the residency are dedicated to an intensive dialogue between the fellows, in which they communally develop their practice, creating a platform for knowledge exchange. The collaborative approach to artistic research stands at the forefront of this phase. The following three months are dedicated to a development process in which the fellows expand their practice to engage with the public. The topical residency leads to a closing format (symposium, exhibition or other event, and a publication).

Further information on the thematic focus and the projects of the seven selected fellows can be found at: