Sometimes called a radical ecologist Arne Hendriks (Amsterdam, 1971) investigates what it will take to make real fundamental paradigm shifts that allow the human species to embrace a different mode of existence. Rather than a fixed entity Hendriks considers humanity to be a temporary state of biological and cultural signifiers that can be examined and altered. He combines earnest declarations with wry humor and scientific fact with speculative explorations about what could or should happen. His installations present ongoing research that invites the public to participate and make up their own minds. In 2013 Hendriks was presented with the Future Concepts Dutch Design Award for his speculative research project The Incredible Shrinking Man, an investigation into the possibilities of shrinking the human species to better fit the Earth. He’s been named one of the 50 future thinkers by ICON Magazine and lectures and teaches around the world. Ongoing projects include KankerCel, the writing of an economic narrative inspired by cancer research, Evacuation (8 Billion City), about the resettlement of the human population in a single point and The Academy of Work, a series of speculative installations investigating the past, the present, and the future of work and Fatberg, the collective creation of a floating island of fat.
The Incredible Shrinking Man. A performative lecture on downsizing the human species.
Over the past 8 years Arne Hendriks has investigated if and how the humans species can become smaller. The Incredible Shrinking Man investigates the possibility of a smaller human species. Small people need less and have more. At present Homo sapiens is growing towards scarcity where we should be shrinking towards a situation of abundance. The human species is one of the most hypervariable species on Earth. The smallest person known to human history was Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal, who measured 54.6cm. American Robert Wadlow was the tallest person in recorded history with a height of 272cm. The Incredible Shrinking Man suggests to shrink to 50cm. At this height we need less then 25% of the resources we need today. The challenge is not so much how to become smaller, this is a matter of genes and food, but how to desire to become small. People have an irrational love for tallness, growth, more. We don’t want to become smaller. Yet we must. Arne Hendriks will share his ideas on how to overcome the seemingly impossible and take the first few small steps towards a smaller human species. Rule one: Suspend disbelief.
Artist, researcher — NL