How can you be at home in an alien world? (Call for participation)

How can you be at home in an alien world?             

On the occasion of SKOR’s symposium Social Housing – Housing the Social, the members of Chto Delat and Ultra-red invite you to participate in a two-day seminar prior to the symposium and to perform a collaborative learning play on the first evening of the symposium.

DATES OF SEMINAR: 2–3.11.2011 (from 10 AM till midnight)

Learning Play on 4th of November at 9 PM

DATES OF SYMPOSIUM: 4–5.11.2011

LOCATION: Felix Meritis, Amsterdam

  … the metropolis is now the point of massive collision—dare we call it class struggle?—over the accumulation by dispossession visited upon the least well-off and the developmental drive that seeks to colonize space for the affluent . . . democratization of [the right to the city], and the construction of a broad social movement to enforce its will is imperative if the dispossessed are to take back the control which they have for so long been denied, and if they are to institute new modes of urbanization.

– David Harvey

The conditions within which Chto Delat and Ultra-red will take up their work on the theme of the social are those of the global financial crisis. The latter is often used to justify the dismantling of welfare states and the withdrawal of commitments to the notion of the commons that underlay their development in the first place. Now it is every atom for itself, situated in a vortex driven by the fatal master-slave dialectic between the private and the common.

The social is currently acknowledged as being a luxury we simply cannot afford. Thus, it must be sacrificed along with other public goods including education, health care, infrastructure and housing. This is more than simply a retreat from the social. It also permits the commodity value of former public goods to be realized and circulated within the systems of capitalist speculation. Volunteerism and self-help, once signatures of the social, are now co-opted to fill gaps resulting from the privatizing of property and services. In reaction to these dispossessions, citizens of cities in countries across the globe are occupying strategic urban spaces. These occupations – temporary productions of common space by the deterritorialized and expropriated on enemy terrain – are to be understood as an emphatic reclamation of rights repressed for decades. They direct us toward some fundamental questions. What is the social today? How has its construction changed? Why has it become so vulnerable to the attacks of capital and privatization? Why are ideas of the social so indispensable for the imagination of freedoms? How can we be at home in an alien world?

This seminar breaks with the conventions of discussions and conferences in order to promote a dialogical and investigative relationship to knowledge production. As we eat, talk and rehearse together, we will address and investigate ideas around collectivity and the politicized subject of “the social.” We will explore what political stakes may serve to bind us in solidarity to each other. And we will turn our surroundings into what Henri Lefebvre called a “representational space configured and changed to underscore our temporary occupation.”

The seminar will culminate in a staging of a Brechtian learning play during the first evening of the symposium. Using Bertolt Brecht’s learning-play model, Chto Delat and Ultra-red invite participants to collectively develop an educational didactic performance. Centered around the theme of the social but without fixed texts, participants are asked to develop and articulate their own position through the process of acquiring and advocating their attitudes.

_____

ABOUT THE ARTISTS COLLECTIVES

Chto Delat (What is to be done?)

The platform Chto Delat was founded in early 2003 in Petersburg with the goal of merging political theory, art and activism. The platform’s activity consists in developing a network of collective initiatives in Russia and setting them into an international context. The platform is coordinated by a workgroup of the same name. The collective initiatives developed inside the platform engage in a variety of art projects, including video works, installations, actions in public space, radio programs, and different forms of artistic research. During this seminar the platform will be represented by David Riff, Tsaplya (Olga Egorova) and Dmitry Vilensky.

Ultra-red

Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, Ultra-red has expanded to include artists, researchers and organizers from different social movements including the struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS. By exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations, Ultra-red utilizes sound-based research to directly engage political struggle. With ten associates working in North America and Europe, Ultra-red pursue a dynamic exchange between art and political organizing producing radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, essays, and installations. Ultra-red members are currently conducting investigations in Los Angeles, New York, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Berlin and Oslo. During this seminar Ultra-red will be represented by Elliot Perkins, Robert Sember and Leonardo Vilchis.

NOTE: The seminar is limited to 20 participants. Participants must commit to attending the full seminar, which includes discussions, rehearsals and the staging of a learning play as a collective act on Friday, 4th of November. The organiser will provide only food for the duration of the seminar and entrance to the symposium. Sorry, but no support for accomodation is available because seminar is focused on local participants.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 23, 2011

Please send your motivation letters to:

Robert Sember: robert.sember@gmail.com (Ultra-red)

Dmitry Vilensky: dmvilen@gmail.com (Chto Delat)

Fleur van Muiswinkel: fleurvanmuiswinkel@gmail.com (curator affiliated with SKOR)

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Filed under activism, alternative education, critical thought, open letters, manifestos, appeals, urban movements (right to the city)

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