Debating Chamber:
BREATH – Figureheads, and Emancipation in Artistic Practice

  1. 1 November 23, 7 pm

    In English

    Online event via

  2. Registration via


<p>PROVOCATEURS f.l.t.r. Annika Larsson, Photo: Julie Meresse; Abbas Zahedi, Photo: Bálint Álovits and Thats So CSM; Juliette Desorgues, Photo: Rob Kulisek</p>
<p>SABOTEURS f.l.t.r. Toby Üpson, Photo: Damian Griffiths; Joanna Atemengue Owona, Photo: Joan Funnah</p>

PROVOCATEURS f.l.t.r. Annika Larsson, Photo: Julie Meresse; Abbas Zahedi, Photo: Bálint Álovits and Thats So CSM; Juliette Desorgues, Photo: Rob Kulisek

SABOTEURS f.l.t.r. Toby Üpson, Photo: Damian Griffiths; Joanna Atemengue Owona, Photo: Joan Funnah


The Metabolic Museum-University (MM-U) presents four Debating Chambers NERVES, BREATH, MUSCLES, BLOOD. Convened by members of the MM-U, each debating chamber begins with a 7-minute visual and verbal provocation presented by a guest speaker, followed by a sabotage of their proposition, and a debate.


BREATH — Figureheads and Emancipation addresses the icons and references that inform emerging artists and curators, and the ambivalent sense of respect and resistance they ignite. Do art students seek to disassociate themselves with the figure of the artist from the past, and how is this role defined today? Are individual artistic positions dissolving in favor of emancipation through identity politics and collective movements? The Debating Chamber kicks off with three 7-minute visual and verbal Provocations followed by a response or Sabotage of these propositions, and a public debate.



Juliette Desorgues is a curator and writer based in Paris. She was previously Curator at MOSTYN, Wales, and Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. She has held curatorial positions at the Barbican Art Gallery, London and Generali Foundation, Vienna. She studied at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vienna, and University College London.


Annika Larsson is an artist based in Berlin. Her work examines the entangled relationship between power, knowledge, embodiment, affect and visuality within our digital and physical worlds. She is interested in incidental but meaningful gestures and rituals in corporal-linguistic patterns of behavior that conceal or challenge hierarchical social power structures. Her works have been shown internationally at institutions including Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Fundacion la Caixa, Barcelona; Le Magasin, Grenoble; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nürnberg; ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art, London; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; S.M.A.K., Gent and Musac, Lyon. Between 2018–22 she lead the artistic research project “Non-knowledge, Laughter and The Moving Image”, funded by The Swedish Research Council in collaboration with Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm and HFBK Hamburg where she held a professorship between 2017–23. 


Abbas Zahedi is an artist who lives in London. Zahedi studied medicine at University College London, before completing an MA in “Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies” at Central Saint Martins in 2019. Zahedi’s practice blends contemporary philosophy, poetics, and social dynamics. Considered through sound and sculpture, performance and context-contingent gestures, his artworks fundamentally explore how personal and collective histories interweave; unpicking these interrelations to create moments for togetherness. Selected exhibitions include “Holding a Heart in Artifice,” Nottingham Contemporary (2023); “Metatopia 10013,” Anonymous Gallery, New York (2022); “The London Open 2022,” Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); “Postwar Modern,” Barbican, London (2022); “Testament,” Goldsmiths CCA, London

(2022); “D.E.VALUATION,” Mécènes du Sud, Montpellier (2021); “Ouranophobia SW3”, Chelsea Sorting Office, London (2020);  “How To Make A How From A Why?,” Fire Station, South London Gallery and many more.



Joana Atemengue Owona is a visual artist studying at the University of the Arts, Hamburg. In the past years, she has been involved in self-organized projects centered on social critique. Her artistic practice bridges research and theory-based reflections on Black Studies, delving into poetic, visual, and textual puzzles around safety, futurity, affective states, and elusiveness. Her formal focus lies in sculpture and large-scale installations. She is a member of the Faculty of MM-U 2023.


Toby Üpson is an art-writer currently based in London (UK). Drawn to the quotidian, his writing toys with modes of ekphrasis and critical analogy. By connecting the small dots he finds in the mundaneness of a thing, and magnifying these, Üpson’s writing practice loosely operates around a motivation to re-order the logistics of a/our/some common surround. He is a member of the Faculty of MM-U 2023.


Metabolic Museum-University 
Director: Dr. Clémentine Deliss
Coordinators: Jakob Karpus, Christina Scheib
MM-U Faculty 2023: Ollie George, Felipe Meres, Joana Owona, Toby Üpson, Edi Danartono Winarni, Winnie Zhu
IG: @metabolicmuseumuniversity