Having completed a cycle of a.pass Research Center in 2019, the six of us proposed to co-curate the block of 2021/II as a group. We aim to collectively curate an a.pass block where we redistribute and redefine the roles of curator, mentor, guest and workshop facilitator. This implies putting our knowledges, our differences and kinships into (re)productive promiscuous interactions. Each of us thinks of a.pass as an ecology of sensitivities, sentiments, rhythms and styles of knowing, but also as apparatuses, technologies and infrastructures. We do a block curation that pays specific attention to the affective and emotional dimensions of research and knowledge production, which we call here “mood”. Not only do humans have their moods and mood swings, but more-than-human, eco-synth-tech systems, and also climates and markets have it, too. By thinking and proposing practices with and about mood, we are navigating with and within affective interactions, imperfections, subjectivities and sensations of making oneself orient in the research environment and the world.
The block unfolds from the 3rd of May to the 31st of July 2021.
The fourth floor of a.pass will host two installations, Unrest and The Depository Cat, inhabiting the common space, before the block starts.
Unrest, an artwork by Sofia Caesar, is a kinetic space that can move and stretch with our interactions, triggered by the workshops and reading sessions throughout the block. The Depository Cat, by Isabel Burr Raty, is a tentacular inflatable that proposes an ongoing practice based on research-treatments sharing, oriented to harvest living testimonies of the block’s processes and moods.
During the Opening Week, Sara Manente leads the first collective practice called the Washing Machine. It is a fast-paced associative game and a way to use the filter of mood to look into our research.
In the first part of the block, Antye Guenther facilitates a hybrid workshop practice, titled Oh So Serious, around moodiness for de-professionalization.
Throughout the block, Sina Seifee takes the role of PR by interviewing the participants and publishing regularly online.
Multiple reading sessions will be conducted on Thursdays during the block.
In the first part of the block, we will read selected essays associated with or drawn from Affect Theory, namely Lauren Berlant, Sara Ahmed, and Silvia Federici, under the working title Nail Art Affects Reading Sessions, facilitated by Sara Manente and Adrijana Gvozdenović.
In the second part of the block, Thursdays are reserved for The Labour of Laziness reading sessions, proposed by Rob Ritzen.
During the Opening Week, Sara Manente leads the first collective practice called the Washing Machine. It is a fast-paced associative game and a way to use the filter of mood to look into our research. Every participant is asked to prepare in advance 10 heterogeneous items from their practice under the filter of “obsessions”: bring something that you cannot stop thinking about, or that keeps coming back to you. It can be an unreasonable idea or feeling, a fragment of your own or somebody else’s work. Items can be of any format: a quote, a research question, a scrapbook, a dance move, a thought, a video extract, an object, a dream, or a short practice.
THE DEPOSITORY CAT - Isabel Burr Raty
activated by a workshop at the beginning of the block on Wednesday 12th of May
The Depository Cat is an ongoing practice throughout the block, which proposes the installation of an interactive space that invites participants to share their research in the form of self treatment/s or treatment/s for others. The idea is to open the possibility for the treatment’s giver/s and/or receiver/s to remain in a constant state of alteration, envisioning flux as one of the foundational resources in the processes of artistic research.
The “treatment” implies the sharing or design of “healing” tools that give the opportunity to translate personal artistic concepts into physical or imaginary forms. These are put into motion by being with the - self - or with the - other/Cat, to trigger inner and outer mutations that can particularize, de-particularize or meta-morph affects underlying in the creative process of research.
The Cat takes the form of a “first aid cavity” that creates a visual space composed of i.e: non-standard animisms technologies, syncretic beliefs and statements, that can be freely inhabited. This cavity is at the same time a tentacular organism, as its limits can be stretched throughout the block, populating the common a.pass room. Participants are invited to deposit the or various “remainants” of the treatment/s offered in order to imprint the memory of the “healing” that took place. The remainants can be ornamental, devotional, cathartic - human and more than human objects and/or non-objects - that can infect, disinfect, contaminate, or not the common a.pass space. The depository process is archived with photographs and shared in the form of an album at the end of the Block.
