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postgraduate program, workshop

Marialena Marouda, Christina Stadlbauer and Nicolas Geleazzi Writing into becoming water

an instant conversation

IMG_20190615_145950

Imagining a two-day boat trip on the Dilje-Leuven Canal:

M.M.: A brief introduction into my practice: I see performance as a practice of inhabiting a specific ecosystem. Currently, I am focusing on the oceanic ecosystem, one that can only in part be inhabited by human beings.
Concerning the ocean, the question that interests me most is: What is my relation to the ocean, and how can this relation be described? What are the affects or elements that make it up? And how can those affects be performed and thus communicated? My focus lies on creating affective (an)archives. i.e. archives that communicate relational experiences and knowledges of the ocean.

NG: What makes the ocean for you to the ideal ecosystem to be performatively inhabited?

M.M.: Well, I feel very attracted to it physically and mentally. And it also proposes a different way of thinking and being than land proposes. So I want to explore those. But it is not an “ideal” ecosystem because it is actually quite difficult to inhabit it physically. Very little is known of the ocean compared to ecosystems on land.

C.S.: For me, it is less the ocean than the water that triggers the idea of inhabiting it in a performative sense. Water is everywhere, in us, around us, we are made up of water – and the element is so common that we don’t think about it much, as we live our lives. To give it a moment of special attention and to engage with it as a practice is like a process of becoming aware of something that we deal with every day, and that is so at the basis of our existence.
The ocean was extremely attractive to me when I was a child. I used to spend my entire summer holidays at the Mediterranean Sea, and I spent most of these months inside of the water. It was the experience of being submersed, totally enveloped by the salty moving body that intrigued me. The smell, the temperature, the consistency (compared with the bathtub water or the swimming pool water) of the Mediterranean became like a place where I would feel at home for me.
Today, much older, I don’t have this urge anymore to submerse in the sea. I’m much more respectful of the gigantic body of water and enjoy more contemplating it by staying at its side, and not going in.

N.G.: Probably, I could see the ocean in any water. Looking deep into the glass before I take a sip of delicious spring water – e.g. at Schwarzsee in the Alps – I see the sea, I see into the history of these molecules and can follow them through my body into my pee, into the ground into the flower, into the sunray into the rain into the river into the stream into the whole flow that cyclically generates life. Of course, on these waves, we perform our lives and are performed by them. In the case of water, the conditions it creates, the landscape it carves, I’m not sure if I inhabit and perform within or if it’s not the other way, the water inhabits me and performs through me.

M.M.: I think different bodies of water work differently, affect the human body in a different way. So for me, the ocean as I recently encountered it Portugal, for example, the force that it has, is very different from my own experience of the sea in the Mediterranean in Greece.

C.S.: Can you tell more about the performative aspect that intrigues you with water or the ocean?

M.M.: Performance is for me the way we choose to enter into relation with the body of water that we encounter. So for example, if you say that you want to be engulfed by the sea, the salty and continuously moving water, I am interested to know more about this sensation that you have and how it could be performed now, for example, in the conditions in this room.

C.S.: The most intriguing part that comes to mind at once is the aspect of being carried. And of course, we have this much more on the earth. The earth is solid and carries us all the time – something that we also take for granted, and forget about it, as we sit on this chair.
In the water, especially the salty – thick – water, the buoyancy is a fantastic characteristic that gives me a sense of trust inside this ever-moving deep sea.

M.M.: Yes, I recognize this feeling! What I would propose now on the trip is to explore how this sensation could be reconstructed through performance or how this sensation could influence what you are researching artistically.

C.S.: First association is STAGE DIVING!! But that is not very serious, of course!

M.M.: What is stage diving?

N.G.: The tricky thing might be, that the sensation is part of the ecosystem which should be performed. But probably that’s exactly the chance. To perform WITHIN something not ON something (like a stage). If we take performance as a ‘doing’ not as a ‘representing’ it becomes very interesting, I think. Performance in an economic sense is an act of domination. To ‘perform’ witing a system, in respons-able relation to it, is something very different. The notion of being performed while performing is there very applicable.

C.S.: Stage diving is to let yourself be carried by the masses of listeners /audience standing in front of the stage when you dive onto their uplifted hands. It is a big test of trust!

M.M.: Aaaaahh yes, the rockstar thing. We could try it.

CS: Now, I have to think of VariousArtists – whose performance often has to do with experimenting with what he eats, drinks, how much he sleeps, or exercises. So a 40-day water fast could be a very embodied experience of what water does. And very cleansing, as well. Another important aspect of water, of course – the CLEANING!
In that sense, Trudo makes his body the ecosystem and the stage at the same time.

