Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Video still

Holobiont Society

2017. Video installation, 34′ 21″

“I think that doing theory and doing story are very strong, they are like faces at each other, it’s like foreground background (…) Not all theory is story and not all story is theory, but the contact zone between the two is really thick.” These opening statements by Donna Haraway to Dominique Koch’s new film Holobiont Society, mirror the artist’s favorite themes. She pursues an artistic research which often touches on questions of language, approached as much as code, as theoretical or narrative tool, physical materiality, sound, and nature. In her artistic process, Dominique Koch leans primarily on a theoretical material which she augments and pushes progressively through analogous iterations. Koch creates through the editing of her films juxtapositions and combinations of discourses, images and sounds, that generate levels of senses, sensations and perceptions situated well beyond discursive elements. The installations within which Koch inserts her films allows her to prolong and complexify the creation through analogies. Holobiont Society, Dominique Koch’s latest film, articulates around mixed interviews done separately by the artist. Koch met the American biologist and feminist Donna Haraway and the French philosopher and sociologist of Italian origin Maurizio Lazzarato. Committed to thinking about life in terms of symbiosis, Haraway weaves links of codependency between species, questioning the mere notion of individuality. She relies on, among other things, the holobiont concept, a term that describes the phenomenon of symbiosis, the association of different species that form one ecological unit, where one cannot live without the other. As for the philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato, he elaborates on an analysis of the current neoliberal condition with corrosive lucidity and questions the capitalist system through the multiple wars it inflicts and denies. The creation of an engrossing audio-visual space allows the artist to lead this pragmatic program in a dystopian atmosphere which is reminiscent of a science-fiction universe. However, far from promoting the heroism of that cinematographic genre, she creates a fertile ambiguity allowing for a change of perspective, stimulating the exchanges between reality, imagination and alienation.

Marie Villemin & Arthur de Pury


Dominique Koch, born 1983 in Lucerne, Switzerland, lives and works in Basel and Paris. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig. Her conceptual works deal with forms, gestures and language of knowledge mediation as well as philosophical questions that are translated into spatial audio and video installations and objects.

Recent personal exhibitions (selection): Holobiont Society, CAN Neuchâtel (2017), Maybe We Should Rejuvenate the Words rather than the Bodies, Rinomina Paris (2016); Beyond Chattering and Noise, Centre culturel suisse, Paris (2015). Recent group exhibitions (selection): Ex Situ. Samples of Lifeforms, Copenhagen Contemporary (2017), Biotopia, Kunsthalle Mainz (2017), Performing Knowledge, Dienstgebäude Zürich (2017), Strange Attractor, The Agency Gallery London (2016); Swiss Art Awards (2016); Jahresausstellung des Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt, Kunsthalle Basel (2015), Nietzsche, Cyclists and Mushrooms. Language in contemporary art after the iconic turn, Kunst Raum Riehen (2015); How to Play, Galerie Annex14, Zurich (2015).