PR - Sina Seifee
ongoing interviews, public relation
Sina will make interviews with the participants throughout the whole block one by one on a weekly basis. The interviews are immediately edited into a short videographic piece with a collage style and animated elements from the imagination, the project, or the environment where the talk takes place. The pieces are published every week on multiple social platforms. The main host for the talks will be a subdomain of the a.pass website, which will be designed as a “collector” of the interviews for future access. The interviews in the format of video will be posted and prompted on both a.pass and non-a.pass platforms, where a wider audience has immediate exposure to it as it gets produced during the block.
The interviews are informal and playful, with a heuristic approach to getting to know the participants' work and their personalities. The interview will be a substitute for mentoring (around), questioning (at), guessing (what), inventing (off), entangling (with) and imagining (on) what they are doing, what they are up to, and which mood they are in. The aim is less about understanding, and more about engaging and guessing fabulously what their matters of care are, with a perspectival (i.e. a reaction that is particular to me) and speculative (the “what if”) force that I embody in my own practice. The talks might take a maximum of two hours of recording and the final edited piece will not be more than 30 minutes long. The publication of the content will be based on the agreement with the participants, how and to which extent each likes to be exposed on social media. The interviews might take place in a.pass or elsewhere.
WORKSHOPS / READING SESSIONS
NAIL ART AFFECTS READING SESSIONS - Sara Manente and Adrijana Gvozdenović
Thursdays, the first half of the block, before the HWD
13th, 20th, 27th May
We propose a formalized but relaxed situation, a hybrid form between mentoring and a reading group. We will do each other's nails while reading essays on affect theory.
“In ancient Egypt and Rome, military commanders also painted their nails to match their lips before they went off to battle.” Similarly, we will take care of each other, talk about what makes us happy and why do we feel like we feel (Sara Ahmed) to prepare for the “age of anxiety” (Lauren Berlant), to learn how we can repair (Eve Sedgwick) and to “re-enchant the world” (Silvia Federici).
Doing manicure is a self-care or a professional service that can be considered a beautification process: removing the dead cuticles, massaging and moisturizing the skin, filing, polishing and decorating the nails. It is an intimate, private process and a ritual of preparation that serves the appearance in public. Could this be also a definition of what mentoring is? Can this situation create a space where different reading and discussing of the text can happen?
OH SO SERIOUS - Antye Guenther
two days practice, 31st May and 1st June
Antye is proposing a hybrid workshop practice around seriousness - approached as a state of non-moodiness - as questionable traits of professionalism in the arts. The aim is to propose and test, in conjunction with the participants, various strategies to insert moodiness, non-seriousness and silliness (back) into artistic (research) practices as a way to de-professionalize. Where are our desires to be serious/ to be taken seriously in professional artistic contexts coming from? In what ways is this an attempt to champion objectivity and rational thinking in strong opposition to affects, moods and feelings, referring hereby as well to suspicious, idealized concepts of scientific practices in the 19th century? And what kind of strategies could help us to evoke processes of the-seriousness-ization for de-professionalization?
This two-day practice will consist of a (performative) input lecture to shed light on the complex intertwinement of academisation and professionalization in the Arts, which seem to have been fundamentally boosted by neoliberal demands of constant self-advertising and promoting. This lecture will try to trace back specific tropes of professionalism to the 19th century ideal of the scientist as an ‘objective’ data recording device. After this lecture a short reading session will be proposed, to start and stir a conversation around (problematic) seriousness and professional attitudes. This will be followed by the invitation to the participants to share and to reflect on their own seriousness in their practices, what seriousness might mean for them as artists/practitioners in the arts. At the end of the first day, the participants will be asked to think of strategies to oppose rational-objective thinking and to practice hyper-seriousness or non-seriousness as a way to ‘de-professionalize’, which we want to share and test out together the next day.