M.M.: We can make a list of those aspects here, during this conversation? I was planning to do this also on the boat trip. Now we can imagine the ocean and that we are travelling on it. What sensation does it give us?

1. Being engulfed/ buoyancy
2. Sense of cleansing
3. …

C.S.: There is something that happens to the sinuses, also. And to the sense of smell that I find very interesting. In the ocean, of course, you smell the salt and the “sea” – like algae and dead fish and live fish and all the rest of it. But there is also something happening to the nose, in my case. It gets full of water and clogged, and at the same time, it cleans itself.
What aspect of sensation is that?!

M.M.: How would you name it? If you had to use one word? Smell? Or salt-smell?

N.G.: For this, it would have been perfect to be on the boat. I’m sure we would find another answer than here!

C.S.: There is something that is inside and outside at the same time. It is as if the ocean gets INSIDE of my body through the nose. It is the one opening that lets the water in. So, it is not the smell, I think – it is more the permeability of my body to the body of water.
Of course, also the skin gets wrinkled and like a prune, that it keeps the water out. On the contrary, it may even lose a bit of my body water instead of letting the ocean in, because I always get very thirsty when I spend a long time in the water.

M.M.: Permeability is a wonderful word for it! There is this concept of the Hypersea, that was put forth by two biologists, Mark and Dianna McMenamin. They understand all living organisms on land as “lakes” that communicate with each other by on the one hand keeping the water in and on the other being permeable and passing water from one organism to the other. It’s as if all organisms on land form a deterritorialized sea that they carry in their bodies.

N.G.: The inside/outside is actually rather a human perspective. Nothing wrong with this, but from the water perspective we are simply a tunnel! A place of passage, and probably of transformation. Perhaps that’s the most real performance we do. Being a catalyst for waters. WE ARE THE CANAL!!

C.S.: Now, I have to think of homoeopathic medicine, somehow. The transformation of the water inside our body tunnel.
A tangent.

N.G.: btw. What do you think is the boat a stage ? or rather an ecosystem within an ecosystem?

C.S.: the boat is a very artificial object for me that allows us to traverse the body of water, to be on it without getting wet, to not engage with the water but only with the surface of the water, and there is an aspect of dominance in boats also. You are always (unless you are going under) on top of the water and you don’t get wet. It is an object that divides you from the water. You feel it but indirectly only. The most stringent aspect of water – that it is WET – is lost. You don’t get wet.

M.M.: You can get very wet on a boat! Have you ever been on a boat when there are strong wind and big waves? You get soaked.
For me, the boat is a machine that allows us to enter into relation with the vastness of the sea, that otherwise, we would not be able to approach. But yes, it also has an aspect of domination. Without boats, no “discoveries”, no colonization, but also no communication, no fishing, no trade. It’s a complex place to be, the boat. It also makes for a very specific surface on which to move and urges a particular behaviour regarding the human bodies that inhabit it.

N.G.: We have this image of the sailors, that try to master the waters with their boat, fighting against the waves and storms, overcoming the overwhelming forces of nature. Like Ishmael fighting Moby-Dick the wale.

C.S.: I have an aunt who cannot swim. She would go on a boat, though. But she would not go directly into the water. Only where it is very shallow.
And Jonas who found himself inside the whale. How did he end up there again? That was an ecosystem inside of the water, and then he was inside the belly, and that was a bit like land again. Like a membrane that allowed him to be inside the water for a long time, but without touching the water. Was it so?

M.M: So you would prefer a whale belly to a boat?

C.S.: that is difficult to answer. I don’t have a clear image of a whale belly…

N.G.: Of course! Even in this nutshell, I dream of the big monsters.

M.M.: So we add 3. permeability, 4. whale-belly…

N.G.: Or let’s say permea-belly.

C.S.: And now, the ice. What about ice. Is this ocean? But solid, you can walk on it. And it totally changes the experience of being in/on the water.
Or under it…?

M.M.: Yes definitely, ice is also ocean. Just in a different form. With a whole different set of conditions. I talked to a glaciologist recently, and he said there is the category of sea ice and the ice shelf, that are both ice formations on the sea, which differ from the big glaciers that are usually land formations.

N.G.: For an ice bear it might be something different than for a penguin, or for the wind. For the ice bear it is (more and more ) a boat!

C.S.: With ice I find it confusing. Do I remember right that for a long time it was not known if the North Pole is solid or if the South Pole is solid – land or sea. Ice confuses things a bit, I find…

M.M.: Then lets end in this confusion? I think its quite appropriate.

NG: True!

