Therme Art Program

Experiencing to Reconnect: The Transformative Potential of Art

Therme Art Wellbeing Culture Forum returned for a new season with a very special panel discussion presented in collaboration with Serpentine Galleries.

Moderated by the Serpentine’s Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and hosted by Therme Art’s Curator Mikolaj SekutowiczExperiencing to Reconnect: The Transformative Potential of Art considered the powerful role of art and creativity in navigating crisis. The event is now available to stream above and at Dezeen.

Joining the conversation was artist and designer Es Devlin, along with artists Torkwase Dyson and Tino Sehgal. While working in different media and registers, all explore questions of shared space, creating ‘experiences that reveal capabilities’ (Dyson) and new points of connection rooted in a renewed awareness of our symbiotic relationship to each other and our natural world.

Like the Wellbeing Culture Forum more broadly, Experiencing to Reconnect was a direct response to current events. Over recent years, we have witnessed the growing visibility of artistic projects founded on shared experience and exchange. However, the pandemic and its accompanying social and cultural upheavals have highlighted their urgency, revealing, as Devlin puts it, ‘the scale of which we see, and the scale we don’t see.’

In the current moment of isolation and quarantine, reconnection through shared experience has become a widely felt need. Gathering actors who are helping to define and expand the increasingly influential field of experiential art, Experiencing to Reconnect explored how art can generate reconnection, counter a ‘dominance of nationality’ (Sehgal) and help us navigate this crisis, and the next.

Es Devlin, Forest of Us at Superblue Miami, 2021 (installation shot)

Developed by Therme Art, the Wellbeing Culture Forum is an interdisciplinary talks programme of virtual and mixed-reality events running since spring 2020. Founded as a response to the ongoing pandemic, its aim is to connect artists with individuals from science, politics, architecture, and corporate culture to establish practical interventions in urban reality.

So far, Therme Art has collaborated with partners including Manchester International Festival, the British Council to realise vibrant conversations on the most pressing topics of our time. The most recent event in the series, From Growing Gaia to Breaking Bauhaus, held at Messe in St. Agnes in Berlin, explored approaches to reconnect ourselves and our society with the complex systems of nature. 

Marking the start of a new cycle of Wellbeing Culture Forum, Experiencing to Reconnect: The Transformative Potential of Art was an opportunity for key figures from art and design to meet and consider the current crisis, describe new artistic strategies that have emerged from it, and create bridges through which new art forms can create positive social and environmental impact.

Es Devlin, Forest of Us at Superblue Miami, 2021 (installation shot)

Key Questions

1. Can art be a vital force in transforming cultural behaviour?

2. How can a space of culture become the new heart of the city, signalling a shift towards connection and experience? Which art platforms promote this approach?

3. What is the importance in thinking culture and health symbiotically?

4. When we redefine its importance in relation to wellbeing and the reconnection with a healthy environment, how much space can we dedicate to art?

5. How can we open up experiential spaces to communities previously excluded from cultural activities?

6. How can we use practical approaches in art to reintegrate nature in our cities?

7. How can we apply art to elevate environmental consciousness?

8. Is there a new need for the transformative quality of art? Which answer do artists offer?

9. In a world where most is planned out, how can we make space for reverberation––the uncontrollable, only half-defined space between recipient and communicator?

10. How can we curate and re-adjust cultural interactions?


Torkwase Dyson (Artist)
Es Devlin (Artist and designer)
Tino Sehgal (Artist)


Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries)
Mikolaj Sekutowicz (CEO and Curator, Therme Art)



In partnership with