In preparation, Antye will collaborate with Sara and Isabel to invent and test specific ‘body practice’ to be added to the toolbox of de-professionalization on the 2nd day.
THE LABOUR OF LAZINESS - Rob & Steyn Bergs
reading sessions, Thursdays, the second half of the block, after the HWD and one moment in PAF
24th June, 8th and 15th July
The Labour of Laziness is dedicated to exploring the ambiguous, complex, and contradictory valences of laziness, and to examine its potentially subversive or invigorating political effects.
In neoliberalism, tirelessly working on and investing in the self becomes an exigency. Because of their relative economic precarity, but also because of the nature of their work, artists and art workers often find themselves at the forefront (or rather, at one forefront) of exploitation and, perhaps especially, self-exploitation. We are less interested in laziness as a mode of resistance to this neoliberal regime than we are in laziness as a lateral form of political agency. In other words, we are not necessarily after laziness as a straightforward opposition to work—as passivity, as a simple refusal of work, as ‘doing nothing.’
Instead, in discussing laziness, we want to raise questions about work and productivity in the arts. We will do so through collective reading sessions, taking place in an installation by Sofia Caesar.
Furthermore, for the duration of the block, participants will be invited to keep a ‘lazy journal’ as a means of reflecting on their own relation to work and (self-)discipline, as well as on their understanding of productivity and how it informs their practice. These journals will be used as a common ground for a final group discussion/workshop. Importantly, the journals need not take the written form; other formats—video, drawing, or other media—can of course also be explored.
Inga Nielsen, Anantha Krishnan, Jimena Perez Salerno, Carolina Mendonça Ferreira, Gary Farrelly, Aleksandra Borys, Amy Pickles, Chloe Janssens, Anapaula Camargo, and Vera Sofia Mota.
Isabel Burr Raty, Adrijana Gvozdenović, Antye Guenther, Sara Manente, Rob Ritzen, and Sina Seifee
Isabel Burr Raty is an artist, filmmaker, teacher and sexual Kung Fu coach exploring the interstices between the biotic and the virtual. She is currently researching on the human body as a territory for sustainable agri-culture and intertwining performance, installation and film to queer labor understandings, offer SF in real-time and play with geo-synthetic magic.
Adrijana Gvozdenović is an artist interested in artists’ motivation and ways of resisting (self)institutionalized structures. In the last three years, she has been developing methods of collecting and annotating symptomatic artistic practices that recognize their anxiety as a prerequisite state for criticality, which led to developing formats of publicness that push the borders between research, mediation, and production. These will be tested as needed during the block.
Antye Guenther is a visual artist, born and raised in East Germany. Drawing from her backgrounds in medicine, photography, and in the military, her art practices orbit around themes like ((non)biological intelligence and supercomputing, computer-brain-analogies and mind control, think tank ideologies and self-optimization, neuroimagery and fictionality of science, body perception in techno-capitalist societies and science fiction. Her work comes then in hybrid forms: performances, performative ceramic objects, fictionalized video tutorials, photo-text works, speculative scripts, artist publications, and narrative installations in various collaborations.
Choreographer, dancer and researcher based in Brussels, Sara Manente, is interested in the dynamic relation between performer, work and spectator. Her projects are developed throughout hybrid research and become public in different formats. Currently, she works with aesthetics and ethics at the intersection between live arts and live cultures: namely, fermentation technology, noise, chimerization and (auto)immunity.
Rob Ritzen is co-initiator of THAT MIGHT BE RIGHT, a founding member of LEVEL FIVE and coordinator of PERMANENT. My curatorial practice is focused on self-organized and collaborative formats in close association with cultural practitioners. In my research, I am concerned with social and political constellations that have a hold on everyday life. Cultural practices are a way to dislodge the hold the present has on us.
Sina Seifee is an artist based in Brussels, Tehran and Cologne. Using storytelling, video, and performance, he explores and teases with the heritage of zoology in West Asia. His work picks up on how epistemologies, jokes and knowledges get shaped in the old and new intersections of techno-media and globalism.