 




information, postgraduate program

Workshops and Companions

 

The workshops of this block will be ‘gardens’ – and therefore for once of spacial nature. I propose to ask these gardens to be our teachers, to learn from them, to let them put us at work, to ask them to suggest a practice to us, to make them structure our time and our collective research attempts etc. The gardens are the ‘education’ framework and the ‘atelier.’

 

For this, we need interpreters and people who have tools, figures or behaviours to engage, read and work within the workshops. These interpreters – probably we will call them ‚companions’ – will build a network, a web of knowledge, together with us and amongst themselves. I would like to invite quite some of them to accompany us – sometimes alone sometimes in couples or groups.

 

For further details watch out for following posts.

 

 

postgraduate program, workshop

Kobe Mattihys Workshop 1 :: Zenne Garden

digging

Zenne Garden

This is an elaborate permaculture garden with many small experiments from water cleaning plants to interspecies labour. Kobe, who will also be one of the dedicated mentors – is working in this garden for 12 years together with a collective of various artists and activists. It is quite a sensitive ecosystem.

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postgraduate program, workshop

Vincent P. Alexis Workshop 2 :: Westland / BUITEN/DEHORS

straying

terrain d'aventure
BXL WILD LIFE and BUITEN/DEHORS is a collective of research and experimentation which proposes to consider the urban as the natural environment of man. This year BUITEN / DEHORS decided to start on a piece of land located between Digue du Canal and rue des Goujons in Anderlecht, the establishment of what is called an adventure playground.
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performative publishing

Salad

Christina Stadlbauer

OLXE6310

Une salade, c’est pas comme une tomate

We went on an excursion to Fribourg in Switzerland. I took my little purse where I keep Swiss Francs from my last visit, but noticed that it contained only a few coins. In the train we were speculating how much we would have to pitch in for food and that we should eat rather rice and beans to keep the budget under control. Switzerland is expensive, for Europeans.

The experience at the Unlearning Centre, however, was totally unexpected. We had just arrived, when a car came, with crates of food – freegan. Martin Schick had organized a delivery for us and we found ourselves with more than we could handle. All for free and all (almost) expired.

We tried to fit everything into the two large fridges at the NeighborHub, but did not manage.

Meat, sausages, vegetables, herbs, juices, ice tea, yoghurt and loads of green salad. That first day we got 2 crates of salad – maybe 20 heads of lettuce. Great! Fresh food!

We ate a lot of salad. We ate salad at lunch and for dinner, snacked on it in between. But the salad did not end. Some days later, the car delivered another load to us. There was again salad, new salad. This time, some heads of lettuce, but also some that was already washed and torn into pieces, wrapped in plastic. And some salad hearts, wrapped in plastic film. We were still trying to deal with the 2 crates from the first day. Nicolas made salad soup. We had it warm and iced, with salad on the side. At every meal, there was a salad bowl that could never be finished. One evening, we were high on salad. We could not talk about anything else anymore, could not stop laughing. Mathilde composed a song about salad. “Une salade, c’est pas comme une tomate”.

 

There was also more meat than we could eat, there were bags and bags of herbs that slowly started to rot in the fridge, there were litres of bottled liquid whole egg and many packkages of rice pudding, different flavours. There was an opening of a new atelier – a big space with machinery – and it was rented for free There was a dinner perfomance at the Belluard festival and the wine bottles kept on being opened and poured into glasses at no extra cost. Generosity came upon us from all sides. It was amazing.

All our lives, we have been hearing about scarcity. At home, we learned how to shut the doors to keep the heat in, we used second hand clothes and we were instructed how to not waste food. At school, we learned the scarcity of natural resources. We all know about the scarcity of money on our bank accounts. But what happened there in Switzerland in June 2019, was abundance. Suddenly, we were confronted with abundance and we had to deal with it. We had to unlearn how we are used to handle scarcity. And this allowed me to observe many interesting things.

I became obsessed. It went automatically. I could not allow myself to throw food away and invented dishes that consumed lots of parsley. I also ate more than I needed, just because I could not see the food being trashed. My attempt was not successful. Lots of stuff that had gotten a second life – saved from the trash of the supermarket could not be saved by us and went on the compost pile.

The Fribourg trip and unlearning for me meant to look into abundance as a concept and the salad became my fulcrum.

