The Survival Room in the Neue Galerie in Kassel is a workspace for 100 days of questions, exchange and reflection. 

It is an immersive arena for seminars and enquiry labs, and an integral part of the Kassel-21 / Social Sculpture Lab. Its focus on questions of ‘survival’ bring it into dialogue with Beuys ‘The Pack’, which is also in the Neue Galerie.

The Survival Room is a workspace to explore how we, as individuals and a society, understand what it means to survive? Whose survival are we talking about? And, at what cost?

It focuses on ‘freedom’ as a fundamental question and the close connection between freedom and responsibility…

It is a space for reflections on solidarity in a world of diverse worldviews…

And on the survival of the human soul and all life forms in an era of machine intelligence when the technosphere we’ve created comes back to bite us.

It is an experiential-reflective arena for uncovering, encountering and exploring what kind of future we want.

It is a place to face the damage and extremes of injustice; to explore our wounds and our vulnerability; and to recognize and understand the intersecting crises between humans, and between humans and all life forms.

It is also a space to explore and recognize the possibilities for transformation and what capacities are needed to shape a living future.


The work in the Survival Room includes:

1. The contemplative action “A Gift for Joseph Beuys: The 3 Pots Action” –in the Survival Room and online– for exploring what we each think Beuys left us for the future.

2. Seminar-conversations on ‘Views of Survival’, ‘Worldviews for One Planet’, Beuys ‘Call for an Alternative’ and other calls, past and present, as well as an exploration of Beuys’ view of ‘Evolution’ and what this has to do with the field of social sculpture.

3. Presentations on the Earth Forum, FRAMETALKS and Field of Commitment, the 3 Connective Practices taking place in Kassel, and reflections on their effectiveness.

4. Exchanges on key social sculpture and connective practice concepts such as:
Beuys’ ‘Thinking is already sculpture’, ‘Working with invisible materials’, and ‘It is the human soul that needs saving’; Steiner’s ‘The Sacrament of the Future is to Encounter’, and from the field of contemporary connective practice Sacks’ “Sustainability without the I-Sense in Nonsense”; “Responsibility as an ability-to-respond”; and a week long ‘Proposals for the Future’ platform.

5. An accumulation of 1€ products that visitors are invited to bring in and reflect on regarding one’s own survival and survival of the planet. What sacrifices need to be made, and by whom? What do we really need? What has the Covid crisis illuminated about all this stuff? What role can the consumer play in deciding about all this?

6. Yes/No blackboard for thinking-together about “the future we want”!

7. A Letter to Joseph Beuys  Instead of a museum text about Beuys’ Social Sculpture ideas and their roots, Shelley Sacks has written a letter to Beuys. Her conversation with Beuys encourages a dialogue between visitors and  her and in ourselves. The letter also gives her the opportunity to asks questions of herself and of Beuys, about the dangers of eco-fascism, the scaling out of humanoid robots and what is to be done, if, like he said: It is the human soul that needs saving. [Read Letter to Beuys- PDF]


Online global exchanges about current projects related to social sculpture and connective practice and proposals for pathways to ecological citizenship and an eco-social future

Work beyond the museum walls, through the online global exchanges, and the connective practices like Earth Forum, Field of Commitment and FRAMETALKS, on the streets, in the parks, in the fields, and sometimes the people chose to take into their homes.

There are now [July 2021] opportunities for small exchanges and group work in the Neue Galerie. Others actions will take place outdoors.

For all events and exchanges in the Survival Room see the 2021 Program. Some events require booking through Eventbrite. Some simply through phoning Neue Galerie. Recordings from online exchanges, and some of the seminars, if edited in time, will be shared in the Survival Room as well.

Open Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00 CET. Kassel.
If a Seminar-Conversation is in progress, you are welcome to stay, and see how and when it is appropriate to join in.


You are invited to come on your own, or with friends and family, and to bring an object which raises these questions.

How do I understand ‘Survival’?  What do I/we need to do to survive? Do I/we really need this to survive -and at what cost? 

If the object in question is too big -like a car or a fridge, then you can ‘bring’ it and contribute it to the exchange, by describing it and maybe drawing it on a piece of paper.

We hope to see you in person in the Survival Room with your object.


Shelley Sacks, artist-curator of the lab, will guide these Survival Room Exchange processes using elements her ‘connective practice approach’ that go beyond discussion and arguing about viewpoints and positions, and enable people to come to new insights and to work imaginatively with what Beuys called “the invisible materials of speech, discussion and thought”.

When and where:  See dates in the PROGRAM for this process.

The Survival Room Exchange process takes place on several dates from June to September.  You can just come spontaneously [at the moment -July 2021]  or phone the Neue Galerie in advance to book a place. This Survival Room process is free.

In the Survival Room you can also participate in A GIFT FOR JOSEPH BEUYS: 3 Pots for the Future action and find out about all the different aspects of the Kassel-21 Social Sculpture Lab, including FRAMETALKS in the Foyer.