Originally borrowed from Anglo-French language (fantosme), the lexical term phantom is used in English since the late 16th century and presumably since the 18th century in German. Correspondent to ancient Greek φάντασμα (phantasma), the notion is synonymous with phenomenon, illusion, chimera and alike. In medicine phantom pain is a common expression for a pain that an individual experiences, relating to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the body, e.g. due to amputation. The indian philosophy of Vedanta even considers the whole world as a phantom (Maya), disguising infinite wisdom.Hence, a phantom is something that is not present, but appears to be, and thus always refers to a boundary towards something other and ulterior. The simultaneity of the initiation of the term “phantom” into common western european language with the dawn of modern age respectively modernity is no coincidence, for the modern constitution, as a mode of classification and mapping the world, is after all defined by the organization of lines of demarcation. This mode relies on a positivism in the description of the world: the imagination of a negative as a result of division. The cultural particularity of notably modernity derives from the naturalization of this divisive practice. And according to Bruno Latour, this division of nature and culture, and the subsequent purification of the two domains of subjects on the one side, and things on the other, is only possible by a repression of the middle ground, the mediation that connects subjects and objects in multiple forms:“Everything happens in the middle, everything passes between the two, everything happens by way of mediation, translation and networks, but this place does not exist, it has no place. It is unthinkable, the unconscious of the modern.”Bruno LatourThe exhibition Airy Phantoms interrogates this practice of division and negation, and reveals how we conceptualize and implement it on a daily routine. The displayed works bring the naturalized and seemingly determined position of the subject out of center, and oscillate the subject-object constellation.