Our Practices / Our Extensions
a proposal by Simone Basani and Heike Langsdorf / radical_house
With Our Practices / Our Extensions we propose a self-observative and self-critical system for mentoring that acknowledges explicitly the socio-political meaning of such an activity of mentoring and being mentored – a practice in itself: attending to processes not being our own, and vice versa, being attended by eyes and minds outside ourselves.
Inspired by several conversations with current coordinators, alumni, and participants of a.pass, the mentoring system of places at its core the following questions: What do we talk/work about when we touch upon ecological/social/urban issues? How did those issues touch us/our bodies/our hi-her-stories? From which physical/emotional/philosophical site does our research start from?
We want to welcome a.pass participants by acknowledging that we all have different experiences and therefore some undeniable hunches, ideas, inheritances we are provided with by the way/s we live our life/ves and relate to others and other matter/s. Here we share a quote relating to this:
“… inheritance doesn’t come from the past. Inheritance is the place we are given in the present in a world structured to care for the existence of some and not of others.” ― Elizabeth A. Povinelli, The Inheritance
Concretely speaking, we consider our practices being extensions from ‘where we come from’ – how we relate to the journey of our lives through what we do/propose ‘in practice’. For working collectively with our inheritances (and detect if/how/where they found their place within our practices), we propose to work – practice, discuss and exchange – at radical_house: a typical but recently modernized Brussels family house, being developed into a project with the same name during the last few years by radical_hope: Heike, Simone and many other practitioners. This place will be an anchor point, an object for thinking, a site of exploration for us and the participants, to unfold questions connected to their interests and practices.
radical_house, Luikenaarsstraat 2, 1050 Brussels (bus 95, tram 81: get off Germoir), will have a physical and receptive presence during this block, and be accessible for the participants to meet, be mentored (one-on-one or in constellation), research, rest, cook, present / share their practices etc.
By reacting, reading, accepting or rejecting this place, we will try to understand it as a dynamic constellation of traces, artifacts, spaces and relationships that might trigger further reflection about the artistic/social/political practices we are currently maintaining.
Practically speaking, we invite the participants of a.pass at given moments of the week (we will choose them together during the intro-week based on everybody’s availability) into radical_house and share a set of protocols/scores for using a certain space as a site of practice-exploration. Those scores we’ll script or re-script together with the participants themselves on the basis of their interests/needs/desires (heard during the introduction week) and the geography-functioning of the sites we chose.
radical_house’ proposition resonating with the Streets and the Earth: In the context of a.pass’ block 2022 / 3, while Streets and Earth raise a series of research questions connected to ecology, sustainability of art practices and, more widely, working life in the artistic field, Our Practices / Our Extensions is proposed by Simone and Heike as: 1. a methodology for mentoring & individual + collective reflection/exploration and 2. an explorative usage of a physical place where to stay, think, shelter, rest, continue… This place, radical_house, will be a place to ‘breathe with’ (or digest) the questions coming from Streets and Earth and from the physical-relational spaces of radical_house itself.
BIOs of Simone, Heike and radical_house
I spent a large part of my life in Milano and its outskirts, where my biological family still is. The last five years of my stay in Italy have been in Venice though, before migrating abroad as many members of my non-biological family have done too. In Milano, I have been trained in community drama, dramaturgy work, performance making in a theatre that was in the last phase of its dying process. In Venice I have studied the lexicon of visual arts, semiotics, curating, and finally started to apply this knowledge to my own public art projects. Once I arrived in Belgium, eight years ago, I started to apply that knowledge to projects of other practitioners as well – out of necessity and out of curiosity. Now I mostly conceive curatorial and performative formats where I invite artists to react on a specific proposition of mine. This is also a way to get to know their work better. Very often, Alice Ciresola (a member of my non-biological family) helps me to produce and communicate these formats. Some of them are: NittyGritty, Galeria Gdansk itd., What Remains of a Rembrandt.. and the most recent ones: Jeanne. Or the Western Touch that she co-curates, and Unrequested Services). I like these formats to have their own life quite soon after their conception, to get out of my control. Besides this, I have been collaborating for almost four years on a stable basis as dramaturg and creative producer with Heike Langsdorf/radical_hope, and David Weber-Krebs. Heike has invited me to edit one book of the series she created with Alex Arteaga `Choreography as Conditioning`. Currently I am working on the dramaturgy of a Post Pandemics version of her performance Mount Tackle. With Heike and other artists I take care of the life in and around radical_house. Hans Bryssinck, Heike, Miriam Rohde and I have initiated a `house of practices` inside radical_house.