 


postgraduate program, workshop

Marialena Marouda Exercises in Becoming Water

Score for a boat trip

no-boat
This is a score for a multiple day boat trip for two or more people. It should last a minimum of two days. It can take place on any body of water large enough to sail on for a number of days: a lake, a canal, a river, a sea or an ocean. The boat you use, its size and form, can differ accordingly. This score invites you to spend time on this body of water and to see how it affects/ can affect your body, your thoughts and your work. It proposes some tasks that you can try while sailing. It also suggests different texts that you can read during the trip. Each task can take as long as you need it to take, from a few minutes to several days. Take your time.
Read more..

performative publishing, postgraduate program

Mathilde Maillard / I gave a hamac and it came back to me

20190614_100129
I like to think that objects decide the place where they want to be or with who they want to be.
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postgraduate program

Nicolas Galeazzi Block 2019/II Troubled Gardens

29 April-28 July 2019

ecologies of artistic research

battlefish
The earth faces troubles of kind humanity never experienced before: climatic changes induced by humankind are dramatically destructive and - meanwhile unavoidable. This perspective fundamentally shifts our understanding of nature - and therefore it poses big questions to the arts as a source of cultural knowledge. The aim of this block is to challenge our individual research aims as living creatures and companions in and as ecosystems. Hyper related, affecting, and never singular, our researches are - however - made by their surrounding as much as their make it.
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information, postgraduate program

Three Days a Week

29 April-28 July 2019

ö.
One day of relating to the environmental ecology by 'gardening'; one day of engaging giving seeds to the social ecology; and one day of diving into the mental ecology by composting the urgent knowledge.
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performative publishing, postgraduate program

Maurice Meewisse Documentation Fourth Block – troubled garden

1 May-31 July 2019

Curated by Nicolas Y Galeazzi

japan web1

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postgraduate program, workshop

Nicolas Galeazzi Making Kin

6 May-28 July 2019 / Zenne Garden et al.

the adoption project

regenwuermer
Experiencing us as and in ecosystems lays the basic ground for our investigations in the a.pass block 2019/II. To follow this incentive, Donna Haraway proposes to make kin with multiple things, species and ideas. We try it by adopting each other's dearest - or expelled - aspects of research and make it part of our sphere of respons-ability.
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postgraduate program

Gosie Vervloessem Horror Garden

20-20 May 2019 / Zenne Garden

kudzu

One way to connect to other then humans is the horror genre. By thinking the unthinkable, we explore the limits of our ability to understand the world. But does the world lends itself to a meaningful relationship? Does increased access lead to decreased strangeness? In thinking about our relationship to the “other than humans”, what is the status of the notion of obscurity and darkness? What lingers at the edges of our experience? The Horror Garden is a tool that explores the idea of our profound dark relation to the World through our relationship with plants.

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postgraduate program, workshop

Ecole Mondiale Bruocsella

22-22 May 2019 / Start at Zenne Garden

a resilient movement for room to secondary river valleies

Ecole Mondiale
ECOLE MONDIALE experiments and experiences walking in and with the Zenne Valley while researching an alternative political model for the Brussels region, - capital of Europe, as a metropolitan landscape. It's ambitions is to transform the dominant 19th-century political model of the Brussels-Capital Region into a 21st-century vision / version based on its specific hydrographic structure. The secondary river valleys of the Zenne can provide this metropolitan landscape specific characteristic features.
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postgraduate program, workshop

Martin Schick / construct lab Workshop 3 :: Unlearning Center / Terrestrial Building

24 June-29 April 2019 / Fribourg (CH)

crafting

unlearning center
For the cultural program of the blueFactory in Fribourg Martin Schick is developing a concept for an Unlearning Center - an open sphere for re-practice learning in times of climate change. The blueFactory is a new economic zone for circular and environmental business. The Unlearning Center aims to give space for a fundamental rethinking of the knowledge needed to face different and difficult visions of building for the future with all its personal, economic, political, technical and aesthetic implications.
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postgraduate program, workshop

Marialena Marouda Waterways

1-2 July 2019

zennesomewhere
 
 
As an additional tool of investigation for the troubled gardens, I propose to float on water. By exchanging the usual surface of this block – soil – for water, I would like to explore how this element and it’s set of conditions can leak into artistic researche(r)s – or even flood them? What does it mean to understand water as a workshop? How can this experience influence our practice in the workshops of this block?
 
 
Asking these questions, we will spend at least 48h at the water and walk along the idea of ‘canal’. Will we accompany the water or is the water our companion? How does the current of the rivers enter the streams of our communication? How do we approach this hyper-object that finally floats in the ocean?

postgraduate program, reading session, workshop

Einat Tuchman Traveling through square liberateurs – Molenbeek

12-12 July 2019 / Square des Libérateurs, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

Taking a distinctive look at the divergent attitudes towards the environment and the social struggles in these different locations, we will learn about the prototypical difficulties and potentials of such culturally dense urban areas. For this I'm inviting you into my neighbourhood, to discover the "Quartier Liberateurs ".
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