common moment, gathering, intensive, recent past
7-26 January 2019 / a.pass
During the days of Jan 7th-26th 2019 a.pass will come together and host an open workspace called SETTLEMENT. In the course of these three weeks we will share our current work processes within an open collaborative workspace. We aim to create a poly-central gathering that is self-structured, self-organized and open to contributions from anyone. You are cordially invited to join this process by establishing your own space in the a.pass SETTLEMENT and sharing some of your ideas, practices or works with others. The materials and structures available at the a.pass main space will be a common resource for all who join to create whatever is needed to facilitate this process. The schedule for these three weeks will be developed on site by its participants and shared online on the a.pass website.
Here are some key ideas which have informed similar spaces before:
The potential of this setup is that it allows us to encounter each others processes instead of products of our artistic work. Processes are much more difficult to make visible and to see as they require a different mode of attention and participation. The attempt to witness a process requires a change in the temporal mode and in the mode of being-together in the collective space.
The space we are trying to facilitate is open, but it is not an exhibition. There is no „spectator mode“, and no institutionalised responsibility for hosting. However any participant (including possible newcomers) is welcome to invite and host anybody according to the logic of her/his work process. Anybody is welcome to joint the collective space for any timespan, respectful of the fact that Settlement is a predominately a workspace. The (growing/changing) group will try to provide enough information at the entrance, so that everyone feels welcome and knows how to join and share.
We will collect most of the materials for the space from the apass storage and re-accommodate them towards our purposes. This strategy produces a space that is fragile, self-made, and constantly changing. We believe that such a space influences the sociability within it towards similar qualities – towards a more fluid social contract. In asking for a hands-on construction and deconstruction of its makeshift set-ups, such a space allows for a quicker change of settings and a decentralised mode of (self)organisation. For this reason, we suggest to refrain from using usual furniture (tables and chairs) and improvise new set ups for „work-stations“ and collective moments out of what we can scavenge from around the academy.
Settlement is spatial proposal that tries to sustain its architectural fragility hoping in this way to initiate a temporary social, organizational and ideological one. Simply put it is a collective workspace, a camp and a hangout, open to all who stop by and would like to contribute to it. Like many other such meetings it is a place of informal exchange and presentation. It is a space for practices instead of products, a place where our individual ideas and processes have not yet achieved a solid state and can flow into each other.
Settlement starts with a haphazard collection of materials in an otherwise empty space. Everything one might need for one’s work has be be built and (re)invented there. There are no tables, no chairs, and the materials and objects resist easy categorization and usability. They have to be mis-used, adapted, they have a will on their own. The built environment has to be negotiated -with on the level of the object. There is potential in a thing being one thing one day, and a totally different thing the day after. There is also potential in that thing changing hands. (You will be surprised how quickly ownership is established from communal beginnings: one just has to pick up a thing and put it somewhere.)
Settlement is a space that tries very hard not to settle. Its instability works against the establishing of clear boundaries between „your space“ and „my space“, what hopefully follows from that is that it is very difficult to establish boundaries between „your work“ and “my work“. It asserts that practice is bound by space, and if space gets shaky, unstable, shareable, so does the practice.
By starting from scratch Settlement invites a re-negotiation of the specific conditions of each practice. In the course of the three weeks Settlement lets a particular method of production and sharing find its own intrinsic spatial conditions, free from the encoded behaviors of ready-made spaces such as “table”, “studio”, “meeting”, “gallery”, “venue”, “library”, etc.
The politics of practice in terms of co-habitation and co-working, of claiming one’s own space, inviting or excluding the outside, communication of ideas, inviting change and influence are all there to be questioned within this setup. As a practice is (in some ways) „re-built“ during Settlement, one can come to question its very construction.
Settlement is a collective project which was facilitated over several years on different occasions. The project takes the form of a workshop and creates and inhabits a space full of fragile and precarious structures. Since Settlement starts from a space devoid of habitual work setups, with all materials present considered a common resource, all the structures are built from the necessities of the individual and collective practices of its participants. A kind of a re-start on the physical level and an attempted re-start on the level of the habitual and institutional structures governing our spaces of production. The title is used as a provocation, as Settlement is a space which, over the course of several weeks, tries very hard not to settle.
Settlement puts a spatial perspective on practice, identifying modes of institutionalisation and habit which keep the spaces of artistic production and education from becoming spaces of commoning. These modes of ‘settling’ are embedded in many things: they are there in the ways the spaces are designed and organised towards stability (supporting habit and the given hierarchy of organisation), they are there in the institutionalised processes of access and exclusion, and they are there in our social habits (which structure the most empty and open space imaginable). Looking at how the spaces of our practice prioritise the habitual, Settlement introduces architectural fragility as a mode of destabilizing practice and the social agreements between the participants. The spaces created within Settlement are make-shift and precarious and therefore never suited to support a certain social constellation or a process indefinitely. That introduces another timing into the space, rendering all structures inherently temporary and unreliable. The habit of regarding products of work as property becomes destabilized, as all structures in the space are short-lived and can become ‘material’ again very quickly. These and other changes occur through fragility of the built environment and work effectively against the habitual ‘settling down’. The transition of a structure back to the common resource through collapse or re-appropriation is always a possibility, producing the common as a constant perspective onto the emerging territories, constellations and rules in the Settlement space.
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