I grew up on the German/Austrian border in the very South-East of Bavaria, and after some years in Arnhem/Amsterdam, I ended up in Brussels as my home base. With a background in dance and performance making, I am exploring the performative qualities of choreographing and conditioning within and beyond the art-institutional field. I connect to artistic making, thinking and researching through a continuous exploration of movement and choreographic principles. Since 2010 I developed (starting at a:pass) radical_hope as a working attitude supporting (my) various distinct practices. Today radical_hope identifies as framework/s for artistic research/es and co-creation/s under un/ideal circumstances. Next to realizing various and numerous projects, performances, interventions and programmes throughout the years, I have always been and remain very invested in understanding what gives rise and makes develop practices: how do practices mature, shift, transform, change direction and so on? This made that what I choreographed and co-curated became rather ‘spaces for gathering through practices’ than ‘pieces for stage’. I mention here some: Changing Tents (2011), Sitting With The Body 24/7 (2014/15), Mount Tackle (2017/2019), Un/Settled Residency (2018), …Through Practices (2019). Since 2018, informally, and since 2020 in a more formulated way, with the curatorial and productional support of Simone Basani and Alice Ciresola and in dialogue with other practitioners, I develop the long term project radical_house. Together with Alex Arteaga I co-edited the book series Choreography as Conditioning which was launched end of 2021, together with a long-term project stemming now from the written texts (find here more info and all credits >>>) . The writings of this series are rooted in a cycle of work sessions entitled CASC at KASK, in which students worked together with invited guests and myself. They explore notions of choreography, understood as ways of organising subjects in their surroundings, and conditioning in both art-making and society-making.
radical_house is a long term project that stems from radical_hope’s practices: it presents a physical place, a framework and a reasoning. It is also a possibility for Heike Langsdorf to connect, together with others, her pedagogical experience (which she could gain during the last ten years) back to the artistic field: – How can ‘just another’ house become a relational tool? What if one frees ‘the house’ of its usual connotations presenting “neither a property nor territory to be separated and defended against who does not belong there”? (*) It then could be considered “a void, a debt, a gift to the other that also reminds us of our constitutive alterity with respect to ourselves”. (**) (*/**) Roberto Esposito, Communitas – the origin and destiny of community, 1998
The renovation (2016-19) of a Brussels family house, together with architect Tania Gijsenberg, into a place for ‘more than family’ is a relatively new reality, with three work paths that are temporally and spatially entangeled. Here just a short overview: Luikenaarsstraat 2 is the address of the house — its physical appearance — where people can live, work and present together. ‘Just another house’ (in ‘just another neigborhood’). After its renovations this house now has the possibility to host more than their two permanent inhabitants: by opening and reducing the staircase to half its former width, a dark cellar (previously packed with unused stuff) became an atelier and the groundfloor became a studio with guestroom. A big window gives view to the streets, vice versa big parts of the working spaces can be seen from outside. The second floor is now an open co-working space with kitchen. Dismantling some little unused inbetween chambers on the same floor made two outside spaces possible: a little courtyard and a terrasse. Under the roof are two rooms for the permanent inhabitants to withdraw into.
Bridging from School: In 2021/22 radical_house develops the framework Bridging from School: first and foremost a way of working with young people, who are still studying or have just graduated, to make their practices not yet introduced to the field: this is done not only by following their work, mentoring or coaching them, giving them feedback but very concretely by setting up projects which need the presence and knowledge acquired in their practices. Like this they are actually introducing themselves while practicing, not by presenting their ideas and philosophies via dossiers and portfolios. Currently, as part of a recently started collaboration with Demos (Arts In Society Award), Simone Basani and Heike Langsdorf are mentoring their candidates.
House of Practices is exploring permeability: how to make space in existing places? In dialogue, through their practices and those of guests, initially, Simone Basani, Hans Bryssinck, Heike Langsdorf and Miriam Rohde aimed to come closer to what the transformative power of a physical place could be: What does a place with its specific history, former and current inhabitants/users allow for? What makes it relational and permeable and for whom? How do our practices create closeness and distance to one another? What of it contributes to the making of community, and what to avoiding or even destroying it? In 2020/21 House of Practices received a research grant by the Flemish Authorities. In 2022 Simone Basani, Heike Langsdorf and Miriam Rohde continue the quest.