COOP ~ All About My Mother from Month to Month

Seminar 2: 26 - 29 January 2020

Title: Collective kitchens as common practices

Cooks: Nina bell F. (Annette Krauss, Binna Choi, Ying Que, Yolande van der Heide) and Mari Pitkänen with Mia van de Bos, Saskia Burggraaf, Emma de Filippo, Litchi Friedrich, Jiatu Gu, Csilla Klenyanszki, Flávia Palladino, Dayna, and Anakin Xersonsky


-       Politics as Experimentation Practices, an essay by Alana Moraes *(we ask that you read this beforehand), 2019

-        Things from the project Site for Unlearning (Art Organizations) (2014-2018): the 2018 publication Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning, edited by Binna Choi, Annette Krauss, Yolande van der Heide with Liz Allan; and the 2018 and 2019 Assemblies for Commoning Art Institutions

-    Ingredients carried over from the last session including embodied objects or things

-      Yet to be defined words from the Commons Lexicon: wisdom, social reproduction, study (collective), m(other), archive, cooking, sharing economy, recipe, neurodiversity, currency, Undercommons and fermentation


The second All about my mother gathering departs from Alana Moraes’ talk entitled “Politics as Experimentation Practices” presented at Casa de Povo’s program Studies of the Commons whereby she expounds upon the notion of the commons with the metaphor of the kitchen as a laboratory for experimentation and knowledge making. She writes: “collective kitchens as common practices continue to defy binarisms, the authorized productions of truth.” In turn, the COOP gathering calls upon its “cooks” to inhabit this notion–including singularities, pluralities and complexities–to add and unpack our developing ingredients list in the shared quest to imagine and actualise transgressive modes that upset existing binaries towards m/other ways of being together.

The gathering is further informed by the Casco Art Institute archive as embodied Nina bell F. Considering the origin of Nina, we’ll draw the ingredients from the long-term project and study trajectory Site for Unlearning (Art Organization) to focus on the two major public moments for commoning art institutions in the project. First, the Elephants in the Room Assembly in 2018 that inaugurated the project’s book Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning and questioned how art institutions can relate to the challenge of unlearning, especially where the distribution of power is concerned. And second, Our House is On Fire [has been on fire for over 500 years] Assembly in 2019, which sought to create a climate justice code for art institutions in response to the climate breakdown. 

Carrying this further with Moraes’ metaphorical kitchen, we will work through notions of structural habits and unlearning, embodiment and memory, as well as the prompt: Where does your institution’s food come from? 


Seminar 1: 1-4 December 2019

1. Recipe : How shall we come together?

Cooking Time: 1-4 December

Ingredients: Alzad - a word of Arabic origin that refers to preparing food for the one who you do not expect to meet on your journey.

Cooks: Sepake Angiama, Nina bell Federici. (Staci Bu Shea), Mia van de Bos, Saskia Burggraaf, Emma de Filippo, Litchi Friedrich, Jiatu Gu, Csilla Klenyanszki, Flávia Palladino, Sophie de Serière, Matthew Wang, Anakin Xersonsky.


Dear All about my mother participants,

We are honoured that you have chosen to be our co-thinkers, collaborators, co-oks, co-operators and co-pilots. For each of our cooking sessions we would like to draw upon the mixture of all of your ingredients. Through the mess, the cooking methods and testing out of different equipment we hope to make a collective study that addresses how we might be able to institute differently, by looking back on the Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons archive, sharing and analysing readings, somatic unlearning exercises and collective forms of knowledge production.

What do we carry with us when we move from one location to another? How can we prepare for these moments of togetherness? How do we prepare for unexpected guests and unknown revelations?

2. Preparations

For our first session we would like to ask you to think about how we should come together. Which ingredient will you bring to help us reflect on the conditions that we wish to create for our collective study? You can bring a reading, an object, an activity, a song, an exercise, a film… the possibilities are endless. This ingredient is situated in your practice and will be something you wish to bring to the group that we can experience collectively. Please prepare the introduction of your ingredient and try to think through the ways that we might also be able to understand its characteristic qualities. Further, consider how your ingredient would travel or be introduced when encountering different locations and (guest) tutors.

If your ingredient is immaterial, please consider if you could bring a symbolic representation of your ingredient or whether we could experience the ingredient through an exercise or embodiment. How would you introduce yourself and your interest in this ingredient?

The first seminar of All about my mother will be led by Sepake Angiama and Staci Bu Shea of Nina bell F., who will introduce the outline, background, and intentions to build a recipe together in our COOP. This introductory gathering will set into motion a way of working towards the type of institution at stake in this course: one that transgresses existing binaries towards institutions that allows for m/other ways of being that is with singularities, pluralities and complexities.

We will define key terms in order to form a common lexicon, share initial ingredients, and begin to establish our “pantry and refrigerator” to be used as our nomadic facility. This session will primarily focus on student participant presentations and discussion to learn how our individual practices will inform the collective recipe-making.

Looking forward,
Sepake and Staci of Nina bell F.