COOP ~ ReSituating and ReCalibrating Hostipitality from Month to Month
Seminar 1: 14-16 November 2020
In the form of a conversation, an improv to some extent, We (Bode and Kamila) will attempt to introduce one another to You (the students, our receptors) and to each other. It is a very special context for Us, since in some way we consider this conversation an open vessel, a space of feeding forth and feeding back one another, weaving stories that resonate with the question of ReSituating and Recalibrating Hostipitality, the subject of our COOP. In that space of sharing, of giving as receiving, we will at times become the hosts, at other times guests, and maybe even ghosts of one another's story.
Following this format of 'presenting' Us and this COOP to You, we would like to invite You to present Your stories, practices and interests to Us - the curious listeners and recipients of Your story.
As we move on together, we want to pose a question around the politics and the very notion of ‘presenting’ or ‘presentation’ of oneself to a new/ another community/public/person and otherwise.
When thinking of the etymology of the word ‘presenting’ we are drawn into questioning the Latin definition of the word stemming from praesent which means ‘being at hand’, the later being transmuted into the notion of ‘placing before’.
How does the notion of placing oneself before others become a question of hostipitality, a question of who is the host and who is the ghost in that moment? How do different forms of presentation also echo a system of hierarchy of the receiver on the one hand, and the emitter on the other, as two distinct dynamics and bodies of power? How do our voices modulate our bodies and souls when confronted by the necessity of placing oneself before others? What voice, language, image, sound do we use? How can we create a multimodality of relations that can carve our histories into the present and future memory to become?
It is interesting to delve into these conversations, especially because we are all players/ are entangled with / the art worlds at large. Those worlds are interconnected through the politics of presentation and re/presentation of hosts, ghosts and guests in contemporary arts today.
In between the conversations, maybe more towards our evening session, we would like to visit a filmic work or the work of the late composer Jacques Coursil who has released his last album on SAVVY RECORDS titled: Hostipitality Suite.
The filmic and the musical will tell us the rest.
“What is my story? Like you, I have many. One way of telling my feminist story would be to begin with a table. Around the table, a family gathers. We are seated in the same place: my father one end, myself the other, my two sisters to one side, my mother to the other. We are seated this way, as if we are trying to secure more than our place. A childhood memory, yes. But it is also a memory of an everyday experience in that quite literal sense of an experience that happened every day.”
--- Sara Ahmed asks herself and us in Feminist Killjoys (and other willful subjects).
Let’s go for a walk in the morning.
Each walk joined by three or four of us, following a different path, a different root and route.
Let’s re-route back in the classroom and meet on an imaginary kitchen table.
Let’s ask ourselves who is the next of ‘my’ kin/ship?
In the form of an exercise, we would like to un/group - in three or four participants - and go for a walk into our hosting habitat. The forest around us that enclaves us and a habitat that can remind us of the breathing organisms that once stretched through Europe and supported us (humans and more-than-humans). Today those habitats are vanishing before and behind our sight so quickly that we can not even recognize the amount of loss we are experiencing in our lifetime, and how it is affecting our breathing, our lives.
We will then regroup and meet on an imaginary kitchen table to talk.
In that exercise, we ask You to get to know one another within that smaller constellation of a group/ A group of three to four students to then re/meet on that imaginary kitchen table to present/represent one another before other groups in the space (each presenter represents another students story in their own voice).
We wish to ask ourselves: How can others voice Us/Me?
What words will they use? What images will they invoke? Who will they invite to my table (living or dead)? What animate and inanimate objects would they bring along? What memories from my childhood will they host? What sounds and echoes will represent my story in their voice? And who is the next of My kin/ship?
We will sit here together waiting for the sounds and whispers - at the same time offering each other the history of a place and its ghosts. We will talk to them and listen to their stories - against the ever present attempts to erase countering whitewashing of its architecture. The dead and the alive will remain unseated, echoing what they bring to the table, “unseated by the table of happiness might be to threaten not simply that table, but what gathers around it, what gathers on it”. (Sara Ahmed)